Monthly Archives: March 2012

10 days off the bike, ouch!

A very wet scene at the Pescadero bakery/market
It was with no small amount of fear & trepidation that I approached today’s ride, one that could not be avoided no matter what the weather brought. Why? 10 days off the bike, that’s why! I hadn’t ridden since a week ago Thursday, due to my trip to the DC Bicycle Summit. And while there, I ate too much, excercised too little, and came back to see a number on the scale I haven’t seen in a couple years, and it’s not even “winter” anymore.

Tell that to the weatherman. The winter part. I held off a bit, since the forecast was for the rain to stop by 10am and stay away until 3. I can live with that; just enough time for a quick run out to Pescadero and return via Tunitas Creek. And since it wasn’t raining when I left, I brought out the nice bike (Madone) instead of the rain bike. And it stayed dry… until I approached the top of Old LaHonda, and descending the other side it went from a drizzle to light rain. And that beautiful view of the coast from west-side Old LaHonda? Just gray clouds and rain.

How did it feel climbing Old LaHonda? Not as bad as I thought it would. No, that’s not true, it felt every bit as bad as I thought it would, it just went a bit faster than I thought it might. I was expecting 25 minutes and it was about 23, probably because I had spotted someone climbing up the hill behind me and didn’t want to get caught. According to Strava I paid for that, with an average heart rate a bit higher than normal (143 instead of 135).

Descending 84 towards LaHonda I hit the first of two cloudbursts. Really heavy rain that made it tough to see where I was going, and made me wish I’d brought a cycling hat to keep the rain out of my eyes. I was seriously considering shortening the ride by either turning up West Alpine or heading straight out to San Gregorio instead of Pesadero. I even thought of simply turning around at LaHonda and heading back up 84! But the plan is the plan, follow the plan. How close did I come to cutting it short? So close that I skipped the “shortcut” through LaHonda to Pescadero Road, thinking at that point that I’d do the straight shot out to San Gregorio instead. I came to my senses only when I got to the regular instersection.

Always nice to ride Tunitas after a good rain; the creek becomes alive!

One more brief downpour just prior to Pescadero, after which things cleared up nicely! Thank goodness, since I needed to dry out. But of course the rain wasn’t through with me yet; the final 3 miles of Tunitas Creek were essentially riding into a cloud, complete with rain, fog and even hail. This continued all the way to the bottom of Kings Mtn, at which point I finally saw the promised weather… for the last 5 miles of my ride. :-)

The stats? They got a bit messed up. I know the mileage (about 57), but the combination of heavy cloud cover and changing barometric pressure did a number on my Garmin, such that it significantly under-reported elevation gain and the profile showed a couple of cliffs that I apparently scaled. But it’s not as if this isn’t a ride I haven’t done a hundred times before.

Friends in high places

A visit to Congress on behalf of cyclists has the potential to feel like an exercise in futility; for whatever reason, leadership in the House of Representatives decided to specifically target all-things-cycling for elimination from federal funding on the grounds that it’s frivolous. Frivolous?

Representative Jackie Speier with Gary Fisher at the DC Bicycle Summit lobbying event. Jackie has been a supporter of cycling from Day 1.

Tell that to car-bound commuter stuck in traffic because it’s not possible to build enough roads and parking lots in a city and still have a place to live.

Tell that to downtown stores and restaurants that┬ácan’t stay in┬ábusiness because the lack of space has driven rents through the roof.

Tell that to a new generation that may become fat & lazy because it’s not safe for kids to ride or walk to school, so they’re driven everywhere.

Tell that to anyone paying nearly $5/gallon for gas because our need for fuel has driven up the cost.

Tell that to a cyclist who’s been injured by a car because the roads aren’t built to accomodate all users.

Fortunately, the two Representatives local to Chain Reaction, Jackie Speier and Anna Eshoo, get it. And fortunately, when the House leadership (Representatives Boehner and Mica) decided that cycling infrastructure and Safe Routes to Schools programs were frivilous, thousands of people responded. We heard that the kickback from cyclists was far beyond anything Boehner and Mica were prepared for and, as a result, there will likely be a 3-month extension of the current highway funding bill, keeping our programs intact. During that 3 months, the House and Senate will be getting together to hammer out a bill acceptable to both, and it is hopeful that, while we’ll share our burden of the current financial situation, we won’t be completely gutted as things originally appeared.

To all of our customers who responded to an earlier email request for help (by calling or emailing your representative), all 800 cycling advocates who worked “The Hill” in DC on March 22nd, thank you. We have proved ourselves capable of a good fight, and that alone is worth a lot of value when fighting for our rights to the road and our desire to make our communities friendlier to all who live there. The battle is not over, but with the help of the cycling community, we will prevail. –Mike–