30 June 2012

The after work crowd

#174 / #7

12.5 happy rolling miles on the American River trail, Friday evening.

We are getting faster unloading the trikes from the car.
Himself takes out his Gekko, then I take my Scorpion out. We unfold them. He pumps up his tires while I'm finishing up attaching all the stuff to my trike. I pump my tires while his is fighting his way into his bike shoes. We ask each other several times if we locked the car, then we roll away.

 The trail was not hugely busy, a mixture of fast roadies and slow casual bikers. Some walkers, and a single group of obnoxious teens. I'll admit I flew the bird. It felt good. 

As usual, I rode in the rear so Himself can set the pace. He's getting faster by the day. Someday along here I'll not find myself coasting to the top of the rises to avoid running into him.
I like to charge up short hills. I'm the hare, he's the tortoise (I run out of wind at some point and slow down, gasping, whereupon he passes me, smugly).

My favorite rise for doing this (the gasping part) is on the American River Trail, coming from the east up to the Wm Pond Bridge.
On this ride, I got almost to the actual bridge before gasping my brains out. Now I'm looking forward to charging up to the top of the bridge and gasping as I coast down the other side.
This little climb shows up on Strava as a 'segment'. It is 2/10s of a mile, average grade of 1.8%. It starts at the yellow pylons at Rod Beaudry Drive, and goes to the riverbank. That explains why people go so fast through that intersection.
I made it up averaging 8.7mph with max power of 108 watts. 1 minute, 42 seconds. My fastest time since I've used Strava.
The fastest rider up that rise (according to Strava) is more than 3 times faster than me.
I think I'll stick to competing with myself.

No boom-spinning for him, no flats for either of us. Just a nice ride.

Last ride I spent some time observing Himself as he pedaled along.
He seems to hunch up his left shoulder when pulling back on his right leg (or pushing with the left). I can't for the life of me figure out what assistance that would give him, but I'll bet it contributes to the spinning Boom of Doom.
He has a hip that troubles him when he sits or walks for long periods. He also tilts to the right as he sits in the trike. The trails we ride on are not really crowned (he should try the South Canal sometimes - like riding on the side of a hill for miles and miles) so that should not be contributing.

Hoping to get out three times a week with Himself and maybe making a Thursday Recumbent ride some time (ride to dinner, linger long enough for the sun to set, ride back, lights ablaze. Or so I've been told.)

27 June 2012

Seeking cowcatcher

#174 / #6

10 miles or so in Folsom

Late afternoon, and the temp is dropping from the high of 90 today. By 6:45pm we were rolling onto our usual route through Folsom's bike paths.

Today, I dodged two off-leash dogs and two kids on skateboards/scooters.

I sweated and panted. (You! Out of the gutter!) Himself set a good brisk pace and I decided to CHARGE up the little rollers by the hospital. I was huffing and puffing and felt like I had done some good for myself today.

At the end our our ride we chatted for a while with a lovely little old lady, from Philly and still sounded like it, and her son about recumbents and bicycling and that famous really really hard hill in Philly that bicyclists often fall over on.

Himself's boom stayed in place, we think. I tightened it down with the torque wrench after the last ride. He had to tighten his cleats again (what is it with Shimanos?) and I helped him fish his chain out from between the chain guard and the big ring. No mechanicals for me.

Max speed 23 (too fast for the trails, blame Himself) and average 10.6. Thank you Strava.

24 June 2012

In the Library with a Candlestick

#173 / #5

12 miles on the American River trail and some detours

Beautiful beautiful weather. Plenty of people out enjoying the weather.

Due to my little fender bender last month, there was no Lake Natoma loop scheduled for the bicycle group. But Himself and I got out and around the lake anyway.

We were at a music workshop all last week and I was completely happy to go for a ride today.

Recumbents for the WIN!

I handed out a couple more business cards for my favorite local recumbent bike shop.

Himself's boom kept slipping. I don't know why, but I we kept straightening it and tightening it. When we got home, we confirmed that the Gekko also has the plastic bushing that should be just visible between the sections of the boom (it is) and used my handy torque wrench to tighten the bolts to the required 14 newton meters. Hope it holds. I suppose the next thing to do is to remove the boom, make sure everything is grease-free, and reassemble.

We were nearly back to the parking lot, near Negro Bar on the trail, when we noticed a crowd of stationary bikers ahead.

The trail was closed and the police were out looking for a body. Ewwww.
So we waited around trying to decide what to do and by the time they opened up the trail, we had come to no decision and so proceeded onward.

