Archive for the 'Cycling' Category

 

Eroica 2015

apr 23, 2015 in Cycling, Life

Eroica is the name of a vintage bike event that started in Italy and now also has a California edition, a few weeks ago in Paso Robles!

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Rrrrrr-Tack!

Ah that sound an analog dérailleur makes, no index shifting, just move the handle until it falls into the next gear. The bike I rode made that noise, all bikes around me made that noise except for a few single speeds and a few with a Simplex 3-speed. And one of them rode up the steep unpaved hill in the lowest of his three gears where the majority of us had to walk our bikes, on a heavy steel bike, and he didn’t even appear out of breath. Toeclips. Clipless pedals were not allowed. Luckily my bike had toeclips with straps and Jon also lent me his brother’s cycling shoes. Getting into the toeclips never was a problem during the ride. My feet still remembered how to do this. I didn’t manage to get the cleat to catch on the pedal’s ridge and so I had to learn not to pull on the pedals but just push. This made the steeper climbs a bit tricky especially with the high gearing on the bike: 44×26 was the lowest I think (have you seen my thighs? Not Tony Martin material I tell you).

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The bike.

A forty-something year old Mondia Special, Reynolds steel frame, Campy Record. Borrowed to me by Jon on behalf of his brother. The lesson: it’s okay to have short friends as long as their siblings are tall! A great bike. It got a lot of looks and I heard many a “oh a Mondia!” as I rode along. It handled very well on the unpaved roads and descended really nicely.

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The shirts.

I rode in replica jersey and shorts of the Peugeot team of the 80-ies. There were many Molteni jerseys of course and Bianchi. I also saw several Atala’s, Raleigh and some Look jerseys. A few went further back for their outfits and wore woolen jerseys from the 20-ies and 30-ies; some with the spare tube wrapped around their shoulders.

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The scenery, the route.

Gorgeous. Hey, we’re in California, so duh. The route out Paso Robles was via a bike path, followed by the first unpaved road and climb, and then we were out in the country. The rest stops were at wineries (hips. pardon.) and the route meandered over their property, over their unpaved service roads. The pace of the ride was unhurried. You’re here to see and be seen, to chat, to admire, to encourage. The miles just flew by.

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The verdict.

You have to participate in one. These so-called Eroica rides are becoming more popular. There’s the original one in Italy of course but there’s also one in Spain, in Japan and here in Paso Robles! It’s fun, it’s a trip back in time, it’s nostalgic, it’s delightful.

Bike commuting, the prequel

aug 10, 2013 in Cycling

wpid-IMG_0982-2013-08-10-17-49.jpgThis was on my list to try and do when moving back to California: take the bike to work and back. I live in Santa Clara, the office is in Mountain View, it’s about 7 miles, so that seems most doable. But I didn’t want to use Barnaby, the road bike, for this effort. Thus, a new bike was called for. This became quite a soul-searching exercise. Which has amused me. As this article points out (thanks for the find, Dave) back home I would have gotten nice old secondhand bike and be done with it. But here it has to be just so!

The price point had to be such that I would be comfortable to leave it locked on the street for some periods – the bike would be inside the office at work but on the way home I might want to stop somewhere, or in the weekend ride to breakfast, lunch or dinner. Get a bike with drop bars, a commuter bike with straight bars like a Specialized Sirius, a cross-bike to take on the trails in the weekend, or what? It became a “or what”: a single-speed/fixie (a fixie is like a doortrapfiets, for the folks back home). I’ve been intrigued about these bikes for some time and this seemed an excellent excuse to get one. Plus they are cheap, have very little stuff on them that’s worth steeling, and often have very minimalistic paint jobs because they are made by non-brands. It is curious, isn’t it? Most of the frames of name-brand bikes like my Ridley are made in China just like my single-speed but cost way more and have the brand name printed in loud big letters on the frame. It’s like cable-tv: you pay $100/month for many channels you don’t want and you have to watch all the commercials.

