Category Archives: Tues/Thurs 7:45am ride

Endless ramblings regarding the every Tuesday & Thursday-morning bike ride, leaving Olive Hill & Canada Road at 7:45am, rain or shine

Smoke gets in your eyes

Sometimes you’re just scratching your head, wondering about priorities… more important to talk on a cell phone than drive carefully?

First things first. The smoke really didn’t seem that bad this morning, even though I woke up with a dry throat that felt like it was coated by dust. Kaiser even sent out an all-hands email warning people not to be outside today if you could avoid it, talking about respiratory issues that could be made much worse through exposure to the smoke. But despite my ongoing breathing issues, the amount of pollution has never really made much of a difference in how I feel. Temperature is the most-important variable; if it’s colder, my breathing becomes worse. If it’s really hot, you can still hear me breathe, but I do much better.

Today Kevin (kid) and I were joined by Karen, whom we hadn’t seen in quite a few months. We took it fairly easy up Kings, but towards the top Kevin was starting to feel some pretty bad pain in his right knee. Certainly not from today’s climb; in all likelihood, it was from hanging onto Marcus’ wheel on Tuesday’s ride, when the two of them went flying up west-side 84. We shortened the ride a bit, eliminating the West Old LaHonda segment, to help Kevin minimize his knee pain.

Most noteworthy event on the ride is seen in the photo above. Pretty unbelievable, a guy driving too-quickly up around a corner, hogging the extreme side of the road such that, had there been anyone walking on that side, he couldn’t have possibly avoided them. Oh, and he was holding a cell phone in one hand at the same time. That prompted me to send the photo above in an email to Woodside’s Town Engineer, with this message-

Woodside has a number of signs encouraging better behavior for cyclists. What about motorists? How many accidents occur from people texting or talking on their phones (without headsets)? I’ve attached a photo from this-morning’s ride showing a guy rounding a corner on Albion, at speed, just one hand on the steering wheel, the other holding a phone near his face. If someone had been walking on that side of the street, you’d be dealing with a serious injury (or worse) right now. People like this are a danger to all road users, including the many people we see on Albion with strollers, those out walking their dogs (and horses!), cyclists and other motorists.

Why not a campaign to eliminate distracted driving, making the community roads safer for all, especially those who live in Woodside and enjoy taking morning walks? That could get a lot of community support from residents, as well as cycling groups.

I’ll let you know if I hear anything back. –Mike–

Big-ringing it all the way up Kings!

“Big ringing” a major climb is boastful banter rarely based in fact. The idea that you’re so strong you can ride up a big climb entirely in the big chainring, never needing to drop it into the smaller front chainring which is, of course, on your bike to take those big hills.

Well today, yes, it’s true, I rode from the upper Huddart Park Entrance (on Kings) all the way to the top, without ever shifting to the small chainring. But it wasn’t exactly by choice!

Just myself and Kevin (kid) today; not sure what scared everybody off, as the fog on Skyline was gone and sure, it was still pretty cool at times (mid-40s) but geez, it’s going to get a whole lot cooler than that soon. Since it was Thursday we rode up through the park, via Greer. Everything seemed normal enough; I even felt a bit better than I had on Tuesday, when breathing was a real issue. Maybe I felt too good, because, right after we started that really steep ramp within the park, I shifted into the next-larger rear cog and BAM, no power and the chains jumping around. Fortunately (or unfortunately), I knew exactly what had happened. I busted another Dura Ace 11-28 cassette. My 4th one, in fact. The 5th-position cog (counting from 1 to 11 starting with the largest) had completely broken free of its mount, rendering it, and the adjacent (#6) cog not just useless but dangerous to accidentally try to use.

Here’s where electronic Di2 shifting becomes very handy. I actually have a display on my Garmin computer that shows what gear I’m in, both front & back, so I was able to make sure I didn’t try to use those busted gears. The problem? In the smaller chainring, the gears I could use were either too high or too low for the climb. The best gear remaining, for Kings, was actually the large/large combination. The gear combo a decent bike shop will tell you to avoid, because it’s noisy and does a number on the chain (causing premature wear). But that’s what it took to keep heading up the hill.

Once up on top, I was able to use more-normal gear combinations, by gingerly shifting across the bad gears down onto the smaller cogs suitable for the rolling stuff. We didn’t try West Old LaHonda today though; that would have been a bit too challenging, needing to shift across that chasm of bad cogs too often to be safe.

When I got back to the shop I installed a stronger, heavier Ultegra version. Hopefully this one will last.