Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Crema - second attempt

What a great weekend. On Saturday I rode with the Redlands Bike Club starting from Yorba Linda regional park. We rode to Long Beach and back for a total of 85 miles. Even though I enjoyed riding with the group, we were off the bikes for about 30 minutes just in the first 40 miles which is one of the drawbacks of riding with a big group.

Unfortunately I didn't realize there would be no foodstop. Everyone else brought Clif bars and stuff. So I had to go find somewhere to eat and hope I could rejoin the other rides. I ate at a small fish place on 2nd St. in Belmont Shores but never rejoined the group. Oh - well.

On the ride I met a lovely young lady called Lori who was pushing her personal best from 55 miles to 85. I do hope that went well for her. As well as being fun, the ride had another bonus for me. Instead of picking up the bike path to the Queen Mary at the very beginning, Don took us along 2nd St in Belmont Shores which turns out to be very bike friendly. I'm going to alter the route of my 600k brevet next year to take advantage of it because there's a lot of opportunities for controls.

Today I rode with Amber, starting at the Angel's Stadium and riding to The Crema and back again. We tried this a couple of weeks ago but it was so crowded we gave up and went elsewhere. This time we tried on a Sunday in the hopes it wouldn't be so crowded but it was just as bad. We put our names down and went for a stroll along Seal Beach pier. We got back, waited another 10 minutes and got our table. Total wait time was 45 minutes - this place is popular.

The menu is very full. I had a Caprese Omlette and Amber had a Fitness Omlette. Both came with roast potatoes. Both breakfasts were amazing. The roast potatoes in particular were perfectly seasoned and the omlettes were stuff with good things. Service was quick especially when you consider how busy they were. This is a five star cafe.

On the way back we had a young woman riding one of those track bikes that have become so popular around L.A. for some reason. She was riding in toe-clips and with no helmet. Damn, that woman was strong. She held our wheel even when we took it up to 24mph. Of course she probably hadn't just ridden 50 miles, but she still impressed me. Now if only she would wear a helmet :-)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Endless Summer 200k

Amber and I rode the PCHRando's Endless Summer 200k brevet last Saturday. It's a lovely little ride that starts in Moorpark and heads to the coast over Balcom Canyon (19%). Thence to Santa Barbara Harbor where we ate at Sushi GoGo which deserves more than the 3 1/2 stars it gets at Yelp.

Returning East along PCH we had a tailwind that followed us as we headed inland through Oxnard (lot's of bad drivers there) and finally died in the heat up Santa Rosa Road. We ended after 10 hours with pizza in Greg's backyard. It was a ride for punctures, though, with far more members of the group having them than normal. I had two, and Amber got one just a mile from the end of the ride so she finished on the flat tire.

I have no idea what caused my second flat so I'm replacing the tire. Unfortunately my new tires won't arrive before the weekend so I had to mount one I had bought for my wife. It's bright blue which doesn't match my bike at all.

I hear Jim Harris had a crash - hope you're OK.

Wiggo rules!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Green Prisons

Rode the Santa Ana 200k brevet after work on Saturday. It was so hot I couldn't start until after 7:00pm so I was a bit worried that I might not get to the turn-around control by the time it closed at midnight. I broke my personal best getting there at 4:10 hours but I payed for it on the way back.

For some reason there was a whole Christmas carol's worth of wildlife on the bike trail including an owl, two possums, three skunks, several frogs and mice, and a ton of peewits and rabbits. Didn't hit any, though, and fortunately none of the skunks hit me.

It was a good chance to try out my new cold-weather gear from Pearl Izumi. I replaced my arm warmers, leg warmers, and jacket courtesy of Performance Bike's 20% off sale. It only got down to 60 degrees so the arm warmers and vest were all I needed.

I heard an interesting article on NPR today. There's a small-town prison in Brazil where the prisoners can literally cycle to freedom. The local police department donated four bicycles from their lost and found department. Someone hooked them up to generators that power 10 street lights on the local promenade. The prisoners ride the bicycles eight hours at a time (I bet they don't have Brooks saddles) and earn one day off their sentence for every three shifts they complete.

