Sunday, February 07, 2016

Deadwood: No bicycle content

These photos from the 1870s were recently discovered by a professor of Photography in California. They tell the story of several Deadwood residents, and the hard lives they lead. None owned bicycles, and the photos themselves are completely fake.  But it's my blog, so here they are anyway.

Mouse over and use the left/right arrows. You may need to click the three dots below the images to see the stories.
Deadwood Portraits

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Selle Italia SLK

Look! More pieces for my bike that isn't here yet. I have this model of saddle on my road bike, and also had one on my bike that was destroyed. It's the perfect saddle for me. And as a bonus, I found it on eBay for not-a-ton of money.  I don't think it's made any longer and I'm very tempted to buy another just in case. I've had, like most cyclists, more than  few saddles. They've ranged from cheap to expensive, they've come on bikes, or I've purchased them separately. Finding one that's right for your own buns is so important. This is the one for me, and now it's just waiting for a bike.

As a side note, I used my LED bike light to light this. I may have found a pretty cool, and very portable, photography tool.

Bonus fun: The caption in this Instagram photo is a lie, created just to amuse them, but it was indeed fun to run into these cool folks on our ride.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Hillcrest Ave, Wallmart and bikes

Tricia wasn't happy to have this truck blow past her so closely, even dipping into the bike lane. Especially on Hillcrest Ave in Antioch where we were given to understand didn't allow these big rigs.

So she used the City of  Antioch web site to report this as a hazardous condition using their online form, and asked if it was still closed to trucks.

One day later she got a reply! Thanks Lynne, and the City of Antioch.

Hi Patricia,
You are correct, trucks are not allowed on Hillcrest.  I am the person in charge of the signs and will be making sure they are all in place with the freeway construction, etc.  Your request has been forwarded on to the police department.  If just a few tickets are issued for trucks off of the truck route, I’m sure the word will get around.


LYNNE B. FILSON | Assistant City Engineer

When I made the video and posted it on YouTube I called the truck a "Walmart truck." Minutes later "BigMississippi" corrected me. "That's not a Walmart truck. It was a C.R.England truck pulling a Walmart trailer." On close inspection she's right. However, I can only assume it's a Walmart contractor, which from my viewpoint is darn near the same thing. But, accuracy counts, hence this clarification.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Dangerous street planning and Antioch

I don't normally post links to interesting bike articles, but in this case I must make an exception.

Bay Bikers: The Bay Area's Bike Blog on by Brian Coyne has an excellent post that uses my city, Antioch, as prime example in "Dangerous by design: what one crash tells us about bad street planning"

Coyne has written a well researched piece that makes some great points. And, as a bonus, you might recognize someone in it.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Interim commuter bike appointed

I'm using my 70s-era Gitane Tour de France turned fixed gear/single speed to commute on until my new commuter arrives. I've got my lights, my Rideye front-facing camera and and Fly6 rear facing camera set up. I even have my Garmin 500 mounted on it. I don't have a rack, so I'm using a backpack for now. I just got the SKS Raceblade fenders because it's been so wet and it will be a bit until my new ride arrives. So my guess is that the rain is over now and I've screwed up California's drought recovery.

Looking on Youtube for mounting hints I got a lot of "Jeez these are hard to mount" videos. I don't know why. Mine went on very easily. I should bend the metal wires on the back fender to bring the fender closer to the rear tire. I tried, and was impressed how hard it was to bend them, I'll try later with more serious tools. 

Just in case you're wondering, those small white stickers are "I Voted" and "Ya Voté" stickers from our local polling place. Tricia and I usually ride to vote and put the stickers on our bikes and helmets.

Friday, January 01, 2016

Year end report: 2015, be gone

This is the least amount of miles I've had for a year in ages. Things "happened." You can see the lulls in my riding as I've conveniently circled each happening in red for your viewing pleasure.

Happening 1: I got some weird bug that just wouldn't get better. The doctors even gave me a strange drug that made me loopy, but also destroyed all my creative inhibitions. It screwed up my riding, but it did somehow encourage me to go wild on Instagram and start making cyanotypes. I even made this kinetic photo sculpture, which is unlike anything I've done before. (Click to play)

Happening 2: I got mugged while bike commuting and ended up with broken ribs and was generally a mess.

Happening 3: In December I had a collision with a truck. My bike was destroyed and I was badly bruised and ended up with a separated shoulder.

