28 December 2013

Short and Steep

#314 / #108

Red Leader and I will be standing around for 4 hours tomorrow (literally) so we opted for a short ride today, just shy of 9 miles, on the bike paths in Empire Ranch, which is in Folsom, but feels like El Dorado Hills.

Here are a couple of screen shots from Strava

Anyway, 'nuff said.

26 December 2013


#313 / #107

I figured we ought to ride off some of yesterday's pie, so we headed on down to the American River Parkway, and cruised just like we did last ride: Sunrise to Watt and back. Red Leader set a personal record (Strava) for the ride back from Watt. Go RL!

We saw Pink Cruiser Girl again, this time riding towards us. And two recumbent bikes, one with a little fairing, one without. And two trikes, who we passed in a rumble of tires and swoosh of air. A cute little dog was riding in a basket on the lead trike. Both trikes were orange (I approve) and other than that I have no idea what kind of trikes they were. The fun kind, I imagine.

The weather was lovely - 65 or 70 degrees, calm, and sunny! We both wore shorts, and Red Leader wore his new jersey. I made it with yellow sleeves and a blue body and black cuffs and collar. There's no zipper, it just pulls over the head. I altered (made longer and larger) a free (yes, FREE) pattern from Shelby.fi for the Vuokatti pullover and used some two way stretch wicking UPF 30 fabric from Rockywoods.

The yellow blows out every camera sensor I've tried in on. But you get the idea. The fellow in the distance on the left is one of the recumbents we saw today.

That's all. Probably a ride on Saturday, I hope. Maybe 30 miles? Hint hint.

21 December 2013

Pink cruiser girl

#312 / #106

Red Leader and I went on a 20 miler today, on the American River Trail from Sunrise to Watt and back. Plenty of people out enjoying the sunshine. Saw 4 - 5 deer who were strolling across the trail, utterly unconcerned with the various bicycles.

Saw one recumbent bike and one recumbent trike, and another trike as we were leaving the parking lot on our way out.

Red Leader got a good head of steam coming down the hill from William Pond on our way to Watt, passing a small woman on a pink cruiser type bike. I didn't bother passing her since I figured she'd pass RL on the upcoming small rises. And she did. She was pushing that cruiser about 15mph - wheeee!

The Underarmor Cold Gear shirt I made for Red Leader is working out well. He wore leg warmers under his shorts but I ditched mine early in the ride. I wore my Ibex lightweight wool shirt (long sleeved) with arm warmers over it, and my wool Buff over my ears. No need for a second shirt or jacket or vest. About 60 degrees today. Cool in the shade, perfect in the sun.


18 December 2013


#311 / #105

Blah. Turns out I cannot eat eggs as often as I'd like - sometimes get a tummyache. Like today.

So much for lovely egg-white omelets for breakfast. Bah.

So Red Leader continued on down the trail and I headed back to loaf at the car and try to ignore my sore stomach.

My short ride (less than 8) was nice, despite the tum. I saw a faired recumbent bicycle and another recumbent trike. And some small packs of kitted-out road-types. The usual squirrels, trying to dodge bikes on the trail.

By the time Red Leader had come back and packed up his trike, the old food-digester was feeling better, so we ate lunch.

And that's all she wrote.

15 December 2013

Sizzling Cheese Food

#310 / # 104

Happy Birthday to Red Leader, now officially 60 years old! Yay!

We decided to start our ride from Alphabent in Sacramento, for an excuse to visit there before and after our ride. It was a Sunday workshop day, but we were the only ones there. Which is OK because we didn't get there until after the workshop would have started. So we were not really late, you see.

Anyway, we unloaded the trikes and headed up the Northern Sacramento Bike Trail, all the way to Elverta, California. We stopped in Rio Linda on our way back for lunch at Tummy's Sub Shop. Yum!

This is a rail trail, constructed on a former rail right-of-way. There are plenty of level crossings to navigate, all very straightforward, with plenty of polite drivers more than willing to let us across the unsignalized crossings.
Near the end of the trail, in Elverta, the trail departs from its straight-ahead path and takes some short turns back and forth. Red Leader proclaimed that the locomotive engineer had fallen asleep on this section. It's his birthday, so he can make up whatever stories he wants.
If I'm not mistaken, this is part of an old electric interurban route that went from Sacramento to Chico. It is easy to imagine being a train on some of the elevated curves just after the trail crosses the American River Parkway trail.

Five years ago, when I last rode this route, all of the green painted trail arches had their signage intact. Some have been vandalized since that time. The ones that remain call out the names, we presume, of the former stops on this rail line: Rio Linda, Del Paso Heights, Elverta, and so on. Or they may be the names of the communities the trail passes through. No clue. The depot building still stands in Rio Linda, I think. Anyway, it sure looked like a rail depot!

Most of the users of this trail were on foot, with a few bicyclists and a handful of horsemen and woman at the far end. Some of the horse traffic was on the trail, but much of it was using the grassy fields adjacent to the trail. I could tell exactly when the horses in the field traveling in our same direction noticed Red Leader: first the horse's head would turn, then it would start swinging its rear around to directly face the Evil Predatory Thing buzzing along the trail.

Tummy's Sub Shop has a nice rail out front to lock bikes to, and has good sandwiches. RL had some thing full of different kinds of salami, and I had a "Turkey Tummy Tickler" with bacon and avocado on wheat. Yummy Tummy!

While we were basking in the sun, enjoying our lunch, we spent some time trying to figure out why the restaurant across the street was promoting "Sizzling Cheese Food". Well, it was not. How about Sizzling Chinese Food.
It really did look like 'cheese', honest!

We went about 20 miles, averaging just under 11mph with all the stops and starts at the crossings. I love this kind of ride, but Red Leader is not a fan of all the stopping and starting. He's been spoiled by the American River Parkway trail.

09 December 2013


#309 / #103

Sunday, 8 December

Cold, cold cold: by Northern California standards, anyway. Right about 40 degrees with sunshine and a very cold but fitful breeze. This is at 1pm, the warmest part of the day.

I begged and pleaded and nidged and possibly whined (who, me?!) to get Red Leader to come out with me for a bike ride.
We came, We saw, We ran away.

We went 4 miles, and I decided that we should turn around. Red Leader is a gentleman and did not chide ME for bailing when I was the one who 'made' him come with me.

We both wore our shoe covers (by Aerotech Designs and bought at the end of last winter) for the first time. His are sedate black and mine are blinding yellow.

Red Leader wore an UnderArmour Cold Gear jersey I made for him (ColdGear and HeatGear fabrics are available from Rockywoods online). And his bulky fleece jacket and his rain jacket. And Supplex tights and leg warmers (both from Aerotech). And his usual socks and the aforementioned shoe covers. And a synthetic Buff that did not keep his forehead warm enough. He needs a proper balaclava. He reports that only his face was really cold. And the bottoms of his feet eventually got cold (air leaks via cleats?)
The UnderArmour material did its duty as a baselayer and wicked all his sweat into his very absorbent (and not wicking) fleece jacket.
I'll be making him a Windstopper fleece real soon now.

I dressed in many fine layers and looked a bit like an expensively dressed color-blind homeless bike person. From inside to outside, and top to bottom.
Wicking brimmed cap under a wool Buff under my Nutcase helmet. Black, forest green, orange with silver flames.
Short sleeved Ibex lightweight merino shirt under a long sleeved version of the same under a midweight Ibex Merino turtleneck under my homemade Schoeller jacket (material from Rockywoods, again). Black, dark orange, blue, orange and brown.
Supplex tights under a stretch skirt. Black and blue, pink.
Smartwool lightweight crew PhD socks inside my mesh Pearl Izumi shoes, topped off with neoprene covers. Neon Yellow.

Red Leader proclaimed that I needed a few more colors. I think he was joking.

01 December 2013

Enthusiast or Unbalanced?

#308 / #102

Lovely lovely lovely weather this first day of December. Mid 60s, calm, sunny. Tons of people out on the trail.

For a change, we started at Folsom and rode just past Sunrise recreation area and back, along the south side of the river both ways, swooping up and down the hills, moving at a pretty good clip. Red Leader's longer boom position continues to pile on the speed.

Our turn around spot was the sunny, grassy bathroom block just down river from Lower Sunrise Recreation Area. You may know it as near the place Cowbell Dude sits on a bench and ding-a-lings to encourage riders.

As we were taking turns in the bathrooms, I overheard once cyclist comment to another, "I usually think he's just an enthusiast, but sometimes I wonder if he's just unbalanced." One could say that same thing about rabid, frothing trike riders as well: willing to ramble on and on about our marvelous machines, chatting up complete strangers at the drop of a hat, and otherwise disrupting cocktail conversations from coast to coast. Ain't it great?

Looks like still great weather on Wednesday, our next planned ride.

28 November 2013

Salmon poop

#307 / #101

Yes, you see correctly - Red Leader has passed the 100 ride mark on his trike. Yay!

I had a horrible sinus cold last week so I missed going on his ride #100.

We went out this morning on the American River Trail to earn a little bit of our Thanksgiving Day dinner. There were some other people out, all seemed to be in a holiday mood, not really riding too hard and smiling a lot. Nice.

We started at Sunrise, which is rather near the river, as is the area on the trail near Hagen Park. I don't know what is going on with the American River, but it STANK today. Smelled like someone overflowed a sewer into a swamp. Ick. Red Leader decided it must be from all the salmon who are making their way upstream this time of year.
Fish poop. Yeahnaw, I don't think so.

