Monday, December 31, 2007

Year end mileage, final ride of 2007

Motobecane: 3481
Commuter: 2872
'87 Cannondale: 815
Total: 7168
Finished off the year with a quick 20 around Antioch. Then Joyce called and wanted to hit the Diablo Junction, so we did... almost... (that's her in the yellow.) It was so windy we stopped before we got there and went for beer and burgers. Still, a good way to end the year.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Money saving tips for cyclists

I've been asked "How do you get so much bike junk?" I'm going to share my techniques here.

The trick to getting more bike stuff is to endlessly expand your available rationalizations.
As a bike commuter every tank of gas I don't get is $50 for bike stuff. BUT THAT'S ONLY A START!!
The expensive gym around here is about $100 a month. I'm not a member because I cycle. Therefore, that's $100 tax free savings to me! Every month! See where I'm going here?

Everything I buy as a Performance Bike member gives me a 10% credit. Now, I'm saving that to get my sweet cycling wife a present. Do I want to look cheap, or get her something nice? That's right-- something nice.
And how can I get my Performance credits up? Only by buying more bike stuff. It's a win-win!

Do you have a neighbor that water skis? Every dime they spend on their boat counts as money you save by not spending it on YOUR boat that you don't own!
If you do it right, it turns out you can't afford NOT to have a bunch of new bike stuff ALL THE TIME!

Send me $27.50 for my new book on how this works, or better yet, don't send the money and you save $27.50 to spend on your bike. Not enough? Then don't buy copies for your friends and save $27.50 on each friend you didn't buy for! Tell your friends not to buy it for you and in no time they'll be rolling in bike swag too!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas report

I had a great Christmas, with the Tricia, the kids and my Dad. Trees, presents, too much food; We had perfect traditional Christmas. Santa (in the guise of Tricia) gave methe gift of music: CD Box set, USB Turntable and iPod. Pretty amazing! But though I gave her all kinds of bicycle swag, I got no bike stuff myself. Until I opened my Dad's gift of $$$. I jumped on the 20% off Christmas day special and ordered a new pair of Pearl Izumi shoes. The arrived today, and I put the cleats on. Testing and cleat alignment begins Saturday if it isn't raining too much.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Dog day afternoon

I think I may hate dogs. Not your dog, with an actual name and a responsible owner, just dogs in general. Especially the ones that are pitbulls and loose on the streets. Especially the ones that chase Tricia and I when we are out on an otherwise delightful ride. I think anyone who has a dog that bites someone should go to jail, just as if they'd stabbed them with a knife. Maybe a permit and insurance should be required of all dog owners.

UPDATE: What's with this page? It has 1000's of more visits than any of my other pages.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Davis Double

I've read PrincessZippy's ride and training stories at I've read the info at the Davis Double site and Bob's tips for surviving the ride. I'm thinking that I need a goal for 2008. I'd like to do something big before I get so old I can't (and that's getting closer all the time.)
The question is: Can I do it? Can I possibly get ready to ride 200 miles in one day? How much commitment would it take to train? Heck, how much pain would it take? Could I even finish before they drag the stragglers off the course? What is the true meaning of fear? I hear my Mom whispering "If Jimmy jumped off a roof would you jump off ?" How long can I think about it before i actually have to decide? Why am I asking all these questions and who do I think will answer them? I guess sometime before January 1 I'll need to make the call. Devote half of 08 to riding, or get a clue and figure out something a lot easier to aim for.
Take my poll on the right and help me out!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Garmin 305 and Ascent GPS extravaganza

I went nuts and bought a Garmin 305 GPS unit with speed, heart rate, cadence and auto flat tire fixing. Then I got Ascent, a cool Mac program that makes it all useful. But what's even better is that I can send the GPS data from Ascent to Google Earth and watch my ride like I'm flying over it.
I don't know if I really need this stuff. I have notions of training and becoming stronger, faster thinner and younger. Maybe that'll happen. Maybe I'll just have fun. At least it came with rebate coupon.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Bike forum Diablo Ride

bike forum diablo 1.jpg
Originally uploaded by ccorlew
I met a few riders I know from the cyberspace land of for a ride. We went From Danville up the South gate to the junction, down the North gate, out to Clayton and around the "back side" of Diablo via Morgan Territory Road and back to Danville. We did 60-some miles and a ton of climbing. It took most of the day as everyone was very kind and we didn't drop anyone. I had a blast.
Here a slide show of photos via flickr.
Below is a live Google map of the ride

