26 November 2012

Terriers and Trikes

#205 / #32

Saturday, Nov 24th

The last time we were out we saw NO recumbents at all. Today it was a veritable trike-fest.

We arrived at one of our usual launching points, on Folsom's bike trails, to find an entire van full of trikes unloading. I've mentioned this crowd before, as the producers of the hysterically funny "The Goathead Thorn and You" youtube video.

Anyway, these brave souls had decided to ride with their little dogs, the dogs being held on laps. Red Leader (the rider formerly known as Himself) and I figured they were out of their minds, barking mad, in fact. The dogs were certainly barking mad. We could hear their frantic barking and yapping for a miles around the bike paths.

Another fellow in a bright yellow jacket rolled up as the dog-convoy was getting set up, but we didn't get a chance to talk to him.

We took the mildly hilly route (I chose, Red Leader went along) to the southeast from Green Valley/East Natomas intersection. I decided to charge on ahead up the hills when I knew that RL would not come to confusing intersections.

We both got a good workout, pedaling just short of gasping for air on my part, and a heartrate of just under 150 for RL.

RL decided to hop up on a wide sidewalk along Empire Ranch Road. I don't know why, he might not be comfortable riding in a bike lane when there is an alternative, or he might have been thinking of a section farther along, where one can stick to the sidewalk and avoid a Pointless Down and Up that the bike path gives you.
I suppose I should ask.

I didn't like riding on the sidewalk, so next time I'll stick to the bike lane.

Hopefully a couple of rides this week, we'll see.

22 November 2012

Snot Rockets and Story Time

#204 / #31

Ok. So it has not been quite two weeks since our last ride. It rained a lot last few days. Himself (who has a new name "Red Leader") was busy busy busy.

No rain today. Sunshine, the faintest of breezes, plenty of wildlife, and beaucoup  people. Not the usual herds of roadies, but family groups, strings of kids, walkers, dogs, coyote, deer, suicidal squirrels (no squirrel fatalities but a couple of near misses). And some unfortunately stinky sections of the trail: smelled like dog doo doo and dead fish combined and left to rot in the sun. Bleah.

Why Red Leader? Because we are geeks and it is a Star Wars reference. Because Himself rides a red trike. Because he really really wants to be in front all the time. Because I'm strange.

And I'm in good company (strange company) because Red Leader promptly announced that he needed red leader hosen. Go on, think in German for a minute.

Awful, yes?

We went from Sunrise to Watt and back - our usual. It was cool enough that the noses ran. Drippy noses can lead to snot rockets (for those of you unaware of this dainty habit, it involves shutting one nostril with a finger or knuckle, turning over ones shoulder, and violently expelling what ever is in the nose. Ick.
I do not "rocket".

As we rolled along, I saw a women walking with a couple of kids. She was telling a story as she walked. I heard a bit more of it when we saw her again at a rest break: something about enchantments and castles. I would like to know how it ended.

We got back home after our ride around 3pm, just in time to start cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Roast beef, mashed potatoes, salad, and apple crisp.


11 November 2012

Where the deer and the ...

#203 / #30

No antelope. We did, however, have 1 deer and 1 coyote and squirrels innumerable. Also birds, bikes, recumbent trikes, and handcycles. Many of them twice, once coming and once going. We started at Sunrise and went to Wm Pond and I think many run that route backwards.

We also saw a touring family. Mom pulling someone/thing in a trailer, Son with a single pannier, Daughter with another pannier, and Dad with two pairs of panniers, front and rear. I hope they have a good tour, however long or short it may be.

Himself had some cramping in his calf, not the first time, so I dropped some electrolyte in his water bottle. He sucked it down and felt better. I managed my food today better than I have in the past (can't really eat much for about 2 hours before exercise or I get a big fat stitch in my side). I ate a cheese sandwich at noon, by 2:30 were were on the trail, I had a piece of orange and a piece of Odwalla bar along the trail, and ate the rest of the orange and the bar at the end of the ride. I feel great! And no stitches!

