Bicycling

Bicycling can be a life long activity that promotes health and providing a practical form of transportation. Bicycling is extremely energy efficient: 5x walking, and nearly 200x riding in a car by yourself. I have found in areas with congested traffic, I can often reach destinations more than twice as quickly by bicycle than when driving. I probably take a bit too much pleasure I as ride pass cars stuck in the morning commute on their way to Google. Just be cautious around cars, bicyclists go 18 miles per micromort while car passengers get 223 miles.

Mid Peninsula Rides

Most of my rides starting from my driveway, so naturally my focus is on rides in the mid peninsula. When I first moved to the bay area I tried most of the Stanford Cycling Club’s Local Routes. Twenty plus years later I am still riding many these routes. My default route is a variant of the “classic loop” with the addition of climbing Old La Honda Road (OLH), decent La Honda Road,  and going out Canada Road for sprint internals.  I drop Canada road when time is tight since it’s not as pretty as the rest of the ride. I don’t think I will ever get tired of this route.

Old La Honda is the classic hill benchmark.  8% grade, 3 miles, mostly shade, small number of cars. My experience is that recreational cyclists in good shape can do this in around 30 minutes if they push themselves. I ride with some people with sub 20 minute times… I don’t think I will ever be that fast.

There are a number of “classic” rides with good climbs and nice scenery. When I have extra time I like the route to Pescadero thanks to the refreshments: the Bakery’s wonderful artichoke bread, Duartes food and pies. I don’t drink coffee, but I have been told that the coffee shop there is one of the best in the greater bay area. I also love routes that incorporate climbs on King’s Road and Purissima Creek Road. I tend to avoid Page Mill Road. I find the traffic is a bit more than I like, and the curves on the decent are tighter than I enjoy. Other classic climbs include Mt Hamilton, Mt Tam, Mt Diablo.

Further Afield

The Death Ride provides 15k of climbing over a 129 mile course. The Tahoe Loop is a much gentler ride in the Sierras. This ride come close to living up to it’s tag line “The most beautiful bike ride”. The Mt Lemon climb just outside Tuscan, AZ is a 6936 ft climb over 30 miles. The Cookie Cabin at the top is a great reward. The decent is fabulous… you can pretty much do the whole thing without pedaling or applying brakes.

Group Rides

The Silicon Valley Bike Collation maintains a list of local bike clubs. Of particular note is Western Wheelers, one of the largest and best organized groups. Several of my female friends tell me that Velo Girls group rides helped gain confidence and enjoy developing their skills. Almost all the local bike shops organize rides. Finally, there are a number of good meetup.com groups. Note: most Bay area cyclists are spoiled, so if there is even a chance of rain, many groups cancel their rides.

All About My Bicycling

I did a lot of  cycling in the 70’s & 80’s… mostly AYH rides (typically class A, B when I was looking for a nice recovery ride). I did numerous century rides including the Columbus Fall Challenge and TOSRV. I did TOSRV as two double centuries, back to back. The dream was to hit each of the food stops twice each day. As time went on, I got too busy with life and my bike became transportation. After daughter was born, my bicycle started gathering dust. In 2003 my daughter started to enjoy bike rides which got me riding for fun again.

I used the same Peugeot PX10 from 1975 until 2008. Over the years components failed and were replaced (Simplex to Campy Record detailer, Mafac to Dura-Ace brakes, etc). I eventually decided that finding parts for a 1970s French bike was getting to be a pain. I was also looking forward to lower gearing than 23×45. In 2008 I picked up a used Trek Pilot 5.2.  In 2013 I had an accident. Folks at Palo Alto Bicycling said I had damaged the frame beyond repair. I purchased a Cervelo R3 which I adore. Later I discovered the carbon frame of the Trek was ok. Trek repaired the bent derailer hanger and I donated my old Trek to someone who needed a bicycle. In the future I will take a “damaged” frame to Calfee Design in Santa Cruz for a proper assessment.

Rule 6: Free your mind and your legs will follow…

Your mind is your worst enemy. Do all your thinking before you start riding your bike. Once the pedals start to turn, wrap yourself in the sensations of the ride – the smell of the air, the sound of the tires, the feeling of flight as the bicycle rolls over the road

Velominati’s The Rules


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