The program is so popular that the prison authorities are hoping to get ten more bikes to power all 34 street lamps in the downtown area. If Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio introduced such a program in Arizona, I wonder what the response would be?

Monday, July 9, 2012


I like to plan and log my rides with which is one of several websites that leverage Google's mapping software to allow cyclists to do this. Similar sites include,,, and

You can see all my routes at and my activity log at Today I noticed a really cool feature that I hadn't seen before.

If you take a GPS system on the ride with you and upload the trip to ridewithgps, you can replay the trip. If you switch to satellite mode and zoom in it's really cool especially as it also shows your position on the elevation profile together with current speed, rate of climb, distance, and elevation.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Crema and personal responsibility

I rode a lovely 72 miles from Yorba Linda to Seal Beach with Amber yesterday. We were planning on eating at The Crema in Seal Beach but we got there at 10:45 and it was already full with a wait time of 30 minutes. So we bought sandwiches at the nearby Fresh and Easy and coffee at the Coffee Bean instead. We'll have to try The Crema again on a Sunday when they'll be less crowded. Or maybe we could have put our names down and hung out at the beach for a while.

The ride was great with mild winds, great scenery, and cool weather (for SoCal). It was overcast until we finished eating then maybe got to 85 by the end of the ride back in Yorba Linda. I forgot to put sunblock on at the start of the ride so I used my emergency tube I keep in my saddlebag. It's only SPF30 so I still got a little red but it's better than nothing.

Most cyclists I know do not carry sunblock. I know I cycle more than most of them, but even an hour unprotected under the noon-day sun can severely burn you. I know at least two ex-cyclists that have constant problems with skin cancer. They're always having lesions removed. Both of them are over 70 and they know their problems were caused many years ago so they tell everyone they can (including me) to use sunblock now.

On a similar note, I noticed a lot of cyclists yesterday that chose not to wear helmets. I don't care how slowly or carefully you ride and I don't care that you're on a bike path. If a fast group coming the other way makes a mistake, or someone's kid or dog forces them to swerve into you, you're going down hard and your slowness and care cannot compensate for their speed and mistake. That helmet could save your life, but only if you're wearing it.

I even see cyclists with helmets tied to their handlebars. That's retarded. And if you don't wear a helmet, your first crash could make you retarded too. Of course, you won't have enough functioning braincells left to regret not wearing your helmet. But your spouse, who has to spoon feed you for the rest of your miserable life, will surely regret it.

I speak from personal experience. Ten years ago I broke my bottom bracket while standing on a hill on PCH in Laguna Beach. I landed on my head. Even though I was wearing a helmet I was still knocked out and woke up in an ambulance. I still don't remember the 30 minutes leading up to the accident. My helment was destroyed but it certainly saved me from serious injury.

That goes double for kids - that's why there's a law.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Rails To Trails

I'm a member of several cycling advocacy groups and my Senator has received more that a few emails asking for her support, but the group that is closest to my heart, after RUSA, is Rails To Trails. Their mission is to convert abandoned railway lines and make them available to cyclists and pedestrians.

Most of their trails are still ballast or dirt, suitable for hiking, mountain bikes, and perhaps road bikes with 28mm tires and skilled riders. Because they're old railways they tend to be flat, with awesome views, and quite often with amazing trestle bridges and cool tunnels.

I've only been on a couple of them - the Pacific Electric trail in Rancho Cucamonga, CA and the Kettle Valley trail in BC.

I'm planning my next cycling vacation and I see I've actually ridden on one more without even realizing it. There's a lovely small town in WA called Raymond that has a bike trail alongside the Willipa Bay. I didn't know it at the time, but that bike trail is just the Western tip of the Willipa River trail that extends 56 miles Eastward to Chehalis.

Willipa Bike Trail between Raymond and South Bend, WA

Then head South to cross the Columbia River on the Cathlamet-Westport ferry (the only safe way to cross the Columbia on a bike) and on to Vermonia, Forest Grove, and points South.

Ferry across the Columbia River at Puget Island
Half the fun of a great bike vacation is the planning of it.