30 April 2013

May is (still) Bike Month


Ok, ok. So it is not quite yet May.

sue me

I participated for the second year in El Dorado County's kick-off event for May is Bike Month. And I got the tee-shirt. And a nice lunch sponsored by two Placerville bike shops. And I got to ride 11 miles and climb 1100 feet.

I got the extra 5.5 miles and 950 feet by starting at the bottom of the short El Dorado Trail segment on Missouri Flat road, riding UP to the starting place (El Dorado Co. Gov't center), riding down and back UP with the group, then back down to my starting place.

Riding a funny bike makes me memorable and some folks there did remember me from last year. I answered many times one of the usual questions about my ride "how much does it weigh". Several people felt it necessary to heft my bike. I even picked it up for illustrative purposes.
If you find it necessary to heft your Scorpion, the best way is to stand beside the seat, grasp the side of the rack with one hand and the far arm of the crucifix with the other, then lift, levering the bike on your thighs if necessary. Don't grunt, you want to make it look easy.

Many people from the county offices, including several supervisors (an official position here in El Dorado County) joined the ride. The fellow in black below cheerfully put on a tee-shirt and borrowed a bike.

I maintained a respectable 8-9mph on the climbs, except for the stupid concrete path part, and had to brake all the way down to avoid running over the people ahead of me.

One memorable young woman in pink and black was walking the trail. I passed her four times and then saw her again at the parking lot. A fellow sitting in the shade there with a water bowl and a panting chocolate lab was entertained (I presume) by my end-of-ride-routine of pulling all the stuff off my bike, removing the seat, folding the bike and sticking it in the truck. I took a bow at the end of it and he applauded.

27 April 2013


#248 / #65

Red Leader and I hopped in the car and grabbed some donuts on our way down for Day 2 of TARTAR (Trikes and Recumbents on the American River Trail - or something like that).

We all lined up for the big photo shoot. I think there were 30 riders by the time we reached William Pond (some joined us there).

We stopped at Wm Pond for a break.

Then back on the trail again.

Red Leader and I turned around at Campus Commons (near the golf course) and beat our way up stream. I did not eat anything after the donuts and that was a mistake.
I got slower, and slower, and slower, and s   l   o     w               e                  r. Until I finally stopped to eat some oranges.

Arriving back and Wm Pond, I ate the rest of the orange and some jerky, and dragged myself in RL's wake back to Zinfandel and Olson. Where there is a Waffle shop. Where we ate lunch.

I finished inhaling my food and felt much better.

On our way home, we stopped at REI and picked up a Headsweat for RL to wear under his helmet to keep the sun off his thinning scalp. And I bought a refillable gel bottle to experiment with making my own gel shots for future rides.

I did decide that I will do the shorter 25 mile ride on the Delta Century next weekend. I don't know that I'm up for 65 flat miles yet this season.

26 April 2013



I rolled out this morning to meet up with a minimally organized but really cool trike rally on the American River Trail.

One fellow named Wayne in So Cal came up with this idea a few years ago: to get massive numbers of trikes rolling on the American River Trail, and different Wayne led today's ride into the mysterious and tangled bike paths of Folsom.

I met the group at Willow Creek Boat launch, having ridden down from the Raleys on Blue Ravine.

I volunteered to sweep the ride since I was the only other person willing to admit that I knew the trails. (They should have been cautious, since I could not, earlier that day, quite remember how the trails worked and spent some time involuntuntarially detoured on roads). However, I was not the one who went astray.

As sweep, you follow the slowest rider, hoping the faster people ahead of you stop at confusing intersections. Well, that worked for a while, but eventually the intermediate riders who had lost sight of Other Wayne became overconfident and scattered to the four winds, or at least four wrong trails.

After some phone consultation with Other Wayne, we hit upon an easily reached regroup point, gathered up our strays, and tootled along to the Raleys (where I had started this morning).

