Perfect day coming for annual TurkeyTrot ride!

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It’s that time of the year again, that time when the weather in Northern California remains so nice you almost feel guilty about it, almost as guilty as you’ll feel about over-stuffing yourself at Thanksgiving Dinner. Except that you won’t feel guilty because you went on a great bike ride in the morning and got back in time to help prepare the dinner!

Our usual Tuesday/Thursday-morning bike ride leaves from Olive Hill & Canada Road at 7:45am. Since Thanksgiving’s a Thursday, that’s where we’ll be, and that’s when we’ll be there. 7:45am. We’ll be doing the “Coastal Classic”, about 55 miles round trip with about 5500 feet of climbing. Up Old LaHonda, down 84, detour past the “secret” Duck Pond in LaHonda, over Haskins Grade to Pescadero. We’ve confirmed the regular Pescadero Bakery will be closed but believe it or not there’s food & cokes at the old gas station at the corner of Pescadero & Stage Road. We’ll quickly refuel and head north on Stage Road, take Tunitas Creek up to Skyline, then down Kings back into Woodside.

This is a challenging ride; you need to be capable of riding up Old LaHonda at a 26 minute (or better) pace, and keep that pace up for two more significant climbs (Haskins and Tunitas). We’ll regroup at the top of Old LaHonda, possibly at the top of Haskins, definitely in Pescadero and one last time at the top of Stage Road. Once we hit Tunitas, you’re on your own. You will be back at the start between 12 & 1pm.

Could be just a few of us, could be more. Past rides have had anywhere from 3 to 20. This will be a social, not training ride. No sag/support, water available in Pescadero, possibly food too but be prepared just in case. No rain, temps in the low-60s on the coast, but expect upper-40s on the way there.

You’ll be back between 12-1pm so you can help cook, watch the games, drink beer, whatever. The day is yours!  –Mike Jacoubowsky

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Beautiful Thanksgiving Day ride; but tough when it’s been two days since food “took”

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Very hard to believe it’s going to be raining in a day or two. Equally hard to believe I managed to survive this ride; last night, I went to bed thinking there was very little chance I’d be out there. Something has hit me such that food “drains.” But I felt good enough when I woke up to go through the required rituals, still not really believing I’d be doing the full ride though. Had to get out there, because this was, after all, “my” ride, I’d tried to publicize it here (not knowing that a problem with WordPress was preventing people from seeing recent postings!), so I had to at least make an appearance. I thought about just sending Kevin on his own, but that wouldn’t have happened, he would have chosen to sleep in.

Todd, Jim, Eric, Kevin and I set out from the usual place at the usual time, discovering that it can get pretty cold this time of year in Woodside! Just over 35 degree cold. Old LaHonda was at a moderate 24 minute pace, which was still pushing it a bit for me, and on Haskins I just tried to keep people in sight. It’s not easy going on a tough ride without really having eaten for a day or two! Thankfully, we had Todd with us, pulling us in a heroic fashion on the flats. At Pescadero we stopped at the gas station/restaurant, the only place open in town, where I had a baby burrito at 9:33am. Hey, why not? It felt good to have something in my stomach! While Jim, Kevin and I were eating, Todd and Eric pushed on, never to be seen again (as if I was going to catch up to them on Tunitas?).

Yes, it felt good eating real food, but it wasn’t doing much for me. Tunitas was HARD! Just going through the motions, one pedal in front of the other. But in the end I finished the usual “coastal classic” and collapsed on the couch, attracting the attention of other family members who thought I was on my deathbed. Nope. Just resting! It had to have been one of the toughest rides of my life. I have no idea how the professionals manage to get sick in a stage race and keep on going, without getting eliminated by the time cut. They’re made of tougher stuff than me!

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This won’t mean anything if under 50 (I owe a lot to Captain Kangaroo)

800px-Bob_keeshan_captain_kangaroo_1977[1]I probably wouldn’t be the bike person I am today if not for Bob Keeshan. Captain Kangaroo. He showed me that bikes were cool. He reinforced that message every single weekday morning. And, of course, he convinced me to buy a Schwinn. OK, so I’m a bit conflicted with the idea of tangentially promoting a company that I have no love for today (Schwinn went bankrupt and the name was bought by a company that now produces BSOs, Bike Shaped Objects, that defile the original company’s dedication to quality products). But seriously, how many of us in our 50s were influenced by Captain Kangaroo’s cycling message?

We keep looking for reasons that cycling isn’t as popular with kids today as it was back in the 60s and 70s. I think it’s the lack of a Captain Kangaroo, with his consistent, every-single-day bicycle message. I wanted a Schwinn. I settled for a Sears. I eventually did buy a Schwinn Varsity, and another one when that was stolen.

I’d love to know what that marketing campaign cost Schwinn, in real (today) dollars. The cycling industry talks about how we cannot afford a huge “get on a bike” campaign, and that’s right, we can’t. It would take far more money than we can mobilize to move the needle the tiniest amount. But a consistent effort aimed at kids could be cost-effective. Schwinn wasn’t looking at the quick buck back then.

Of course, the dirty little secret is that the campaign was so effective that it lead to FTC guidelines outlawing product endorsement by hosts of kids shows. Captain Kangaroo got around it by introducing a new character, Mr. Schwinn, and had internal memos to support the view that the kids still couldn’t separate the show from Schwinn (Schwinn was still getting a very effective marketing tool).

But back to the point- I think this industry owes a lot to Bob Keeshan for introducing many of us to cycling as a cool thing at an impressionable age. If there’s anybody left alive, former Schwinn execs responsible for keeping the Schwinn/Captain Kangaroo relationship going, I think it would be pretty cool to recognize them for their contribution, and ask what advice they might have for us today. They hit a home run. Maybe they can teach us to at least get on the bases again. –Mike–

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