We'll ride some other day this weekend as well.


17 November 2013



Red Leader decided to sleep in today, so I set off at 8:15am from the parking lot at Lower Sunrise Recreation area to ride 1 hour and 45 minutes over to Alphabent, where Other Shop Dude was holding a workshop on shifters. I learned a lot and got to chat with the couple that were visiting the shop (when it was in Dixon) when RL was buying his Gekko. Sweet!

It was pretty chilly this morning (when I'm not having hot flashes I seem to be slowly freezing to death) and I think it is time to find the shoe covers I bought last spring. I wore full fingered gloves and my wool Buff and a wool shirt over my wicking shirt, and some Supplex tights from Aerotech designs. Eventually, I shed the gloves and the buff. Finally, the last half of the ride back, I shed the wool shirt.

I didn't see any deer this morning, but I did see huge coyote. He eyeballed me from the grass on the other side of the trail and I waved one arm and shouted HA. He was not impressed. I'll confess I kept one eye in my rearview and one hand on the pepper spray for a few minutes after that.

I chatted for a few moments (while rolling along) with a woman riding a Sun delta trike. Fun!

Coming back, I was pretty slow moving - my glutes are tired and so are my hip flexors. Those're what I seem to use most when riding. I kept myself distracted by playing Tommy Dorsey and Glen Miller selections on my little speakers. I have a playlist on my I-thing called "Swingin' T-bones". Nice.

Red Leader may go out on a ride by himself tomorrow, it will be ride #100 for him!


16 November 2013

Where's my cupholder?

#305 / #99

Today was the monthly around-the-lake ride I lead for a local casual bike group (casual hammerin' wheels on Meetup.com). Rather low attendance (although I've had fewer) probably because of the 60 degrees at our starting time. Mr. Mohawk, another group ride leader, showed up sporting shorts and a sleeveless shirt, as well as his eponymous helmet. Brrr! A couple showed up also, she on a Raleigh and he on his mountain bike so he "wouldn't ride too fast" for his girl. Red Leader stayed well out in front of the pack, as he often does.

I started off in my wicking shirt, under a wool shirt, under my windbreaker. I peeled out of the windbreaker while rollling along, stuffing it between my back and the seat, and shed the woolie at our rest stop at Nimbus. So I guess Mr. Mohawk was not so wrong after all.

At Nimbus Flats boat launch, I chatted for a minute with a couple on a tandem, who decided to come out and explore this trail. I'm not sure the map they had would do them much good. They asked how to get to Folsom from where we were, and - after hearing about both routes - decided that the south side trail sounded the most straight forward. I told them about the group, so I hope they can hook up with the Hammerin' Wheels sometime.

I stayed in the sweep position, right behind she of the Raleigh, with an average for the ride of 10mph - just what I would expect from the slowest person on a ride like this.

When we got home, Red Leader persuaded me to let him help me with the cyclecomputer roll out test - my Greenspeed Scorchers (Kevlar type) measure 1506mm circumference. We measured my rear wheel, even though that is a drive wheel, because that's where my sensor is, and the rear wheel's an ICE wheel, and the two front are Velotechnik's wheels. I had been using a figure of 1554, which was my SWAG (scientific wild ass guess) based on a tire one size smaller and one size larger from Cateye's chart. So. It will be interesting to see if this brings my onboard distance on long ride closer to the distance found by my phone's Strava app.

RL may join me tomorrow when I ride down to Alphabent for the Sunday workshop.

13 November 2013

Double Electric Bug-aloo

#304 / #98

A fast ride today - 13.9mph average (Strava) or 14.2 (my onboard computer). A tie with my fastest recorded speed on the run between Sunrise and Wm Pond and back again.

Red Leader had another flat. I think it is because he did the Goathead Dance. Go to Youtube and look for "The Goathead Thorn and You." If you don't laugh during the vid at least once, there's something wrong with you.

I breathed in two bugs today. Passed the same bunch of riders 3 times. Got two stitches on hills. With my yoga practice and weightlifting this morning, and our lung-searing ride this afternoon, I feel GREAT!

Rubber side down!

09 November 2013

Trike on a stick

#303 / #97

Red Leader, leading as always, and I went out for a longer ride on the lovely American River Parkway today. We aimed for and attained 30 miles.

Those of you who follow this blog might remember that RL got his trike adjusted last weekend, specifically moving the boom out far enough so his legs are much less bent when at full extension. Our ride back after that adjustment was faster than the ride in.

Today, that speed was still evident, cooking along quite nicely around 15mph. Red Leader always rides in front of me as I'm still a bit faster than he is and the point of these rides (in my opinion) is to keep him happy and exercising and enjoying the trike. I coasted a little less this ride, and decided that what I need on solo rides is Trike-On-A-Stick. Like a carrot on a stick except less vegetable. I always ride just behind Red Leader - slow or fast, there I am, trailing along quite happily. On solo rides I get distracted by all the things to see and don't ride as fast. Maybe a decal of Red Leader on his Gekko stuck to my glasses?

We saw lots of trikes, one tandem, and a handful of recumbent bikes. Spent a bit of time talking to a fellow who was very interested in our trikes since he hates riding on winter's wet pavements. I handed out one of Alphabent's cards. I hope he finds something he likes.

We were really not sure where the 15 mile turnaround would be from Sunrise and spent lots of time making unsupported guesses, then discarding them as our guesses slid away behind us. It was about the I-80 overpass, if you must know. This may be Red Leader's longest ride to date. Not sure. I plan on trying to do 30 mile rides with him at least once a week, and then moving to 35 or 40 in January. I'd like to do the whole trail round trip with him by May: Folsom to Beals, then to Discovery and Mile 0, and back to Folsom again.

05 November 2013



Went for a "ride your age" ride today. Which would be 51 years and 51 miles.

The weather was beautiful, in the high 40s at the start of my ride this morning, and around 60 at the end. I wore a windbreaker and my midweight wool pullover over my usual wicking shirt. I added wool gloves and a wool Buff.

As the day warmed up, I shed layers, ending up in bike tights and my wicking shirt.

I saw a bunch of turkey vultures cooling off in the sun on the top of a tree, a coyote crossing the trail, and three or four deer.

I saw one faired recumbent bike, one unfaired bike, and a couple of trike riders. And one pack of fast riders in a long fast double pace line. Also a bunch of highschool students, as well as the usual assortment of road bikes, hybrid bikes, mountain bikes.

I brought along 4 mandarin oranges and ate one about every 12 miles.
I was pretty hungry by the time I got to about 40 miles, so I stopped at the vending machine at the Sac State Aquatic center for a bag of goldfish crackers. Yum! After my ride, I ate lunch at my favorite place, Karen's Bakery Cafe, ordering a salad sampler with salmon salad, Moroccan chicken salad, and wheatberry salad. All good.

I did pretty well, considering I have not done a ride this long for a couple years. My hip flexors are pretty tired and I admit to crawling up the last few hills in my most granniest gear.

02 November 2013

Slice 'n' Dice

#301 / #96

Red Leader and I rode down from William B Pond park to Alphabent today, where Other Bike Dude (not Bike Dude) took an indifferently sharp knife to Red Leader's chain tube.

This was on purpose and with our blessings. Halloween is over, so put that zombie-killing thing away!

Red Leader has had his Gekko for about a year and a half, and (I suspect) contrary to the manufacturer's expectations, the Gekko is folded all the time, except when RL's riding it. So the little bit of flexi-tube that lets the chain go through its contortions when folding/unfolding has spent nearly all its life folded into a bend, and the bend - kink, if you will - is very reluctant to go away, making the chain drag as it goes through that section of the tube.

Red Leader had the option of a new piece of flexi-tube that would eventually get just as kinked as this one was, or of cutting away the kinked section and seeing what happens down the road. He opted for surgery, with Other Bike Dude cutting out just the kinked section of the flexi-tube.

The tube to the front of the excised section can drift up and down the chain a little bit now, but it does stay clear of the front derailler. The other side is also anchored. I doubt the little bit of flexi-tube will be missed.

Red Leader manages to spin his boom more often than most, so he straightens it and tightens it up every couple of months. Over time, it appears that his boom has also migrated to a much shorter position. OBD pulled it out more than an inch. Now Red Leader has much more power to his pedals, as we proved on the way back from the shop, bumping our average speed from 12.0 on the way to the shop, to 12.4 overall by the end of the ride.
Normally, we are slower on the return. We were 8/10s of a mile faster (he sets the pace - I just follow along). Whooo! This is fun!

I did the ride out and 1/2 the ride back in my middle chain ring - just to use those other gear combos a bit. The last half of the ride, I gave up and used the big ring (my usual on this ride) since the faster cadence at Red Leader's new speed was just a bit much for my little/middle combo.

In other news, the patch I put on Red Leader's tube didn't hold so we got to change his rear tube out AGAIN this morning.


Tuesday, I ride my age (51) for my birthday. What better present than a long bike ride?

31 October 2013

The Fl*t F*iry

#300 / #95

Red Leader had his third visit in as many weeks from her highness, the puckish and pointed Fl*t F*iry. We unloaded the trikes to find his rear tire flat.

Also, we discovered that, although his trike came fitted with Presta valves, his front rims (at least) are drilled out for Schrader with an annoying and difficult to replace rubber grommet making up the difference.