wpid-IMG_0988-2013-08-10-17-49.jpgAnyways, so a single-speed was going to be it. Most local bike shops don’t have them, which is a pity because I prefer to buy from them. On-line, there are shops like bikesdirect.com. A lot of choice! What to get? I liked the Merciers (if only for the name) but the model I really liked was sold out in my size and the other model had a really short wheelbase making it rather twisty. In itself fun but perhaps not for early morning sleepy rides in busy traffic. The sold-out part it turned out became a bit of a hurdle. The bikesdirect.com site often only shows on the checkout page that the particular model or the particular color is sold out. I tried one, sold out, tried another, sold out. Eventually the one I bought was the fourth choice but that doesn’t matter that much: most of these bikes are very similar in geometry and components. So a white Gravity Swift was ordered Wednesday evening a week ago. An aluminum frame with a carbon fork for just over $300. Not bad. That’s less than one-tenth of what Barnaby cost which I guess makes sense – a single-speed vs a 10-speed or roughly $400 per gear.

wpid-IMG_0978-2013-08-10-17-49.jpgThe next morning I get the confirmation email that the bike is shipped via UPS to my old address in Webster NY. Aiii!! Guess I didn’t yet update my address info on my PayPal account! Quickly grabbed the phone and dialed the shop. The customer service person wanted to look up my order by my email address rather than order number which would have been simpler for both of us. Amazing how much confusion one can have over “commerce at onno dot com”… (I use this email address rather than onno at onno dot com for buying stuff on-line in order to minimize spam to onno at onno dot com – which, looking at the amount of spam on that email address is a strategy of questionable success…). Her Texan ears and my accent didn’t add up to a lively conversational combination but eventually the exact spelling of the email address was successfully communicated. Anyways, the bike was not yet in the hands of UPS but still in their store. UPS promised to deliver the bike on Thursday the next week. And indeed just after 5 pm that day a UPS truck stopped outside my apartment. I walked out, the UPS guy gets the box out of the truck and proclaims with a smile: “Look what I have for you! A new bike!”

wpid-IMG_0979-2013-08-10-17-49.jpgTogether we carried the box up the stairs. I signed for receipt and closed the door. TickTock came over to look at it then decided he was hungry and moseyed over to his plate with cat nibbles. We all have our priorities I guess. The bike came 80% assembled as it is named meaning that mainly the front wheel, the pedals and the handlebars need to be attached. I put the bike together and then took it downstairs for a spin around the neighborhood. It had the handlebars it came with which were 44cm width. That felt terribly wide. The bars on Barnaby are 42 cm (I have no shoulders, my arms connect directly to my neck…) and so I bought a 42cm drop bar for this bike which is also nicely flat on top.

Friday evening I put this on the bike and I flipped the rear wheel around to the fixie cog. Tried it out in the parking lot. In the beginning it was very strange: how do you stop and put your foot down? After a few laps I started to get the hang of it but I don’t really get the point of it, I like not having to pedal when I don’t have to pedal. And I like to ride with my hands on the brake grips so those went back on as well. Plus, I like brakes. They have their uses.

wpid-IMG_0987-2013-08-10-17-49.jpgYesterday there was time to really try out the bike. First rode down Homestead to the Starbucks at Holenbeck for coffee and lunch. The gearing on the bike is 46×16 which when starting feels heavier than the gear I normally start in at traffic lights on Barnaby but once rolling it is a pretty nice flat road gear. The bike handles very nicely both on straights and cornering and is very quiet (due to the absence of derailleurs). Besides not having any gears – except that one, of course – I’m also not putting a cycle computer on it. That already is very liberating – no cares about average speeds and such folly, just ride. After the stop I pedaled around eventually passing through Castro in Mountain View and zigzagging further past Shoreline and Rengstorff.

I turned onto Shoreline just behind a spandex-clad cyclist on a very nice carbon Specialized road bike stopping next to him at the traffic light to cross Central Expressway. He kept his head straight but I could see that he was looking at my bike from the corner of his eye. We cyclists are so elitist and snobbish: roadies and mounties don’t wave at each other, and clearly someone in casual clothes on a single-speed is not one of us either but his bike is so shiny white and pretty! The light went green and we took off. A half a mile further he pointed down to the right to alert me to a pothole even while I was way back which he noticed when he looked over his shoulder. Nice guy though.

I decided it was time for another caffeine break. From there I did part of the commute picking up Central Expressway. Going down the two overpasses I pushed sideways on the brake handle to shift noticing the handle didn’t move (nothing to shift to) and then just coasted down until I could pedal again. Then onto Lawrence and El Camino to stop by my local bike shop, Calmar Bicycles, to get a drink cage and bottle – both white of course!