View Larger Map

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Fog land

It looked rather gloomy this morning, but Tricia and I told Joyce we'd ride, so when she called we went out at 8:30, into the fog, headed toward Antioch's Empire Mine Road and then out toward Los Vaqueros Reservoir.
It wasn't that cold, and I dressed right, so it was actually nice. Then we started dropping in and out of the soup. It was delightful. The light was beautiful as we rode along the edges of gloomy and bright.
I was happy as I felt pretty good after being "off" for the last week.
We talked about doing Seattle to Portland again next Summer. Hummmmm.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

New frame time?

I haven't been feeling well. I'm still bike commuting, but I'm not doing riding much more. Instead I'm looking at bike porn and imagining a new frame. Is that so wrong? I can make up ton of reasons why I need one. But perhaps the best one is that I can get this extra cool Kestrel RT700 for under $800 through a group buy on Check out these photos, or this Kestrel page. This frame is sold online all over for more than twice that, and lists for over 2K. I'm not nuts about the bronze, but what a great frame. If it happens it looks like I'd pay in December and get a frame in Feb. I'm thinking about it. Spending money on a new frame is even better than training or losing weight, right? And it supports he economy. I'd be acting as a good citizen by getting it.
Of course, if I do get this, I'd better plan on a new something for Tricia too. She likes her Trek 1500, but I'm sure she'd like something new even more.

UPDATE: I broke down and put a deposit down. Delivery is sometime in February.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Day of yech

I don't mind commuting in the cold, but riding for fun in the cold just isn't much fun. It's been a gorgeous week, but Saturday was overcast, dark, and cold. I wore a base layer under my jersey and regular bibs. Mistake. I was cold and slow and felt crappy the whole shortened ride.
I told Tricia we should just have taken the commuter bikes and gone grocery shopping instead of trying to enjoy the day.
Maybe I'm just getting older. Maybe I just had a bad day. Maybe Monday will be nicer.
UPDATE: Darn it. Monday was a tad overcast, but still, the sun did come out late in the day. But I couldn't gt myself outside. I feel so blah. Is it a virus, old age, or just that I'm lazy? Usually playing on the bike is fun. Today I don't want to do anything. I hope this feeling crappy ends soon....

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Seasons change

Even though the time changed and it's lighter in the morning, the days are getting shorter and colder. The fog that sits on the canal during my morning commute has reappeared, but the bugs seem to be gone for now.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Last year vs this year

It was a year ago the Tricia and I went on our first organized ride -- a 30 miler through Lodi. It was a big deal. This Sunday we knocked out 35 around Antioch as a no-big-deal afternoon jaunt. Kinda cool for us! Such a small thing I didn't even photograph it.
In other news, it's getting darker sooner. Tricia has her light charged up and is mentally preparing for her commute through some... interesting... after dark areas.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Tour of Vacaville

Tricia and I went to Vacaville to ride with a bunch of folks I talk to on the NorCal forums of The weather was grand, the 40 mile route up toward Winters had few cars or stop lights but did have smooth roads. But best of all was meeting a bunch of really nice people. I haven't ridden in a pace line in ages, and it was a ball to be flying at over 20 a lot of the time. My average was 17. Not bad considering for a lot of the ride I was just... riding.
We stopped at Precision Bikes on the way home and didn't buy the Orbea Orca and Diva on sale, even though we were assured there would be a price break if we bought both. Maybe in the next lifetime, or after we win the lotto.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