When I was in the process of swaping out my tubes for Presta valved versions, I sought in vain for the rubber grommets and settled for the aluminium versions. Red Leader has my spare aluminium version in his rim now. The rubber one was too difficult to get back in place. Hurrah for aluminium!

After a little swearing and after comparing my rear wheel (on the trike) to his disassembled one, he got the rear wheel back in place and we rolled out of Sunrise Rec Area on our way to Watt and back - about 20 miles.

We both want to ride more miles in a week. If we did two rides of 20 instead of one of 20 and one of 12, we'd be on our way. Red Leader works full time (I'm self employed making doll clothes) so he does not have much time during the week to ride. However, the next few months look rosy for riding, as RL has way to much vacation time accrued and will be working 1/2 time after next week's code freeze (programmer lingo for "whew, we can relax a bit").

We saw six recumbents today, split evenly between trikes and bikes. A fellow who often rides with the Sacramento Recumbent Riders followed us back to our car and asked my opinion about the Green Valley stretch of the Western Express American Cycling Association route. (We live (and I ride) on that section). We've seen him on the handful of rides we went on with that group. It was good to talk to him again.

Rubber side down (and not in the rims).

25 October 2013

Sailing South

#299 / #94

Red Leader and I drove over to Stonecreek Park, at Spoto Dr. and Zinfandel in Rancho Cordova, to ride on the Folsom South Canal one more time. We were determined to get to Sloughhouse road, and we did.

I'll try to let my phone pictures + captions tell the story.

The park on Spoto Dr. Two trikes ready to roll.
A bike path that is not marked on Google Maps (you can see it in the satelite image).
Almost there. On the Stonecreek community bike path.
Canal! Yep. It's pretty boring actually.
Starting after the underpass at International, there are several more underpasses, then three level crossings: Jackson, Florin, and Sloughhouse. They are all gated.
In only two cases were the ped gates (on the right here) too narrow for our trikes to roll through. We declined to limbo, pulled out the flags and rolled them under the gate.
We are pretty sure this is a very very long gravel conveyer system.
I had a flat! As a bonus, now all three wheels have Presta valves.

22 October 2013

A dry erase marker and a shoe walk into a bar..


I set out this morning to pedal across town for a handful of errands, leaving my house just before sunrise, trike bedecked with lights and double flags.

Traffic on Cameron Park Drive was a bit heavy but not too bad. There was a crew setting up construction signs, on the shoulder, of course. There are very few bike lanes in El Dorado County, so the shoulders are where most human-powered traffic rides. The road was clear behind, so I zipped around the sign and kept moving.

There was one place where I should have moved farther to the left in the lane - 'taking the lane' to prevent the possibility of an unsafe pass. I was moving along about 26mph at that point and a truck passed me on a double yellow with oncoming traffic. The oncoming traffic beeped at him, drowning out my vulgar commentary.

Since I'm already complaining, I'll also say that the left turn arrows on the signals in Cameron Park are not long enough to get through on a bike. I had 2 of these 'exciting' turns and dropped the F-bomb a few times while watching the arrow turn yellow while I was still powering through the intersection.
AND I've finally determined that the left turn lane on westbound Green Valley Road at Bass Lake is NOT bike-aware. I sat through two light changes, then waited for oncoming traffic to have a red, and scooted over to the sidewalk ped signal. I hate having to do this, but it seemed safer than either turning left on red and less boring then waiting for a car to pull up behind and trip the sensor.

The shoulders were full of the usual entertaining debris. Aside from the red dry erase marker and one grey lace up shoe, there was a very ripe dead raccoon and a very small dead songbird. Glass and metal and anonymous debris as usual.

One of my errands was my every-6-months chem panel, which is a fasting blood test. Riding up hills 12 hours with no breakfast was a drag. After the vampire did her thing, I rode to the Peets coffee in the grocery store, picked up a few groceries, and got oatmeal and tea. Then off to the eye doctor for my annual visual field test (which I passed, as usual).

Riding home, I had to cut into a parking lot on the right, instead of heading directly to my left turn lane. The traffic behind me was just too heavy to safely to get in the left lane. Other than that, the ride home was uneventful.

I pedaled up the driveway, triggered the garage door remote, reached back, pulled off the tallest flag, and rolled into garage.


20 October 2013

The un-Skunk Patrol

#297 / #93

We didn't see a single skunk. I saw one cat - black and white. I'm sure it was not a skunk. Two other deranged cyclists, and a few walkers. We experienced one microclimate and the sound of tree debris crunching under our tires.

Yes, it was time once again to strap on lights, gird our loins, and go for a night-ride in Folsom.

It went better for both of us than last time. Red Leader's headlight did not run out of batteries, and I successfully re-aimed my headlight farther out in front of me so more of the path was lit up.

I do get quite anxious riding at night: a combination of adrenaline and gut-clenching terror. Which I suppose is just adrenaline taken to the point of absurdity.  That anxiousness is why I want to ride at night - face it and defeat it.

There are some new houses going in along the bike path, and with those houses comes new landscaping. The builders are being responsible and watering at dusk. Boy, it was COLD pedaling by that landscaping. The cool moist air was trapped along the bike path by the new brick wall. But we soon warmed up and were quite comfortable for the rest of the ride.

I had finally gotten around to adding reflective strips to my usual bike clothes: a 7" piece along the hem of my shorts  on each side - on the side-front where it will be visible from the side, a long piece on the back of each sleeve, and a band around the sleeves' cuffs.

When you are wearing reflective stuff you can't tell it is reflective. You can only tell if you see it at a distance. So, when we were done with our ride, I handed RL my little AA cell CREE flashlight (I wear it on my helmet) and pranced through the parking lot, brandishing our bundle of reflective Purple Sky flags. Red Leader obligingly flashed the light at me and pronounced the added stripes on my clothes just as bright as the reflective bits on the flags. Yay!

Red Leader and I are trying to figure out how to add more riding to our week. The weather will turn soon, and I'm not sure if it is feasible to add front fenders to a Gekko that is unfolded and folded for each ride. RL can't add intensity to a ride (must keep heart rate below a certain level) so we are going to shoot for some combo of longer/more frequent rides.

Rubber side down, my darlings.

19 October 2013

Ridin' with the Uprights

#296 / #92

This was the Saturday scheduled for the Usual Ride with the Usual Suspects around Lake Natoma.

There was a 1/2 marathon in progress this morning around the lake, so I moved the ride for the Casual Hammerin' Wheels to the Nimbus Fish Hatchery instead of old Folsom.

Red Leader had another flat this morning (could not find a thorn in it) so I dunked the previously flatted tube in a sink to find the very very very small and very very very slow leaker. He patched it, put it in the tire, and caught up with us at our turnaround point at William Pond.

I had one new rider, two old hands, and three who did not show up (two of those would have been first-timers - not unusual). Everybody had a good time and for one of the riders today it was her first time riding 18 miles. yay!

A pack of slow-moving upright comfort/hybrid bikes is amusing to ride behind. I would deliberately slow down at the top of a hill, wait for them to get ahead of me, then come coasting down the hill, gaining on them rather rapidly. Which ever one was trailing the bunch would be treated to the sound of my freewheel rattling away, and then I'd usually announce, "Coasting, coasting. Still coasting, coooooooooaaaaasting. Now I'm pedaling." The uprights would have been pedaling for a while at that point.


16 October 2013


Well, I totally forgot to ever write a post for last Wednesday's ride. So just imagine some deranged mutterings and move on.

#295 / #101

Yes, Red Leader's ride count (the 101 above) jumped quite a bit since last we talked. He went on the missing Wednesday ride with me, then went out twice in one weekend while I was off camping in Lake County.

Today, we climbed up to Beals point. We had intended to do this ride, then continue around the lake, but RL had his very first flat on his trike. There was much flinging of pumps and tubes and levers which took rather a long time. So we just went up to Beals after we were all inflated. It was a goathead, I assume. I could not pull the thorn end out of his tire, so I scraped away the pointy bit from the inside of the tire with my pocket knife.

I had not ridden up to Beals since I've been using Strava, so it was all personal records all the time. Average speed 9.6, max speed 26.4 (I pedaled a bit down hill). I stayed in my middle ring nearly the whole climb. It is great having a new cassette in back that stays in gear under load. 4000 miles for a cassette is just too long.

I believe I could have made slightly better time if I had not decided to stay behind RL (as I usually do) while climbing. Maybe some nice cool morning I'll see if I can break my records.

Well, probably not.

06 October 2013

Spoiled for choice

#293 / #98

I just cannot decide what to call this post. Not often do I come up with three fun choices for a title on one ride!

First choice - One of the Boys

Again, today, while Red Leader and I were riding back from Alphabent on the American River Trail, I was lumped in with RL as "gentlemen." Not the first time, won't be the last. More men than women ride bikes, and more men than woman ride trikes. Just the way it is.

Maybe it was because I was not wearing pink...

Second choice - Rogue Tutu

Today was the Princess Promenade, where otherwise sensible women dress themselves in tiara, tutus, fairy wings and other assorted bling and ride around on the trail.
I did not come up with the 'Rogue Tutus,' that was another female rider (also not part of the Parade of Pink) who decided not to pass me just yet as there may be oncoming Rogue Tutus. And there were.

I could hear her comments because ...