From there with a loop back home. The bike passed the test. The first commute is planned for Tuesday.

But before then we have unfinished business, my beloved reader!

The bike must have a name!

To help you out in making suggestions, the road bike is called Barnaby, the road bike that’s in storage in Webster is Maximilian, the folding bike is Charles. My mountain bike was called Boris. A few suggestions have been made:

– Harriet. I like this one: goes well with the road bike, Barnaby and Harriet.

– Spartacus. A good name but Sara rightly pointed out that we can’t claim Cancellara’s nickname.

– Jerommeke, from the Suske en Wiske cartoons. Another good possibility.

– Donkey. I like this one too: in my head I hear Mike Myers as Shrek: “Donkey!”

Tour of California – Time Trial

mei 18, 2013 in Cycling

wpid-toc-2013-05-18-09-56.jpgWhat great timing of me! I moved here right in time for the Tour of California!

I took yesterday off to go watch the time trial stage in the Morgan Hill / South San Jose area. Last time I lived here I rode much of the route several times. I have come down Metcalfe past the Motorcycle Park but have not been up it. But from the downhill I remember it to be steep in parts with narrow turns and with tarmac that tends to melt and get soft in hot weather.

The Pro race started at 1 pm but I was there nice and early to have plenty of time to look around, admire the village behind the start with the stands and goodies for sale, and walk over to the team preparation area on IBM’s parking lot. That IBM research facility is famous by the way: the first hard drive among other things were invented there. In the team preparation area lots of beautiful things were on display: all the gorgeous time trial bikes, the aero wheels, the spare bikes, and the Cannondale promo girls – my next new bike may need to be a Cannondale…

For all its professionalism cycling is still a small sport in that you can walk around, stare closely at the bikes, get your picture taken with Andy or Jens, ask the mechanics questions about the gears (can you turn around a 58×12 gear? I can’t), wish Lieuwe good luck.

Halfway into the ride order I took position along the starting line to take more pictures. There was one racer having the worst day of his life. His rear wheel got stuck against the fork about 100 yards into his race. That is before the team car is allowed on the route so he could’t get a new bike. This is also where there are rows of spectators all staring at him. He first tried himself to get the wheel back in straight but each time he started riding again the wheel would dislodge again. Then a mechanic climbed over the fence to help him but with essentially the same result each time: futz with the wheel and the chain, get on bike, wheel gets stuck, futz again and so on. The two of them were fumbling for at least 20 minutes before the rider climbed over the fence with the bike, walked back to the start, got a new bike there and rejoined the race from the side road.

After Andy Schleck and Lieuwe Westra had come by I walked back along Bailey Road to reconnect with the route at the Santa Teresa Boulevard junction. This allowed me to catch the riders there until eventually the top riders come by. I would stop somewhere, take pictures of a few racers and then walk further along the route to another spot making it to the start of the climbs out the valley. Many spectators were there by bike and some of them rode up the climb on the side of the road. This gave a nice contrast when a racer would come by: as if they’re standing still. You don’t really get how fast these guys go until you stand on the side of the road and you see Jens Voigt come by on a 10% stretch at a speed of around 18 miles an hour.

At cycling races everybody seems to have fun. The riders are quite relaxed hanging out and preparing in the team area. Many of them happily pose for pictures. There is a very casual atmosphere with lots of smiling. Including a bunch of state troopers who were picking out and buying cycling shirts of their favorite teams.

The photos are in the gallery.

(English) Portola Valley bike ride

mei 11, 2013 in Cycling

Onze verontschuldigingen, dit bericht is alleen beschikbaar in English.

Oh, dat is niet goed

mei 12, 2012 in Cycling

wpid-notgood-2012-05-12-17-041.jpgVandaag één van mijn favoriete clubritten stond op de agenda: de Can-Yan Toer van Canandaigua naar Penn Yan, 80 km heuvelachtige vreugde. Zelfs de starttijd is prettig: 10 uur in plaats van 9 uur.

