30 March 2013


#239 / #57

Red Leader has the sniffles from allergies, so we went riding today. Makes sense to me. If you're going to be all stuffy and somewhat miserable, might as well go have fun. The trail was busy, so a different congestion.

My left knee is feeling odd, so we took a more leisurely pace from Sunrise to Wm. Pond and back. While at our turn around point, we met another triker, on a Greenspeed, who remembered me from last years TARTAR but who I did not remember. He had a very pretty flag from SoundWind.

After the ride, my knee is feeling OK, so I will be extra careful stretching for the next few days.

We thought the tick tick tick noise had gone on Red Leader's machine had gone, but it is back. Phoo. It is also time to lube my chain again. Maybe tomorrow.


27 March 2013

A Mighty Scrubbing

#238 /#56

Visited Alphabent in Dixon yesterday, both trikes stuffed - as usual - in the back of the Toyota Sequoia. I did try to stuff them in the Prius, but I think it would have only worked if I took off all 4 front wheels and my rear wheel. Didn't feel like that, so the Sequoia it was.

The mystery 'tick tick tick' that was driving Red Leader bonkers turned out to be an extremely simple thing: a too-long ziptie end (cadence sensor widget) on the left pedal tap tap tapping on the sole of his shoe. Shop Dude also worked his magic on Red Leader's chain line, my brakes, and installed a heavier spring for my rear suspension.

I hung out with Finn the Shop Poodle while all this was going on.

Today's ride reminded me how fun the Scorpion is when it is properly suspended: I could take corners fast enough and aggressively enough that my wheels scrubbed a bit. FUN!

We started in Folsom, near the parking garage (we start enough rides there that silly Strava thinks it is where I live and offered to make it a privacy zone) and headed out along the south side of Lake Natoma, bypassing the climb up Hazel and going instead over to Sunrise, then back again. It has been a while since I've ridden the south side of Lake Natoma from Hazel to Folsom. Those curves are FUN and the hills are not so bad any more. Red Leader concurs.

23 March 2013

The Great Experiment

Today was an experimental bicycling photography ramble for a bicycling Meetup group I'm involved in.
I'm second from the left.

This was my big idea, and I believe it was a moderately successful experiment. The idea was to take a horribly long time to bicycle 11 miles, photographing whatever we found interesting.

I brought way too much stuff.

The first half of the loop is the most interesting

It is also the easiest to keep out of the way of other path users, so by our lunch stop, we decided to just ride on - nonstop.

Anyway, I had about 1/2 no-shows from the signups but the 3 people who dragged themselves out of bed to join me for coffee and pastries (or whatever) at the cafe before we got on the paved multi-use path at 8am seemed to have a good time.

It was about 40 degrees at 8am, warming to near 60 at noon.
We proceeded to loaf our way around Lake Natoma (a wide spot in the American River near Folsom, CA formed by the Nimbus Dam), stopping wherever and whenever we felt like it.

Poison Oak is everywhere. I stayed out of it.

There are times I wish I could "do" dirt on my trike. Next time I might rent a mt bike for this ride.

Loitering at the overlook above the river,

we were entertained and astounded by the rowing meet. Boatloads of rowers are LOUD and FAST.
Boy, do they yell. It was pretty exciting. I was rooting for the home team (in green).

At lunch, loafed in my home-made hammock

I got the hairy eyeball for daring to bring a hammock when I already had a lounge chair on wheels.
Hey. I like my comfort.

Then it was up and over the Hazel Bridge to the other side of the lake.

and back to our starting point.

17 March 2013

Like a new machine!

#236 / #54

As part of getting a new triple on my trike, I also finally laid the seat all the way back. I remember how weird that felt the first time I tried it almost 2 years ago, but today it felt just right. I felt faster. I doubt I was, but it was a nice feeling.

I did notice my hip flexors a little bit today from the new, stretched out, position. I really need to work hard on stretching them every day (I usually manage once a week) because they are naturally quite tight for me and they do a lot of work on this trike. With the extra recline, my legs start out a little straighter relative to my hips and torso so my flexors start their work from a slightly different, slightly tighter spot.

On some flat, straight sections of the American River Parkway today, I tried to push my trike hard enough that I could pedal with my usual cadence (whatever it is - 80, maybe?) in the highest gear combo. I could not, getting only to 19.4mph. So, for right now, the new gearing is perfect.

