Thursday, August 15, 2019

Riding around Lake Tahoe

I've always wanted to ride around Lake Tahoe. But I waned to do if off peak tourist season and mid-week to avoid as much auto traffic as possible as possible. With my school starting the semester later this I finally got a chance. I invited old friend Dan aka Lance Oldstrong to ride with me because fun is better shared.

We drove up on a Monday, stayed neat the "Y" in South Lake Tahoe and started our clockwise loop early enough to miss heavy traffic over the first climb between the stunning Fallen Leaf Lake and Emerald Bay. I've driven it, and it's terrifying. You feel like you're on a knife edge, ready to plunge off the road on either side. It's not so bad on a bike.

Though there's traffic along the North Shore it isn't horrible and I always felt like I had room to ride.


I was thrilled with the new bike path near Sand Harbor. That part of the road has been a dangerous very dangerous for cyclists. Now it's a delight, with smooth riding, no cars and stunning views.

I was enjoying myself right up until we got to Highway 50 to return to South Shore. I'm glad we picked a low traffic day, because there is either almost no room for cyclists or really no room for cyclists along that busy section. I was very concerned. Thankfully the drivers were kind, with many changing lanes to give us more room. But had I known how little space there was I might not have started this ride.

In the end, we made it back with not even a close call. But still...


Saturday, August 03, 2019

Pedalfest Oakland 2019

We missed last year's Pedalfest and sure didn't want to miss it again. The 2019 edition was even better than the previous ones we've been to.

It's a real cycling celebration. As commuters/roadies/tourists/commuters I generally think we're pretty up on all sorts of cycling. But we've missed all sorts of fun cycle sorta things. The festival had unicycles, big wheel unicycles, amphibious art bike races, amazingly cool lowrider bikes and bikes I'm not even sure what they are, all being ridden about by actual people, and not just on display. There were stunt demos to watch and eBike and cargo bike demos to test ride. They even had a pedal powered music stage where the amps were powered by stationary bikes. It was a delight to see all kinds of bikes and all ages and flavors of people enjoying the day and bicycles.


Plus, there were so many interesting booths, most cycling related. I got bike trail map from East Bay Regional Parks, and a Bay Trail map. And I heard about a lot of rides I may be interested in.


There were also more than a few vendors selling not-your-usual-stuff. Tricia and I both bought bags from EoGear that were "just right sized" for us. Tricia bought an interesting book — "Understand and Report the News in Your Community" — from the Microcosm Press booth a Portland-based publisher that puts out "Bikes in Space" anthologies and other feminist bike oriented books. I even got a couple of Continental Grand Prix All Season tires at an amazing price.

We also renewed our Bike East Bay memberships and got a bag of swag that included an Oakland A's ticket.

All in all, a wonderful event. The only snag was that we elected to ride to Antioch BART and take our bike to Oakland, then ride to the event. BART had work on the tracks delays so it took us over two hours to get there.

Usually this blog is all about the photos, but the light at noon is horrible, and I only had my phone. So...




A post shared by curtis corlew (@cccorlew) on
Unrelated to biking, we tried Souley Vegan right near the event. I give it a thumbs up!



Sunday, June 09, 2019

Coming soon: Germany and into Austria ride.


We're almost ready to leave for another bike ride. with Peak Tours. Two weeks across Germany and into Austria where we'll finish in Austria and hang out in Vienna for a while. This is the cover for our binder of info we'll take on the trip. 

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Summer is here. Time for new cleats.

I waited until my semester ended to put new SPD-SL cleats on my Sidi shoes. I don’t know why I made that a thing. But I did. Looks like I almost waited too long.

These lasted about a year. I guess they are just another consumable, but I'm always surprised how quickly I trash them. With each new install I promise myself I'll be careful, use cleat covers more often, and try to not walk in them. Then I break my promises.

Cleat covers are a pain. They almost, but don't quite fit in a jersey pocket. And when I use them I inevitably try to ride again without taking them off. (It doesn't work.)

My prediction: I'll repeat the same process with these.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Bike maintenance day: Tires, chains, pads, cleaning

Yesterday I spent way too much time working on Tricia's bike and my bike. It took hours and hours to do what pro could do in an hour.

  • Used the ultrasonic cleaner on our cassettes (very clean now!)
  • Installed new tire on both bikes 
  • Install new chains
  • Installed new brake pads
  • Cleaned
  • Adjusted as needed
That doesn't seem like much, but it was.

I finally gave in and am giving 25mm tires a shot. I bought Michelin Power Endurance. I wonder if I'll even notice the difference from my Michelin Pro4 23s.

Tricia has been using Gatorskin 25s, but I put Continental Grand Prix 4-Season Special Edition 25s on her ride. They are supposed to be more supple and better in wet conditions at only a slight decrease in puncture resistance. We'll see what she thinks.

When did chains get so expensive? I think $25 is an OK price, but $40 or even $80? That seems crazy. I'm sticking with Ultegra for now, but may drop a level or two, especially for the commuter bikes, which also need chains. It's so had to know what matters in terms of quality and lifespan.

UPDATE: Went for a ride to try it out and broke a rear spoke. No, I don't see how it could be related. It's just another annoyance. At least I have a spare set of perfectly fine wheels.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Primavera Century, metric version 2019

The weather didn't register in my weather app. It looked to be a cool but OK day. Instead, when we arrived it was misting heavily. But we'd paid, so we started.

We had an event that evening, so we planned on the 85 miles route. But with all the wet, and having finished the beautiful Calavaras Road section we said "Screw it" and jumped on the metric course. I'm glad we did,

The course runs uphill, parallel  to I 580 Dublin Canyon Road and the way to Palmaras Road. It's always an annoying joyless uphill grunt that seems to take forever. This day it had a massive headwind, so much that we had to pedal even when we hit the downhill section.

Still, fun was had, bikes were ridden, and the food at the end was really nice. And we did get 4000 feet of climbing in those 60 miles.