Desondanks kom ik wat langzaam op gang en ik rij het parkeerterrein op een kwartiertje voor de start. Ed, de leider voor deze rit, staat al naast de auto. We kletsen een beetje over de voordelen van het weer werken bij een groot bedrijf. We merken op dat het nogal winderig is. De westenwind zal het makkelijk maken om in Penn Yan te geraken, het terugkomen een geheel andere zaak. Ik til de fiets uit de auto, zet het voorwiel in de vork, doe de Garmin op het stuur, hang de helm aan een van de remgrepen – allemaal onderdeel van het vaste ritueel. Vervolgens het oppompen van de banden. Ik draai het achterwiel rond om het ventiel te vinden en “oh, dat is niet goed”. Ik zie een kale plek op de band. Ik controleer de rest van de band en zie nog twee zulke plekken. De voorband is een beetje beter maar niet veel. Even denk ik om het gewoon te wagen maar dan keert het gezond verstand terug. Het is een rit van 80 km door grotendeels karig bewoond gebied; als de band het begeeft dan kan dat niet onderweg gerepareerd worden. “@%$%$##!!”, fluister ik. Ik dacht gister nog om nieuwe banden te kopen maar dacht toen ook “ach, dat doe ik volgende week wel”. Juist.

Nu ja, het is zoals het is. Ik slenter naar Eddie, hij moet weten of er hier een fietsenwinkel is. Er is er een! RV&E Bikes is zelfs nog dichtbij ook. Ik doe alles weer terug de auto in en rij naar de winkel om hun voorraad te testen. Niet slecht; ze hebben zelf de banden die ik toch gekocht zou hebben: Specialized All Conditions. Die heb ik ook Maximilian, de rode Trek, en ze bevallen goed. Terug naar de parkeerplaats om de banden te vervangen. De groep is natuurlijk allang onderweg. Ed stelde voor dat ik de route omgekeerd rij en dan weer terug met de groep maar dat vond ik niets. Ik wil de route rijden zoals ie bedoeld is.

Een half uur na de start en ik ben onderweg. Ondanks de wind is het heerlijk weer, de eerste warme rit van het seizoen. Ik vind het niet zo erg dat ik de groep gemist heb. Ik vond alleen rijden vaak prettig – kan ik zelf het tempo bepalen, lekker rondkijken, liedjes zingen in m’n hoofd. Dezelfde vier liedjes (Haus am See, Watching the wheels, Shelter from the storm, We take care of our own) spelen al een paar weken van binnen en ik mix ze in een medley. Met de voornamelijk rugwind zal het stuk naar Penn Yan vrij makkelijk en snel gaan. Ik besluit om de gebruikelijk ruststop in Penn Yan over te slaan om zo wat tijd op de groep goed te maken.

Ik kom een paar Amish landwerkers tegen, ook op de fiets, en we groeten elkaar beleefd met een hoofdknik. Nog geen buggies. Als vlug ben ik in Penn Yan. Ik heb een vlug maar makkelijk tempo gehouden, heb genoeg water in de bidons en genoeg energierepen en dus fiets ik door. Na Penn Yan is een het een recht stuk langs het Keuka-meer voor een paar kilometer en dan rechts Wager Hill Road op. Dat ding is steil en stijgt dan nog een tijd door. Ik heb die klim een keer of drie gedaan. De eerste keer was het harken, de andere keren ging het relatief makkelijk. Een paar honderd meter voor me rijdt een andere fietser in een grijs shirt. Hij is nog te veer weg om aan de rijstijl te zien wie het is. Gelijk na de bocht gaat het meteen steil omhoog. Klik, klik, klik, klik, klik, doen de derailleurs. De eerste klik is van de voorderailleur, de andere van de achterderailleur en binnen 50 meter zit ik in het laagste verzet. Ik zie die andere fietser een beetje zigzaggen over de weg maar hij gaat nog gestaag omhoog. Ik word heel snel moe. Er is een plek op de klim waar het even minder steil wordt voor het weer zo’n 19% omhoog gaat. Daar ga ik op de pedalen staan maar ik kan geen ritme vinden en moet weer gaan zitten. Niet goed. Ik sleep me nog een eindje voort maar heb weinig energie. Rechts is een oprijlaan naar een wooncaravan. Ik ruk aan het stuur en stop daar. (ahh, het voordeel van het alleen rijden, niemand die weet dat je op een klim gestopt bent)

