31 October 2011

Rules made to be broken

Monday, October 31st

My intention for this blogs was 1 ride = 1 post

I don't think a 1/4 mile test ride up and down the street in front of my house counts, so bang goes that rule!

Last post I had mentioned my 'derailler' problem. Not a derailler problem, a chain problem.

The last several miles of yesterday's ride were no fun. Harder to pedal then normal, and noisy.
So this morning, I hauled the trike out into the middle of the garage, took the seat off, and proceeded to squint and mumble.

Well, look at that! My chain was not passing between the retaining tab and the chain roller anymore. How'd that happen?

There was no way I could stuff the chain back in without taking the chain apart. So I did. 

And while it was apart, I decided to double check the length of my chain (it was fine).

While stuffing the chain back through the chain tubes, I had a suddenly difficult time. Lo and behold, while fumbling around with the chain, I found this.

One of these things is not like the other.

A side view


So I got out my chain tool and dug up a piece of unused chain, counted twice, cut once, and stuck the new section of chain on.

Threaded everything back together. Took my machine for a spin.


I think that maybe it is time for a new chain roller. I shall consult with the gurus on the online forum.

Next ride is my mini-tour: overnight to a nearby campground and then home again.

30 October 2011

A horse of a different color

#121 (updated 31 oct w/ one more picture)

30 some miles in the Sacramento area.
Halloween eve. Sunday, October 30th

Some inspired person in the road club with which I occasionally hang posted a 'wear your costumes' ride.
I found wild print spandex tights, a tie dye shirt, yellow face paint. Kind of a minimalist clown.

Holy cow. That was louder than I thought it was!

Another clown (better than mine).
And Death.
A Whoopie cushion.
A couple of cats.
Lt. Dangle.
ET in a bicycle basket.
A man in a tutu with fetching socks.
Pink feather boas, a pregnant Posh, and other assorted lunatics. I felt right at home.

There is a little ET doll, wrapped in a blanket, in the basket.

Darling, your sock is crooked.

We flew our freak flags all around downtown Sacramento.

Observe the fetching hat perched on the helmet. It had feathers and everything!

And best of all, at a regroup spot, I got to say, "Death and the Whoopie Cushion are behind me."

I think that, to pedesterians, groups of bicyclists are something to be "not seen". Peds only notice us when we are in the way. So the clown honked his horn and I rang the bell and waved.
 It was interesting to see the reactions or non-reactions of other bike trail users. About half would not make eye contact. The other half were divided between blank stares and cheers and laughter. One guy was having a Very Bad Day and referred to us collectively as feminine hygiene products of the liquid persuasion. You, sir, are the douche. Not us.

I had some kind of nearly catastrophic derailler thing about 8 miles from the end of the ride. So I limped home. I'm pretty sure it is the derailler and not the chain. Sigh. I think this time will be a trip to the shop.

Anyway, I had a great time and my yellow facepaint pretty much stayed on the entire time. Hurrah for $3 drugstore Halloween makeup kits.

24 October 2011

Stop. Hey, what's that sound?


8 miles in Folsom
Monday, October 24th

I felt like a bike ride, but not much of a ride. So I wandered around Folsom, letting circumstance and coffee guide me.

And today, for some reason, I was listening more than looking.


Autumn leaves whisper
Bullfrog braking, drive chain sings
Acorn fireworks

Sharrows bump and thump
Squeaking rumble bridge crossing
Happy children play

Oh, balderdash. This is more my speed

The girl on the trike declined to go hike
choosing rather to roll on her bike.
She plowed through some leaves
with unholy glee
avoiding the dam and the dike

That's enough of that.

22 October 2011


#119 (ride, that is)

Saturday, October 22nd
11ish miles around Lake Natoma

I'm pretty sure there were only 21 of us pedaling around the lake this morning, but I might be wrong. I was sort of freaking out all week as I saw the sign-ups for this ride hit 30+ and STAY THERE!