I had one mechanical today: the quick release lever that holds the folding hinge of my trike came unhooked while I was riding. Fortunately, the lever scrapes along the pavement so I stopped right away and put it back in place. No idea why it did that, although we had made a stop a little while before, pulling off the paved trail and down a slight lip to the sandy shoulder.

I spent rather more time than usual batting along at around 15mph, my max speed was only 18. Himself was dragging a bit on the way back, so we ran about 11 or 12 on the way back. I did set a personal best on the bridge climb, so I'm pleased, even though I'm still only 255th out of 284. At least I'm not dead last ...

It was a bit cooler today than it has been, so I wore my trusty Ibex midweight zip neck and started with (but soon put away) my windblocking jacket. I also wore Danskin exercise tights instead of cotton/Lycra shorts.

Himself wore his usual wicking top (the only one he has, I need to find warmer material for a long sleeved version) and I loaned him my knee warmers. He kept his jacket, a lined Supplex one I made last spring, on for the whole ride.

At our turn around point, now heading back to the East, I swapped out my brimmed cap for my favorite piece of gear, my wool Buff, since my ears were getting cold. Let's see. What else. He wore full fingered lightweight gloves, and I wore my usual fingerless ones. As long as I kept my fingers off the brake levers, I was comfortable.

The knee warmers were a qualified success for Himself, but they kept creeping down since my extra-padded thighs had stretched them out quite a bit last year. We will look for leg warmers or tights/pants for Himself. He probably also needs wool blend socks rather than poly blend ones. I wear lightweight Smartwool socks most of the year.

All of our clothes were soggy by the end of the ride. Just because it is 55 degrees does not mean you do not sweat. I need to make sure to put a couple of fleece jackets in the car for after the ride.

The time change is playing hob with our riding schedule, and I may be on a Federal jury for a couple of weeks, so I don't know when we'll be out again.

10 November 2012

The Stylin' Seven


I had a full house of signups for my Seven 7 ride this morning, but only 3 people besides me came. That was OK, it was even more casual and more laid back then usual. This is the ride, for those of you following along at home, designed to take advantage of Folsom's lovely and mostly flat bike paths and to provide a venue for folks unsure of their bike-riding abilities.

We stopped after a couple of miles to pump up Seven Speed's tires (you met her in the September post 'Coasting Uphill'). My Topeak Road Morph was handy, so I pumped up one tire and Seven Speed pumped up the other.
I eventually ended up pumping both tires, since the tires were so soft (I'm amazed she could even go 5 mph!) it was hard to attach the pump head to the valve stem. We had a useful conversation about pumps and valve types and so on. Seven Speed was MUCH faster after the air-up. Yay!

So, this ride generated two quandrys for me to puzzle over: bike maintenance and the implied social contract of a meetup group.

My inclination, which I usually follow, is to Damn the Torpedoes Full Speed Ahead, Devil Take the Hindmost, Sink or Swim, and other macho jingles. In other words: it is your bike, and you are responsible for making sure it is ready to go before the ride. HOWEVER, 1/2 of the rides I run are super-casual rides for folks just starting out/ getting back on their bikes. Should I, as another meetup rider leader I know does, scurry around before the ride checking out everybody's bikes?
Maybe. Maybe not. I know that I will follow my previous practice, which is to be there to help people adjust their helmets, air their tires, adjust their seat height, but I will wait until asked or until it is obvious (or a safety issue).

I'm not in charge of the meetup group: I just run rides.
If I were in charge, my inclination would be a bit on the draconian side. So maybe it is just as well I'm not. In charge, that is.
I figure, if you sign up for a meetup and then don't show up it is kind of rude. If you do it two or three times in a row without ever coming to a meet, I feel like you ought to be bounced right out of the group. But this is a CASUAL group, so I figure I need to get my panties untwisted and develop a more casual attitude.
The true quandry comes when the ride is an attendance-limited one. I only limit the attendance if I think there is a high chance of lost or left behind. Rides on Folsom's bike paths are, for me, always limited. Those paths are darn twisty.
This time, the no-shows (and the repeat-offender no show) did not affect the waiting list for the ride: in other words, no one missed out because some dozy burke couldn't be bothered to un-RSVP. Next time, I don't know what I'll do. Should I email the repeat no-shows a few days before the ride and gently remind them? Should I invoke the automatic (optional) function of Meetup and ask a question when someone RSVPs yes? Should I ignore it?