Third Choice - Stealth Mode

Red Leader's trike has been getting noisier and noisier on recent rides, so we rode down to the shop on C Street to have it looked at.
I let RL and the shop owner do their thing while I stood around swapping stories and talking gear with two of the other people who had come down for the flat tire workshop.
Once again, someone I didn't know knew me from some of my posts here and on Bent Rider (to wrap this back to the beginning, female 'bent riders are noteworthy).
Red Leader's noise was GONE on the ride back.
It turned out to be the freewheel: the grease in there (packed in an attempt to quiet the very noisy pawls) had collected lots of grit. Cleaned of old grease and treated with light oil instead it was blissfully quiet.


02 October 2013

The Trail People

#292 / #97

Red Leader and I cruised the American River Trail tonight, leaving our car in the usual parking spot with a new yearly pass hanging in the window. If you time your Sacramento Regional Park Pass purchases properly (alliteration!) you can get 13 months out of one pass. Which we do.

Anyway, there were lots of people out this afternoon - we reached our turn-around point about 45 minutes before sunset, with plenty of time to get back to the car before dark. We ran our lights anyway.

Roadies - packs and singletons tearing up the trail, some laughing and chatting while blazing past, and some grimly intent on the wheel in front.
Families - kids on their own bikes, on trail-a-bikes, in handlebar and rear-mounted child carriers.
Couples - usually one strong rider and one not as strong. Saw a shirt from a 'pancake ride'. Yum, pancakes!
I saw one x-tra cycle - pretty neat - a way of adding cargo capacity to your bike by moving the rear wheel back and bedecking the extra space with bags.
Speaking of bags, we saw several probable tourists - bags front and rear, intently pedaling.
One fisherman - cruising along on a mountain bike, wearing his fishing vest of many pockets, and a very long pole somehow attached to the bike.
Orange shirt guy - chatting on his phone and weaving around the trail.
Green and black guy: fast black bike, black shorts, old faded bags (green) on the back, and a green shirt. I believe he was accidentally matchy-matchy.

We saw one handcycle and one two wheeled recumbent with a small front fairing.

No critters today.

29 September 2013

Four Footed Frolic

#291 / #96

Red Leader took a ride last Sunday after my 44 mile ride.
Then on Wednesday (yes, several days ago), we went out together on our usual ride on the American River Trail.

Now, it was several days ago, and my memories have faded a bit, but I do remember some things: it was good to ride with my sweetheart, it was nice and cool, and we were entertained by a half-grown coyote who was hanging around the trail. He stared at us and we stared at him. Saw him on the way back also.

I also got to yell at a German Shepherd Dog who was off leash and totally and utterly fascinated by Red Leader on his trike. Before we rode by, the dog was contentedly trotting along his owner's side. By the time RL had ridden past the dog, the dog was in the trail, looking somewhat baffled yet interested. I yelled, "Ha, Hup, Git!" (all I could think of at the time) and the dog's owner called his dog back. Everybody in earshot of me looked around, startled. I am loud.

Anyway, that's about all I remember. I missed our Saturday ride (Red Leader went by himself) due to other obligations.

CU and remember, rubber side down!

22 September 2013

Fall is here!


Red Leader declined to get up early today and ride down to the workshop at Alphabet. So I rode down by myself.

We've been starting our ride down there at William Pond park. Today I decided to get some more miles and start at Sunrise boat launch.

44 miles with a 2 hour break in the middle. I'm tired but not hurting. Just perfect!

The weather was also perfect: cool and breezy and overcast in the morning (I used a windbreaker for a little while) and cool and sunny in the afternoon.

I saw no other recumbents on my ride down there (made up for by the awesome numbers of recumbents in the shop) and 5 on my way back, two trikes, and three bikes, one of them a tandem.

The nuts are still all over the trails, but many of them got washed off the trail by yesterday's heavy rain. That rain, however, made some impressive mud.

I was a little early for the workshop, so I detoured to Discovery Park, where all the brick bathrooms were locked, leaving me to push my poor trike through mud to the second worse portapotty it has ever been my 'fortune' to use. I touched nothing except the door.

Leaving Discovery the mud left the tires in a most entertaining fashion, flying off the tire straight up, straight back, and straight into my face. I kept my mouth shut until most of it was gone.

At the shop, I talked to Hugh and we decided it was time to put a new cassette on my bike. I have a brand new and shiny pile of gears on the back. Same as before (ICE's semi custom Shimano Capreo) but it works so well! I had not realized how awful my shifting had gotten. Hugh also adjusted my brakes, and got my indexed shifting set up (I tend to leave it on friction). My chain is not significantly worn, so we left well enough alone.

My shifter cables are a bit sticky, so I have two brand new cables that I'll try my hand at installing. Time to hit the books (Zinn's mountain bike book).

21 September 2013

Forgetful, I am

#289 / #94

Wednesday, September 18th

Here it is Saturday, and I'm trying to remember what we did on Wednesday (when I forgot to write a blog post).

Oh yeah. We went for a ride, on the American River Trail, from Sunrise to Wm Pond and back. I'll bet you could have figured that out without me.

The weather was wonderful, cool and breezy. We left a little earlier than usual, so the traffic getting off the highway was non-existent.

No mechanical or other problems.

I still have not put my cyclecomputer back on the trike, so I had no idea how fast we were going. Faster than I though since Strava reported some new personal records for me. Wooo!

Riding tomorrow, I hope (that's Sunday, if you care).

15 September 2013

Land o' Nuts

#288 / #93

P-p-p-pop. Bang!






It is fall in Northern California, which means things fall. The temperature, the leaves. But most of all the nuts. Tree nuts, all over the trails. We on trikes have three times the chance for TINGs! with our three tracks.

Red Leader and I had intended to start in Folsom's parking garage, but it was being used as "for pay" parking for some giant sidewalk sale (flea market?). So we headed over to the Glenn St. Lightrail station, and got on the trail that way.

We went from Folsom to Sunrise and back again, eschewing the north side of the river. On the way back, we decided to take the Folsom Parkway Rail Trail from the outlet mall back to Glenn. Aside from the horrible placement of the pushbutton crossing signals, it was nice. Shady, with - you guessed it - more p-p-p-p-p-pop! Despite the tree nuts, a nice 16 mile ride.

Not a single other recumbent was seen, but we did see another troop of bicycle merit badge Scouts riding along. The kids sure liked our rides!

No flats or other mishaps.



11 September 2013

The fit flat flit

#287 / #92

Red Leader and I pulled our trikes out of the car at Sunrise, prior to heading down to Wm Pond for what has become our regular Wednesday evening Bike Date.

My rear tire was flat. Boo hoo, poor me!

So, since I had not yet put the seat on my trike, I stuck it under the frame as a prop (worked great) and removed the rear wheel, putting a new tube in. Decided to tempt Fate and put the wheel back on before inflating (very tight clearance between the frame and the tire and the fender).

In wrestling the wheel back in place, I knocked a right side fender stay loose. Red Leader learned then (he's very helpful) what I knew from bitter experience - the HP Velotechnick fender stay thingies are a PAIN. So my expensive bike has a wad of Gorilla tape holding the fender from bouncing around until I can take the fender stay clamp thing apart and find a new, non-chewed up, nut. Not the first time for trail-side Gorilla tape repairs on the fender.

We ride away, a bit later than usual, but plenty of light left.
Many small fast pacelines, and a packs and packs of runners. Wow. Lots of turkeys also.

We turn around at Wm Pond, flipping on our front and rear lights. I realize after a few hundred yards that my headlight is aimed for cars, so it is probably obnoxious to passing cyclists. It is not dark yet, but other cyclists' light are BRIGHT. So I stop at the top of the bridge to adjust it, and I can't get the clamp to tighten down. I give up and hope that my bright yellow high-viz shirt is enough to other twilight riders to see me. My tail light works fine.

I ride like mad, setting 3 new personal records on Strava segments, catching up to Red Leader, letting his headlight serve as my warning to oncoming cyclists.

I'd like to get RL in some high viz clothing, as the combo of black shorts, red and black trike, black helmet, and medium blue shirt is not very visible at all. He demurs, grumbling something about clowns. I'll settle for lights. For now.

04 September 2013


#286 / #91

It was great to get out today with Red Leader, on the lovely and busy American River Trail. I saw 5 pacelines, or maybe 1 paceline once and 2 pacelines twice. They were moving fast. Also saw two recumbent trikes, no recumbent bikes.

A Northern California rider reported (on bikeforums.net) that he and his buddies were followed by a ranger on a motorcycle during their last ride on the trail. We saw one motorized ranger today, but he was cruising the parking lot at the boat launch. I don't know if he headed out on the trail later or if he had a LIDAR gun.

The smoke from the fires in Northern California is mostly gone, so the only smoke we smelled was from the several burnt areas along the trail. Red Leader's heart rate was pretty high, so he didn't keep up his usual blistering pace. Which was OK after two weeks off the trikes (except for my little ride on Monday).

It seems to me that I keep my conditioning from bicycling longer than RL does. Maybe that's just because I have more miles then he does.

I had one mechanical today, a missed shift in front - the chain hung up half on the middle and half on the big ring. Easy to pick it off with my fingers and put it in the right place. I didn't even have to leave my seat! I might need to look at my front derailler adjustment.

It will be hot again this weekend, so I don't know if we'll do any long rides.

02 September 2013

Bohemian Rapsody


Today, I abandoned my house guests left over from Sunday and went down to Folsom for a quick bike ride. I'd intended to do at least 18 miles, but it was not only raining (no biggie) but Thundering and Lightening! (very very frightening) so I bailed out and made a 5 mile loop instead.