Na een minuut van het onder controle krijgen van de adem loop ik het laatste steile deel, klim weer op de fiets en kruip de rest van de helling op. Mijn benen doen pijn gedurende de volgende 10 km. Tijdens de afdaling van Sherman Hollow Road begin ik me weer beter te voelen. Vandaar gaat het rechtsaf, linksaf en dan kom ik bij de geleidelijke klim Route 264 op. Voor me rijdt een fietser in een fel geel shirt. Ik haal ‘m langzaam in en ik zie dat het Uncle Jules is. Jules vraagt me: “Ik kan me goed zien?”. Ja, dat shirt en de zeer groene schoenen, ja, dat valt wel op. Net voor de rechterbocht naar Middle Road – ik rij hier altijd verkeerd, en dus een vlugge u-turn – kom ik bij Bob Lechner. Hij zegt dat ie op Jules gaat wachten. Het begin van Middle Road heeft een steil stuk dat je nauwelijks merkt als het lekker gaat maar nu bemerk ik die hobbel wel. Van hier is het grotendeels noordwaarts tot de linkse bocht naar Route 18. Hoewel dit een geheel open landschap is (geen bomen en struiken), heb van de wind weinig last. Als je bij die kruising met Route 18 komt is de rit eigenlijk voorbij: nog een lekkere afdaling met mooie wijde bochten naar het meer en dan een stuk door gebouwd gebied en dan ben je er.

Ik ben benieuwd hoe ver ik achter de groep lig. Ik ging niet zo snel, mijn gemiddelde waarschijnlijk iets lager dan hun (hen?), maar ik heb de rustplek overgeslagen dus misschien heb ik zo’n 10 minuten goed gemaakt? Ik ben benieuwd wie er nog op de parkeerplaats is. Ik swing links dan rechts om Starbucks heen (nog een reden waarom ik van deze rit hou) en kijk op naar waar we allemaal geparkeerd hebben. Hmm, niet veel auto’s daar, ik zi nog net Gary wegrijden in z’n Prius. Bah, geen apres fiets geklets. Oh wel, had evengoed plezier en er is een aantal fietsers nog achter me.

Ik leg de fiets terug in de auto, sip blij m’n Naked proteine drink, doe de fietsschoenen uit (ahhh!). Ik kijk op en Cindy is als bij magie verschenen. Na haar rit is ze naar Wegmans gereden om een paar biertjes te kopen. Ik nomineer haar voor Beste Fietsvriendin Ooit! Jules is ook terug net als Bob. We leunen tegen de auto, sippen onze biertjes, kleppen lekker en vragen ons af waarom de club een 155km lange rit met 10:30 starttijd organiseert op moedersdag, morgen.

Ionia-Harriet fietsrit

apr 07, 2012 in Cycling

wpid-ionia-2012-04-7-17-39.jpgExcept for the hardish wind it was a gorgeous day for a bike ride. Starting from Ionia (sort of, the start location was really just a road junction somewhere near Ionia) to Honeoye then up the hill on Curtis Road followed by a few miles of cruising before climbing up Luykenbach hill. A bit of dirt road to get to the overlook then all the way down to Honeoye, up Route 20A and with some zigzagging back to Ionia (or rather that road junction).

There was a good crowd; fast people, not as fast as that people, short people, tall ones too. During the ride differing groups formed in part due to some missed turns by several of the riders. I have renewed my yearly good intention to take pictures during rides: see the gallery. And even took some video that you find below.

For me the ride represented varying levels of comfort and enjoyment. The first stretch to Honeoye went quite nicely, the stretches into the wind not bothering me much. The climb up Curtis Road I took in a steady pace – that was good too. Bit further on was a downhill that went well until I was almost at the bottom when the bike went into a shimmy. While exciting, not much fun. In getting the bike back under control I veered over the yellow lines but luckily there was no traffic. One moment I thought I would acquaint myself with the tarmac but I kept the rubber where i belongs – on the downside. It dented my confidence a bit for the downhills still to come. Luykenbach Hill was much easier (ehh not as hard) as I expected. The road surface was a lot better than previous years. The overlook was beautiful with this weather. The coffee back in Honeoye was delicious, baby! The climb up 20A went well for the first half and then I ran out of steam. The remainder of the ride Cindy and I rode together and that is just fun. I was glad to be rolling back to the car. The combination of the head wind on the way back and the hills made it a hard workout.