I'm going to ignore it, since riding a bike, even a recumbent, with twisted panties is no picnic.

08 November 2012

Lake Loop

#201 / #29

We got started too late on Wednesday, with only two hours of daylight left to get out on a bike ride. Darn time change.

So, instead of heading out to the American River trail at Sunrise, we opted to start in old Folsom and do the Lake Natoma loop. I was dragging, Himself was flying. I periodically caught up with him, but I could really feel Tuesday's hills and traffic-sprints.

I suppose this means I need to do more hills. OK. I will!

I was also suffering from the effects of having three fillings replaced earlier that morning. Once I'm numbed up (I generally set dental-office records for the amount of numbing agent required) I'm good. But the effects later that day, after the numbing wears off, are usually a throbbing jaw where that HUGE GIANT needle goes in. What does that have to do with riding? Nothing.

I swallowed some tylenol and carried on.

The rock slide I saw on my last ride on this route has been mostly cleared off the trail. There were several groups of three-abreast walkers. Why do I always encounter them on a blind hill or curve?

Anyway, no mishaps, nothing much to report. We did see on other recumbent (two wheels w/ under seat steering). And I did run my blinky taillight and headlight during the ride. Himself and I desperately need bright yellow jerseys. We are pretty invisible on the trail an hour before dark.


06 November 2012


Today was my 200th ride on my lovely trike. I've had Sleipnir for two years and two months (more or less).

And I got a Round-To-It as well, dropping off the Prius for its 90thou checkup and riding back home from the auto shop. I've been planning to do this for years, since before I went recumbent, but never did it.

Today ride was only 9 miles, all in traffic, on roads with, at best, intermittent bike lanes, at worst, no shoulder. The weather (mid 70s) was a little bit warm for my screaming yellow jacket, but I wore it anyway.

Right out of the door of the Toy Shop I hit a hill, so I shifted down down down and crept up up up up. Lovely thing, first thing and not warmed up at all.
My next challenge, at the top of the hill, was to slither across two lanes into the left turn lane. My back up plan was to use two ped crosswalks to make the left turn if I had to. The difficult part of that two-lane-slide was my very low speed cresting the hill, and the limited rear view of overtaking traffic due to the steepness of the hill. But I got it done, made my left turn in a vehicular fashion.

Then I cruised down Durock road, keeping my speed around 20mph since faster than that was uncomfortable as the road was quite sloped. I waited briefly for a lane closure,  pedaling like mad to keep up with traffic.

Then back through town and to my usual haunts. Up another hill to drop off my mail-in ballot, then home.

05 November 2012

Empire Ranch

#199 / #28

Sunday, November 4th.

I dragged Himself off on a route he had not ridden before, one of my favorite cool-weather rides: through still more Folsom neighborhood bike paths.

Starting at Raley's in Folsom on Green Valley, we wound our way on well-known ways to the duckpond, then zipped east to Silberthorn drive, across Golf Links, and back onto more bikepaths. After a tiny down hill, the path climbs up and up, dumping you onto Empire Ranch Road with its lovely wide bike lane (this is Hill Part Two), exiting at Bijan onto more bikepath and onto Hill Part Three. We ground our way to the top, admired the view of Folsom from the top from our slow-rolling trikes, then shot down the curvy hill and back to our starting place. Himself shot, I chicken-braked all the way.

OK OK, I'll put a map in.

We didn't see much wildlife, except for assorted birds, but there were a fair amount of people out on the paths. Most seem to take the loop section of our ride in reverse, so we were on the downhill when they were on the uphill. I suppose some day I might try it in reverse.