The search (and the trail closure) had moved farther on, so we detoured up out of the Negro Bar parking lot and had an exciting few minutes on Greenback Road. Not something I want to repeat. The bike lane is nice a wide and quite smooth, but getting from the bike lane to the bike/ped overcrossing on Folsom Auburn Road Bridge is a pain in the butt.

What we should have done is in yellow, what we did is red, and the vehicular bike would be green.
The dangerous part is dodging to the left into the ped crosswalk cutout. Himself made a pickup squeal his brakes.

However, we survived and got back to the car, where we answered our third set of questions about "those things".

I should mention that my bicycling acquaintance from Sonoma County (I mentioned him a few posts ago) who was involved in a bicycle/vehicle collision passed away last week.

15 June 2012



12.7% is what Strava says the hill in front of our house is (that's the easy one, no idea what the really steep one is). Mighty fun going down, not so much going up.
I exceeded 30mph on the way down today (really, I thought I was braking enough to stay at the 25mph limit!)

I rode to PT again today, about 5.5 miles total. Not as hot as Tuesday and a nice breeze. I admit I slowed down whenever I was in shade - enjoy it while it lasts!

Stopped for coffee on the way back. Ahhhhh.

Today was a day for frenzied pedaling: I had a total of three left turns that are not at lights or stopsigns, usually I can just look at the empty road and signal and change lanes and make my turn. Not today! A U-haul, several sedans, and a landscaping truck were objects to be accommodated. Even on a Friday, the roads around here are not terribly busy, and it happens that all the left turns I had were blessed with good visibility, so no worries.

And a bonus today: another client rode his bike to PT today. I semi-jokingly told the office they need to put a bike rack in. It will be interesting to see if they do.

No riding this weekend or next week, CU later!

12 June 2012

Yellow Face


5 miles in my 'hood

I set off this morning from my house for my second to the last physical therapy appointment (for last month's whiplash), arriving in plenty of time all sweaty and bright pink. Hey, they're PTs, they can handle it!

As I slogged up the hill from our house, I reflected that the patches of shade on the side of the road were still there at 8:15am. Then, as I rounded the corner to the second half of the hill, I realized that at 8:15am the sun was still low enough that, combined with the upward angle of the hill, and the upward angle of my poor sweaty face, I would have a face full of sun for several minutes.

Did you know? A trike crawling up a hill goes slowly enough that one can close one's eyes and about every 10 revolutions of the pedals peek through the glare and confirm that the trike remains on the correct side of the road. Very restful.

On my way home, I stopped at a local vegan/gluten free bakery for a scone or two.

I have tried three different browsers on my Android tablet, none work very well with Blogger. Today's post was entirely composed with the ASUS browser pre-loaded on my tablet. Plain text typed in the HTML editor (good thing I remember my HTML tags). Pictures are a pain in any of the three browsers (ASUS, Google Chrome Beta, Opera Mobile).

In other news, an acquaintance of mine in Sonoma County was struck by a car while bicycling. He remains in serious condition 5 days after the incident.
  • My first thought was for his family (I know his wife and his children and their families)
  • My second thought (selfish, I know) was a pre-whine about all the people I know who will now earnestly and perhaps aggressively tell me how unsafe bicycling is. Often these people DON'T ride a bike.
  • My third thought was "I hope they catch the bstrd and throw the book at him (they did, actually: arrested on suspicion of felony hit-and-run)

So, today I will do three things: see how I can publicize the bakery, make a real effort to sort out what I want to do with the chaintubes on my trike, and meditate all the while on my injured acquaintance and his family.

10 June 2012



13 miles on the American River Trail

Himself and I rolled out this morning before noon (a miracle occurred: angels, music, the whole enchilada) for a lovely ride on the trail.

It was busy! An organized ride was going on (REX - next year I'll try to do it - supports the trail).

Himself set a surprisingly brisk 13.3 mph average pace from Sunrise to Wm Pond. I am pleased!

While loafing at Wm Pond (and not eating oranges: well he didn't - the elderly oranges had picked up a "leftover" taste after several weeks in the refrigerator which my unrefined tastebuds could not detect. Anyway, I ate my orange) we encountered another pair of trikers, out from Natomas (a suburb 90 degrees from ours). He was on a Greenspeed Magnum and she on a Rambler or Rover I can't remember- the really high seat position trike - looked quite spacious!