We ate a tasty lunch from the deli section of the grocery store, then I packed up my trike and headed home, while the rest of the group (11 of them) headed up to Folsom Crossing and then back to their starting point farther back on the American River Trail.

Tomorrow's ride will be much larger, and will go from the middle of the American River Trail and down to old Sac and back. Red Leader and I are planning on doing the first part of the ride with the crowd.

25 April 2013

hamma-hamma-hamma-hamma-Hamster Time!

#246 / #64

Wednesday, April 24th

Red Leader and I set out rather late in the day since it was around 90 degrees today. Hello, Spring!

We started at Sunrise and went to Watt, turned around and came back. My average speed was 13.9 - just 1/10 of a mile from the elusive 14mph. My top speed was 21.something, coming down the bridge to Wm Pond.

I got 11 achievements on Strava (meaning I had one of my top three times to date on 11 different segments). Two were Personal Records. (smug)

At Watt, something happened to my front derailler and I could no longer shift into my big ring. So I spent the time on the way back pedaling like a rodent on speed, stuck in my middle ring, keeping my cadence quite a bit higher than I would normally - around 95 (no cadence meter for me - I derived this number by plugging my components and speed into Sheldon Brown's Gear Calculator). Anyway, enough that I could occasionally feel one foot lose the smooth circling of pedaling and bounce around in the shoe for a moment.

It was a great aerobic workout.

I'm imagine how fast I'll be if I could pedal like that in my biggest gear ....

Off to the garage to fix my derailler, then off the the bike shop if I can't get it sorted.

20 April 2013

Bike around the Buttes

#245 / #63

Red Leader's first large-scale organized ride! He had fun. I'm glad.

We piled in the car at 8:30am - ungodly early for us for a weekend - and drove to Sutter CA to ride in a charity ride for the local Type 1 Diabetes youth center.

Really, just an excuse to ride in a new area. We rode the ride and got the t-shirts.

The 17.5 mile course took us up and down some hills along the base of the buttes, then swung around and headed back. The hilly area was 'blessed' with wild winds - 20mph - which were sometimes cross winds but mostly headwinds.

I used my granniest granny gear, leaned back against the headrest, and zoned out for the 5 minutes it took me to crawl up the hill.

Coming down the hill we could have had a respectable speed, but the cross/head winds sucked some of that away.  My trike handled pretty well, and on the way back I got to use the highest gear I have, pedaling away down a slight hill, wind at my back, at a comfortable 22mph.

Just before we turned south, diverging from the longer route, we had our one and only rest stop.

Red Leader got pretty far ahead of me on the curvy bits: between the road's camber and the cross wind and the curves, I slowed down until it no longer felt like my tires were greased.

I caught up to him after passing two very tired roadies (I think they'd done the longest loop). Yes, I'll admit it. I put a little extra effort in and steamed past them, up hill and into the wind. ha hA HA!

Last night we checked our tires and I put the boom in again 1/8 of an inch. I think that's the right spot. Very little ankle soreness and no funny knee sensations. Taking a week off the bike (boo hoo!) and plenty of rest and gentle stretching did the trick.

Red Leader is open to doing something like this again. I'm thinking Foxy's in the fall (the 30 mile family ride).

Oh, I forgot to say. One two-wheeled recumbent w/ a tail box and two cattrikes.

13 April 2013

Whoops! I did it again

#244 / #61

For only the third time since I've been leading group rides, I lost someone. She just plain disappeared between our last regroup and our turn.  She sent me a nice message after, describing that she had figured out how to get back so apparently I don't have to deal with the "Bad Leader! No Biscuit!" thing. Dodged that again.

Last Saturday would have been the Sacramento Recumbent Riders 1st Sat ride, to which we (Red Leader and I) were planning on attending, but the trail was closed for a Very Large running event. So the 1st Sat ride was moved to this weekend.
When, as it happened, I'd already scheduled a ride with another group, the Lake Natoma Loop with the Hammerin' Wheels Casual group. Boo hoo.

