Labor Day has come and gone. Shoulder season begins! From Pollock Pines to Tahoe the crowds have thinned out. Trails and lakes are wonderful and waiting.
School bells started ringing in early August–weird–and as of now, all schools are in session. Football rules the weekends. Homework, clubs, school, have take over, leaving the high country much less crowded.
Where to go, what to do? Just about anything. Hiking, mountain biking, kayaks and canoes, fishing, camping, all of it. Weather has been hot but is cooling off now, making things much more comfortable.
Posted in bicycles, cycling, families, Lake Tahoe, Outdoor Recreation, outside treks
Death Ride 2017 will launch out of Turtle Rock Park, SR 89, just south of Woodfords and north of Markleeville, on July 8, at 0500 or daylight, whichever shows up first. The ride is also known as the Tour of the California Alps, coursing through the Sierra.
For 129 miles, riders will climb an aggregate total of 15,000 feet. Three stunning mountain passes will be summited, two of them twice. First up is Monitor Pass,Â 8,314 feet, ridden both ways, twice. Next up is Ebbetts Pass,Â 8,730 feet and the highest, ridden both ways, twice. After climbing out of Woodfords Canyon on SR 88, riders tackle Carson Pass,Â 8,580 feet, making this the fifth pass of the day. All of this, 129 miles of it, have to be completed by 2000, or 8 pm.
Swag and Support
Completing all five passes earns 5 stickers for your helmet, a Five-Pass Pin, and you’re eligible to buy the Five-Pass jersey. If you registered for this lung busting challenge, Â here’s what you receive, besides bragging rights:
â€¢ Custom Death RideÂ® Patch
â€¢ Custom Death RideÂ® Water Bottle
â€¢ Custom Death RideÂ® Five-Pass Finishers Pin (if course is completed)
â€¢ Giveaways from Sponsors at Bike Expo and on course
â€¢ Official Participant Numbers
â€¢ Highway Closures
â€¢ SAG, Tech & On Course Communication Support
â€¢ Medical Support
â€¢ Law Enforcement Support
â€¢ Food & Drink at Rest Stops
â€¢ Lunch (10:00am – 3:00pm)
â€¢ Live Music
â€¢ Post Ride Dinner/Rider Dinner complimentary per event organizers and is NOT refundable
You might still be able to register to ride. You’ll have to check with the Death Ride folks to find out. If you haven’t trained for this, or you have never ridden or hiked at altitude, you’re better off waiting till next year. It’s a stunning ride, and now matter how many of the climbs you ultimately conquer, you’ll remember it for the rest of your life.
Posted in bicycles, blogging, cycling, Death Ride/Tour of the California Alps, Outdoor Recreation, outside treks
The Other Flume Trail
What other Flume Trail? Â The one known as the Incline Flume Trail. Like the other one, the trail is on what used to be a flume that sent logs down to the Lake in the Comstock Era. It’s pretty family friendly, more flatish that its cousin simply known as The Flume Trail. The trail is an extensive project that involves the Tahoe Fund, Tahoe Area Mountain Bike Association, the USFS, Friends of Incline Trails, the Forest Service, Nevada State Parks, Nevada Land Trust, Washoe County and Incline General Improvement DistrictÂ and others.
The trail project highlights the ongoing efforts of the Tahoe Fund and others to secure high quality family friendly recreation opportunities throughout the Tahoe Basin.
Read about the trail at the Tahoe Fund website. Get your gear on, pump up the tires and head over there for what is a fun ride with outrageous views of Lake Tahoe.
Posted in bicycles, blogging, cycling, families, health, Lake Tahoe, Outdoor Recreation, outside treks
Spring and summer, with all they offer, have come and gone for the year. Autumn rolled in right on time and is in full burst right now. Around here, which is in theÂ Sierra, the weather has gotten colder, the days shorter, the leaves on the trees have done their color dance and have drifted to the ground. What a wonderful sound, riding through them on all the back roads up here! It’s my favorite time of year.
We’ve had wind, rain, hail, and snow. The Tahoe area is gearing up for what they hope is a great ski season. The snow guns are running, and opening days at the resorts are coming up. In the meantime, there’s plenty of hiking and riding to do.
