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.