I utterly and completely confused most people by using a hiking-type count off. Gather in a circle, say your name and a number, increment by one. So "Liz, 1." "Michelle, 2." "Sandra." "Alex." I interrupt, "Sandra 3, Alex 4." You get the idea. We got to 21 in a staggering, semi-coherent fashion. I had some no-shows.

I drafted a Repeat Offender (previously on this ride with me) to lead the group off. I took up the rear. That worked.

One third of the group leaving on our ride

I drafted other Repeat Offenders to direct riders to our rest stop. That worked.

I requested, "If you decide to leave, or go on ahead, please tell someone. Does not have to be me, just someone." That worked. Had 5 people go on ahead after the reststop. Got word that a family of three was dealing with a flat and that we "were not to wait". So we did not.

I put off trying to explain the Hazel Bridge interface until we were gathered at the rest stop, and then I put it off some more. Not working so well!
There are three ways to get over the bridge and I think our group used all three. I need to remember to make any announcements as soon as I get to the stop, not try to do it as people are impatiently starting to move on. We split up over that bridge like field mice avoiding a barn cat.

We had the right number of people after the bridge, so that was OK after all.

I boogied on ahead, trying to get ahead of the most of the group so I could catch them at Negro Bar to lead them on the last of the ride. That worked, thanks to yet more Repeat Offenders.

Having taken the "official" route to the bridge ramp a few weeks ago, I am more firm in my resolve to always use the park road bypass. Way better!

For those of you riding in the Folsom area, this might make sense. For the rest of you, go get a cup of coffee or something.

The blue arrow is the way to the bridge. The red line is the official way. The orange line is my sneaky way.

The problem with the official way is the left turn from the bike trail onto a park road. There are folks overtaking you, trying to get their speed up for the approach to the Beals climb. There are people oncoming, moving fast off the last hill down from Beals. If you are an inexperienced rider, it is difficult to judge your speed and timing and look behind you and maintain a straight line and signal to turn and shift or stand because didn't I mention you go uphill on Park road?

I hope your coffee was nice.

Tech Talk.
I finally took off my rear wheel, squashed the poor rounded off aluminum nut with the awesome and mighty power of the Vise Grips, laboriously spun it off the bolt, and found a replacement nut at the hardware store. So my rear fender is finally fixed properly. I even used blue Loctite on it.

I scooted my boom out about 1/4 of an inch. Nice, a little more leg extension.

I got some True Goo and put it in my tires. No flats today but that does not prove anything much. Removing the valve cores was no problem. Filling tubes in 20" wheels was a bit awkward, but the Goo wipes up nicely.

Maybe I can entice my sweetheart out for a short ride tomorrow.

17 October 2011

Introducing the Folsom Parkway Rail Trail


5.5 investigative  miles in Folsom
Monday, October 17th

I've decided to start volunteering on the Traillink website. This is a great repository of trail information for all over the county, and an on-line acquaintance of mine (who also volunteers) has encouraged me to tend to the neglected Folsom/Sacramento area trails.

My intention today was to use a GPS tracking app on my phone and add a waypoint when I took a picture or noticed something worth mentioning. I ended up with a paper and pencil and a camera, since my phone became invisible in the car. It was there, I just could not find it.

Then I'm digging around in the car, looking for paper. Nada. So I use the margins of the route sheet from this weekend's ride. At least I had a pencil with me. Why a pencil and no paper, I have no idea. And I had even emptied and theoretically reorganized my bags. Ha ha!

Here's the link to the Folsom Parkway Rail Trail on traillink. This trail had a map, but no photos and no review. My photos and review will appear in a few days, once they are approved by the folks that run the joint.

I started at the Sutter Street end, and then went back on the river-side bike path. This trail parallels Folsom Blvd. so it has a LOT of street crossings. All but one have a push button crossing, and all but one was nearly impossible from a recumbent trike. But I persevered, taking photos and valiantly attempting to record exactly where I was for each picture.

But there was no way I was doing all that again, so I entertained myself on the hilly riverside trail. My muscles are still tired from Saturday.

The unpromising beginning as an extra large sidewalk

Aaaargh! Where'd the trail go! (Oakdale St)

Now, that's a bike trail!