New cables

After I broke a spoke on the rear wheel on my commuter bike I figured when I had that fixed I'd get new shifter cables as well. I had some Jagwire cables and was just too worried to install them myself. I had the The Wheel Peddler do it. After watching I'm glad I did. It seems they're a bit different than the 1975 version I'd last installed. They're Teflon and have some sort of magic sleeve and weird ferrels.
The upside is my bike shifts better than it has in years.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Riverbank Cheese and Wine Ride

Tricia and I did the Riverbank Cheese and Wine ride on Oct 14. Sixty miles of Northern California fun. Cows, goats, horses, fields, small towns and Boy Scouts feeding us white bread, Velveta and sliced processed ham. The homemade cookies were great, though.
The ride folks, despite the name of the ride, had no wine, so we dropped by the downtown Cheese and Wine Festival where I met the Dairy Princesses. They reminded me about the importance of great California milk and milk products. We could have paid $35 to go to the wine tasting tent, but we passed. We didn't buy any meat-on-a-stick or lawn sculpture either. I did, however, have a fine Sierra Nevada beer that really hit the spot.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

50 plus jersey

On the day that everyone else road the Diablo Challenge I didn't. I had a great ride through East Contra Costa with Tricia. You can, however, see Diablo in the background. She shot this photo so I could show off the 50 plus jersey I designed for the over 50 forum on

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Curtis the commuter

I arrive at Los Medanos College long before the students and sometime before the sun is up. My commute is only 8 miles, but I wear my full-tilt road kit just becaue it's comfortable. This semester I'm added the baskets, which allow me to carry lots and lots of junk. In this photo I'm hauling a large photo in the tube, a heavy camera bag, my laptop, clothes and lunch.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Waves to Wine

We made it! Waves to Wine was harder than Seattle to Portland, but the scenery was worth every bit of uphill and suffering. It was a blast. I made digital recordings along the way and hope to have a small segment on the Fredcast podcast I'll post a link when (and if) it happens. There are more photos than will fit on this blog, but here's one more. Please be kind enough to note that I'm modeling the new 50 plus jersey I designed!
Need more? Try this link to the mp3 audio report of the ride

Friday, September 28, 2007

Commuter babe

Tricia moved from Dallas Ranch to Antioch Middle School, but she's still bike commuting. New this school year is her rack and trunk. It's a Topeak. The sides fold down to make room for more eighth-grade English papers than you'd ever want to haul home, much less read. Tricia rocks!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Me vs Motobecane, ISIS, FSA and stupidity

I was getting a clicking sound from the Motobecane Le Champion SL. It was annoying, and getting worse. It sounded like it was coming from my FSA SL-K crankset/bottom bracket.

I did some research on and discover an "FSA click" thread. I also discovered ISIS style bottom brackets have a bad rep.

I took the bike to my local bike store and they said "Yep, it's the bottom bracket".

Rather than replace suspect bottom bracket with another ISIS, I ordered a Shimano R700 compact crank and Ultegra bottom bracket. I had the local store install both.

SIDENOTE. Bikesdirect speced "TruVativ or FSA" bottom bracket. This is what was found inside. It's marked "Chin Haur," whatever that means. The bike store says it wasn't installed very well.

ARRRGGGGG. It's was still clicking! But "Substructure" said in a thread he tightened his QR and solved his problem

I really tightened my rear QR and zoom. All better. I am an idiot. But then my LBS didn't exactly save the day either. On the other hand, LBS had no problem with me finding a great deal on the cranks and BB elsewhere and having them install it all.

Did I waste money? Maybe, but the Ultegra shifts a bit better, and I'm pleased to not have that other BB any longer.