I really like the smaller sized big ring in front: in the previous configuration, my calf would brush the chain tube with each stroke, significantly deflecting the tube. My new big ring is just a little larger than my old middle ring, so I don't even notice the slight calf-to-tube contact because it feels "normal".

The annoying creaking came back: I finally figured out it is the mesh of my mesh seat. Maybe someday, when I'm skinnier, I'll try out a BodyLink seat, the hardshell for this trike. In the meantime, I might see of one of the dealers around here can get me the mysterious and hard-to-find-because-HPV-does-not-advertise-them-but-they-exist-damnit water bottle adapters designed for the mesh seat. Then I could hopefully tighten the mesh of the lumbar area (currently held in place and un-tightenable due to holes poked in it for waterbottle braze-on access).

I have still not found a 550lb spring for my shock. Bah.

For those playing along at home, you may have noticed that Red Leader's ride count skipped from 52 to 54. That's because after yesterday morning's ride I felt very ill and dizzy (I attribute it to Friday's bathroom cleaning frenzy) so all I wanted to do was sit somewhere and not move. So Red Leader went out for a ride by himself.


wait for it...

he went up to Beal's Point. This is his second time up. Remember, the first time I had to cajole and pester him to try the 7 and 8% grades. He announced that it was annoying but not awful. Just how I feel about it.

He did, however, have his very first trail-side mechanical, where his rear derailler got bollixed up and refused to shift out of the small ring. We don't remember this being the case when he first got trike, but I'm also not sure he shifted through all the gear combos. He has such a wide range of gears that the chain is effectively too long for the granny + smallest in back. Now, you are not supposed to ride around in that gear combo, but many times you can have a chain the right length to do it while still being long enough to accommodate (pesky word has too many 'm's in it) the Big Big combo (another one you shouldn't really ride around in).
A "hippy on a mountain bike" (his description) helped him sort it out and Red Leader went the rest of the way up.


This morning I measured the chain according to the Hostel Shoppe's set up instructions, and decided that we could (I mean I could) take a pair of links out. So I did. Red Leader has never used or seen a chain tool, so that was fun.

It didn't really help, since he still can't really use the smallest three rings in back with the granny in front.

When we get around to taking it in to the shop for the persistent tick tick tick we'll consult about that also. It may not be doable with the current combo of gears and the rear derailler he has.

I will say that I'm thinking the Gekko being folded most of the time is doing the chain line no favors. It looks to me like the chain emerges from the flexible section a little bit not perfectly straight up and down.

Tomorrow, I'm going for a hike. It's been months and months and months.


16 March 2013

The Slough Slew


The Super Duper, Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeezy ride today. 7.4 miles at an average of 8mph. I could almost hear the Strava app on my phone sniff in disdain.

But, the four people who came out to join me seemed to have a good time. Two probably felt hampered by the slow pace, one pulled her cute dog in a trailer so it was just right, and one was just a tad challenged with her newish mountain bike and some fit issues.

The birds were singing, flowers blooming, and lots of people out walking and riding. Our route took us down along Willow Creek, which is remarkably slough-like this time of year, full of reeds and other swampy things. An older gentleman commented as we were cruising along the creek "There's a whole slew of you." And how could I resist that for a post title. "Slough can be pronounced several ways, one of which rhymes with "slew". I usually have it rhyme with "thou".


My new mountain triple is marvelous. I also laid my seat back all the way, which makes it even more imperative that I get a stiffer spring for my rear shock since more of my weight is on that spring. I did have some chaintube strangeness, with the chain hanging up a bit in certain gear combos, but I'll swap out the spring before I worry about that too much.

Tomorrow, probably riding with Red Leader. YAY.

13 March 2013

Voyage of Discovery

#234 / #52

Red Leader's longest ride to date!


27.5 miles, from Wm Pond to mile 0 (Discovery Park).

He was on FIRE, cruising along sometimes at 15mph. I attribute this to his new shorts: the Commuter unpadded shorts from Aerotech designs. 12% spandex and the rest lightweight quick drying nylon - perfect for a ride on a day with the spring heat wave of 75 degrees F.

The rest of the ride presented to you in sound bites (and sight bites and smell bites). Ok. That did not work.

