Archive for category 2011

Interbike 2011 Day 1

I’ve been to interbike twice before.  The first time, was all about the person I was with and pure eye-candy; though it provided me with an ‘appetizer’ of what power interbike held for the ‘in-the-know’ individual.  This year, I came fully prepared to attack interbike like a move in the last lap of a criterium. Business cards, brochures, reserved meetings, seminars, flyers, possible face-to-face interview for potential sales rep jobs, sponsorship responsibilities as a teammate for 2012; and of course, friends from Utah and tweeps I’d never met but had been friends with…..FOREVER (virtually speaking of course.)  I had a blast driving from Reno to Vegas with Rick Tillery (@ricktillery) getting to know each other, telling stories, waiting for construction to take place, watching the scenery, stopping at the odd desert town for gas and food and then………….the exclusive 30 year anniversary Interbike Party at the Lavo night club to meet the original 7-11 team and a chance to get a book signed by them.  We succeeded of course and thus began adventure of Interbike 2011!

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bicycle friendly and almost bicycle friendly

The League of American Bicyclists announced the newest round of Bicycle Friendly Communities today. And Sacramento was upgraded from a Bronze designation to a Silver designation. But, since I only live near Sacramento and almost never ride my bike in the city proper, I was more interested with one of the cities on the Honorable Mentions list, Rancho Cordova!

That’s right, I commute through a town that is, very nearly, bicycle friendly.

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By Bike | brief note

I’ve started keeping a ride journal. It’s a silly thing, I know, but it helps me gather the ideas that pop into my head on my morning commute (during my evening commute I always have the same idea in my head, I hope there’s beer in the fridge). Today I wrote the following:

A dog and a unicyclist tried to kill me today. I don’t think the attempts were related. In the end, neither case was a very close call, but, for everyone’s sake, leash your dogs and unicyclists please.

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Gran Fondo route changes for 2011

Levi’s Gran Fondo, the annual Sonoma County cycling festival and group ride, will take a slightly different route for this year’s event, say organizers. Rolling road-closures and a recent landslide have necessitated the changes, which will not have an impact upon the main climbs and descents of the route.

The basic course, laid out for the inaugural Gran Fondo in 2009, takes riders on one of three scenic rides: the Gran, which covers 103 miles and incorporates King Ridge Road; the Medio, which is 65 miles and cuts out King Ridge and the additional climbs; and the Piccolo, a 32 mile recreational ride which keeps participants away from the more remote western portions of Sonoma County.

The altered route for 2011 affects one portion of the final approach back into Santa Rosa, which riders in the Gran and Medio will encounter. A landslide on Coleman Valley Road, near Occidental, has caused a large hole to open up in the pavement, making passage dangerous for cars and bikes. An alternate route via Bittner Road has been suggested. Bittner runs parallel to Coleman Valley Road, but approaches Occidental from the south side of town. Riders would access Bittner from Joy Road, adding about a mile to the course.

Additionally, CHP have indicated that a mandatory cut-off will be required for Gran-route riders at the River Road/Cazadero Highway intersection. Riders who fail to reach the intersection before 10.30am will be redirected onto the Medio route, thereby avoiding the King Ridge portion of the Gran Fondo. Presumably this is to regulate rolling road-closures at the Meyer’s Grade/Pacific Coast Highway intersection, which was held open for riders in 2009 and 2010. Road closures are particularly important for Gran Fondo, since several of the main intersections are busy, and several thousand riders are required to flow through them during the course of the day.

Finally, event organizers have indicated that part of the route will be on unpaved roadway, a return to the authentic but generally unpopular climax of the 2009 Gran Fondo. In that year, riders were directed onto a loose gravel pathway for two miles before emerging at the finish. A gravel section is common on many European gran fondo rides, but some American participants of Levi’s Gran Fondo – many of whom did not expect the detour and did not know how to handle the surface – were frustrated and unhappy about having to ride on it.

Levi’s Gran Fondo takes place on October 1st this year, and is expected to attract the usual mixture of riders from Sacramento and all over Northern California, as well as a few individuals from out of state and overseas.



House Industries adventure cycling team, Finnish Edition

The House Industries Blog pointed me to “The Finnish branch of the House Industries adventure cycling team” and the video above.