Such is life.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Tour of East Contra Costa

Tricia and I did a 50 mile loop through East Contra Costa, notable mainly because it wasn't windy and no one tried to run over us. That and it gives me the chance to try and jam a Google map into this blog, which may or may not work. A good time was had by all.
If you know how to keep one line going in Google Maps when you need to scroll over, let me know!
View Larger Map

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Three feet

The Cascade Bicycle Club in Seattle (the swell folks who put on theSeattle-to-Portland ride) are sponsoring a campaign to encourage drivers to leave cyclists three fett of space. I really like their ads.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Waves to Wine

I signed us up. Not only me, but Tricia too. If we can ride 200 miles in two days, we can ride 150 in two days for a good cause, and that cause is the fight to cure MS. On September 29 we take off from Pac Bell Park in SF, ride across the Golden Gate Bridge and end up somewhere in Rohnert Park. Day two takes us to Healdsburg. That's pretty much all I know, except we need to raise a bunch of cash for them.
I'm hoping if you stumbled across this blog you 'll be willing to help out. Please oh please visit my donation page on the MS site and donate.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Diablo: You are mine

Cycling to the summit of 3849-foot Mt. Diablo was one of my Summer 2007 goals. This Saturday I joined a group from to celebrate their new jerseys. Mine hadn't come in yet, but I rode with them anyway. We started at the South Gate and wound our way up. I hadn't been to the top since '87 or so. It's still steep, it still hurts, and the last 200 yards is abut the hardest cycling thing I've ever done. But the roads are a lot smoother than they used to be. It took me 1:35. Considering it seemed like three days and I didn't really have a time goal, just a survival goal, I'm reasonably happy. Check out the cool photos in the bikeforums thread on the ride.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Commuting - back to school

Los Medanos College has started the Fall semester, and I've once again started my daily commute. I've added a few new elements.
  • Sandals: I bought a pair of Nashbar sandals that have SPD cleats. It felt a bit odd at first, but the mornings are warm and the evenings are downright hot. It feels good to have the wind blowing through my toes. It'll be interesting to see how long it is before it's too cold to enjoy wearing them.
  • Rack and baskets: I got a rack and a pair of shopping baskets big enough to carry all my clothes and food. No more driving in on Sundays with a weeks worth of stuff! They do feel like I'm dragging a parachute behind me, especially on windy days, but I think it's worth it. I still carry the laptop in my backpack. I'm not brave enough to hang it off the bike -- yet.

Friday, August 03, 2007

I'm a star!

I feel like Steve Martin in The Jerk when the phone directory comes and he finds his name in it then runs about yelling "I am somebody!"
Well, I am now somebody too! My favorite podcast is the Fredcast, a bicycling podcast. I listen to every episode. David, the Fredcast creator has been soliciting ride reports, so after the Seattle to Portland ride I recorded one in our hotel room. I mailed it in and darned if he didn't end up using the whole thing. I'm pretty excited about it. It's kind of like getting to sing backup on your favorite band's album. I'm in Fredcast #77 pretty near the end. And I am soooooo cool now.
A note on the Fredcast: I use iTunes and then download it to my iPod and listen on my commute. But you can listen through the web page, or any number of ways. You don't need a Mac, or an iPod. I highly recommend the Fredcast

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Jersey crazy

It's time to come clean.
Hello, My name is Curtis Corlew, and I'm a jersey addict.
Not only do I love 'em, but I've always wanted to design one. I finely got the, or made, the opportunity. I've designed a jersey for the 50+ forum on I'm collecting funds from members and will have make it. It's a bit worrisome collecting lots of money and keeping track of who ordered what sizes, but the reward is that I'm getting a lot of response. I'll be sending off the design next week for actual proofs.

Friday, July 20, 2007

New goal

I so want this jersey. It's me. So I made a deal with my own bad self. If I can get my weight down to under 140 (as in 139-point-anything) I'm going to buy this overpriced thing. Sure, it costs too much, but nothing is too good if you are skinny. Plus, I still need to ride to the top of Mt. Diablo to meet my Summer goal, and being a lot lighter will help.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

STP: We lived!

On Saturday July 14 Tricia and I joined 8998 of our closest friends at the University of Washington, Seattle for a 204 mile two-day ride (2230 people rode it as a 1 day ride!)
The 28th annual Seattle to Portland ride organized by Cascade Bicycle Club had riders from 44 states, England and even Serbia.