Fast Friends scaling Luykenbach Hill:


Het fietsseizoen is begonnen!

mrt 11, 2012 in Cycling

wpid-firstride-2012-03-11-15-46.jpgDe eerste rit was gisteren, de traditionele hop langs Whalen, Scribner en dan terug de klim op Blossom Road. Maar 14 mijl maar soms is dat een enorme afstand na een lange winter. Deze keer wachten we natuurlijk nog steeds op winter. Vandaag was de Penfield-Walworth rit, aangekondigd als 28 mijl maar in werkelijkheid 34 mijl, de extra 6 mijl worden u gratis door de club aangeboden.

I hou van de voorbereiding voor een clubrit, de ochtend van de rit of als de start vroeg is de avond ervoor. Het heeft een zekere Zen-achtige kwaliteit: het verzamelen van de bidons, het vullen van het flesje met de gel, beslissen hoeveel energierepen mee te nemen en welke smaken, controleren dat de Garmin Edge opgeladen is, de routekaart printen, de fietskleding klaarleggen op de stoel in mijn slaapkamer. Aan het begin van het seizoen, net als aan het eind, kan de temperatuur in een bepaalde zone zijn dat het lastig is om te bepalen hoeveel kleding aan te trekken. Twee lagen en een windjack? Een muts of alleen een hoofdband? Handschoenen? In de ochtend ga ik altijd even buiten staan om te meten. Moet toch de kattebak weggooien.

Gisteren was het koud maar zonnig. De weersverwachting gaf een chill factor (hoe heet dat in het Nederlands?) van een paar graden onder nul. Maar het voelde zo koud niet aan: twee lagen, een windjack en handschoenen. Vandaag was het zonnig, rond de 12 graden en wat wind: een laag, windjack, geen handschoenen.

Voor gisteren was mijn laatste rit op 5 februari. De atmosferische omstandigheden waren duidelijk anders. De Garmin Edge gebruikt een barometer om de elevatie te berekenen. Nadat je ‘m aanzet, calibreert ie voor een paar minuten en bepaalt dan de elevatie (plus of min een paar meter). Als de omstandigheden met de vorige rit erg groot zijn dan duurt dit soms zo’n 15 minuten. Gisteren niet. Zoals je in de foto kan zien (mijlen voor de afstand, en voeten voor de hoogte) zijn we maar even op het droge geweest en voor de rest behoorlijk onder de zeespiegel. Webster ligt ongeveer 300 voet boven zeeniveau… Het profiel laat ook een paar heuvels meer zien dan ik me van de rit herinner.

De eerste clubrit begint altijd erg rustig, zo’n 16-19 km/u. Tot de klim op Blossom Road waar altijd de vlam in de pan gaat. Nu ook. Na de bocht Scribner in had ons drietal de groep zo uiteen getrokken dat Otto zei: “Laten we langzamer gaan zodat Paul terug kan komen”. Schrik en afgrijzen! We hebben Paul gedropt? Wat voor ‘n fietsseizoen wordt dit?

Samen met het fietsen naar en van de start was de afstand 24 mijl. Gewoonlijk losgeld dat je in de auto hebt voor tolwegen maar zo aan het begin van het seizoen deden mijn benen toch wel pijn en zag ik uit naar de kans voor een dutje met de katten.

Vanmorgen voelden die benen toch goed. Ik kon de rit van gisteren wel voelen maar ik was niet stijf. Ik fietste naar de start bij de middelbare school in Penfield. Een behoorlijke groep was er al, ongeveer 30 fietsers. Deze rit is niet een van mijn favorieten. Five Mile Road gelijk aan het begin is redelijk druk en vraagt de nodige voorzichtigheid, zeker met de hele groep nog bij elkaar. We zijn niet zo zorgvuldig met het een-voor-een achter elkaar rijden als we zouden moeten zijn. Maar na de rechtse bocht Whalen in en dan even later links Jackson in dan zijn we van de drukte weg en op lekkere rustige landwegen tot we net na het dorpje Walworth aan de weg terug beginnen. De officiële route leidt ons langs Route 441 wat een drukke weg is met vrachtverkeer, veel gaten en rommel aan de rechterkant van de weg. Wij namen de toeristische route terug via West-Walroth en Sweet Corners Road. Zo, wat zijn die twee klimmetjes steil op Sweet Corners zo vroeg in het seizoen! Op eerste zat ik in mijn laagste verzet te harken.

