Monday, December 5, 2022

First double-metric in 18 months

After my enjoyable century a couple of weeks ago, I decided it was time to ride a double-metric  for the first time in about 18 months. I decided to ride the Serotta, because this is such an efficient and comfortable bike.

The route is very easy, though not very scenic. I started at Yorba Linda park and rode the Santa Ana bike trail to the beach. It was overcast and cold (about 50F) when I started at 7:35am. I had a light jacket, arm warmers, and tights on. There was very little wind and I couldn't have asked for better conditions. My target average moving speed on a ride like this is 14mph but I was holding 16mph so I tried to see how long I could keep it for.

Once I reached the Pacific ocean I took my jacket off and headed north to Seal Beach, eating at The Crema. I had a ham and brie baguette and a Thai iced tea. I sat on a bench outside to eat it. Total down time was 23 minutes. I could have been faster.

Then I headed inland on the San Gabriel bike path. This has seen a significant increase in homeless encampments since I last rode on it. It was quite disgusting in places. I rode up towards the Santa Fe dam until I had a total of 100km. Fortunately I reached that distance before I had to climb over the dam. Then I turned around to the Shell gas station at Peck Rd. It was crazy busy and it would probably have been faster to go to the Mobil next door, but I stuck it out. A bottle of water and an egg salad sandwich kept me off the bike for 13 minutes. That's not too bad.

The weather forecast had been for a 12% chance of rain. I got several bouts of light rain during the ride, but nothing that even made me stop and put my jacket on.

I continued back on the San Gabriel even though this route normally follows the Los Angeles river trail. Last time I rode that trail, though, the homeless problem was appalling. So I decided to do a simple out and back. 

My last food stop was at another of my favorite places to eat - the Bolsa Chica café. They were crazy busy too so it took me 25 minutes to get and eat my cheese quesadillas. I don't think they have ever tasted so good. There was a new band playing that I hadn't heard before - very good.

I always wondered what the band would do in the rain

While I was there the cashier mentioned that next Sunday would be their last day until the next year. I guess I'll have to find somewhere else to eat for the last three weeks in December. It's not like there's a lack of places to eat along the beach :-)

So my total time off the bike was 1:01 but RideWithGPS says I was off for 1:08. I assume the seven minutes was stop lights. I finished with an average of 16.2 mph and a total elapsed time of 8:50. I'm over the moon about that time. It would have been good when I was regularly riding 200k rides. I'm pretty wrecked today, but I don't care.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Triple the fun

Brompton just dropped their prices by 20% but the offer ends tomorrow. REI has dropped their Brompton prices too. So my son-in-law, Edgar, bought one. He got an S6L with front and rear lights and a Brooks Cambium saddle for about $1500. That's a great deal. He wants a rack so I pointed him towards some of the third party titanium racks that are available.

Amber's pregnancy is giving her back pain while riding her Lynskey. We tried raising the stem an inch but it only helped a bit. She found she can ride her M6R Brompton with less pain due to the more upright riding position. So we rode three Bromptons this weekend. This is Edgar's first ride on his Brompton so we shortened the ride to 40 miles.

I gave Amber and Edgar some custom 3D printed Wahoo mounts but I need to reprint them because they got crushed by the stem bolt. I'll try a solid fill next time.

Three little Bromptons - mine, Amber's, Edgar's

We rode from Anaheim to the Bolsa Chica Cafe

It's late November. This is why we live in Southern California.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Champing and other stuff

I came across a YouTube video from Terry's All Bikes. This guy's in his early 60's and likes to wild camp on his Brompton. His video skills are terrible, half the videos have his finger in the frame, but they are entertaining anyway. This particular video is about Champing. Not camping or glamping, but champing. 

It seems some churches in the UK are raising money by allowing hikers and cyclists to camp in the church. You get a sleeping pad, access to a kitchen and bathroom, and a dry, safe place to sleep. It looks really cool. You show up with your sleeping bag and food, and you have a nice place to eat and sleep. Hence the term - champing.

Probably not all churches provide a teddy bear.

On a sadder note, I read an article about a promising college football player killed recently on an e-scooter. He decided to ride across a pedestrian crossing against a red light and got hit by a bus. I see e-scooter riders constantly riding dangerously - one turned left in front of me just the other day and I only just missed hitting him. I bet a psychology PhD candidate has written a thesis on why e-scooter riders think they're immortal. I doubt I'd understand it, though.

My road bike has a Campy racing triple and it has become almost impossible to get replacement middle chain rings. The problem is the ramping on the middle chain ring is designed to help the chain get on the chain ring from both directions. If I replace it with an inner chain ring for a double I will have trouble shifting from the small chain ring to the middle. It's not something I do very often, but I'd like to still be able to do it. I asked my bike shop to give me an estimate on replacing the triple with a double chain ring. I have a feeling it will be too much.

Monday, October 17, 2022

First YouTube video

My wonderful helmet light that I bought on Amazon for $15 many years ago finally died. So I bought a new one. The new light has a GoPro compatible mount. It's one of the few lights I've bought where the mount is better than the light. 