This was our first century, and on day 2 our second century, and we lived to tell about it!
I embraced my "Fredness" and bought a glasses mirror, a bento box type carrier and a larger seat bag so I'd be sure to have arm warmers and a jacket, Cliff bars, a cell and camera, keys, and other creature comfort junk.

Our legs held out, and we'd put on enough miles our rear ends were fine. We'd both purchased new saddles about two months before, mine a Selle Itilia SLK and hers a Terry Falcon.
Tricia rode her Trek 1500 and I rode my Motobecane Le Champion SL. Though I carried a camera, and have been known to shoot while riding, I didn't do much this trip. There were just too many people around, and I was concentrating on my riding.

Riding in a group of 9000 really gives you a look at cycling diversity.
There was every age, height weight and fitness imaginable.
We saw bikes that were scary amazing full "unobtainium" zillion dollar machines and bikes that were just plain "Lube my chain? HUH?" scary.
Among the diamond frames were numerous recumbents of numerous styles, some with windshields and full fabric enclosures, tandem recumbents and the cutest recumbent with a tag-along child carrier that the kid peddled.

With the numerous tandems there were also a couple of -- what to call them -- 3 person tandems?
There was a even big wheel unicycle and even a skate boarder.

We did see a few bikes that made us wonder what -- or even if -- their riders were thinking. Bikes that had us wondering if they would make even a trip around the block. But we were well prepared having listened to the Fredcast (a way cool cycling podcast) on preparing for your first century. We even replayed Fredcasts 05 and 07 on the drive to Seattle. The STP organizers also have a lot of info on their web site that helped us feel ready for our biggest ride to date.

Though it was 104 degrees two days before, and raining the Tuesday afterward, the Cascade Bicycle Club ordered up perfect weekend weather in the upper 70s. Under the scattered clouds we could often see Mt. Rainier as we rode through Washington.

The midway point in the small Washington town and Chehalis for 2 day riders. We stayed with a really nice family that opened their home as part of a soccer club fund raiser.

Two of the other highlights are crossing the Lewis and Clark Bridge into Oregon. The state troopers queue up riders, close the bridge to traffic and couple hundred riders own the bridge as they pass over. It's done for safety, but the result its a great view and an amazing sight.

Coming into Portland and crossing the finish line makes you feel like you've just finished the TDF. There were literally hundreds of people cheering as we rode in. It was almost embarrassing.
Because the ride has only one minor climb a day. I'd recommend it for anyone wanting to try a two day long ride, and it seems like an ideal ride for those wanting to knock off 200 miles in one day for the first time.

We had a great time.

Monday, July 02, 2007

If it walks like a duck

Tricia got shoes that click into the pedals and click on the cement. She can walk like a duck just like the rest of us, only is looks cuter when she does it!

I've been told this video doesn't play on some computers, and my server seems slow lately. Here's a link to a lower quality version on YouTube

Friday, June 29, 2007

100 hour Motobecane SL report

My sigma computer reports total bike time, which I find pretty amusing.
I've just hit 100 hours on my Motobecane SL from and have the following observations:

Executive summary:
I am happy with my purchase.
Stuff I didn't like:
Cane Creek brakes didn't do it for me at all, even with a brake pad change to KoolStop salmon. They never felt like they were really going to stop me. I replaced the front brake with a DuraAce 7800 and and much happier.

The seat it came with didn't come close to fitting my rear. Others may like it fine as seats are highly individual, but this was the most uncomfortable seat I've ever been on. I replaced it with a Selle Italia SLK that I'm very happy with.

Stuff I like:
It's really light compared to any bike I've owned before. I'm amazed it's this light for this price.
Coming from a full aluminum bike super-stiff bike, the carbon forks really make a difference on rough roads.
Ultegra shifting is a delight.

Other observations:
The welds that connect the tubes are very visible; they aren't smooth like the ones on my wife's Trek. Not horrible, but hers are creamy smooth. It doesn't bother me, but the OCP crown will hate it.

Again, compared to the Trek, The paint is OK, but not "rich" and deep. I don't care, but some might.