I didn't see very many riders out, but there were a few hanging out in the parking lot where I started, probably waiting for a little break in the weather. I saw one jogger, and several walkers toting coffee cups from the coffee place.

That's all, folks.

24 August 2013

Duffy's Tavern

#284 / #90

Where the Elite Meet to Eat Ride

The Usual Ride around Lake Natoma with a very small (and elite) crowd. Red Leader, me, and our tandem riding friends. 8 wheels, 3 vehicles, and 4 people.

Saw one two wheeled recumbent and 2 or 4 trikes (I'm not sure if I saw the same people twice). Lots of joggers finishing up some organized run, and many bicycle riders and peds. Kayakers on the lake and even some pedal powered kayak shaped things. A recumbent paddle boat would be more stable, I think. And cooler. And more comfortable. One horse rider.

We went pretty fast today around the loop. I got one personal best on some segment and a bunch of 2nd places. We almost always do this ride in a crowd, which slows up down a lot, especially since I usually am last, sweeping.

The casual riding group has another active ride leader, so there is not as much pent-up demand for my Natoma loop. I'll keep running it on Saturdays, and probably add in some strange new ride for fun in September.

22 August 2013


#283 / #89

It has been so very smokey that Red Leader and I have been hiding in the air conditioned inside, and neglecting the outside. Today, since the smoke plume over Sacramento was only light gray on the WeatherUnderground's "wundermap" - a cool interactive map where you can turn on and off symbols, including Fires and the Smoke Plumes - Red Leader and I went over to Sunrise and rode from there to Our Usual Spot at William Pond Park.

There are more and more fast riders reappearing, even some pacelines, which I had not seen since the speed limit enforcement thing, which seems to have gone by the wayside.

We saw a couple of other trikes, and one two-wheeled recumbent.

At dinner (Smashburger, a guilty treat) we compared Strava achievements. We are such geeks!

Saturday, our usual ride around Lake Natoma with the Meetup group. I hope the smoke is not too bad.

We had not ridden in long enough that our tires were down 15 - 20 pounds!
The only mechanical thing was my rear quick release, which had gotten loose enough the wheel would wiggle back and forth. I noticed it as I was unfolding the bike; there was an unfamiliar 'clunk' and extra thump feeling as I set the rear of the trike down. So I poked around and determined it was a loose QR. I've never had that happen before. I tightened it up and it was still fine at the end of the ride.
I do know that the quick releases for my seat (all three of them), being empty and flopping around when the trike is in the car being driven around) loosen up between rides. I wonder if the same thing happened to the rear? Well. I'll keep an eye on it in the future.

12 August 2013

Grand Opening!

#282 / #88

Sunday, 11 August

Red Leader and I rode over to Alphabent's grand opening celebration. There were lots of people and lots of trike-test-riding. We rode from William Pond park to C and 12th, then after some Celebration we rode back again.

My trike's flag is sticking into the left edge of the picture, and Red Leader's is at the right edge.

Some folks rolled in as a group, one on a Greenspeed quad. The green Catrike Pocket belongs to one of the people standing around (he generously offered to let it out for a test ride), the other HP Velotechnik - an FX Scorpion is the shop's and I think the yellow trike everyone in the picture is staring at is also the shop's. I can't remember what it was.

It is about 25 miles round trip, and it was a little hot on the way back. I had absentmindedly drank 1/2 my water bottle while wandering around the recumbent shop, and neglected to refill it. And it appears my other water bottle (which usually has an electrolyte solution in it (Nuun)) has sprung a leak in the top half of the bottle, leaving me with a total of one bottle of liquid for the 12 miles back. Which was just enough to get me back.

07 August 2013

Mixin' it up

#281 / #87

This afternoon, Red Leader and I headed out to the Folsom South Canal, rather than our usual Wednesday ride on the American River Trail.

I like to start at the park on Spoto, just off of Zinfandel, near Mather Airport. Spoto neighborhood park has restrooms, and an entertaining pair of half-pipes for the skateboarders. I like to start here also because there are no pesky road crossings on the canal south of this point until the Jackson Highway.

Heading down Spoto, we turned right (away from the South Canal) and headed over to a stub of a road that took us up onto a service/road bike path, then over to the Stone Creek subdivision, and up on to the South Canal service road.

We went about 13 miles total today, down to where Kiefer crosses the trail. We saw two bicyclists and one other recumbent trike.

This was Red Leader's first ride on the canal. He was not thrilled with the canal ride, calling it "unaesthetic." There was the usual headwind from the south as well.

I like the canal because it is empty and wide. I can buzz along, concentrating on technique and speed rather than keeping strict watch for other trail users. A late afternoon ride was nice because the steep walls of the canal blocked the sun.

04 August 2013

Hey mister, wanna drag?

#280 /#86

Red Leader and I did our Wednesday ride on a Sunday, pedaling from Sunrise boat launch to Watt and back again. Lots and lots and lots of people out today.

We saw 3 recumbent trikes from our car as we were pulling in to the parking area, then 2 or 3 more on the trail. Plus 3 or 4 two-wheeled recumbents, one with super high hamster bars and a small front fairing.

We got a new comment today, "How's the weather down there?" Which was even funnier since RL and I have heard that (with 'up') far to often. I'm just under 6 feet and RL is 6'4".

Another amusing comment heard today while we were paused at William Pond on our way back, was a perfectly delivered and extremely sarcastic, "Really?" Everyone who heard it laughed. The 'really' was delivered by a woman in response to an aggravated fastmoving cyclist who admonished her that she was, "on the trail." I think women are much better at injecting loads of sarcasm into one word than men are. Feel free to disagree.

We were not moving too terribly fast today since RL was working out a programming problem while pedaling and I was planning a sundress for a doll and enjoying people watching. I did help RL get a personal record on the William Pond bridge by attempting to pass him on the climb while inquiring, "wanna drag". The bridge is wide enough for two trikes to drag in a single lane, but I felt a little awkward taking up so much room so I let Red Leader win.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it! (I did not beat MY personal record today, so THERE!)

31 July 2013

Old same

#279 / #85

I think Red Leader had done one complete ride of the Miner's Ravine trail, back when he was riding a diamond frame bike and I was on a Trek hybrid.

Today, we started from the Sculpture Park in Roseville, off of North Sunrise, and rode west to Folsom Road, turned around there, rode back past the Sculpture, and then east, all the way over to Sierra College Blvd, for a ride of about 9 miles.

The high point of the ride was just before Sierra College, where there is a great long loopy switchback down the side of a hill. Great views of totally dry grasslands - part of Roseville's open spaces.

We were tentatively planning to take the False Ravine leg out and back as well, but we decided that we needed a bathroom. We even contemplated trees.
There is no restroom anywhere along the trail. I was kind of hoping for a port a potty at the Sierra College parking area.
So we hightailed it back to the car, quick loaded up the bikes, and stopped in for a $1.79 potty break at the Taco Bell.

It is a nice trail, lots of little entertaining hills and plenty of useful signs directing you to various streets and attractions. Someday I'll stop and check out the grinding rocks.

If you use the search function on the sidebar over there to the right, with "miner's" you will be able to find the other two posts I've made about this trail system in Roseville.

24 July 2013

Like a distant cow-catcher

#278 / #84

Red Leader and I chose to beat the heat today by riding in the evening.

We set out about 1/2 hour before sunset and arrived back at the car about 1/2 hour after sunset. About 10 miles on Folsom's twisty bike paths.

It is remarkably hard to see twilight-colored peds and ninja bikers (no lights at all) and bunny rabbits in the dark. I liked the joggers who had reflective strips on their shoes. Them, I could see. Everyone else? Well, let's just say I didn't actually hit anyone, but some are probably tucked up in bed dreaming about trail-side UFO encounters.

Red Leader charged ahead, unbothered by his increasingly dim headlight (year old batteries, that - when we finally figured out how to open the compartment at home, were somewhat corroded.) He may be part cat.

I scurried along behind, staying far enough back that I was not blinded by his taillight, hoping that my reflex of looking at people when I say hi was not blinding them due to the little CREE LED flashlight on my helmet. I'm more on the bat side of things.

I had my trike-mounted B&M headlight and the flashlight on my helmet, and a B&M 'senso' tailight and a Cherry Bomb taillight (the one you can see for a mile in perfect conditions). All I need now is a bunch of reflective striping and maybe some amber down-lights on the frame. Yeah!

Speaking of reflective: the sidewalls on RL's tires were quite visible anytime he was not dead straight ahead of me. And his taillight has a sort of wrap around on the sides, so it was visible from the side of the trike, although not as bright as from the rear.

My headlight has a thin strip of the lens cover on the sides and top of the light. I can just reach the power/selection button while sitting in the seat (I can even click it while rolling along). The slight wrap-around of the lens cover is great, since I can see if the light is off or on high or low without unclipping. I am not bothered at all by "foot flash" (intermittent but regular reflections of the light off one's shoes or cranks.)

I used the seat-stay clamp provided with the Cherry Bomb taillight. I have it clamped to one of my headrest's stems. It is hard to get the clamp tight enough so the light does not end up illuminating my trunk bag. I have another piece of rubber shim. I'll see if that is enough to stop it wiggling out of position.

