Trials, Tribulations, and being ‘Out of Form’…


The last few weeks have not been kind to me. Too much easy living, too many long and stressful work days (these are hopefully mostly past for now), and not enough days of just getting on the bike and getting in a ride without worrying about how long or challenging.

Then I get last Saturday’s ride. It started out well enough – Rich and I were riding with the Western Wheelers C+ group (that’s a good thing – ‘A’ is the slowest in this ride organizing system). I was moving along near the front of the group when I hear a ‘tick, tick, tick’ sound from the vicinity of my front wheel. I reached down and did a ‘glove cleans off the tire’ move and felt something go flying and continued on without a care in the world.

Sadly, in about half a mile, I noticed that my front tire was going flat. I stopped. Rich stopped.

Rich said, ‘grab your spare, we’ll make this the quickest change ever’. Spare came out, wheel came off, tire irons flew, and the tire and tube were off in no time.

The new tube went into the tire, and the first signs of trouble poked up like unwanted dandelions on a freshly mown lawn. We tried to put a bit of air into the tube so that it would hold its shape and be easier to fit on, but it wouldn’t hold air. In a classicly brilliant move, we decided to mount the tube and tire anyway. Almost as smooth as starting a land war in Asia. Pump, pump, pump, check, nothing. Pump, pump, pump, check, still nothing. It must be the pump! (not) – try Rich’s pump. Pump, pump, pump, check, nothing. Huh? Ok, its the tube. Grab Rich’s spare tube. Check it – it holds air, mount it on the wheel, Oops! the valve stem isn’t tall enough – we can’t pump up the tire. Ok, maybe we’re just spazes… re-mount the first spare, Pump, pump, pump, check, do’h! still nothing. Eventually we came to the startling conclusion that it was the tube / valve stem not working.

Ok, lets see if someone riding by has a tube to spare. First person – nope, second, nope – third, bingo! Cyclists are so nice. On it went and off we went to finish the ride.

<more in a bit maybe>

Categories: Biking | 2 Comments

True Confessions, and a general purpose update…

So, in spite of my attempts to inspire myself I have not started commuting to work by bike,and in fact have been generally slacking off of riding quite a bit. In large part this is tied to a fairly busy spell at work, although also I must admit to a certain lack of motivation on my part.

The Latest Plan

So, the latest plan is to haul my bike into work and try to fit in an 60-80 minutes of riding 3 days a week.

We’ll see how this goes. (predictions of wussing out are NOT appreciated at this time).

Latest Awesome Ride

In spite of my lack of week-day riding, I’ve been getting in some really nice and fun weekend rides.Last weekend was no exception – Rich and I sent out early Saturday, heading down to Stevens Creek reservoir, and then took a daring right turn and headed up Montebello road. For those of you in the know, the top of the hill features a broad ridgeline which is the home of Ridge Vineyards, and their world famous Montebello Cabernet vineyards. If I was on top of my game I’d have some pictures of all of this, but I’m not. Instead, imagine if you can a thick morning fog layer wrapping the hill with chilly tentacles. Below the fog it was cool and pleasant for climbing. As we ascended and entered the fog layer we encountered no zombies, but it was cold enough that I wouldn’t have been surprised. Then as we approach the vineyard buildings, we moved out above the fog and into a beautiful sunny day.

It appears that most cyclists go up the hill to this point, then turn around and head back down. Rich and I however knew that Montebello road connects in via gravel and dirt hiking trails with Page Mill road, and we planned to see how this route worked on our road bikes. Montebello road ends in a little cul-de-sac and a gate – with a narrow hiking path around the end of the gate. We slowed and guided our bikes through and then headed out on the ‘very old beaten up road’ which in a short while became the ‘two rutted gravelly path’, and then the ‘steep and sandy gravelly path’ as it approached Black Mountain. At this point we had to dismount and hike up the steepest part of the hill – we just couldn’t get any traction.

After that it was a bit of a hairy descent on the ‘still steep and sandy gravelly path’ – but at least we were heading downhill. And then, after a while, we hit another gate. On the far side of this gate was some impeccably smooth roadway, and we headed on down this till we hit Page Mill and yet another gate – this appears to be someone’s private driveway! We had to climb the fence to get past this gate, but then it was on down Page Mill and home.

It’s certainly not a route I’ll do every day, and next time I might want to take a mountain bike, but it was really fun and completely different.

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If you haven’t noticed, many (most?) bicyclists wear cute/fancy biking gloves that have holes where the fingers stick out, so that you can feel/grip the brakes and shifters better, like this:

or, if you’re feeling particularly retro:

As you can imagine, this gives you some interesting tan lines. I find myself to be particularly proud of my biking glove tan lines.

But, that’s not really why I decided to write this post. So, why this post? Well, over the last few weeks, I’ve noticed a strange propensity for different types of gloves to show up at different spots along my regular routes. And here’s the key question – these gloves mark my route somewhat like a dog marks its’ favorite bushes. Are these gloves marking territory? I’ve seen heavy welders gloves marking the areas along foothill where PG&E is putting in new gas lines (aftermath of the big explosion ?two? years back). Along the 85 corridor, where they’ve been doing various road upgrades for a couple years now, there are workers gloves at two different places. No big deal, but a solo glove on the ground is such a strange object to encounter when out riding.

Plus, I get bonus points for using propensity in a sentence.

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To Commute or Not To Commute…

I’ve been pondering this for quite a while now… and with the nights already growing a bit shorter I’m getting closer to taking the plunge.

Originally, it seemed like too long of a ride, but now the 25 mile default round trip is a bit on the short side of what I can easily do.

12.5-ish miles in, so if I push it I can make the ride in 30 minutes. 40 without pushing too hard. Shower at work, save about 1/2 gallon of gas, feel great about myself all day. Take the long way home (or not), so 25-30 miles round trip. Save 40-ish minutes of commuting time, and arrive home done with riding for the day, giving me more evening time and allowing me to stay out on the road at least to the end of day-light-savings time.

I’m going to check out the shower facilities in building 2 today. The idea is that Monday is commute number 1.

Any bets on whether I wuss out or not?

Categories: Biking | 1 Comment

International Steve Day

Yep, tomorrow is the second annual International Steve Day. A great day of cycling and festive eating and perhaps some drinking of adult beverages as well.

Be sure to look up your favorite Steve(s) and tell them how important they are to you.

Don’t have a favorite Steve? Unthinkable as that may be, I’m available for the position as needed.

I myself will be participating in the first annual Tour-de-Steve, a 55 mile romp through the coast hills of the south bay. This years course features a scenic climb of Mt. Eden, a climb of Black Mountain, and then the more challenging climb of Old La Honda Road, followed by the scintillating decent of Hwy. 84 into the scenic town of Woodside. The post ride meal is probably going to be ‘pancake pie’.


Categories: Biking | 2 Comments

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