30 November 2011

Her Majesty


Wednesday, November 30th
11 miles around Lovely Lake Natoma

The wind was a blowing, I was pompously pontificating, and I had a flat on the left front before I even loaded up the trike for the ride. So Three, count 'em, Three blow(s/hards/outs) for the price of One.
Buy Now.
Eat at Joe's.

I think that the xmas advertising has gotten to me a little bit.

"Parking lot Al" and I went around Lake Natoma. He's offered to sweep the upcoming Casual Bike ride so I wanted to show him my route of choice.

The wind was blowing enough that I was afraid our flags would go around the lake without us. It was thick fog at my house, but by the time I got to our start point (1100 feet lower) the sun was peeking out. We looked like arctic explorers, bundled up the way we were. I don't know what all Al was wearing, but he looked a bit wider than normal, so I'm thinking at least 4 layers. I had 3, and for a wonder, kept them all on.

My favorite fall/winter/spring garment is a wool Buff (tm). Just a long tube of fine Merino wool, it can be worn multiple ways. I use it most often on bike rides as a balaclava or sometimes as an ear warmer. I did both today.

We averaged 9mph (Al did at anyrate, and we stuck together pretty well so I'll borrow his number - I was too confused this morning to reset my odo from last weeks Stupidly Steep Climb). We took several breaks, admiring the new Hazel Bridge interchange (it is just too grand to call it a bike path).

I left the camera in the pouch, since I had my gloves on most of the time and it is a bit awkward to use that way. So please imagine an achingly blue sky, a few clouds barreling along here and there, and about a hundred seagulls circling in the sky, making a big messy scribbly circle, orbiting the Fish Hatchery, hoping desperately for a tasty scrap of salmon.

Leaving the gulls and their fish heads fish head roly poly fish heads ...

Loyal readers will remember I had filled my tires with some anti-leak stuff: True Goo, so I was understandably dismayed to find a flat this morning.
Then I realised that the goo stuff works best on small holes in a moving tire. Neither of which was the case for me.

After I had pried the flat tube out of the tire (they tend to weld themselves together a little bit) I noticed one other spot where the goo had patched a hole for me. It is easy to see since there is some amount of goo ejected through the hole before sealing happens. The goo leaves a white residue on the inside of the tire.

I'll be replacing these tires with more Scorchers, but the kevlar belted ones, soon. Meanwhile, this is HRM, the Queen of Flats, signing off.


25 November 2011

Santa Baby, slip a gear under the tree, for me


9 miles, 900 feet in Folsom

Friday, November 25th

I could not immediately decide on a title for today's post. So I've distributed other potential titles throughout this post. Have fun.

Followed by the # sign 
I had mapped out a 17 mile extremely ambitious climbing route around El Dorado Hills. My ambitions foundered on too many gated communities. Since I never did deliver pizza for a living, I don't have the gate codes memorized. When I encountered a road interrupted by a gate, I'd pull out my phone (smart phone) and try to deduce an alternate route to my next road. I found myself, at the top of Elmores, dripping sweat onto my phone. Flying back down Elmores, frustrated by yet more gates, I nearly froze to death from rapidly evaporating sweat at 25mph.
51 degrees and I'm dripping sweat. I guess this hill-climbing stuff is work.

The Mashed Potato
I took a short break at Promontory Park, and then started up Beatty. This is a locally famous hill (attaining 16% grades in sections). Well, I just mashed my way on up there. I discovered several things: I don't like mashing; my speedometer does not read speeds less than 1mph although the odometer still functions; and I really do want lower gearing.

Leaving Promontory Park

I got almost all the way to the top when I noticed a strange sensation. My rear tire was losing traction and slipping on the damp pavement! So now I know that grades approaching 16% are too steep for my current setup.

View from my turnaround. Yeah! I climbed THAT!