 I'm well off my usual 7000+ mile total. This total is from Strava, so it's missing a few, perhaps 100 or so, but what the heck. At least I'm still alive and I'm planning for 2016 to have fewer — or no — "happenings" and a lot more bike riding.

Tricia, on the other hand, was very busy on her bike. She had a total 6,374 miles, 1,800 of those on her commuter.

Here's hoping for a wonderful 2016. Time to go ride bikes now.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Tour of the Washington Cascades book

I've just ordered an 82 page book of our 2014 Washington Cascades Tour with Adventure Cycling. Mostly it's photos and text that appeared in this blog. That makes it sound easy, doesn't it? But the reality was something else. I gives me even more respect for the people who do this sort of work professionally.

 Insider geek insight: I was going to use MyPublisher They offered me a free book because they took forever to print my "Kate Wolf Festival" book. That book had no text, and wasn't too hard to make. This book, with a reasonable amount of text, was a pain in their MyPublisher program. So much I gave up and tried Blurb's Booksmart. I finished it, but when I went in to fine tune the text it was a nightmare.

So I did what I should have done in the first place. I used Adobe's InDesign, a real page layout program that I've used a lot and even taught. For some reason I thought using the canned templates and programs MyPublisher and Blurb offered would be easier for something "quick." I was so wrong. So I basically built the book three times. Here's hoping I got right, because unlike this blog where I can change misspelling, print is forever. You can buy my book on blurb, but you'd be crazy too. It's not cheap, and really, do you care? If you'd like to see it though, let me know. I'll be happy to show it off.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Good-bye! Good-bye! Good-bye my trusty steed

My bike is starting its reincarnation journey at Delta Scrap in Oakley. After a brief service involving a thumb print I was given $1.56 and sent on my way. The bikes ultimate destination remains undisclosed. Perhaps it will return as another bike, or a beer can. Both would serve to make this world a better place.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Cyclist death trap?

Is this for real, or permanent? The entrance to eBART in Antioch at Hillcrest (by highway 4) has the bike lane that goes straight splitting the dual right turn lanes. This is how you'd ride a bike to get to the new eBART station. It's the only way. Crazy. Any cyclist going straight, because they wouldn't be getting on the freeway, would be smacked by the cars that must turn to get on the freeway. Who thinks this is a good idea?

Monday, December 07, 2015

Commuter Curtis vs Truck

First off, I’m OK.

During my bike commute on On Thursday December 2, 2015 I was in a collision with a truck. Miraculously, I am only badly bruised, though my bike is totaled. The driver stopped, and helped me get my bike out of the road, but the left scene before the police and ambulance arrived. It’s hard to piece together exactly what happened.

My shoulder hurts enough right now, and has limited mobility, so I won't be riding too soon. And it's going to play havoc with my tennis game.  But I'm not dead! Just a few inches more and I don't think I'd be typing this.

Jim McFarland of the Wheel Peddler Mobile Bike Repair came by and pronounced the frame bent beyond use or repair, as well as noting most components were also wrecked. 

I'll be bike shopping soon. Who am I kidding, I’m bike shopping already. I’ve also added up all the extra broken pieces and it comes out to more than I would have thought. Panniers, a rack, and fenders add up quickly.

I hope to be commuting again soon. Right now I’m planning to be on my fixed/SS bike using a back pack or messenger I guess. It's not my favorite way to transport my things, but at least I'll be on the bike.

After my emergency room visit I got a ride to the college before my classes started. I told my students I'm ordering a shirt that says "Hit by truck, got to class on time. Tell me your excuse again.”

I've had a lot of support and love from friends and Facebook. Thanks to all of you for helping me through this.

Right now I just want to put this behind me — at least as much as I can what with the need to replace my bike and accessories — and heal so I can ride again. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Winter in California

OK, it's California. So it's not cold like in the winter other places in the country. Still, it's cold enough to break out the tights, headgear and gloves. And there's no reason to add ice to your water bottle. Tricia does not believe this.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Marsh Creek Trail at Cypress Road in Oakley WTF

 Why are these signs here? They don't make my life safer or more easy. JeezelPete. Why not just a sign that says "Don't actually try to use this trial. Get a car. We hate you."

 Not that I'm bitter or anything.