Bridge on Willow Creek

Not too many of these to dodge

End of the line at the Iron Point light rail parking lot.


15 October 2011

Sunscreen Soup


Foxy's Fall Century, Davis, California
Saturday, October 15th

Now, that was more fun than may be strictly legal.
Fresh air, sunshine, puffy clouds, and more cyclists than you can shake a diamond-framed, carbon forked, aero-bar enhanced miracle of modern sports equipment at. And a few recumbents also.

I left the house at 6am, after walking the dog (and dodging skunks), stretching, and eating a nice breakfast.

It took the hour I had estimated to drive to Davis (I stopped for gas and a restroom), and then 15 minutes to find somewhere to park. This time I remembered to park my car with the hatch next to someone's driveway, so I could get the trike in and out without worrying about being parked in from behind.

Then I hiked over to registration. Holy Cow! Bikes leaned against the building, bikes strewn on the grass, bikes wobbling through the crowd. People tottering along in road shoes, shuffling in flipflops, mincing in stockinged feet (the Veteran's Memorial Center had requested No Cleats in the main hall).

I looked at the line for the bathroom (you gotta be KIDDING) and joined the line to pick up my registration instead. The 100K route was Green, so I had a green wrist band, a green route sheet, and green arrows to follow along the course.

Back to the car to unload the trike, change to my bike shoes, eat another banana, and to hit the road.

The course was all road riding: some roads were nice and smooth, some teeth-jarringly rough (my rear fender stay came loose again!), some had bike lanes, some just a shoulder, some with no shoulder.

With the exception of one white sports car, all the vehicles out there were well behaved. Even this agricultural implement which took up most of the road.

Leaving Davis itself was pretty funny. A couple clumps of road bike would pass me. Then they'd all bunch up at the traffic lights. I'd roll up behind just in time to leave. Another bunch would pass me, stop for the light, bunch... You get the idea.

The shadow in the lower right is me and my trike.

After dropping more or less south nearly to Vacaville, the course headed for the hills!

There were fun rolling hills before the reststop at about 20 miles. I ate a quarter of a bagel with peanut butter and scarfed some orange segments. And another banana. And finished off one water bottle and refilled them both.

Then up Steiger Hill Road. Not too bad at all. I just crawled up it in my granny gear. Heading down I chicken-braked and only reached 28.5mph.

This 1906 bridge took us to lunch.

Lunch was pretty good. Amazing how lovely a simple cheese and tomato sandwich can be. From there it was just 20 more miles back to the beginning.

I drank two bottles of water with Nuun electrolyte replacement in them, and probably should have done another. I don't know how many bottles of water I drank, but again, not quite enough. I used a different sunscreen than usual on my face and I'm not sure if I got a little sunburned, it is making my skin unhappy, or both.

By the last 5 miles, I could tell I was getting tired, since I forgot three times in a row to shift down before coming to a stop at intersections. So I mashed my way along in slow motion for a couple of revolutions until I picked up speed again.

I had no flats today, and other than having to stop twice to pick gravel out of my tires (left in it will work its way in and puncture the tube) and stopping the annoying rattle of my rear fender with Gorilla tape, it was a trouble-free ride.

The Official bike computer pictures.
58.67 miles, average 10.9, max 28.5

I think I want to take a link out of my chain. There is a good page here that explains how to determine the proper length of your recumbent chain. So I will do that before the next ride.

I stopped by Dixon after the event to chat for a while with the owner of PBW, the man who sold me my wonderful wonderful ride. It was great to see him again. A link to his website is in the sidebar.

And my sweetheart is making his super tasty stirfry for dinner. A wonderful end to a wonderful day!

Here's the route from today:

No telling what I'll be up to later this week, but as of this moment (Sat afternoon) I have 27 people signed up for my casual bicycle ride next weekend. Yikes!

Smooth roads and well-behaved drivers for all

12 October 2011



Wednesday, October 12th

I didn't do a whole lot of riding today, but I sure talked a lot!

