Monday, December 10, 2018

Riding with a sprained ankle

It has been a while since I posted. RUSA has entered and emerged from an insurance nightmare. I'm sure all the RBA's and ride organizers are now suitably paranoid about waivers. I suspect we will see more reluctance to embrace the risk of litigation considering there is no benefit other than helping our fellow randonneurs.

I sprained my ankle a couple of weeks ago and it's still too swollen to fit into my cycling shoes but fortunately I bought a pair of cheap Nashbar SPD sandals a couple of years ago and they are flexible enough to accommodate my foot.

I met Amber at the Anaheim Artic. She still had her Topeak MTX rack and panniers on her bike. This is a very cool rack bag that has side pockets that open into capacious panniers. We started pedaling, but I didn't know if I'd make it out of the parking lot, to the beach, or what. Fortunately the pain wasn't to bad so we got all the way to Seal Beach and I had an idea.

I have recently discovered a Danish mead but the restaurant I found it at wants $42 a bottle whereas Total Wine only charges $30. There's a Total Wine just off the San Gabriel bikeway (this shopping center would make a great control) so we rode there.

We tried eating at Charo's, a Peruvian restaurant, but the service was so slow they hadn't even taken our order after 20 minutes so we walked across to a PizzaRev which we had never heard of. We had a custom made pizza within 10 minutes of walking in. It was really good and we would definitely go back. There must be at least 20 places to eat in the Long Beach Town Center and you don't even have to ride on the road to get there - there's a bike path straight from the San Gabriel bike path into the shopping center.

After PizzaRev we headed over to Total Wine to see what meads they had in stock. I bought six bottles and we put them in Amber's panniers. They we very heavy so it's a good thing there were no hills on the way back. I can tell you that the MDX panniers can comfortably carry half a case of wine. I don't know why they don't put this in the documentation - it's a major selling point.

We ended up with 66 miles and I gave Amber a bottle of wine. I hope she likes it. My foot hurt a bit the next day but it was totally worth it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Another 200k

Greg, Stacey, Amber, and I rode my Four Rivers 200km permanent on Saturday. Greg and Stacey started from their house which is only three miles from the southern most point on the ride and headed inland to meet us at the official start. The new RUSA rules that allow a permanent to be started at any point works very well for them.

By the time they met us at 8:00 am Yorba Linda they had already ridden 24 miles. It was chilly and a bit breezy so I was wearing my RUSA vest to keep the wind from biting.

I have just installed a dynamo tail light, the Secula Plus, purchased from Peter White. I had trouble figuring out how to wire it because the spade terminal on my Edelux II was almost invisible, but with a lot of help from the seller, I was able to find it. It comes on automatically when the front light comes on and has a stand light so I feel very safe with it.

Secula Plus - the Plus means it has a stand light
The breeze died down quickly as we headed to the coast. Those of you who are familiar with the east end of the Huntington Beach trail will be pleased to hear they are repaving it. Currently the two miles between the Santa Ana river and the pier are ripped up and not rideable.  Your options are to ride through the parking lot, along PCH, or even Atlanta Ave. There is a rumor they are going to mark separate pedestrian and cycling sections. We shall see.

We ate at The Crema in Seal Beach and, as the wait was very long, we grabbed ham and brie baguettes to go with Thai iced tea and ate on the benches outside. Wonderful.

We then headed inland to El Monte where there was only one person working at the Subway there. Each sandwich took several minutes to prepare and pay for so I had to wait 20 minutes to get my sandwich. Poor woman - I felt so sorry for her.

Greg and Stacey outside the Subway as Amber and I eat inside

Headed back on the Rio Hondo bike path we saw a cyclist coming the other way while peeing out the side. Disgusting. I hope I never see that again. Actually I hope he crashes and has to ride home covered in his own blood and urine. Is that mean of me?

The head wind into Long Beach was quite mild for a change and we headed over to Belmont for our Chronic Tacos fix. According to the electronic counter there we were about the 3,000th cyclists for the day. One carnitas quesadilla later I was stuffed and ready to finish the ride.

Greg and Stacey stopped off at the Ballast Point in Seal Beach for a quick drink and Amber and I headed back to Yorba Linda. We finished the ride in 9:59 which is pretty good considering the amount of time off the bike. It was dark for the last 20 miles and my new tail light worked great.

The Woolsey fire is burning in Ventura county right now and the entire northern sky is thick with smoke. As the sun headed West during the afternoon the smoke started to obscure it and it got so dark that my automatic lights came on at three in the afternoon. I swear it even felt a little colder than usual.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

When is a gate not a gate?

When it's ajar (a jar, get it?)

I expected to ride the SART to Katella and back twice last night because the gate at Katella is supposed to be locked at 6pm in Nov, Dec, and Jan. However, when I got there the gate was unlocked and open even at 8:50pm. I'm not sure if the city is planning on locking the gate any earlier now that the SART is "officially" closed at 6pm.

Perhaps I'll be able to ride my normal route down to the beach after all. If I try that, though, I bet the gate will be locked for my return trip forcing me to make a nasty detour. What a pain those homeless people are, even when they're gone. The good new is they aren't returning so perhaps the gate policy is worth it.