The cheap flashlight stuck to my helmet is great. It is not as bright as the headlight, but it is enough to light up the edge of the trail. It lights up what I look at. Wonderful for curves, and warning off cars at intersections.

I eventually stopped and repositioned my headlight. since I finally realized that I wanted to look about 4 feet in front of it, where it was still dark! Positioned correctly, it did a fine job of creating a nice long puddle of light in front, with a little bit left over for the trees on the sides of the trail.

I do not plan on riding on the roads at night, probably even when I get those down-lights. Nevertheless (I love using that word) I will see about adding some reflective stripes to my jersey's sleeves, so my signalling is visible.

I tried too many leg exercises at the gym earlier this week, and my knees are quite sore now. So I'll stay off the bike for a week or maybe two (boo hoo!) See you then!

21 July 2013

Pinecone Croquet

#277 / #83

The monthly ride around Lake Natoma was today. We had 13 cheerful and speedy riders. We were done at 11am, well before the heat of the day.

It is always good to see old faces. Three people who came on the ride today I have not seen since they were on this route a year ago or more. New riders to the group were two, one showed, one no show. Average for the new riders.

I swept the ride as I always do, except for the very end where I strive to lead.
There is an art to keeping a bunch of diamond frame riders moving slowly enough the group bunches up (important for not missing turns) while moving fast enough they also stay upright.
One of the riders (who is now an event host for the group), I'll call him Mr. Mohawk, threatened a trackstand. I was too busy pedaling up a hill to look behind and see if he had. I'm thinking he did.

At one point, along the trail on the north side of the lake, there was an enormous pinecone in the middle of my lane of the trail. And there was a fellow pushing his bike along the shoulder. I think he may have been scouting for blackberries. I did not think there was enough room to squeeze between Mr. Blackberry and the 'cone, so I went to the left of the cone. Not quite far enough left, since my right front wheel sent the pinecone shooting in to the bushes. I hope it did not hit Mr. B.

I spent most of the time today behind one of the long-lost returnees, who had gotten her bike (neglected for a year) checked out by a local branch of a big chain bike store - starting with a P and ending in ce. Anyway, halfway through the ride, her sweetheart determined that her tires were underinflated, and I suspect her seat could go up 1/4 inch or more.
I guess what I'm saying here is double check the work a bike shop does. Your comfort and safety depend on it. And if you don't know enough about your bike to doublecheck, learn! It is good for your brain and ego.

In other news, I shredded a tire and Red Leader has a different idler.

On Friday, between this ride and the last one, I pulled the bikes out for lubing and tightening. Tighten the things that are not supposed to move and lube the things that are, that's my method.

This is what my rear tire looked like.

The first image is with a fully inflated tube and the second with no tube. Yeouch.

I have no clue what made it do that, aside from some nasty trail debris. So I shot down to Laid Back Cycles in Fair Oaks (my usual shop is not open on Fridays) and picked up the second to the last 20" Scorcher they had.
If I had had the trike with me, I might have tried some other - tougher - tire on the rear, but I have a non-standard rim back there and I need to educate myself about the size tires it will accept, and which tires that will fit in the frame back there with a fender in the way.

Red Leader's idler (stock with his Gekko trike) has about 1000 miles on it and is a year old. It was rapidly approaching octagon-shaped from wear.
His idler is on the left, a less worn one on the right.

Holes right through the surface the chain runs on!

Fortunately, I have my slightly used idler from my Scorpion (exactly the same idler) so we stuck that one on and stood around admiring the neat holes in the old one.
You cannot put a Terracycle toothed idler on a Gekko if you plan to fold it. The chain is designed to twist with the fold and a helpful fellow on Bentrideronline reminded me that is not compatible with the Terracycle product.
Both of our HP Velotechink trikes fold, but mine Scorpion is not a flat fold, meaning my rear wheel sticks up when folded, while Red Leader's Gekko IS a flat fold, so hence the twist. So I have a Terracycle idler and RL will never have one. So sad.

We might go check out some trails in Roseville later this week. CU

17 July 2013


#276 / #82

Ugh. Stupid digestion.

I turned around after 4 miles today because my stomach was upset. I don't know why, sometimes it just does this.

And to top it off (except this was before, so should it be top it on? or bottom it off? Or what? Anyway...) I had a flat. Right front, a seam in the tube gave way. Not worth patching. The metal collar-thing to fill in the hole in the rim from Schrader to Presta works fine in the HP Velotechnick rims. So now I'm running with 2 Presta tubes and 1 Schrader.

But, insult to injury, the collar on the pump head of my little Topeak Road Morph pump is AWOL. I can get a replacement collar. Fortunately, we were at the car still so I had a choice of Red Leader's little pump or our floor pump that knocks around in the car. I went for the floor.

So, by the time I got to Hagen Park and told Red Leader I was going to turn around, I was a trifle cranky. What, Me!? Cranky? Whodathunk.

So I signaled left turn and a pack of female roadies looked like they were going to ignore my signal and pull out into me. So I said, "Turning!" with a little emphasis. And the lead roadie said, "Oh, you're turning!" And I said, "Yes, that's what the arm was. Weird, huh?" Just a little bit of sarcasm there.

I hope Sunday's ride isn't called due to heat. I might sneak out some morning and see if I can top Red Leader's brand new 14mph average speed record for our Sunrise/WmPond run.

14 July 2013

Twelve and one half times Two

#275 / #81

Red Leader and I used one of Alphabent's twice monthly workshops as an excuse to ride down to Sacramento from William B. Pond park. We were the only attendees, so I'm glad we did. It is 12.5 (or .4) miles from William Pond to the shop on C Street. Not too hot in the morning, but kind of bothersome around noon. It was 92 today. That's about my limit for riding in heat.

I wrapped up for the ride back in bright red sun blocking leggings, a sunblocking neck gaiter pulled up over my cheeks and ears, and my lightweight longsleeved bright yellow shirt. Red Leader reapplied his sunscreen.

I drank a bottle of water on the way down, a bottle of electrolyte solution while hanging around the shop, then the same thing on the way back, with the electrolyte finished off in the car. I did use the last 1/2 pint of water in my bottle for pouring over my head at the end of the ride to wash some of the sweat out of my hair and keep it from dripping in my eyes.

I decided, after talking to H at Alphabent, to forgo replacing my rear cassette just yet. I will spend the next few months concentrating on my middle chain ring and the higher gears in back - less worn. H advised that I let it all go until I just can't stand it anymore, then replace things.

We learned a lot about "exotic gearing" today: Roloff, Schumph, continuous variable transmissions. Neat.

I picked up some gorilla tape to stick my rear fender back together.

Make do and Mend, that's my style.

13 July 2013

Parkway Promenade


Today was the once-monthly easy-peasy ride through Folsom's bike paths. The Local Folsom Resident referred to them as the Parkway. I like that. I'm keeping it.

I had 2 1/3 no shows (one no show also did not bring his +1 so I'm counting that as 1/3 for no reason that I can justify). I warned people before the ride not to take the corners too fast since you'd never know what was around them. And indeed I, in the lead, did NOT clobber a todder, and did NOT slalom into a small dog, and did NOT bash into a bike (on the wrong side of the path).

It was 75 when we left and 80 when we came back. Sunny, a little hazy, not much breeze to speak of. The water is very low and there have been two fires in the last couple of weeks on the Parkway trails, according to The Local Folsom Resident.

I stopped by Alphabent after the ride (I drove down to Sacramento) to pick up the new OEM waterbottle adapter and cages for my mesh seat. They turned out not to work as my water bottles are very tall. Or maybe the cages were installed on the mounts upside down. I'll float that idea by Hugh when I see him next. Anyway, I didn't take the new cages.

While I was there, I asked H to check the wear on my rear cassette with his nifty homemade wear checker. It is time for a new cassette - the middle range of gears are very worn. Or at least to replace the worn cogs. A new cassette is 135. Ouch.

Rubber side down, helmet side up. CU

12 July 2013

Mumbles and the Speed-Freak

Thursday, 11 July

#273 / #80

I'll tell you, trying to drink from a water bottle with a bite valve is no fun after having three fillings replaced. I'm a wimp and require numbing for dental work beyond cleanings.  I had no idea how often I took sips of water while riding along, especially while trying to keep up with Red Leader, who was on FIRE yesterday. So I would slow way down, unscrew the bottle's top, and glug. Then try to catch up Red Leader.

Catching up was problematic also, since some of my hip flexors (muscles that pull your thigh to your torso - and that NEVER happens on a recumbent, no no) were tired from a 6 1/2 mile hike two days before. Most of the power I produce comes from the push stroke, but some does come from the pull. I figure about 2mph. Also, not being able to pull back as much put more pressure on my feet. So, if you are new to riding and the bottoms of your feet are always sore or numb, take heart! It will just take some time to develop those pulling muscles.

Also it was hot and a little windy.

But I had fun And 'cycling helped the numbness depart faster, so I could almost drink from the bottle on the way back.

Red Leader finally got Strava working on his phone (he had to kill the app and reboot, the invoke the app again) and, even though I lagged behind him quite a bit, Strava still recognized that we were on the same ride.
So at dinner he started comparing our times on the segments. Some he has a faster time on (segments with lots of curves, since I'm a bit cautious) and some I do (uphills - especially the River Pond Park Bridge segment, where somehow I managed a 1:18 time at some point in the past and his was significantly slower than that. Neener neener.

Easy peasy ride tomorrow with the Casual Riders and then who knows!