I chatted about trikes to a random stranger on the trail, and then when I was back in the parking lot I encountered a group of three trikers (leaving on their ride), then after my grocery shopping, I ran into (not literally) my parking-lot-acquaintance, Al (who, if you've noticed, is the ONLY person ever mentioned by name in this blog. Why, I have no idea. Just the way it is.).

The three trikers were a couple of guys out again with Mom. (no, I don't know whose Mom Mom is and does it really matter? I didn't think so). Videos they've made can be found on this  Youtube channel. Hop on over and take a look! I've seen the guys before, but did not attempt to identify them then.

I try not to be a know-it-all but I do have opinions so when some random fellow wants to check out my trike and ask me questions, that's Cool. It is fun to see someone as excited about trikes as I was before I even got one.

My acquaintance with Al started off that way, and now he has himself a splendid shiny Cattrike. Very sharp in black and white.
No I did not get a picture.
He has loaded it down with all kinds of gadgets: a radio, a bell, a cyclecomputer, bottle cages, bags, lights. The works.
We had a long rambling conversation about riding and trikes and people and all that. It was a great end to a very short ride.

How short? about 5 miles. I'll make it up on Saturday.

I had set off through Folsom's bike trails, intending to go down at least to the hospital if not all the way to Folsom Blvd, but when I got to the park near Houston Circle I was surprised to see a couple of maintenance  trucks completely filling the trail.

So I boogied on over to Pond View and started taking a short cut, decided that I had spent enough time out already (conversations are fun, but can run long) and headed back to the parking lot.

If I'd gone farther I would have missed out giving the triking videographers a kudos, and would have missed seeing Al's new ride. So I'm glad it was a short ride.


09 October 2011


Ride #115
9.5 miles on the American River Trail
Sunday, October 9th

I set out with the intention of going up to Beals Point, then back down and around Lake Natoma. Hey, at least I did the climbing part (I ended up skipping the lake today).

I set off from old Folsom across the bridge and up the trail to Beals.

A very pretty Nor Cal fall day. Not a lot of rain yet, so the hillsides give a nice contrast with the always-green oaks.

That's the backside of Folsom Prison on the far hill.

After the newish construction at Folsom Auburn Road, there is an encouraging sign.

Of course, it is 1 mile of hill but I got to the top and took a snack break by the lake.

These trees looked neglected so today was their photoshoot.

Coming down Beals I still did not quite reach 30mph (29 today, 27 point something the last time). Today, since I had planned to go around the lake, I went all the way back down Beals to old Folsom.

There is a lot of rough trail (tree roots) and I have no way to avoid it. I used to stand up on the bike when I encountered these things. Now on my recumbent I had to just sit there today and let the suspension take the hit and try to remember to keep my teeth from snapping together.

Then there was a sudden rattling! Oh no! My rear fender stay came unstuck. The Gorilla Tape I'd 'repaired' it with had given way. The rattling was driving me NUTS so I did a U-turn and headed back. I'm going to avoid that rough section from now on. Too hard on me and the trike.

Coming back on the bridge there were multiple groups of walkers, including one family who had the BEST way of keeping their kids to one side of the bridge (the interesting side), "Hands on the railing!" Thanks, folks. Made me much less nervous going by them with oncoming bicycle traffic. My trike looks WIDE but it is really not. It looks even WIDER when I'm on a ped/bikeway with high concrete on one side and a high fence on the other.

So my task before Foxys on Saturday is to get a mirror and a flashlight and see if I can see underneath the fender to figure out how the stays are supposed to "stay" (ha ha) and FIX it. I think there is supposed to be a hex nut under there.

I don't really want to ride around Davis/Vacaville/Winters with Gorilla tape stuck to my beautiful trike.

Oh yeah, and last ride I had a soft tire. I pumped it up. This morning it was FLAT. So I stood around in the parking garage changing the tube. I had TWO holes in that stupid tube. So after my ride, when I got home, I sat around and patched it.
Stupid thorns!

08 October 2011

Doodly squat

Meander #114
less than 5 miles in Folsom, CA.
Saturday, October 8th.

My sweetie has been having back and hip problems (for which he has had testing, and we are waiting on the results) so he was willing to indulge my desire for a ride with him, but not willing to go very far.