However, the cycling gods smiled on us and the recumbent riders (most of them, anyway) caught up with our group at our last regroup. So we got to say HI anyway.
They were a mite puzzled that we were contentedly hanging out with road bikes! and mountain bikes! but I imagine they'll get over it.

It was in the mid 70s I think, very little breeze, slightly hazy but otherwise a nice sunny day for a ride.

There were a lot of people out today, so we got to practice announcing ourselves and dodging around walkers.

Red Leader commented that this ride now seems slow to him. Well, no surprise there, he's been riding his trike for nearly a year now. Bound to get some faster.

My left ankle is still bothering me a little bit, but I don't think it is a boom length issue. I will continue to ice and so on.


10 April 2013

Harold and Maud

#243 / #60

Two squirrels (henceforth to be known as H & M) tried to get under my wheels today. They had plenty of time to escape (and did) since I was not moving very fast today.

Ever had a blah day? Well, despite my intense, obsessive, and somewhat creepy love for human powered movement, today was blah.

So we did just 10 miles.

But - hey!

That's better than 0 miles!!


07 April 2013

Goose air-strip


The Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy ride today (7 miles in Flat Folsom)

2 congenial folks came along for the ride, one Repeat Offender and one New Person.

Lots of birds today: mallards, Canadian Geese, redwing blackbirds, egret, mocking bird, and lots more heard but not identified.

We got a couple of great views of geese (and one mallard) coming in for landings on water. The birds were heading right towards us, so we got a great view of their feet and wings splayed out.

I assumed that the blackbirds we saw would be the tricolored birds, but now I'm not sure.  Ah HA! After referring to the Audubon site, and having my feeble memory refreshed, we here in California's central valley have a population of redwing blackbirds that do not have the yellow trimming on their red flashes. Which goes very far in explaining why I didn't see yellow today.

Many many walkers and dogs and children and even (a rare sight on Folsom's city bike paths) a horde of identically spandex-clad folk on road bikes, grimly riding along. I doubt they noticed a single bird.

The section of MUP (multi-use-path) leading down to the wetlands from the corner of Green Valley and East Natoma street is getting a face-lift: a retaining wall is under construction. It will be nice, since that section of path tends to have a lot of water across it in the rain, along with mud and grit. I wonder if they will tear up the bike path to insert drainage under it? I would, but then I'm not in charge, am I?

And, it did not rain on us. There was nice sunshine and a cool breeze - perfect riding weather.

06 April 2013

Gray(t) Day

#241 / #59

It did not rain on us today, but it did mist a bit while we were driving down to the trail.

It is Turkey Time on the trail. Someday, I'm sure I'll have a turkey-powered mishap. But not today.

The threat of rain kept some people off the trail, so mostly we saw semi-serious speedy cyclists. A couple of two wheeled recumbents. No handcycles or unicycles today, and some family groups.

Also a whole long string of teenaged? boys (the older I get the harder time I have sorting out ages), no helmets and no obvious adult leader-type so probably not scouts. It was good to see a bunch of youth out from in front of the flatscreen (OMG - am I getting that old?! I'm pretty soon going to be yelling "Damn kids! Get off my lawn!"

Red Leader was a bit tired from Wednesday's frantic pace, and my left knee is still adjusting to my new laidback posture. So we went only from Sunrise to Wm. Pond and back.

Tomorrow's easy peasy lemon squeezy ride might be cancelled due to rain. Won't know 'til later.


03 April 2013


#240 / #58

I was kind of cranky today. Some projects I have been working are not going as I would like.

And Red Leader had a bee in his bonnet so we were cooking along at 15mph for much of the ride out to Wm Pond from Sunrise.

15 is the new 12.

12 used to make me gasp, not so much any more.

On the way back, I got a stitch and had to slow down. Boo hoo.

But my overall average was 13.4 - fastest yet.

Hurrah for angst!