07 July 2013

Together, again

#272 / #79

Red Leader and I rolled out around 9:30am (early for him, late for me) for a lovely ride on the American River Trail

It was crowded today with bikers and walkers, as crowded as I would have expected it before the speedlimit crackdown of a few weeks ago. There were some fast-moving clumps of riders, generally in matching gear, as well as the usual assortment of 2-wheeled recumbents (3 or 4) and one other trike. 

I didn't see a single ranger on our 12 mile ride.

I got to show off my chain-breaking skills when Red Leader bent a link on his chain, and we had half a dozen "need help?" from passersby as we were repairing it. I am now out of master links so I need to pick up three more pairs. I started out with three pair almost 3 years ago.

The clearance in a chain tube is not much more than the width of an untroubled chain, so when a link gets kinked, or bent, or broken, the chain will hang up in the tube. Now, I'm sure someone more knowledgeable than I could tell you more, but I can tell you that if you have such a link, generally the chain will loop down below your boom, and sometimes work itself right off any chain ring in front, as the chain does not want to feed through the return tube. Which is what happened to Red Leader today.

And when the chain did its loopy thing, the chain tube dropped low enough that it scooped up a lot of dirt (Red Leader had pulled off the pavement at this point). So I'd advise not filling up your chain tubes with dirt. It makes it even harder to get the chain to move through the tube.

RL lifted the trike so the rear wheel cleared the ground, and I sat and turned the pedals forward, trying to get the chain to move. Then we figured out that I should be turning it backwards, since forwards was just jamming dirt further into the tubes. A lot of dirt came out when we reversed directions, as well as the now thoroughly distressed and nearly falling apart link. 

I carry a large, heavy chain tool because I know how to use it and I like to stick with what I know during something mildly stressful like trail-side repairs. I popped the pin out, and fished around in my bag for the master links, got them to snap together after only two tries, and we carefully ran the chain around the trike once to look for any more unhappy links.

Then back on the trail and to our starting point.

I use a couple of 35mm film cans to hold things like master links, the cotter pins I use for keeping slack in the chain when I need to work on a link, spare cleats, random screws and other little items. Any small container would do. 

I also have 3 tubes, a patch kit, tire levers and a kool stop bead jack (I have trouble getting the tire over the rim sometimes), a pair of pliers, a spoke wrench, a pocket knife, some short pieces of spare chain, and a copy of all the torque specifications for my trike. I keep all that in an old, single-pocket waist pack. 

The fanny pack and my pump (which is too long to fit in the fanny pack) ride in a small canvas bag strapped to the side of my rear rack. The bag zips open, so I can just grab the pack and start flinging tools around. If I'm using both large panniers, I can take the pack and pump and put them in my trunk bag.   

Well, didn't I go on and on today.

04 July 2013

Dawn Patrol


Another pre-dawn departure for me. This time I did the Lake Natoma loop, north to south. That probably means nothing to you unless you are a Sacramento/Folsom local, so I'll just say that the north side has fewer trees, meaning the incipient dawn-glow would help me see, and the south side has more trees, giving me some tree-cover when the sun has come up.

I saw one bike in the 5 miles of the north shore, 3 bikes in a group charging up the Hazel bridge, and a handful of riders and joggers and walkers-of-dogs on the south side.

My overall average was 10 miles per hour, I guess I don't go as fast in the dim.

I didn't take any pictures this time, but I did go add a picture (quite pretty) of the sunrise on the previous post. So go look there.

The bathrooms at the Folsom parking garage were still not unlocked when I rode back to the car at 7:36am, so I loitered a bit until Karen's opened at 7am, where I feasted on fresh orange juice and a yummy peach/ginger scone.

It is supposed to start cooling off, so I hope Red Leader and I can get out for an afternoon/evening ride some time soon.

I ran the Strava app, and noticed another segment that has been user-flagged as hazardous. I'm not sure how I feel about this process. When a segment has been ridden and recorded by over 1000 riders over 5000 times (or some absurd numbers like those) I don't see how it suddenly becomes hazardous. Of course, I'm not sure how long Strava has been allowing users to flag segments that way.

The consequence of hazard flagging is no more leaderboard for that segment (you can't compare your times to others') but you can still see your own efforts on the segment.

Another kerfluffle with Strava is the "non-traditional bicycle" thing. There is some language in a user guide on their site that tries to discourage riders from logging rides (that would  appear on leaderboards) with non-trad bicycles.

Well, I'm not even a bicycle, but a tricycle. It seems to me they are attempting, rightly, to eliminate fairings, electric or other powered assists, and aerodynamic modifications from messing with the leaderboard rankings.

Here's part of the text from Strava's site:
"The Segment Leaderboards for cycling are a place for conventional bicycles only, so that the top Segment rankings are not taken by unattainable, motor-assisted times or from bicycles with modifications including wind fairings or other means of minimizing drag.

Uploading data from a car, motorcycle, e-bike, motor-assisted bike, motor-paced ride or any bicycle that includes any non-human propulsion or pedal-assisted force, and categorizing the activity as a "Ride" displaces data uploaded from a human-powered bike, thus conflicting with the fairness and integrity of the Segment Leaderboards."

And here's a link to the full article.

The firehouse lawyers among the recumbent community are quick to point out that recumbents are not specifically named in this article. Also, Strava customer support personnel are not consistent in interpreting this guideline. Some recumbent riders on  bentrideronline have reported Strava CS supporting their recumbent-ridden leaderboard standings, while other brol members have had CS state that their ride will retain the flagging since their leaderboard standing was attained with a recumbent.

They will also point out that this guideline could be read to disallow aero bars, time trial bikes, and wheel coverings - all non-uncommon additions to 'conventional' bicycles.

Strava needs to sort this out.

I would suggest that they do several things: specifically exclude non-faired recumbent bikes and trikes and quads from the unconventional bicycle label (sorry, velomobiles!) and support more bicycle types (like recumbent) and finally to allow filtering by bicycle type (for all I know bike type filters are in place now, but because recumbent is not a category it is useless to me).

Well, that was longwinded. I suppose I'll see if I can find their facebook page and post all this there.

Here's to cooler weather!

02 July 2013

Bunny hop


It is hot hot hot here. Like triple digits. So I dragged myself out of bed at 4am, walked the dog, and hit the trail at 5am.

It was nice, about 75 degrees and no sun beating down on my head.

Lots of wildlife: deer (with and without antlers), jack rabbits, and cottontails. For some reason, the cottontails like to hang out on the trail. So every once in a while, a piece of the trail would leap up and hop away. At least, that's what it looked like in the pre-dawn dim. I also raced a jackrabbit. I won.

I used my B&M headlight and just the plain non-blinking tail light (also B&M). I need to remember how to adjust the headlight so it is lighting up the trail instead of the shrubs and trees (set for street riding, not trail riding).

I had with me a small CREE flashlight and a replacement Cherry Bomb tail light (replacing the one I lost a few years ago). I didn't take the time to attach either one before my ride. I just wanted to RIDE! Not futz around with lights.

After my ride, I worked out a possible attachment of the flashlight to my helmet (so I have a light that points where I look), using a Twofish block, and discovered that the new version of the Cherry Bomb comes with a seat-stay clamp that perfectly fits on my headrest. I want my second tail light as high as possible on the trike so this will be perfect.

When I got home, I checked all the batteries with the voltmeter and charged up the low ones. Now I'm all ready for another dawn patrol!

26 June 2013

Dropping in


Took the opp to ride on the American River Parkway trail today, from Wm Pond to C St. in Sacramento. Yesterday was rain and sometime in the next few days it will break 100.

Alphabent, the recumbent shop where Red Leader and I bought our trikes, has moved their shop from Dixon to Sacramento.

To get to their shop (they open at 11 on weekdays), take the American River Parkway Trail (ARBT) west to about mile 3, then where an overpass and a wooden bridge pass over the trail, take a left onto the rail trail (unmarked, but follow the sign saying Downtown or something). Stay to the left and it will take you on to C street, right next to the Blue Diamond processing plant.
Today, the plant was sugarcoating nuts. Smelled SO GOOD!
Follow the bikeway signs on surface streets around the plant, eventually returning to C street. The shop is just past 12th St. (light rail tracks), on the left.

They are in a nice large building at 1114, a former motorcycle shop. They are across the street from the old Global Mill building. The front of the building is a giant roll-up door, so I was able to roll right into the shop.

I got some advice about my idler, and ordered a pair of the X-shaped waterbottle mount adapters for the Ergomesh seat. I can't tighten my seat across the lumbar area while I have the waterbottle cage mounting screws going through the seat's cover.

The Terracycle idler I have is slightly larger in diameter then the stock idler, and when I settle my giant butt into the seat, things shift around, sometimes letting the curved seat flange, clamped by one of the seat's quick releases, contact the edge of the idler.

A couple of extra washers added to my existing stack (I'm up to 5 now) from the shop's bin of random bits and pieces was enough to shift the idler out from the frame, letting the seat flange ride between the two edges of the idler, while still clearing the toothed cog.
I need to take a picture and send it to Terracycle.

It was getting warm while I was riding back, about 85 or so. I kept sucking down water and pedaling along. When I finished my ride, the sweat (that had been evaporating with the wind of my passage) started pouring down my face, getting in my eyes. OUCH.

