Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Helmet safety

I just found this article about bicycle helmet safety on the Guardian newspaper website.

It basically says that using a bicycle helmet reduces the chance of a serious head injury by 70%. If you wondered why RUSA makes us wear helmets, now you know.

Those idiots riding with helmets dangling from their handlebars make me so mad! I just want to push them off their bikes and shout "Now you see why you should wear your helmet!". Probably shouldn't do that though.

Fact is, by the time your brain has degraded to the point where you think "I don't need to wear a helmet", there isn't much left for the helmet to save.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

2016 Night Audax

Yesterday I hosted the PCH Randos Night Audax 200k brevet from Huntington Beach to San Bernardino and back. As always it was a very interesting ride.

At the start of the ride

We started as a group of 18 riders (the largest group yet) but Willie rode off the front in his Velomobile and the rest of us held 18-20 mph with a strong tailwind to an impromptu bio-break at mile eight.

North bound on the SART

Darkness fell as we continued inland with a lessening tailwind. The SART was quieter than usual so we formed a double paceline all the way to Green River Road and climbed up and over the 91 freeway to a new regroup point at the sparkling new 76 gas station (thanks Stacey).

New 76 gas station

Fifteen minutes later we were rolling again through Norco and to the upper SART, regrouping as we pushed our bikes under the gate. It was chilly as we headed towards San Bernardino with the temperature dropping below 60F. We stopped again at Martha McLean park for RR and H2O. Why do they lock the restrooms, don't they know we're going to go anyway? The trail was open for the weekend but very rough for the next three miles.

The ride was timed for the full moon which rose magnificently over the low hills ahead of us as we cruised the last ten miles to San Bernardino and the only control at the In-n-Out burger.

As promised I paid for the food for everyone who got there with the main group, which was everyone except Willie. I fed 17 hungry cyclists for $130 - what an amazing deal. There was a lot of activity at the In-n-Out burger because there were a lot of students celebrating homecoming and they looked amazing. There was also an impromptu car show in the parking lot next door which got broken up by the police while we were eating. All very entertaining.

We left the In-n-Out about 12:15am and headed back out the way we came with no headwind this year.

All the energy from the food seemed to hit our muscles because we were cruising between 16-18 mph on the way back. We owned the bike path and streets all the way to the Arco in Corona which seemed like a good place to drink a Red Bull even though I wasn't at all sleepy.

As we approached the climb back over the 91 freeway we had our only mechanical - Joseph had a broken rear derailleur cable. David Nakai went back to help the rider and I waited for them both. The rest of the group went on but when they realized we weren't with them they spontaneously stopped and waited for us. We actually picked up a strengthening tailwind around here which kicked up our speed even further.

About three miles from the end of the ride we saw a cyclist ahead of us riding flat out and wobbling from side to side of the trail with the effort. It took us a good mile to catch him and when we did we saw he was wearing a hockey mask. I'm pretty sure he was up to no good.

Fourteen of us got to the end at 4:40 with the last three arriving five minutes later (David and Mel stayed back with Joseph), Willie had left his paperwork under my wipers. We had a 7:55 hour ride time so we spent about 1:45 off the bike.

So a tight group, great weather, helpful winds, no flats, unexpected entertainment, and a psycho on a bike. Always interesting.

Thanks to Wei and Bobby for the photographs. If anyone else has any they would like to share with me, please email them.

Checkout Brent's photo collection from the ride here.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

New bike case

Amber and I rode the Anaheim - Oceanside 125k permanent on Sunday. Lovely weather. I rode my Trek 520 touring bike with rack, panniers, mudguards, etc. It weighs a lot more than the Serotta and it was really hard work getting it over Santiago Canyon.

Cook's Corner was extra busy when we got there because of the holiday weekend. We decided to skip the 30 minute wait for food and just grabbed some sodas so we could get the receipts. Because we are experienced randonneurs we both had food reserves with us. We split a gas-station danish, a Kind bar, and a large fig newton bar which was plenty to get us to the next control which is 30, mostly downhill, miles later.

Great ride as usual.

I ordered a Trico hard shell case from Amazon for my Crackerswamp randonnee in October and decided I should practice getting my bike in and out. It's quite a bit more involved that I expected.

I took the pedals off and also the wheels. I took the skewers out of the wheels and put them with the pedals in a large ziploc bag. The box comes with dropout protectors which are basically long threaded rods with butterfly nuts on them.

The next problem was the handlebars. I have a fairly large frame so I couldn't just drop the handlebars. They have to come off but they don't go very far because of the brake cables. The aerobars have to come off the handlebars and they can't go very far either because of the computer and light cables. I also have to remove the seat post and saddle after marking it with electrical tape. I can now just about get this all in the case without taking the rear derailleur off.

Now I can lay the middle foam pad on the frame, lay the wheels on that, and put the final foam pad and the top of the case over everything. Now I realize I have the case upside down. Eventually I manage to get the buckles snapped shut without having to turn the case over.

Great - now I have to re-assemble the bicycle. That takes almost as long. I can't imagine what will happen if TSA tries to inspect the case and then put it back together.