Whupped by 16%
I turned around (awkwardly since I had to get a little sideways in the bike lane so I could pry myself out of the seat). So of COURSE at this moment a pack of roadies come up the hill. I would like to believe they swallowed my "skidding out, must stop" explanation, but I'm guessing they figured the broad broad on three wheels just bit off more than she could chew.
Maybe that's also true.

The part of Beatty I didn't ride on.

Yellow, with Feathers
I knew I'd be nervous coming back down Beatty, but I had not anticipated the added 'thrill' of knowing my tires might slide. So I put my Avid BB7 brakes to very good use, chicken-braking all the way down. The need for braking was exacerbated by the upcoming stop, then left turn onto Alexandria from the end of Beatty.

More Beatty

The Kneed for Speed
Mashing is just like repeated one-legged leg-presses. I don't like it. If I had lower gearing, I would turn my legs faster (mashing less) and go even slower. That would be fine with me! My middle-aged knees do not need the added abuse of mashing. I had one little twinge on the right (on my last hill) so I babied my right knee by giving it a free ride around with my left. As a result, the top of my left foot is sore from the pressure exerted by the shoe on my return pulling stroke. Where's my ice bag!?

Elmores Rd It does not look like much, but I was blazing along at 1.1 mph.

I'm Mental
I've recently become fond of the British "you're mental" instead of "you're crazy/nuts" that we'd use. Today I decided I was mental since I'm trying to figure out if swapping my 26 tooth granny for a 22 would be worth the expense and hassle. Why was I wondering this? Because I don't like being defeated by a hill and am thinking about trying Beatty again.

Today's ride:

22 November 2011



Monday, November 21st

Al and I went out scouting again for a good, easy, scenic ride for a future bunch of recumbent trikes.

We think we found one.

We've both used the bike trails in Folsom as our 'stomping grounds' and we both came up with essentially the same 10 mile route.

I tweaked it a little bit after I got home, and Al had tweaked my route a little bit, so this is a totally collaborative route. And I got the last word <smug>.

I put together a 5 minute video from footage I took and stills that Al took.
I'm pretty sure it will look better on YouTube's site. So here's a link.
But if you'd rather stay in one place ...

19 November 2011

Laughing Loafing Lunatics


Saturday, November 19th
American River Bike Trail

"Parking lot Al" and I hit the trails today. In my mind was scouting for a route for an easy recumbent trike ride.

Saturday on the ABRT is not going to fly. Too many people!

So we will try again later this week (now we're thinking Folsom's bike trails).

While leisurely loafing from the Fish Hatchery to Hagen Park and back, we saw groups of joggers, other bicyclists, and cool low delta trike.

He slowed down to drink some water. Before that he was a yellow blur.

Bridge over to Fair Oaks

Al and his spiffy white trike parked next to my orange contraption.

I tried to get some video today. But once again, I can't seem to operate my nice Kodak video camera. 

I got this much. 

which is what happens when doofus (me) forgets that the little bitty round thing on the camera is the LENS and it should point AWAY from you.

Al and I had a long strange conversation about cameras and how to mount them (we don't think the bra-cam would be a winner). I thought I was recording. 
Apparently I was only holding out at arm's length for a mile or so a turned OFF camera. (do you like that 1/2 German syntax there? Keep thinking about that sentence, it will clear up, I promise).*

For our next ride I will bust out the old helmet, and mount the camera on the helmet. It is cel-phone shaped (my camera, not the helmet) and will look pretty strange sticking up from the top of my head.

For you, dear readers, I will ride around Folsom with bright blue rectangle strapped to my head.

*Alternatively, "I only at arm's length for a mile or so a turned off camera holding was." Better? I didn't think so.

15 November 2011



Tuesday, November 15th
About 10 miles or so

Today I had a physical therapy appointment (complete strangers mashing on my poor right shoulder) so, since it is very close to my house and it is a beautiful sunny day, I rode my bike.

I had also planned to pick up 15lbs of dogfood at the pet store, so I loaded all the usual top-bag stuff into my panniers to clear the top of the rack for dog food toting, and threw in a random assortment of bungie cords and cargo nets.