I saw two unusual things on the trail today. One was a horseback rider near Sac State (never seen one in that area before) as well as two very confused people in a blue sedan driving along the bike trail. Did they think it was a road? How did they even get on the trail? Arrrrrrgh!

23 June 2013

Sunrise Scramble


No, this is not an exotic American Diner dish, but my latest attempt at a new group ride for the casual biking group I volunteer with.

I advertised it as a faster paced ride, shooting for an average of 12-13mph. Apparently, the cool weather is good for me because my average was 13.7mph.

3-4 riders kept up with me the whole time and the other 5 or 6 turned around or dropped back or something. However, folks seemed to enjoy it and have asked to do it again.

I saw no rangers with LIDAR on the trails. And there was an encouraging article in the Sacramento Bee detailing all the citations the park service is handing out. Including homeless camping and off-leash dogs! Yay! I feel like less of a target today.

I have concluded, for now, that it not too much hassle to keep my speed just under 15mph and I get a good workout. Someday I'm sure I'll be busted going 20 off the end of a long downhill, but I'll worry about that later.

I got my daily laugh and a little ego boost as well. Two people on the ride (two who kept up) commented that they expected "that thing" (my trike) to be slow. Ha ha ha. Weren't they surprised!

ta ta for now.

Houston, we have issues.

19 June, 2013

#267 / #78

Red Leader and I couldn't think of where else to go, so we set out for Sunrise on the American River Parkway Trail. We unloaded, setting out for Wm. Pond or Watt.

I turned around after about a 1/2 mile since I had had to stuff the chain back in place at the idler, and I could not get it to work the way I wanted.

I hate crouching on the side of the trail, putzing around with my trike.

So I spent a rather entertaining afternoon watching increasing numbers of law enforcement vehicles arrive at the park.

Oh, didn't I say? When we arrived, there was a sedan 'parked' against a tree in the middle of the lot. Every tree is surrounded by a little concrete parking berm box.

The car's horn was blooooooooooooooooooooooooowing. Nonstop. Quite distressing.

No one was taking responsibility for the car, but there were a lot of gawkers.

Eventually, after 4 local police cars, one highway patrol, and a really huge ladder truck (fire engine) had come and gone, the tow truck showed up and slowly and steadily hauled the car off of the concrete berms. Very noisy.

Red Leader had an uneventful ride, and I worked on my trike the next day, in my nice clean quiet garage.

To replace the chain between the idler and the chain keeper, I find it necessary (with the Terracycle idler) to remove the whole assembly and put it back together properly.

I had gotten it together, but I think I lost one of my shims (washers) on the side of the trail, because now the idler is rubbing on the part of the seat that is clamped in the quick release.

I want to see about getting new chain tubes and to find out if my rear cassette needs replacing, so I stuck the old worn down Velotechnick idler back and and suffered with the noise on my next ride.

Aw, crumbs!

18 June, 2013


So, I totally forgot to write this post. And the next one. So IOU 3, count 'em, THREE posts.

Tuesday's ride was from our local auto service center to the house. The SVU needed an oil change and some work on the 4WD system. So I slogged up the hill from the auto place, dodged gracefully through the world's worst bicycle/car/light/freeway off ramp exit intersection, then hit Durock road.

Which had been recently coated with gravel for the famous and famously uncomfortable chipseal process.

Where do I usually go to let cars pass me? The shoulder.

Where does the extra gravel end up? The shoulder.

I was glad that not all of Durock was gravel-enhanced. Eventually, it turned into nice new smooth pavement with shoulders free of gravel and I zipped through downtown Cameron Park and then home.

15 June 2013

The unUsual suspects

#265 / #77

Today, Red Leader and I lead a nice large (10 total) group around Lake Natoma today. Roadies, partially reformed mountain bikers, and one upright-posture bike with one of those neat noseless saddles. Some old friends and some new.

No one got lost, or even slightly misplaced, and there was lots of conversation going on at our two rest stops, so I Declare the Ride A Success!

The East Lake Natoma Trail (on the south side of the river) was moderately busy, as was the American River Parkway Trail proper (on the north side). In lieu of my usual long-winded safety reminders, I just said, "walkers have the right of way." "Don't be jerks." And that was all.

Lovely warm day, bright sunshine, and very little breeze. I managed, finally, to get up the hill before Negro Bar in my middle chain ring! Yay me!

Rubber side down, and CU later!

09 June 2013

Tennish / Ghost Town

#263 & 264 / #76

Two rides today, one with the casual bike riding group (10 easy miles in Folsom). Then one on the spooky deserted American River Parkway Trail.

The 10 mile ride was Red Leader and my usual 10 mile route on Folsom's bike paths. It was great to share it with new people! There were not many people out on our outbound leg, more on our inbound leg. My theory is that our outbound leg required some connecting the dots to get a whole bike path route. And the inbound leg was more straightforward.

Ok, on to ride #2

An article in the Sacramento Bee has caused a bit of a flap, detailing as it does the plans of the Sacramento County Parks authority to begin the process of enforcing the 15mph speed limit already in place (but totally and utterly ignored) on the Parkway Trail. Lidar guns and warnings and citations and all that jazz. Here's a link to the article.

Whether it was from the strong Delta breeze this afternoon, or the faster riders avoiding the Parkway because this is the first weekend of enforcement, the trail was quite empty. I saw only a handful of riders I would characterize as "fast".

I'm not sure now if I am in favor of this enforcement or not. It was a royal pain in the ass checking my speedometer to see if I was exceeding 15mph. I did, several times.
It also means that I have to kiss my attempts at a 15mph AVERAGE on certain routes goodbye.

I have a bunch of thoughts rattling around in my head about this, which I will lay out in no particular order.

I think I'll be riding on the roads in Folsom more often, I'll load up my trike with some extra bright red flashers and maybe see about getting some hi-viz gloves for better signaling visibility.

How are the Park Rangers going to catch a speeding bicyclist to warn or cite? Their own bicycle? Motorized vehicle? I'm interesting in learning this.

This enforcement, by not happening from the beginning of the parkway trail's existence, but by suddenly being enforced years after the 15mph limit was put in place, means many riders of this trail will choose to leave the trail. Is it still a MULTI-use trail then?

Anyway, I'll still ride the trail and wait and see what happens. Should be interesting.

31 May 2013



I was out far longer today than I had planned. My Nike Dryfit sunblocking shirt kept most of the sun off my arms, but I am a little pink. I eschewed the sun leggings and applied sunscreen 3 times. My legs above my knees are a bit pink but not bad. I pulled my Columbia cooling buff thing up over my neck, jaw and earlobes so only my face near my nose was exposed. And it was liberally slathered (is that redundant?) with sunscreen.

When I apply sunscreen trailside without the benefit of a mirror, the results are pretty strange. I don't know if my buff pulled up over my face or my shining white gloppy nose (finally observed with utter horror in a trailside restroom many miles later) was why I got such strange looks today.

I rode, by the way, from Karen's Bakery in Folsom to the railroad trestle past I-80 and back again. 49 miles. 4 and 1/2 hours moving time. I think I left the parking garage at 8:45 and got back at 2:45? Something like that. A lot of time outside, anyway.

I saw three other trikes: 2 recumbents with one rider each, and an unoccupied 'adult' tricycle parked by the trail. Between the three 'bent trikes, we represented a good slice of trike-dom - one touring trike with middle of the road recline, one very reclined Cattrike, and a very upright and high-seat trike with basically armrests. Cool!

I had another interesting conversation with a couple of boys. They were dying to talk to me about the trike, so I invited them (with their mom's permission) to do so.

I was VERY VERY HAPPY to see the parking garage at the end of my ride, and even happier to stuff my face at Karen's. The deli case there was quite depleted. Turns out that the rowing teams who were competing all weekend at Nimbus Flats were staying at the hotel down the road from Karens. Rowers EAT. I had a curried tuna sandwich. Yum yum yum!

I will probably lay off the bike for a few days - it will be quite hot and I would like to have some 'legs' left for my upcoming backpacking trip.

29 May 2013


#261 / #74

Finally, Red Leader and I on the same ride at the same time! The heavens resounded with choirs of angels (one hopes they were in tune).

We "loafed" around Folsom on our old route through neighborhoods on the many twisty trails. Red Leader is a bit of a speed freak. I would rather he kept it below 15 all the time on these trails.

Saw a woman on a cruiser type bike returning from the grocery store, her handlebars loaded down with dangling plastic grocery bags.

Many children on bikes and skateboards and feet. Dogs, on and off leash. Other bicyclists - one crouching roadie and many mountain-cruiser-comfort types.

We had a lively conversation with a couple of kids at the skate/BMX park. The city has built a very popular huge pile of dirt in a neighborhood park, attracting kids like bees to flowers.

The two boys were full of questions about the trikes, every third statement was "can I pleaaaaaaase try it?" We declined. I doubt the kid could have reached the pedals anyway. One had heard of Greenspeed trikes. The other was alarmed at the closeness of the derailler to the ground (long cage, 20" wheels). I was told I need new tires since there is no tread left! So I pointed out the wear indicator dimples. We discussed crashing and cornering and the kids were wondering if we were going to try the dirt.

Sorry kids, you are not going to be entertained with two old farts on trikes spinning out on the side of a pile of dirt.
Now, if I had a bike with at 26 in back ...

47 more miles to go for May. Tomorrow is filled with errands, so it looks like I will be emulating those college freshmen I used to tutor: finishing at the very last moment on Friday.