Thursday, February 28, 2013


I tend to go through different phases when it comes to cycling. After riding for so many years, I need to change things up when I start feeling bored. I guess that's why there is a garage full of different bikes. I am always ready when the next mood strikes me. Right now I am riding a lot on single speeds and enjoying it.

Yesterday I went out to do a little riding around Granite Bay. I parked in Folsom and took the bike trail up to Beal's Point where I then hit the dirt.

Along the way I happened upon a pair of women walking up the trail with their backs to me. They were spread across both lanes of the trail, as women walkers are prone to do. As I approached I politely announced, "Coming by on your left."

The woman closest to me jumped in the air and said, "Oh my god, you scared me!"

I offered my apologies and continued on. Less than a mile later the EXACT same thing happened with another pair of women.

Now, I know the bicycle is a recent invention. Sightings are still quite rare, especially on a bike trail, so I can understand how seeing a bicycle might strike fear in the faint of heart.

Seriously, I'm a little 165-pound guy on a bike, and I am not that scary. In fact, some (fat girls, older Chinese women and gay men) find me quite fetching.

If you are that scared of being outside in general, do us all a favor and stay indoors and read a nice book. Maybe something safe and comforting, like Curious George or Dr. Seuss. You might even learn something.

Once I made it to the safety of the dirt trails, away from the crazy people, I started to have a good time. Nothing like a nice, quiet piece of singletrack.

However, the peace was short-lived, as I quickly came upon a pair of equestrians. I pulled over well before reaching them, but this did little to reassure the brown horse that I was not going to eat it.

Anyone who knows me even casually has probably heard me say something negative about horses and their riders. I do not care for them. Still, I am always polite because the collective intelligence of the horse and rider is roughly equal to that of a bunny, and who can be mean to a bunny?

As the jittery brown horse tentatively passed me, its dim-witted rider said, "He is afraid of your bright orange bike."

To this I could only roll my eyes at her behind my sunglasses. Like most prey animals, horses possess eyes that are more sensitive to movement than color. Studies have shown they are actually orange-blue color blind, seeing these colors only in shades of gray. I would expect a horse person to know these things. Then again, their little bunny brains are undoubtedly incapable of comprehending color cone photoreceptor retinal cells and how they function.

After that my ride was quite pleasant for the most part. I did see another group of four equestrians, but they were cordial enough. I made a few really hard efforts on some of the climbs, and rode at a good tempo for the most part. I only stopped to take a few pictures. Here a hawk looks for bunnies:

I ended up with 28 miles before I had to head back to pick up my son from school. It was a nice ride, even with all the unwanted human interaction.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Enter Sandman

After our successful trip to Monterey, we are taking the plunge and having the couplers installed on our frames.

I took them to a local powder coat shop and had them sandblasted. Later today they will head to Steve Rex to be hacked in half.

His estimate for getting them back to us is three to four weeks, so we will be cutting it close for our NEW vacation time in April. (Yes, I now have a valid passport.)


Monday, February 18, 2013

Monterey Weekend

We spent the long holiday weekend in Monterey. The main purpose for the trip was to have some fun, of course, but Jen and I also wanted to try out our "Cozumel Project" single speeds in a travel scenario.

We arrived Friday afternoon around 2:30 p.m. Since we couldn't check in to our hotel until 4:00, we rode down to the wharf and had some food. Jen and I enjoyed some chowder in a bread bowl while Spencer opted for a slice of pizza.

The next day we rode north on the bike trail.

The morning temperature was a bit cool, but the forecast was for highs in the low 70s.

Towards the end of the bike trail there are a few pieces of fun singletrack.

I even coaxed Jen into railing some.

The boy looks good on his new 24-inch-wheeled Felt.

The three of us cranked out a little over 20 miles and we really enjoyed the riding and the scenery.

Later in the day we headed to Santa Cruz. I had never been to the Boardwalk. It made the clientele at the state fair seem downright charming by comparison.

Jen blasts me with a laser as I return fire with the camera flash. Probably not the only exchange of gunfire that night.

Sunday came and we again rode north. It was cool and overcast to start.

More trail riding.

Eventually the marine layer burned off, temperatures climbed and smiles were more frequent.

After three straight days of riding, the boy faded a bit at the end of the 22-miler. Still, he gutted it out and didn't complain.

We watched a couple of these guys for a bit. It looks like fun.

After the ride we spent a few hours at the aquarium before dining at Louie Linguini's on Cannery Row.

On the last day we went for a short spin before checkout. Here the boy poses in front of some local "artwork."

Monterey shot from the north.

All told we rode 62 miles over the weekend. It wasn't a lot for the adults, but it was like boot camp for the boy. He will sleep well tonight.

Jen loves her single speed. The bikes worked well in a vacation setting, meaning we were taking in the scenery at a relaxed pace—not hammering out training miles. I feel the bikes could be geared a bit higher, but that is something we can play around with. Otherwise, the bikes fulfilled their purpose of being simple, durable and easy to maintain.

We are pretty sure we will take the plunge and have the couplers installed.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Cozumel Project Update

After months of searching, I finally found a frame on eBay for Jen. I missed out on a really cool pink Surly and a nice Gunnar to other bidders, but won this one. It has been really difficult to find a steel, v-brake, single speed frame in an extra small or small. Really difficult.

Everything went together very smoothly except for the rear brake. The fact that On One runs their cable guides on the right and the cramped quarters of the small frame made the cable routing tough. The Avid brakes I tried first felt horrible.

Luckily I had an old Paul Motolite brake lying around. The beauty of this brake is that you can reverse which side the brake noodle is on, which was perfect for this bike.

Unfortunately, we haven't been out for a real ride yet, but the initial driveway review was positive.

The single speeds will go with us on our upcoming trip to Monterey. If they work for us in that setting, and we are happy with only one gear in a travel scenario, we will proceed with having couplers installed by Steve Rex.


Monday, February 04, 2013

Fistful of Pesos

And I have nowhere to spend them.

There are mistakes, and then there are mistakes. This weekend I made a big one.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was at the beginning of a three-week vacation. Part of that time was to be spent in Cozumel, Mexico. It wasn't until the night before our departure that we realized my passport had expired.

We were able to cancel our reservations because of insurance, albeit with penalties.

I have had a number of people say, "Sometimes these things happen for a reason," and they are right. The reason: stupidity.

I took today off to get all my passport renewal requirements assembled and mailed off. With any luck I will get a new passport quickly and we can find a replacement trip. In the meantime, I guess I will return to work tomorrow.

In the afternoon Jen and I went for a ride on the bike trail.

It wasn't anywhere near warm enough for shorts, but we wore them anyway. This is how people cope with loss.

We weren't on a warm, sandy beach. Any water we saw wasn't a deep, clear turquoise. We drank from plastic water bottles, not salted margarita glasses. The prospect of working the next day hung over us.

Still, we had the day off, we were on bikes and we were together. Not a bad day at all.