The whole thing is pretty cool.

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By Bike | Lycra clad edition

Every weekday – or nearly every – I pull on my Lycra shorts and jersey and I ride my bike into the office. At first, I think I mentioned, it made me a little self-conscious, the Lycra at work situation. It’s not like I wear my cycling shorts all day and wander around sitting on my co-worker’s desks to have a chat. No, like any normal person wearing Lycra to work, I head from the bike locker to the locker room and change as quickly as possible. But I still bump into people I know and they still look at me funny.

I see some people nod to their friends to look as they grin stupidly, holding back giggles.

At first it bothered me. I even toyed with the idea of wearing street clothes on the bike but decided wearing sweaty clothes all day and being uncomfortable on the bike wasn’t an option for me. I just decided I was dressed appropriately for what I was doing, riding my bike, which is more than I can say for some of the things people here wear to work.

Also, I thought about baseball pants and football pants and my old track singlet and shorts and realized that almost nobody talks about those things as too tight or embarrassing (of course, I admit that if someone showed up to work in football pants he’d probably be stared at).

Today I read this gem from BSNYC:

For example, the kinds of people who throw stuff at cyclists in form-fitting Lycra are perfectly comfortable cheering football players who wear pretty much the same thing—even though football players also spend like half the game lying on top of each other. So you’d think that if people can handle the spectacle of beefy men in tights humping as long as it’s on a gridiron, then at least in the context of elite competition—in particular the Tour de France—America’s “sporting industrial complex” could also treat cycling with a tiny bit of respect.

The snob was talking about some unfortunate comments made by a more influential and more famous Michael Smith, of ESPN, not specifically about the challenges of wearing cycling specific (read form fitting) clothing in public places, but the sentiment obviously stands.

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Redesigned Grand Prix to return to Sacramento

Downtown Sacramento will host a new major criterium on September 10, bringing hundreds of top US cyclists back to the city for the final weekend of the national racing season. The Sacramento Grand Prix adopts the model set in 2010, a street-race that ushered in the prologue of the Amgen Tour of California.

The reborn Grand Prix criterium has been moved to a new slot in the racing calendar, occupying the weekend before the cycling industry’s biggest convention, Interbike, in Las Vegas, NV. Race organizers Project Sport hope the Grand Prix will come to be regarded as a memorable and important closing competition on the US racing schedule each year. Sacramento’s proximity to Las Vegas will make the race attractive to riders committed to attending Interbike.

The projected course will take 500 riders in six fields around a tight one-mile route around the capitol. The riders will complete 50 laps in total, creating a major visual attraction for the estimated 10,000 assembled spectators. Competitors are expected to range in ability from recognizable pro-tour household names down to first-time amateur racers. There will also be an over-35 field, and a law-enforcement category.

Grand Prix organizers conceived the event in response to the huge public support and turnout for the Amgen Tour of California over the last few years. Sacramento is frequently selected as a host for one of the stages of the ToC, but in the event that the city is passed-over in future years, the Grand Prix will provide local cycling fans with a major, all-day event which organizers and city officials hope will replace revenues normally filled by the Tour of California.

The criterium course begins and ends on L Street, opposite the Capitol. From there, riders travel west, then turn down 10th St, onto N St, then up 15th St before turning back onto L Street. The route encapsulates the whole of Capitol Park, providing plenty of opportunity for spectators and vendors to find a space on the inside or the outside of the course. A $10,000 prize is on offer, making the Sacramento Grand Prix one of the richest purses on the US Cycling schedule.

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By Bike | surviving the heat

It was probably August of last year when I heard the woman on the radio reading the weather forecast for Sacramento say, “cool today with highs in the mid to low nineties.” There was a part of me that wanted to giggle (yes, I sometimes giggle) at the concept of low nineties being “cool” and a part of me that was looking forward to break in the heat.

When people ask me how I ride my bike when it’s so hot, I usually respond by saying, “in Sacramento you either ride in the heat or you don’t ride.” And that pretty much sums up how I feel about it. I don’t claim to “enjoy” riding when it’s 90+, I certainly don’t spend the winter looking forward to it, but I like cycling more than I hate being hot, so I ride. Eventually you just get used to it.