Physical therapy out of the way, I made an exciting left turn to continue on past the airport to the shopping center.

The orange plane is in the middle of 'touch and goes'
I saw some signs indicating construction ahead. Then I got to sit in traffic just like a real vehicle!
Yes, there is a shoulder there, but I make it a practice to take the lane when traffic speeds allow me to do so. That way, I'm right in front of the guy behind me and I won't suddenly 'appear' out of nowhere.

There was a crew trimming trees and turning them into wood chips. The guys on the crew cheered me on when the line of traffic got moving and I was cruising along trying not to hold up the truck behind me.

It turned out the pet store did not have the right dogfood. I could have ridden 3 miles more and gone to the feed store in the next town, but that would have meant two trips through a horrible intersection.

So I left my bungie cords in the bag, stopped at Subway for a sandwich, chatted to a fellow about tadpole trikes for a minute, then pedaled back to the house. I'll pick up dog food tomorrow with the car. Then I can get the 30# bag instead of the 15.

El Dorado has gutter pans intruding into the few bike lanes in the county. One might think that it would be reasonable to ride on the concrete section of the bike 'lane' but that would be a Bad Thing.

It is impossible to see in this photo, but the outlined green triangle is a sudden drop-off to direct water into the sewer system. If you dropped a wheel anywhere in that area you'd probably go down. I suspect that it would be quite easy to flip a trike on one of those.

Anyway, it was a beautiful day to ride, wood chippers, SUVs, and gutter pans notwithstanding.

13 November 2011

9 on the Freak-o-Meter


Sunday, November 13th
11 or so miles around Lake Natoma

I had 14 people to shepherd around the lake today. My sweetie came along also. He ended up not feeling too well, so I sat with him trailside for a while then he decided to wait at a road-side access point for me to bring the car back for him.

Honestly? Bikers are the Best. I had so many offers of help that the Freak-o-Meter dropped to 7 or 8.

Once my sweetheart was parked and waiting for pickup, I boogied along at 20mph (amazing what adrenaline can do for a girl) to catch up with the rest of the group.

I led my merry parade of bikers on the 'secret' shortcut up to the bridge, barreled along the bridge far too fast, sped back to the car, tossed the trike in the back, and navigated my way to the heart of downtown Orangevale to pick up Himself.

I have GOT to figure out how to assist/encourage/nag/browbeat/induce my sweetheart to get strong and fit so I can retire the Freak-o-Meter.

There are many other reasons I would have liked to have had to go 20mph on the bike path.

Some solo rides next week, then who knows!?

09 November 2011

Oak-e dok-e

Wednesday, November 9th

6 or so miles in Folsom, photographing my brains out.

I went out today to capture another traillink.com trail.
I had submitted the Oak Parkway Trail in Folsom and the trail finally appeared on the website, desperately in need of photographic decoration.

This trail is a little hilly gem (I've ridden it and written about it here before). In the summer it is brutally hot, but on a cool November morning it is really nice.

It is well-labeled

If you go left up the switchbacks you'll find a nice little park
It has entertaining curves. With downhills!

Great big oaks. (Can you see my tiny vehicle?)

It has great views.

05 November 2011

No rain, thank you


30 miles on the American River Bike Trail
Wm. Pond to Old Sacramento and back
Saturday, November 5th

The gang (recumbent riders) showed up today for the First Saturday ride, even with the threat of rain.

A rest stop along the trail. I could mostly keep up today. Yay!

Some folks had added fenders and we were all bundled up like it was winter.

I sympathize.

Wait. It IS winter. Or as wintery as Northern California in the Central Valley gets.

Many of the bikes have fairings, specialized plastic windshields.They come in large and small, to cover most of your body or just your feet and lower legs.

Two faired bikes in front and an ICE trike to the right.