 NOTE: I got an email form a Delta Peddalers Cycling Club member that kind of explains it:

 Several years ago I remember that the trail crossing at Cypress was built and included the, now turned off, crossing signals. The signals were only on for a couple of weeks and then turned off permanently. My understanding is that they were turned off because someone feared that when the trail users activated the signal traffic was backed up across the railroad tracks, trapping vehicles on the tracks when a train came along. It looks to me like there was a major lack of planning at that time and an even worse remedy the situation now. I would think that if citizens that live in Oakley would complain to the City Council something might get done. I doubt if very many people using the trail adhere to the signs saying to go to the crossing at Main Street.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

ATV on the bike path: Busted!

Yesterday I was commuting home by bicycle when, up ahead of me I saw a four wheel ATV turn onto the bike path near the park on James Donlon Drive in Antioch, CA. I found myself wishing I wasn't so far away I couldn't capture an image on my handlebar mounted camera.

That old saying that there's never a cop around when you need one? Apparently it isn't always true. About half a mile later I came across an East Bay Regional Parks patrol officer stopped in front of the ATV and looking like he was doing police stuff. Yea!

Here's a super short video of me rolling past.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Giro di Vino 2015

Giro di Vino 2015Curtis all wet
This year's Giro di Vino was wet. Not too wet, but wet. At least near the end. We knew we were rolling the dice when we left for Lodi on Sunday morning. The weather reports called for rain, but it was unclear about when it would arrive.  We thought we'd get an early start because who doesn't enjoy wine for breakfast, and who doesn't enjoy starting a ride at 39 degrees?  We started early enough the first winery we rode to hadn't opened yet. We were early arrivers at the second where we found a few other cyclists huddled around the fireplace.

Young women in leggingsGiro di Vino 2015_0467

One thing about cyclists, we all think we look better than we really do in our cycling outfits. Some of us rock the helmet, gloves and shades even when tasting fine Lodi wines.

Wine drinker Giro di Vino 2015_0477

At Oak Farm Vineyards I harassed Tricia by FaceBook posting a photo of her with her wine breakfast.

Tricia morning wine Giro di Vino 2015_0483
Tricia was much classier and photographed her bike by the outdoor fire.

I also made a photo to contribute to the Facebook group "Look At My Bike Leaning Against Stuff." That giant bag is a Revelate Designs Pika Seat Bag. It unfolds even farther to hold more. I'm going to use it on tour this summer and thought I'd test it on this ride. It works, and held my rain jacket and pants with lots of room left over.
Oak Farms Winery Lodi Giro di Vino 2015_0487

Ripkin winery had their pet running about. I understand they are smarter than dogs, but, well, still...
Pig Giro di Vino 2015_0492

We carried along under threatening skies for many miles.
Tricia iunder dark clouds Giro di Vino 2015_0506

At the rides end Tricia was amused/annoyed/alarmed/appalled to find this sign. She posted it with the note: "I hate it when there's a liquor license on the loose! #englishteacher #wrongword "

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

It's gotta be the shoes

I've been using the same clunky but sturdy Shimano shoes to commute in for many years. I saw Giro Grynd Cycling Shoes on sale — and in my size — online and bought them. They have recessed SPD cleats that don't click on the floor, and the look almost like regular shoes. I think I'll like having an alternate pair to wear.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Adventure Cycling photography and bonus photos

The 2016 Adventure Cycling catalog has a full page photo of Tricia! We really love these folks, who are cycling advocates as well as wonderful tour operators. We've been on six of their tours and plan to do more. Plus, they often display excellent taste in photography.

In unrelated news, I check in on the Facebook group "Look At My Bike Leaning Against Stuff" and occasionally post. Here's one of my contributions. Really, it isn't my bike, or even my beer.It's daughter Erin's.

One more. Because I think the dryer is too hard on bike clothes we line dry all our bike stuff. Today I was at it as the sun came up.
A photo posted by curtis corlew (@cccorlew) on

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Flats and tubes, buy stuff, repeat

I patch, lord knows I patch. But sometimes, when the patches have patches it's time to replenish. It seems like overkill, but just look at the Instagram photo below. That's not a hand full of tubes, that's one tube. So I ordered a twenty-pack of tubes.

Plus, here's the important part: Tricia likes new tubes. So, new tubes she shall have. At least for the week or two it takes us to puncture all these.