The American Classic wheels are really light, and look way cool. But I sure feel them in a cross wind. It's been windy here and I get moved around a bit more than I'm used to. Not enough to be bad, but I can feel it. They also sound different on the pavement, they hummmmmmm a different note and there is more difference in the sound as the road surface changes.

The tires it came with were super light and felt great, but in the land of broken glass and road crap they didn't last. Both got ripped wide open with giant gashes in less than 800 miles in a way that has never happened to me before. I don't blame the tires, I blame the glass and giant bolts I ran over.

Stuff I added to make my light bike weigh more
Shimano Ultegra Pedels: Thumbs up
Sigma wireless computer: Like it lots
Small Performance seat bag for tube and patch kit: I live in the land of broken glass.
Topeak road morph pump w/ gauge: A great pump. 120 with no pain.
2 water bottle cages, Stryke from REI. Look good, work better than metal. Cheap!
2 Polar water bottles: Like 'em
1 Salsa cross lever: explained elsewhere on this blog.

Stuff I changed
Seat: see above, and elsewhere on the blog
Front brake: see above
Chainring: 36 to 34 because I'm older now
Cassette: 11-23 to 13-25 for the same reason.
Replaced tires

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

East County Road Race

Tricia and Joyce battle it out for the yellow jersey in this years East County Road Race. The grueling competition feature a 130 mile ride over some of the steepest hills in North America. These professional riders can hit speeds of over 90 mph on the downhills, and attain 40 on mountain passes too hard for cars to climb.

Darn it, this doesn't play right on some computers. Here's a link to it on YouTube

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Joy and sorrow

I haven't posted lately because I managed to loose an entire card of cool photos and videos from my new Fuji FinePix. It was all my fault, but it's still a drag. I had me riding, Trish as a video, and my buddy Dave's 70s Raleigh that we cleaned and polished.
I've started again. Here's a video of fast-riding Joyce coming down Diablo. I shot it on her quick "Hey, let's go up to the junction, down through Danville and, wait, let me add just this little bit on" ride last weekend. Give it a click.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Canyon Classic - Patterson

The Canyon Classic ride out of Patterson was a delight. The people who run it are so nice they even arranged wonderful weather. The winds weren't bad, but what there was helped us up hill. The route was a wonderful tour of the Golden State. The food was tasty. If I have a complaint it's that the commemorative shirt graphically challenged, which is odd because previous years efforts are very nicely done. Still, I'd go again.
Joyce's friend Dan took my camera and twisted around to make this photo of Joyce, Norm, a friend of hers, me, and Tricia.
Some caffeine drink called Savage(TM) was passed out on the ride and was over consumed by me, which made me not be able to sleep that night. A grand time was had by all.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tricia - Go girl!

Tricia looked so cool in her "Go Girl" jersey I begged her to play model on our Monday evening ride. This has got to be an ad for something, but I'm not sure what.

Shadowland bonus photo

The light around here gets so nice on Summer evenings. The shadows grow and everything glows. I need to find a better way to shoot from my bicycle. Maybe a new Nikon point&shoot would be just the thing. One with a high ISO and stabilization technology. And costs very little money. And comes with a huge card. Yeah... That's it...

Friday, May 25, 2007

The joy of brake levers

The darn Paul e-lever, as cool as it was, just didn't work out. I tried it in different bar locations and could never get it to where it didn't bother me. I was told that a cross type lever wouldn't work, but that was incorrect. I bought Salsa cross levers and used just the right one. Now my brake lever is not right under my grip making a lump. Much better! I think I'll save the e-lever for the fixed gear bike I'm dreaming of building.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Bonus Tricia on BART photo

Important saddle update

I know the world has been waiting for this important piece of information, so here it is at last. I have a new saddle. It's a Selle Italia SLK, all split and stuff. Gone is the hatchet that came on the bike, Gone is the Performance saddle that tore up my shorts. Thanks for your concern.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Pig Farm Hill