Na het lekkere kletsen op het parkeerterrein na de rit, fietsten Otto en ik samen terug. Otto voegde een paar extra kilometers toe door om de baai terug naar huis in Irondequiot te fietsen.

Thuis verheugde ik de katten door de balkondeur open te doen en hun hun eerste kans in maanden te geven op frisse lucht en lekker staren naar de vogels en de mensen buiten. Het is maar net half maart. Ik ben er nog steeds van overtuigd dat we nog een paar goeie sneeuwstormen krijgen. Maar niet deze week volgens de weerman.

We are not lost

jul 09, 2011 in Cycling

wpid-notlost-2011-07-9-18-02.jpgToday Dave suggested to do an alternate treatment of the scheduled club ride. Instead of starting at 8am, we start at 9. And instead of starting in Leroy, we leave from his house in Chili. A savings of 1 1/2 hours of sleep. You don’t come across such deals too often.

Bob, Dr Bill and Robert (?) also gather at Chateau Sorrel. Dave makes sure the cars were parked such that Martha could still park in the garage. The plan is to ride to Leroy via Oatka Trail, pick up Sara and Billy along the way and then hike along the club ride route from there.

We roll out and bike along at a quick but decent pace. A few miles before getting to Oatka Trail Dave and I are riding side by side. A car comes up behind us and hooks loudly with the driver making throw-away gestures as h passes us. This does not suit Dave. The always benign and soft-spoken Mr Lamb makes hand gestures back at the driver and utters words that don’t appear in my copy of the Concise Oxford Dictionary nor in my American Heritage Dictionary – I just checked both to be sure. We are all shocked.

Luckily we come upon the start of Oatka Trail and gather the Ture family. The road is still half in the shade which is quite pleasant. I love how it meanders through the trees and the farmland. At the end we turn left for what can only be the climb up Circular Hill. It’s a little steep at start but then evens out meaning that you can stomp up it at a good speed. Billy knows this and spins away right at the bottom. Eventually we catch up with him but only because he eases up on his pace. At the turn onto Route 5 we wait for the group to re-form. Sara is not feeling too well and it appears her bike is not feeling hot either. It makes funny noises. It takes us most of the ride to figure out the cause. The wheel skimping the brake? No. Broken or loose spokes? No. Bottom bracket needs work? No, it’s the cassette. A few of the gears have wiggle room.

At the convenience store in Leroy I remember the yummy peanut butter crackers Cindy brought to our ride in Ellicottville. They have them here too! Together with the very black coffee it makes a lovely little second breakfast. From here the plan is to follow the club ride route which goes around Silver Springs Lake. We speed up and down Bethany Road. During one of those speeding down moments we almost miss our turn and need to give the brakes a bit of a workout. That left turn is following by a little bump of a hill and the junction with Route 19. Some discussion ensues and the group wisdom rules that we turn right onto 19. A few miles further we come upon a village, Wyoming, that we didn’t really expect there. We stop at the village square. It has a bench and a soda machine. Bob, Dave, Robert, and also Dr Bill joins in, stare hard at the maps (three copies of the same one) to figure out where we are, how we got here and what next? Eventually it is determined that we are too far west. Got to be happy that Clark and Lewis never thought that otherwise this fine country would have been half the size it’s now.

We loop around making our way back to Leroy. Just before this town Wayne joins us from a side road. Since his accident Wayne is not much into social riding anymore. So he says “hi!” and he says “bye!”. We get back to the same store we stopped at in the morning. This time it is time for Vitamin water and yes more peanut butter crackers. We huddle around a gas pump because that’s where the shade is. From here we enter Oatka Trail at the other end not going all the way but making a left where we say bye to Sara and Billy who take the way back to Rush. Robert clearly had something nice to drink at our last stop. He’s feeling feisty, does not pulls at the front and comes by to pick up the pace whenever we let it slip. Bob and Dave zigzag us through the bowels of Churchville and Chili back to our starting point. One of the neighborhoods we zigzagged through seemed to have one big garage sale going on.