Possibly homeless dude shouted the strangest thing I've heard yet: "Do you get roadrash on your butt riding those?"
Kids: "I like your bike". Me: "I like my bike too."
Persistent tick tick tick tick sound from Red Leader's trike. We'll let the bike shop figure that one out. I'm stumped.

A truly truly stinky porta john.
Strong smell of swamp.
Lovely juicy orange smell.

Saw several pacelines, a jackrabbit, and several spots where spring blossoms had fallen and collected alongside the trail.


10 March 2013

(Un)real Life


Sometimes, real life (a fictional and suspect concept, IMO) gets in the way of bike riding.

Red Leader and I had this thing this past weekend to do down in the Santa Cruz hills. So a lot of the time we'd normally be riding our trikes was preempted by the real life. For example, on Friday, when the dog sitting thaing was smack in the middle of prime afternoon bike riding, Red Leader went out by himself (we'll increment his ride count the next time we ride together) and I did the dog-transfer (we board our dog when we go out of town).

And our Santa Cruz expedition also brought us home at 11:30pm standard time. We got home, set the clocks forward another hour, and crashed.
I got up this morning 5 1/2 hours later to lead the Lake Natoma loop. RL shut off his alarm and rolled over. (This afternoon RL went out for a solo ride, so doubly incremented!)

Anyway, I had 7 intrepid riders out today: beautiful sunny calm 60 degree weather and a running event! Thankfully, the trail was not closed so we carefully made our way through the runners' turn around point and went on our merry way.

I benefited from my several days off the trike, charging up hills and staying in my big ring more often than usual.

A ride (or two) this week I hope then on Thursday I'll get a new mountain triple! Yay!

03 March 2013


#232 / #50

Spring is here. The fruit trees are blooming all along the American River and my nose is drip drip dripping away.

Yes, ANOTHER ride today. AGAIN on the American River Parkway (I've decided to emphasize the multi-use nature of the trail from now on, so no more "bike" in the name for me). BUT in the company of only ONE weird bike.

Sooooo, between today ride and yesterday's and the previous rides, I've ridden more than 70 miles this week. Take that, former couch potato!

AND I signed up for the Delta Century in May. I'm going to do the metric version, so 62 miles. I hope it is not terribly windy that day. I've done a metric before. And this one has a ferry crossing onto one of the islands in the Delta. Cool!

Red Leader and I set out to the west from William Pond, riding 17 some miles to the I-80 overpass. If RL's knee had not started bothering him, and if I had not gone 30 miles the day before, we might have tried for Mile 0. But it was and I had so we did not.

Red Leader has a new toy, the brim-only version of Da Brim, an add-on to one's cycling helmet that provides a much larger brim than the visor supplied with a helmet. He likes it. I'm glad. (I use a long-billed baseball cap under my helmet). If I had a "normal" helmet, sculpted with aero-whatsits and lots of ventilation, I might go for one. But I have a Nutcase helmet that I like very much so I'll stick to my ball cap.

I do want to figure out a way to keep the sun off the sides of my neck so I think I'll be constructing some homemade neck shield out of sunblocking fabric. I'll look even stranger, but it beats skin cancer.

With that CHEERY thought, I'm outta here.

02 March 2013

Rollin' with the weirdos


Finally, finally, finally I got out again on the 1st Saturday ride with the recumbent riders of Sacramento. It was a fairly large group, drawn out by the predicted high of 70F, or maybe the stars aligned properly, or - I know! - because I was there!

And this time, I mostly kept up. I got several comments like "you've gotten a lot faster". And I have, but my real secret is to disappear for most of a year: makes the contrast do the work.

I saw lots of couples and families out riding together. Or walking. Or jogging. That just makes me happy - and I did miss Red Leader, peacefully asleep as our ride started.

One family rolled by with two kids on their bikes, and the littlest one in a kiddy trailer - with his tiny bright blue bike strapped to the back of the trailer. How cute!

Also saw a pair of rollerbladers, walking, RBs in hand, along the trail. Blisters? Fatigue? We'll never know.

I got much useful advice about my trike - I will be switching to a stiffer spring or a fancy air shock for the rear suspension, can't decide: must read up. And I will for sure be getting a new triple in front, still with short cranks, but with a 22 instead of a 26 for the granny.

Did I say this already? This is the first bike I've had long enough to actually wear out parts like the middle chainring. I'm kind of stoked!