Back in the 70s I used to ride up Pig Farm Hill with Matt Gass. There were still pigs there. Matt couldn't ride by without making pig sounds. Now it's just a name. On Sunday Tricia and I rode up Pig Farm and out Bear Valley Road to Upper Happy Valley Road (ouch, steep) and down to Lafayette then back to W.C. and Bay Point BART to home. Trish says it's a steep, switchback ride on the way up rewarded by a scary steep decent with switchbacks on the way down. A good time was had by all. Tricia looked way cool against the glass bricks at BART.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Bike to Work Day

Yesterday was Bay Area Bike to Work Day. I put up posters, sent email, handed out handbills and sent global phone mail at Los Medanos College. In the end 12 people showed up with bicycles for our noon-time gathering. I know several others rode and didn't come to the event. It's a start, I guess. Thanks for the cards and blinkers. I'm handing out the blinkers to students here and kids at Tricia's middle school.
Maybe next year we can get a few more players.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Los Vaqueros Resevior ride

Fast-riding Joyce took us on a serpentine trip through Brentwood out to Los Vaqueros Resevior. It was one of the faster rides I've done. Only 35 miles, but quick. I'm pleased that I wasn't totally beat when we got back. Too much of the ride was in major wind, but that's the price we pay for living in glorious East Contra Costa. Still, it was pretty once we got through the never-ending house construction zones. I drank a voodoo PowerBar recovery drink afterwards. I felt good, but who knows. Maybe I don't want to feel stupid buying an expensive recover drink and convinced myself if works.

Monday, May 07, 2007

New commute record

This isn't a big deal, except for me.
I started commuting in September. It took 50 minutes to do my 8.19 miles. I've gotten faster and faster. I don't always hammer the ride, sometimes I just take it easy, so this isn't a daily test.

First ride: 50:00
Last PR: 34:50
New record: 29:35

Five minutes faster than my last PR and pushing twice as fast as my first day!

I also rode my new bike today. Usually I take my skinny tire commuter bike with light, but I'm leaving work before dark today so I took the road bike. Lack of wind helped too.
Still, it's a PR and I'm really stoked!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Forte saddle &%^$#@

I bought a Forte saddle from Performance. It looks cool it rides very comfortably, and it weighs just over 200 grams. Not bad. But... There's always a but...
The stitching on the raised logo is so coarse it destroyed my bib shorts in 100 miles. I am so mad. It sent the saddle and shorts back to Performance. I asked for a refund on the saddle and a new pair of bib shorts. Will Performance come through for me? What saddle should I get? I'm watching a couple of eBay auctions. Apparently If I want a Specialized seat I need to measure my "sit bones." Will their 130 or 143 mm seat fit me best? I will not be uploading photos of the measurement process.
UPDATE: Performance sent email saying they are sending new bibs!
UPDATE 2: New bibs are here, but I'm still waiting for the saddle refund.
UPDATE 3: They credited my member account with points, which is great!

Monday, April 30, 2007

The weekend, sans art

It's a photo free weekend, darn it. Maybe I need to get inspired and buy that new camera.
Tricia and I rode to Bay Point, took BART to Pleasant Hill and did the Franklin Canyon-Crocket-Martinez loop, went to a Thai lunch in Pleasant Hill then BARTed back to Bay Point and rode home. 61 miles. We're getting ready for Seattle to Portland!

I got up early and took the new bike to Mt. Diablo just to see how it, and I, would feel. It was a cool morning and I was glad I took my recently purchased leg and arm warmers. I rode to the junction in about 55 minutes and felt pretty good. The decent wore me out. I'm just not as free with tossing the bike into corners as I was at 22. But the good news is that I made it and feel like I'll be able to make one of my goals -- to summit this summer.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bike to work day at Los Medanos College

I've taken on promoting the May 17 Bike to Work Day at Los Medanos College. It's the 17th SF Bay Area effort, but the first time our college has been involved. The folks at are supplying some goodies to give away at our noontime rally and I have my design class making poster/flyers for the event. I know I'll show up, and my colleague Ken will be there. After that, I'm a bit worried. What if we had a Bike to Work Day and nobody rode?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Chico Wildflower Century ride