Against my better judgment and at the risk losing the few dozen readers we have to heat exhaustion, I’m going to share with you my easy three-step guide to surviving the heat (to be clear I mean cycling in 90+ degree heat, not the Miami Heat, if you’re looking for how to survive the Miami Heat you should ask the Dallas Mavericks).

Prepare: When I say prepare, I don’t mean fill bottles, buy sunscreen or any of that “get things together for my ride” stuff. I mean prepare mentally. Specifically, I mean complain. This is the time to get it out there. To announce to the world your hatred for the heat and your desire to move, at the first opportunity, to somewhere a bit more temperate. You should start complaining as soon as you hear it’s going to be hot and you shouldn’t stop until you’re used to the heat, too hot to complain, or it starts to cool down again (at which point you can begin complaining about the cold/rain).

Hydrate: You should start hydrating while you’re complaining and continue hydrating throughout the day. But remember it is possible to drink too much water and get something called hyponatremia. The general recommendation is to drink 8 ounces of water for every 15 minutes of cycling, but this can vary pretty significantly depending on the individual so take Richard Masoner’s advice and use a scale to help gauge how much you need to be drinking and remember that when you sweat it’s not just water that you lose so consider one of those electrolyte drinks.

Ride: This is the hard part. The thing is that it is possible to acclimate yourself to the heat, but it’s not going to happen from the bucket seat of your air-conditioned car. The more time you spend in the heat the easier it will get. So get on the bike, pedal, complain, drink water and, most importantly, give yourself permission to take it easy. Allow your body to adjust to the temperature. In my experience it usually takes a few weeks of summer riding to get to the point where I feel almost comfortable. This is usually when I stop complaining about the heat and start thinking about how crappy it’s going to be when it starts to rain again.

That’s it. Three easy steps to successful bike commuting in the Sacramento summer: prepare, hydrate and ride. I promise that if you follow these guidelines you will find yourself at home most weeknights, drenched in sweat, wondering how you ended up buzzed after half a beer.


another reason to ride your bike

If you live in the greater Sacramento area your chances of having you car stolen is among the highest in the country. A new study released by the National Insurance Crime Bureau put Sacramento at No. 6 for likelihood of auto theft in the entire nation in 2010. That’s up from No. 11 in 2009.

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Sacramento PD cyclists attempt 2011 Race Across America

On Saturday, June 18th, eight members of the Sacramento Police Department will gather at the starting line of the longest, fastest cycling race in America. Beginning in Oceanside, CA, competitors in the Race Across America(RAAM) will attempt to become the first individual or team to cross the finish line in Annapolis, MD, 3,000 miles away.

The RAAM is split into divisions – or categories – which separate relay teams from solo riders. Teams can be made up of 2, 4 or 8 riders who share the workload along the route. Solo riders are responsible for riding the entire race alone. The Sacramento PD will operate in a relay, with each individual cyclist riding for three hours at a stretch before handing off to a teammate.

Competitors in the RAAM ride against a clock which is always running, from the moment the first bike crosses the start line all the way across the country to the finish. The relay teams are expected to ride non-stop, 24 hours a day, while the top-ranked solo riders will be on the bike without a rest for more than 22 hours every day. The race has a 12-day time limit, so the solo riders at the front are forced to limit their sleep to 90 minutes in order to remain competitive. Because of this extreme demand, many critics say the RAAM is more about sleep deprivation than cycling skill or endurance, with the winner usually being the rider who can stay awake the longest.

Sacramento Police Department is riding for a reason: they are trying to raise money and media attention for the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington D.C. The memorial highlights the danger that police officers face in the line of duty. The cyclists from Sacramento will visit local police departments and memorials along the route to show their support for the cause.

Ideally, the participation of a group of police officers in a high-profile cycling race will raise awareness among police departments in the US of the risks that cyclists face on the nation’s roads. Complaints are common among regular road cyclists that the police often turn a blind eye to aggressive and negligent driving, or favor the automobile driver over the cyclist in the case of car-on-bike violence.

The team’s progress in the RAAM will be tracked over the next 12 days at the Sac PD website, where you can see photos and read reports from the road. There is also a real-time GPS tracker, and links to the official race leaderboard.

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