I removed my rant and replaced it with a nice trail picture.

So not too far we went.

It was a beautiful day, sunny and about 65 degrees. A perfect day for a ride. No excitement, no close calls, no falling down, just a good time.

After my last ride, I had decided it was time for a new chain (although it may not have been, but then I like supporting my local bike shop). So I rode today with a new chain. Worked great.

One is supposed to measure chain wear with the chain under tension. And the easiest way to do that is to apply a little pressure to the pedal, but not move the trike. Then you measure 12 sets of chain links which should come to 12 inches. Not 12 and a little bit.

Now, finding 12 inches of straight chain on a trike liberally decorated with chain tubes was not easy. Like, not possible. So I dug out some calipers and made my best guess across 6 inches of straight bare chain. And my guess was it was a little worn.

A worn chain will wear the cogs faster. And I can replace the chain myself, not to sure about the rear cassette!  So I replaced all 12' 1" of  chain.

Tomorrow should be as pretty as today, so I will head up to Beals Point, I think. Then a short ride or two later in the week and fingers crossed for good weather for Foxys fall century on Saturday!

02 October 2011

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Ride #113
Sunday, October 2nd
47 miles on the American River Bike Trail and in Folsom and Gold River and and and...

I had one taker for my "good idea" ride this morning. As last time, the ride makes a loop with a handy bail-out point at 22 miles. Which is where my companion bailed, leaving me to slog on to the turn around for the 47 mile ride.

No pics since I'm a lazy creature.

The annual Princess Promenade event was going on today. The trail was not closed, so I saw plenty of women and girls riding up and down the trail with various bits of girly princess-like attire. Mostly seemed to be sparkley crowns and pink tulle. Some women had bunches of tulle (netting like in tutus) stuffed in the back of their helmets like odd tailfeathers. Not my idea of fun. I did kind of like the grass skirt. Mostly because it was NOT PINK.

The other odd thing I saw was what my companion dubbed a "techno mohawk": a fellow who had strapped his small bike pump to the top of his helmet. Maybe Tech-mo-hawk?

And not odd, but Team Revolutions was out in force today. I have never seen so many of their jerseys out in one day. I wonder what their ride today was?

Oh, and I saw the unicyclist again. I was standing in the parking lot after my ride, trying to muster the mental and physical energy to shovel the trike into the car, when I noticed a couple trying to work out a path over the new bicycle interchange at the Hazel bridge. I stepped over and asked "Which side of the river do you want to be on" and the answer was "The other side" (not a chicken joke). So I was able to say "See that unicyclist? Follow him. See that regular bike? Don't follow him." Easy as pie.

I'm pretty beat today (came home and took a nap) and I think it was a mistake to change the seat configuration and then go on a long ride.

Normally (like, for the last 1500 miles) I have the seat tipped up as far as it will go (so I am sitting as upright as possible). I have a range of 33 to 42 degrees. Today I split the difference between the two extremes. I like it, but my legs were not ready for that much time in a new position. My achilles tendon on the left complained and my right knee complained about 38 miles in, so I hopped off and put the seat back to the usual position, then gingerly carried on to the end of the ride. I iced when I got home. Should be better tomorrow, but I might ice again.

I think the more reclined position effectively puts my feet farther away from the pedals, meaning I have to flex my ankles a bit more while pedaling. My left leg acts like it is shorter than my right (because of my hips) so that ankle has to flex more, and my right knee is the 'bad' knee. So I'm not surprised. Just grumpy.

My rear tire required a little tweaking after the flat of last ride. The valve stem was not straight from the rim. It was easy enough to deflate the tire (still on the bike, thank you) and scootch the tire and tube around until it was in the right place. It was refreshing to pump up a tire with a floor pump instead of a mini pump.

My shifting is quite noisy again, so it will be time to reapply my favorite lube, Boeshield T9. I'd better also check out the rear derailler and make sure it is all clean and tidy.

Foxy's in two weeks, I'll take some short rides between now and than and pamper my ankle and knee.