Really, we did the "Flatflower," 100K of the most flat land I've ever been on. It had rained all day Saturday, and I wasn't looking forward to Sunday, but at dawn the rain stopped and eventually the sun came out and the day turned into a wonderful California afternoon — so wonderful I didn't even make photos. Here's my review:
  • Check in: Organized and friendly. Some cool vendors with good deals on stuff was a plus. I bought a weird jersey for not much money.
  • Free junk: Cool bag we'll use for shopping, neat little cycling pin, water bottle, map printed on cloth. They did not include a ton of paper, which is good.
  • Ride marking: The usual arrows, but there were way cool cutout figures pointing the way. Very nice!
  • Food: Good rest stops with some very tasty stuff, lunch was sandwiches and lots of goodies. I really liked the rice chips and almond butter. Too much variety to report!
  • Staff: Very helpful and friendly.
  • Route: Ours was really flat, as advertised. It went through some very pretty orchards.
  • After ride: Beer available... mmmmmmmmmm. Massage available. Double mmmmmmmm. Jerseys, t-shirts, hats on sale. The jerseys look great, but at 75.00 I went t-shirt.
Overall, I'm already looking forward to next year!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I'm so electric

I have an old Polar heart rate monitor I just made work. Now I need to come up with some sort of clue on the best ways to make it help me become more healthy. Time to send Amazon more cash for books.
We had a health fair at my college today. My cholesterol is just fine, thank you. Their Body Mass measuring device says I'm fat, but I don't think the reading is right. My scales at home don't agree with their little hand-held unit.
But the crappy news is that my blood pressure is still high. I just ordered a blood pressure meter from Amazon so I can see if it really is, or if this reading is a fluke. Maybe I'll give up coffee.
This health stuff is a pain.
Maybe I need a GPS HRM so I can make graphs that include heart rate, blood pressure, cadence, speed, elevation, power in watts and dental records, all in a 3-D animated interactive graph projected on my glasses.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Joyce has new shoes

Here's some news that might slay ya.
Joyce has shoes
that match her Orbea.
She clicks them right in
when she goes for a spin
Now on her bike she's really a playa

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Just a small cog in a big cassette

A small job — Change cassettes from a Ultegra 11-23 to a 13-26.
Step 1: Remove old cassette. Oops. Parts spilled everywhere, but no worry, Shimino has a handy guide online for spacer and cogs. But wait, what are these small clips? American Classic, the hub maker also has an online guide explaining (sort of) the weird little clips. And explaining (sort of) the need for 0, 1 or 2 tiny spacers behind the largest cog. I think I get it...
Step 2: Thank the bike gods the new cassette went on easily and seems to work.
Step 3: Wait for the rain to stop before taking out the new bike.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Bonus Photo Carquinez

Tricia floats over a part of the Carquinez Scenic Loop in Martinez where the road has slid away

Wooly Pulley

I cracked my rear derailleur pulley on my commuter bike so I bought a new set. Who knew they came in 10 or 11 tooth sizes? Not me. And did I get lucky and get the right size? Did I notice only after installing them? And do they seem different than the Shimano Deore pulleys I'm replacing? Does my bike not shift as well as it did with the broken one? Did I save the broken one to put back? This should be so simple, but somehow I'm making it into rocket science. Don't mind me, I'm just busy spending money and making my bike worse.
UPDATE: New 11 tooth pulley arrived. Installing it seems to have cured all shifting ills. And I have spare 10-tooth pullys for future road bike replacement.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

STP insane

I've really gone and done it. Last night it sounded like a good idea, something very possible. Now, in the morning light, it sounds insane. But I put the money down. Even though it's paid for I guess I don't really have to go. I could just forget.
I've signed up Tricia and my own bad self for the Seattle to Portland two-day bike ride. That's about 100 miles a day for two days. It's only April and we'll have until July 14 to get ready.
I'm worried, but if I don't do it this year, when will I?