Himself could not clip in and discovered that his cleat had lost a screw. I had spare screws in my bag (DO NOT mock the bag full of 8lbs of stuff! It is USEFUL and awe-inspiring) so we fixed the "you've got a screw loose" problem and got rolling.

We decided to travel as a group back to Sunrise (they had parked a little further on) so we did, taking many shady stops for various reasons. I was loafing along in back so I finally had the leisure to bust out the camera.

All the pictures look the same, so pretend the pretty trikes are just decorating different landscapes.

Himself is way ahead: he keeps cooler when traveling faster.

Look! An oncoming trike! 4 trikes in one shot! Amazing!

08 June 2012

Short and sweet


5 miles in Folsom

We got a late afternoon start today so we only went on a 1/2 ride. We are getting faster unloading and setting up the trikes, but this time it was my turn to stop after 20 feet and go get my waterbottle out of the car.

The Strava app shows a max speed of 23mph which is 5 mph faster than I noticed us going. Himself's Garmin app showed 18mph. Of course, I did have to play catch up at one point.

And then, I did get ahead once. Someday I'll take a rearview picture without including my well-padded elbow. But not today.

Around 6:30pm in Folsom is when the families come out to play. As we were loading the car up I saw several long trailing strings of assorted family members on bikes; groups of young women on cruisers, generally with large wicker baskets and flip flops*; and a few lucky ice-cream eating folks relaxing after a warm June day.

*um. The young women didn't have large baskets, their bicycles did.
NO NO NO, "baskets" is not a euphemism for anything!!
Ok. And there is no bicycle that I know of equipped with flipflops.

07 June 2012

Cottontail Cotillian

9 miles in Folsom

My whiplash continues to improve so when Himself called from work and suggested a bike ride, I was all over it like stink on a road killed skunk.

He had driven the Truck of Trikes to work, so all we had to do when he got home was to fill up the waterbottles. As much as I am doubtful about permanently storing the trikes in the truck, it is handy.

We hit the trail about 5pm after the worst of the heat. The sun had about 3 hours to go so the glare was not too bad yet. It was quite pleasant to ride in the later afternoon.

I was trying to get Glenn in action putting his waterbottle back. I missed.

We missed, again, clobbering a cottontail on the trail. This bunny dodged to trikes, a pedestrian, and a kid on a bike. Survivor Bunny will pass his dodgy genes along!

By the end of the ride, my neck and shoulders were pretty tired, so we skipped the duckpond loop and headed back to the parking lot.

My Strava stats:
Time 00:54:35
Elapsed Time 01:04:05
Max Speed 21.3mi/h
Avg Speed 9.9mi/h

All is well.

03 June 2012

Drip drip drip


7 miles in Folsom.

Today was cooler than the last few days but I still worked up a good sweat. Cold drops of sweat from my scalp hitting my shoulders. Yes, it is June.

Himself may have sweated also, but he is too polite to talk about it.
Me, I have no filters.

I'm more recovered from whiplash than the last ride, but decided not to be dumb about it and we only went 7 miles instead of 10. 10 may have been OK but I can't tell. My upper traps do a lot to hold my head on straight; they got a workout so I suppose 7 was OK after all.

Himself debuted cleated pedals (we had to order shoes wide enough for him before he could clip in). He also debuted a bright blue UnderArmor shirt I made for him. He practiced pulling back, so I'll bet he'll feel it tomorrow.

Thanks to a post on BROL, we figured out that the bosses for the water bottle cages on the rear of the Gekko's seat can be used w/out poking holes through the seat cover. So Himself has two cages for bottles installed.

I tried out Strava as a ride tracking application today. I have to figure out how to rename the route: right now it is imaginatively entitled "Ride."
It will be interesting to see how very much slower I am than others on some of the famous hills around here. Strava collects stats for 'segments' (user defined) of rides and posts comparative listings of others' rides on those segments.

Between this ride and the last one I cleaned my drive train (chain, cogs, deraillers), trimmed chewed up chain tubes, and lubed everything I could think of. I wiped off my bike's frame (there was a lot of dust and dirt and splotches on the underside) and admired the gleaming orange paint. Heck, I even wiped the inside of the rear fender!

While looking around for something with which to flare the ends of the chain tubes (stick the last 1/2 inch in hot water first to soften up the tube), I found that a cheap (and totally ineffective) hand held citrus juicer from IKEA was just the right size and shape to flare the tubes. So it is out of the kitchen and into my toolbox.

I'll probably sneak out Wednesday for an early morning ride.