Back at Dave’s house we see that Martha did get her car back in the garage past ours. We hang there for a little. Dave hotfooting on the blacktop which seems rather hot to stand/walk on without shoes.

We did 80 miles at 19.1 mph.

Hurt So Good

apr 03, 2011 in Cycling

wpid-rideseason-2011-04-3-17-20.jpgThe cycling season has started. Actually it started a few weeks ago because the RBC schedule said it did.

I’ve done 6 rides so far most of them windy and chilly. Although the rides yesterday and today were much warmer than those a week ago. Having been grounded for two months with a sprained ankle after an attempt at cross country ski, and not having done much exercise for the few months before that, I’m only slowly getting back in shape. For the first time ever I gained weight this winter and had to loosen the belt a notch to keep things comfortable. Embarrassing.

But, we’re back riding!

Yesterday was RBC’s Two Park Tour ride (aka number 123), a favorite of mine because it was the second ride I did with the club after moving here. And everybody remembers their second! I like it because it can be a fast ride, it has some hills and some descents, it goes over quiet roads. Yesterday the wind was blowing hard from the west meaning that the first half of the ride would be work but the turning point near Avon was a blast. Wind in the back and rolling hills with stretches of false flat in the good direction. Around 20 people showed up for the ride which is a good number early in the season. Almost immediately after the start I decided to let the fast friends go (well, not much of a decision to be honest, they were going too fast) but after a few miles we settled with a group of 4 or 5 riders.

Today the route took us the other way around. The wind was a bit less but still very present and towards the end the two steep climbs up Stony Brook waited for us. While my legs were pretty tired after the ride yesterday, I felt pretty good today. While I ended up behind the fast group early on due to the need to take off my wind jacket, I managed to close the gap. That gave me a 19.2 mph average for the first half hour, something I knew I couldn’t sustain. Shortly after rejoining the group we came upon some short hills and I swung off the back. What I did notice while in the group that Gary “I’m going to take it easy today” was riding ahead of the group. Such certainties make one smile.

In the short season so far many of the Fast Friends have made appearances. Uncle Jules has been riding well, Spinning Ginn put in valiant efforts. Cold Hands Tom rode well last Saturday on the loop through Bristol and Honeoye. He wore inner gloves and his motorcycle gloves and still had cold hands. How is that possible!? The Pink man rides strong, of course. Saying things like “I brought my slow bike”, as if that makes a difference. Miss Giggles, of whom it is rumored that she does own a bike with gears, has so far preferred to conquer Parrish, Stony Brook and other steep climbs on her single speed. The Honorable Donna and Don managed to both ride today with Donna having the right cleats. Sara rides no matter what, feeling sick or having sore knees, and will still make sure she gets to the top of that hill before you, thank you. Engineman Otto has been making sure to get the miles in, already riding to the rides. And Mark seems to have a had a good winter, lost weight, looking good. Even Pencil Legs Dwight was there today. He’s possibly the only cyclist with thinner legs than I have.

Some of us are still slowly awakening from hibernation. We have not yet spotted Edward The Fast, welcomed Dr Bill to a ride, seen Dennis (both of them), nor Wayne (O Wayne, were art thou?). But I’m sure they’ll come and play with us the next weekend!

Club Rides 2011

mrt 08, 2011 in Cycling, Technology

wpid-clubrides-iPad1-2011-03-8-10-18.pngThe new version of my bike ride scheduling iPhone app, Club Rides, is up in the iTunes App Store.

It has native support for both iPhone and iPad. In addition to the new schedule for 2011 there are several other enhancements:
– Faster launch time
– Displays the club’s RSS feed for club news
– Share your favorite rides via email (facebook and twitter to come in an update)
– Send the rides you plan to do directly to your calendar
– Tap the ride leader’s phone number to call

To enable posting your rides to the calendar on your device, tap the Settings icon in the top right corner of the screen and select which calendar you want to use.

On iPhone to show a map with the starting location of the ride, tap the starting location in the ride view.

Club Rides comes preloaded with Rochester Bicycling Club’s schedule. It supports other clubs, like Northern California’s Western Wheelers, as well. And it can support your club by using the customization guide. If you like to make Club Rides applicable to your cycling or hiking club then I would be happy to assist you.

(this post is a little late – couldn’t log in for days – called in my host’s customer support and lunarpages came through with flying colors – thanks guys!)

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