The take-away from this is that the City does not seem to be enforcing the early closing policy on the SART in any way.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Malibu Creek State Park

On Sunday Glen, Amber, Sherry and I went hiking in Malibu Creek State Park. There were many film scenes shot here over the years, the most famous of which being M*A*S*H, Planet of the Apes, From Here to Eternity, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, etc. We hiked 5 miles and back to the old MASH set which still has a few ancient trucks lying around.

M*A*S*H ambulance

Group of mountain biking unicycles - I thought I'd seen it all.

Bloody Tourists!

Nightmare before Christmas at the Hollywood Bowl

My daughter treated us to tickets to A Nightmare before Christmas at the Hollwood Bowl on Saturday. It's the 25 anniversary of the film and the orchestra was playing the music live as they showed the film.

There's a great scam you can do. You sell your event tickets to StubHub and then claim a refund from the issuers. Then some patsy buys your, now worthless, tickets and when they get to the gate they can't get in. If anyone reading this thinks this is a something you'd do, please let me have your name and address so I can drop by and PUNCH YOU IN THE FACE. This is what happened to us. My daughter spent 40 minutes on the phone with StubHub to get our tickets back. The good news is that we got incredible upgrades. We were now five rows back in seats costing about $200 :-)

I didn't realize Danny Elfman was going to sing the entire part of Jack. I certainly didn't expect all the original singer to perform their parts live. Amazing!

The singers from the original film

Danny Elfman sings Jack

Lock, Stock, and Barrel

Oogie Boogie


Curtain call
As if that wasn't enough, Danny Elfman brought the members of Oingo Boingo out on stage and they performed a track live.

Oingo Boingo

Then, to cap it all, Danny Elfman brought out an inebriated Tim Burton who promptly dropped the F-bomb and stole Danny's microphone.

Another Friday night on the SART

I rode my last Friday night on the SART for a while. Starting next weekend the city will be locking the gates at Katella at 6pm which means I can't get past in time.

It was a great ride - cool (mid 60's) and with almost no wind. There were very few idiots on the trail for a change and I didn't almost crash into a cyclist with no lights on the wrong side of the trail at midnight - in fact I didn't even see one.

I rode down to Newport Beach but the new guy behind the counter of NBC wouldn't serve me pastries so I went to Burger Boss instead. The service and food were great but I thought $8.50 was too steep for a single burger. Coming back I didn't really feel any energy from the food.

$8.50 burger?

Sunday, September 23, 2018

What's its gots in its pocketses?

As my riding evolves and I discover new products I like to post a list of the things I take along on rides. This is one of those posts.

Before I start on that, I want to share the latest updates on the SART at night. I rode 90 miles on the SART last Friday after work and noted that the gates at Katella are not locked strictly at 9pm. However, by the time I returned at 11pm they were locked. It seems the security guard starts locking the entrances at the beach end about 9pm and finishes at Imperial by 11pm. Parks and Recs does not seem to be paying for a security guard to sleep on the trail anymore. It is still possible to avoid the locked gates at both Memory Lane and Taft.

I now carry stuff in a handlebar bag, a top tube bag, and a saddle bag.

The most versatile option I have is the handlebar bag. There are several companies making bags like this. They are easy to attach and detach and this one even comes with a shoulder strap which turns it into a small hand bag. It has an external pocket, an internal zippered pocket, and two internal elasticated pockets. I use it to carry my navigation device (smart phone running the rwgps app) and external power pack.

I could use it to carry much more such as my wallet and it's easy to remove from the bike and carry with me for security. I configure the rwgps app to speak directions to me, and the location on the handlebars makes it easy to hear the instructions.

It's much cheaper and more convenient than full fledged randonneuring handlebar bags, but not as capacious.

Handlebar bag and external battery pack
I have a large top tube bag and I wrapped a ponytail holder around the top of my stem to improve stability. This is where I put things I want to get to quickly.

I normally carry a spare pair of bifocal sun glasses (clear if I'm wearing the tinted or vice versa). Also butt cream (Lantiseptic is my preference), single use sun block sachets, an energy bar, Go Cubes caffeine chew (not pictured),  and an iodine prep pad for sterilizing road rash. You can buy a lifetime (hopefully) supply of these for under $10.

Top tube bag and contents
Most of my stuff is carried in the saddlebag. I have become a huge fan of Acorn bags made by a husband and wife team here in Southern California. The only problem is some of their models sell out VERY quickly so get on their email list and make the purchase within an hour of the release.

I keep my tools in their trifold bag. There's a set of Pedro tire levers (Topeak stopped making their wonderful telescoping tire lever), some instapatches, a CO2 cartridge and Shiny Object inflator, a spare tube, a Topeak mini tool, a chain tool, and a spoke wrench. This is my minimum toolkit.


A word about instapatches. Most people think they don't work very well. I agree. They just need to get me home. I don't ride on tubes that have patches so when they get me home I replace the tube. I wish my local bike shop had a bin I could drop old tubes into. An enterprising person with a $10 patch kit could get ten usable tubes for a little effort. Recycling at its best.

The trifold has leather straps that roll it up so it can be used as a saddle bag itself or it can be tossed into a larger saddle bag. I use Acorn's medium saddlebag (it's huge) so I can add a few non-tool items.

Extra stuff in my saddle bag
In addition to my trifold, my saddle bag contains a reflective vest, toilet paper, and a lock and cable.

This selection of gear is good up to a double-century. For longer distances I add a second tube, a folding tire, and a bigger multi-tool with pliers.

Here are all three bags in use.