Sunday, March 31, 2013

Commutes, clouds and crazies

Empire Mine Road clouds 2

It's been a week. Yes it has.

On the up side, I managed to bike commute while on the job. I was asked to evaluate a teacher at another campus, which I was happy to do. I rode my bike there and ended up getting 42 miles.

I also rode to my optometrist appointment. It wasn't that far, but it included a heck of a climb  over Kirker Pass Road going there and back.

Sunday was a beautiful but cool day. Tricia and I rode a short local loop and enjoyed the clouds and green hills. I even managed to crack the top three of a short local Strava segment (Thanks unusual tail wind!)

Then on our way back we encountered another of Antioch's low-skill, high-aggression drivers.

As I rolled downhill I saw a car coming. I planned to turn left, so I slowed, and tried to figure out what she had planned. Even though she was moving pretty quickly, she had her emergency flashers blinking.

As she got to me, she made a looping left behind me, screaming "Just go!! Get out of the way!!" in a ear-shattering hideous cackle of a voice. (And yes, double exclamation marks are indeed warranted here.) I think she wanted me to turn left in front of her so she could cut the corner of her left turn, but I don't really know.

Antioch, oh Antioch...

WFT Antioch car drivers

Monday, March 18, 2013

Garage to Diablo Summit

poppies on Diablo

Curtis at Diablo SummitOne of the things that's great about bicycling is that you can do it right from your door. Tricia and I love riding new places, but always feel a touch bad when we use a car to get there.

I've always enjoyed a ride up Mt. Diablo. Every time seems somehow epic. Usually we drive over to Arbolado Park and ride from there. Today I thought I'd try to ride Mt. Diablo from home. There are... issues.

The big one is that there is no good way to get there. One involves riding on the freeway a bit. Not impossible, but not fun. It would be possible to ride Marsh Creek Road. But the commuter raceway that otherwise delightful road has become would make it a suicide mission. The remaining route is over Kirker Pass Road, another commuter zone. Today I thought I could wait out the crazy commute and ride over, then come back before the rush. It worked. I am still alive.

some rider going by on Diablo

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Antioch, oh Antioch....

No Parking? Not in Antioch

No parking? Doesn't mean much in Antioch. It's only a bike lane after all.

I might not be so bitter about this if moments before I hadn't watched Tricia almost taken out as she crossed an intersection and the cross traffic right turners didn't look, slow or stop before blasting through their turn. But I did, so I am. Bitter, that is.

On the other hand, at least Empire Mine Road is closed to traffic (though sometimes a truck slips in and startles me) and has pleasant views of Mt. Diablo.

Tricia Emprire Mine and Mt. Diablo

Monday, March 11, 2013

Bicycling, B&B, art and dinner

Caution: Contains non-bicycle content

Tricia at the Crocker 3

happy coffeeTricia works too hard, so I thought as long as she was going to get worn out Sunday bike riding, she should have a fun Saturday. So we went to the Crocker Museum in Sacramento on Saturday. They have a whole new (to us, anyway) building that is gorgeous, connected to the classic old building, which is also gorgeous.

I dropped my iPhone just as we arrived. That's my smartPhone with all the weekend info on it — all of it. It stopped working. Fortunately I found a cell phone repair spot where the owner opened it and reconnected a loose connector or I'd still be lost in Sacramento.

I'd also not have had the name or address of the B&B we stayed at, Amber House. What a delightful place. Perhaps the best feature: coffee waiting outside the door in the morning. Mmmmmm. The breakfast was nice too.

Tapas the World, Tricia at dinner

The evening before we walked over to Tapas the World, and had an extra tasty dinner outside as the sun went down.

tricia with rino

Having indulged our own bad selves, we met Dan and Steve and went for a 65 mile ride with lots of hills, a safari-themed sub-division in the hills and a lunch stop in Auburn at Little Belgium, complete with photos of Eddie Merckx on the wall.


lunch with the gang

There was enough climbing that I'm still hurting, so it must have been a good weekend.
After lunch my Garmin choked, so the Strava stats are from Dan's computer. I'm not nearly as quick on the descents, rollers or flats. But the route is the same!

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Mostly MUPS, with wind and a dam

Brentwood, CA

Our ride out to Los Vaqueros was uneventful, except for the amazing downwind run toward Oakley at the beginning. We rode out the Marsh Creek Trail most of the way, enjoying the arrival of spring, announced by the flowers, green hills and fluffy clouds. While the ride was fun, but not particularly noteworthy, I did manage a few iPhone photos I like. The sheep are near the  Los Vaqueros entrance, between the road and the normal fence, contained by a temporary electric fence. My guess is that they are there for weed control. It's funny how much they sound like people doing really bad sheep imitations.

Sheep at Los Vaqueros

Los Vaqueros

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Vintage bicycle wrench

Bike Wrench 1
When Harley, one of my photo students, discovered I was a cycling enthusiast he brought me a wrench. I'm not comfortable with gifts, but he assured me he had several just like it and it was no big deal, so with great pleasure I accepted.

Bike Wrench 2 I'd never seen a tool like this before, but apparently the Billings and Spencer company started in 1869 and by 1879 had a patent on this model. From what I can gather from looking at photos on the net, this wrench was made between 1911 to 1926. I'm sure there is an entire world of wrench collectors who could tell at just a glance.

I wonder who has touched it, who's owned it, what bicycles it had a part in adjusting. It's fun to imagine the shop it was part of, and the owners of the bikes it must have touched.