It would be possible to add a fairing to my trike (either from the manufacturer or an aftermarket) but I'm not sure how much I'd use it. And they are a bit pricy. So I'll concentrate on dressing for warmth instead.

That very small machine at the right of the previous picture is another trike. Very low and sporty. Looks like a sports car next to my over-engineered German contraption. Next time I need to get a side-by-side picture of my trike and a 'sports car' trike.

I'm a little jealous sometimes of recumbent bikes with big tall wide handlebars. They can look like an airplane cockpit sometimes!

Here's a closeup.

Mirror, goodie bag, bike computer, GPS?, waterbottle.

I tried to get a good picture of some of the two wheel bents cornering. However I'm still working really hard to catch up and don't have time for rolling shots. So this is as good as it gets.

That's it for now.

One of the trails I submitted to traillink.com has been posted, so I'll go out sometime this week and take some photos and make a GPS track.

Then there is a Friday moonlight ride with the recumbent group. I might do that.

04 November 2011

Flapping Nostrils

Rides # 121 and 122

November 2nd and 3rd
26 miles in three counties: El Dorado, Sacramento, and Placer

My overnight hammock/recumbent trike expedition.

Why did I do this little trip? I've always wanted to tour by bicycle and my splendid machine is made for touring.

Beals Point campground (Folsom Lake SRA) is about 13 miles from my house, quite useful for my first human powered vehicle overnight.

It took me an hour and a half of actual rolling time to get to the campground and two and a half to get back. My average on the way out was 9 mph, and back was just over 5 mph. Yes, you saw that right. 5.2 mph. Oy.

Take a look at this little diagram for the reason:

At noon I rolled out of the garage, down the driveway, shifted to my most grannyiest gear, and slogged up the STUPID hill in front of the house. Every from-the-door-tour will start this way so I ought to get used to it.

Then I got to fly down the first hill on the main road and attained 37.3 mph! That's the fastest yet I've coasted on this bike. Or any bike. Ever.
My nostrils flapped in the wind. Weird feeling.

I traveled primarily on roads (usually no bike lane but with a shoulder of varying quality) but used a bikepath over Folsom Crossing (the road/bridge replacing the old dam road across the American River just below Folsom Lake).

There are multiple construction projects all around Folsom Lake.

Look for the guy to the right of the middle two machines.
My own personal lane! (closed to divert traffic from Folsom Crossing)

Sometimes Folsom Crossing is closed around noon for blasting or other exciting things. I timed it just right to have a nice break in the shade of the construction company's office parking lot. No blasting was audible.

OK, so this is a boring pic. The construction folks were cool. So there.

After Folsom Crossing, although I could have continued on the bike path to the campground, I chose instead to take Folsom Auburn Road, since I needed to pay my camping fee at the kiosk. $25 for the off season, no biker discount.

I chose Site #1 since I was tired and wanted to set up camp and there were two trees Right There for my hammock and I'd have plenty of 'campground TV' to watch since I was right off the main drag.

I loafed around and read and people-watched. Had some tea.

I critter-watched.

Loafed some more and ate dinner (sandwich from the deli I'd stopped at on my way through Folsom).

Gathered some HUGE pinecones (sorry, forgot a pic of those) which helped my twig and small branch fire look Much Bigger than it was.

Finally crawled into my hammock (this is what I use for backpacking - it has insulated quilts above and below: toasty) and read or listened to some podcasts until about midnight.

Got up multiple times in the night (why did I have two cups of tea with dinner? I KNOW better!)

Woke up for good at 6:30am and wandered around the lake shore for a while, then packed up and headed back.

Back over Folsom Crossing, then up all the hills I'd gleefully sailed down less than 24 hours before.

I whined a lot climbing up the hills, but I also had a chance to stop and admire the landscape.

Look! More hills!

Remember the 37.3 mph hill? Well, I had to go back up that. Ugh.

Arrived home 23 hours after I'd left, with way too many pics and video to process.

If you have not had enough of this tall tale, here's a link to a Youtube video I did.