The light itself doesn't have a very good beam pattern - it's a series of concentric circles of light and dark. It's fine for illuminating street signs or cue sheets. It can maybe catch the attention of a motorist. But it's not good enough to be a stand-alone front light.

I recently bought a GoPro Hero 9 so I thought it would be interesting to mount the GoPro on this mount and record video. I rode from Yorba Linda park to the Bolsa Chica café and back, videoing parts of the ride. The camera's image stabilization feature works really well, but the weigh causes to helmet to shift. I also had it pointing too far down. It's all a learning experience. I might need to increase the thickness of the padding inside my helmet.

I cleaned up the video with the free version of DaVinci Resolve. At first I was put off this software because the official documentation videos aren't suitable for a complete novice. Fortunately I found a lot of good YouTube videos about the software and realized it's very good.

Here's the finished product. It's my first attempt at a proper YouTube video. I need to work on my speech volume and enunciation. I think my trip to Vermont will be my next subject.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Lake Champlain Bike trail

We flew to Burlington, Vermont for the weekend and I took my Brompton in my new case to see how it went. I'm pleased to say the case worked out really well.

Evo bike pod from Polaris Bikewear

It holds a vanilla Brompton with no fuss, but I had to loosen my Brooks Saddle and slide it forward and also loosen and turn my Ergon GP4 bar grips. I also had to remove my QR SPD pedals. I did all this with the Brompton tool set. Once that was done the bike fitted like a dream. I added two sets of cycling clothes into the gaps. The case, clothes, and bike were about 45lbs (I have a rack and dynamo hub) and has a total linear dimension of 62" so it is not oversize or overweight.

There's a great bike trail through Burlington called the Lake Champlain trail which is paved most of the way except for the northernmost six miles which is lovely gravel on a breakwater that extends into Lake Champlain. 

I recommend starting from the Amtrak station in Burlington and heading North. The out and back trip is about 20 miles with 400 feet of climbing - none of it steep. The trail surface is suitable for road tires and there's about half a mile of quiet residential roads - the rest is bike trail. The gravel section is smooth and has no wash boarding.

You can also go south from Amtrak which is also very nice but only about ten miles out and back and with some steeper climbs. If you do both you will get a moderately strenuous 30 mile ride.

At the Amtrak parking lot there is a Creemee stand right on the bike trail that is worth a visit. It turns out a Creeemee is just a soft-serve ice-cream. I got a large maple and raspberry. Who knew that was a thing?

This is a creemee

For me, the highlight of the ride was the gravel causeway. It's like you're floating over the water. At the north end there is a bike ferry run by Local Motion over to some more causeway and then onto South Hero Island but it doesn't run at night so I turned around. If the ferry had been running, I could have made the trip into a loop.

Lake Champlain trail

The second time I rode this trail it rained - hard! I was trying to find a way to dry my gloves. I used the old "roll them up in a towel and squeeze" trick which helped a lot. But then I decided to put a frying pan and lid on low heat and dry the gloves on that. It worked!.

It's probably not a good idea to leave the room while you're doing this

I finally made a YouTube video of the trip.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Cross Training

You know how everyone says "You should cross train, it strengthens you". Bullshit. I hiked halfway up San Gorgonio and back and I've been crippled for two days since.

My daughter, her husband, and two friends planned on hiking San Gorgonio last Sunday. She's pregnant so she decided to only hike up halfway - I agreed to hike with her so she wouldn't be out there on her own. The two friends cancelled at the last minute so her husband, Edgar, summitted alone.

We started at Vivian Creek near Forest Falls which got nailed by some recent monsoon rains. There were massive mudslides and we could see where 'dozers had pushed the mud and rocks to the side of the road. It was quite traumatic to imagine what they had been through recently.

The first mile after crossing the dry creek bed is very steep and rocky but after that the trail got very pleasant. I can only imagine how that creek looked a week ago.

We got half way up and Amber wanted to keep going but I was feeling a little stumbly so we turned around and waved goodbye to Edgar. I'm glad we turned around when we did because I was tripping on rocks which is always a sign of fatigue. There were a lot of other hikers on the trail - I would guess 20-30 so we weren't worried about Edgar being injured and alone. Some of them asked if we had been to the top already. I said it was very cold up there which was probably true, but implied we'd summitted 😁.

On the way down, we saw a small herd of deer that were unafraid of us. I expect they're used to hikers.

It's now been two days since the hike and I'm still so sore that I can hardly walk. I have to get up and walk around every hour or so or my legs really lock up. Cross-training my arse!

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Back to the Beach

Our latest heatwave is over which means it's possible to ride along the beach in the evening without suffering from heat stroke. I've been missing my quesadilla at the Bolsa Chica Café so I drove down to Anaheim after work on Friday and rode the Brompton. I decided to take some photographs to post on to try to make the Brits jealous. Then I looked at their photos and I'm the one that got jealous. 

Here are my pictures, take from Bolsa Chica beach.

Here are some of their photographs, taken from various places in the UK last week.

I love it when everyone is a winner!