As we get deeper in to autumn it is important to pay attention to the shorter days. Hikes and rides that were easily completed in daylight just a couple of weeks ago now have to be tweaked. Running out of daylight while still out on the trails is generally a bad idea. What do you do?
Start earlier if it’s possible. If not, simply modify your trek. Pay attention to when the sunlight starts to dim. Daylight hours will progressively get shorter until the Winter Solstice, in December.
Make certain that you have headlamps or flashlights with you, with fresh batteries. Change the batteries on your bike, front and rear. Make certain that they work. If you do find yourself out there at dusk, heading to dark, you’ll need these.
The temperatures in the mountains will fluctuate, from comfortable to cold, all in the course of a day, and while you’re out riding or hiking. Wear layers so that you will be able to add or shed a layer or two as needed. If you are out in the mountains, or in the forests, leave your cotton duds at home. While cotton is a fine material, it’s not your friend out there. Your layers should be wool, a wool blend, or synthetics.
Above all, just get out there. It’s a wonderful time to be out and about. Take advantage of the autumn landscape before it turns white with snow. Snow changes everything. Get outside!
Posted in bicycles, blogging, cycling, education, families, health, Outdoor Recreation, outside treks
Well, now what? May is Bike Month, oddly enough, ends on the last day of May. Several million miles were pedaled across the nation. Lot’s of people may have decided to either start riding again, or ride more. Bike shops most likely sold a few more bikes, helmets, and what not. What now?
Keep riding of course. Get your bike tuned up, get ready for the late spring ride into summer, heading to autumn. This time of year is generally pretty mild which makes outdoor rec a delight. As the season continues we all know it will get more warm, and in some areas downright hot. Ride now, get a good base under your fitness level, then, when it does warm up, you should do alright.
If you live in an area that gets hot, or hot and humid, you know you have to slow down and stay hydrated. Time your rides, hikes, and so on for cooler parts of the day, if there are any. The whole point is to simply enjoy riding your bike or whatever outdoor activity that turns your prop.
Next up in the big leagues is the Tour de France. The main reason to watch it is to hear Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin offer their expert and hilarious commentary on the race. It’s a hoot. Somewhere in there is that rather wonderful tour in Colorado too. Always amazing to see the young pros and what they are capable of doing. With great hope, it is done on natural talent and work only. Always iffy in the bike world.
Ah well, enjoy your time on your bike or out on the lakes or in the forests wherever you live.
Posted in bicycles, blogging, cycling, education, families, health, outside treks, Uncategorized
Believe it or not, we’ve gone through all of April. It’s May, and that means it’s Bike Month. For the entire month of May there is an increased focus on all things bicycle. It’s a good time to ride, whether you are experienced, a novice, or just plain rusty. This is the time to gear up and start pedaling.
What is May is Bike Month? It is a month long effort and campaign throughout the U.S.Â that promotes bicycles as a mode of transportation. The aim is for as many people as possible to ride bikes while running errands, commuting to work, actually working, or for recreation and health. With more people riding, the number of autos on the road decreases. A direct result of that is better air quality and less traffic congestion. In theory it also focuses attention on the need for greater investment in bicycle infrastructure and facilities. Throw in that it’s fun, burns calories, and gets you moving, and it’s a winner all the way.
More bikes on the roads points out the need for more bike lanes on the roads, and more bike paths throughout the area to accommodate more cycling. Safety becomes a big part of the formula too. With a greater need for bike friendly roads the need for safe cycling increases as well. Riders always need to pay attention to the traffic and conditions around them, no matter where they are riding. We Boomers know this. We didn’t get to this mature state by being stupid. Well, maybe a little, but learning takes all forms.
The event, and it is an event, comes with the opportunity to log the miles you ride. The goal this year in my area is for a total of 2 million miles to be pedaled up over the month. How are those miles counted? First, sign up atÂ May is Bike Month in your region. You can sign up as an individual or with a team. It’s important to note that if you sign up for a team, you don’t actually have to ride with that team. When you do ride, you’ll log you miles and you and that team will get credit for your miles. Most areas have random drawings of participants for cycling gear.
When you sign up you’ll pledge a number of miles to ride during May. You can change that number any time you want. There isn’t any minimum or maximum involved. If you’ve done this before you know about how many miles you can get in, and may want to push you mileage up a bit. If this is your first time, just pick a number of miles that seems reasonable to ride.
At the end of each ride, log in to your May is Bike MonthÂ site, and enter your miles. It’s as simple as that. You’ll be able to see your cumulative total, the total for you team, and the total number of miles ridden by everyone. There is a bar graph that keeps track of progress towards the goal in your particular area.
It doesn’t matter what kind of bike you ride. From the most weird to the most elite bikes, everything is welcomed. Your age isn’t a factor either. Your children can register with you and ride on a balance bike or a bike with training wheels still on it. It simply has to be a bike, any kind of bike will do.Â They can log miles right along with you. This is simply a great way to encourage everyone to ride bikes. It isn’t a race, and the only competition is between you and the miles you pledge.
Sign up now, and start riding. Ride with your friends, family, or just enjoy your own bliss while pedaling. Watch the miles pile up and enjoy this fine, month long event. Check theÂ events calendarÂ on your local May is Bike MonthÂ websiteÂ to see if there is an event that you’d like to experience.
The entire month is filled with things to do. It’s all just a great deal of fun, for everyone. You just might find a new appreciation for bikes too.
The video below is from the fine folks at Razik Bikes, who make an amazing bike. These handmade beauties just may inspire you to sign up and start riding.
Posted in bicycles, blogging, business, cycling, education, families, Handmade bikes, health, Uncategorized
Spring is different things in different parts of the country. Could be snowy, cold, cool, windy, sunny, warm, hot, rainy, or flooding. Depends on where you are. One constant is that it is at this time of year that the new bikes are paraded out for all of us to drool over. Bicycling, VeloNews, Dirt Rag, Mountain BikeÂ and the others all start devoting a lot of space to the new bikes.
How new can they be, really? Frame, wheels, brakes, seat, handle bars. That about sums it up. Not even close really. The new bikes all have some sort of tweak that separates them from whatever came before. It’s not the paint job or any other cosmetic bling. The bikes have different angles, vibration dampers, frames, stems, brakes, cables. It may not seem like much when you look at it, but it does add up to a different feel for the new ones.Â Check out Razik Bicycles if you want to see what’s really different in a frame. Â They really areÂ different.
Adds up is a very appropriate term. Most of the manufacturers have very good bikes in the lower end of the price range, between $1,000-$2,500 or maybe a tad more. For most of us that’s the price range that’s comfortable. If you’re on the front tip of the Boomer range you’ll be 70 this year, and your retirement income has to be taken into consideration when looking at the bikes. When the price gets north of $3,000 my interest plummets. Actually, when it gets anywhere close to $3K my interest plummets.
When the price hikes up into that area the target audience isn’t ordinary riders. If you are in the top end of your club, a rated rider, or a very competitive type, those bikes up into the well over $4,000 range might make a difference in where you place at the end of the day. They are rather nice bikes. I’m not sure I’d notice the difference though.
I just ride, for the sheer fun of it and to stay healthy. That’s it. I would like to have a set of gears that make the climbs easier though. I live in the Sierra Nevada and nothing is flat. It’s a relative term up here.
Enjoy exploring the new crop of two wheeled wonders. It’s always fun, even if your wallet is bit light. No drooling on the bikes. It’s frowned on.
Posted in bicycles, blogging, business, cycling, families, Handmade bikes, health, Uncategorized
OK Boomers, sit up and pay attention. Bicycle technology sometimes seems stuck in low gear. Either that or it’s so esoteric that only the elite, the real ones, not the faux strutters, either appreciate it or have use for it. However, light weight and uber strong is something that all of us, regardless of age, easily understand. That’s especially true when you’re hauling your bones uphill.
TheÂ North American Handmade Bicycle ShowÂ that was held in Sacramento the last weekend of February brought an amazing array of handmade bicycles, bicycle gear, and cyclists to the Sacramento Convention Center. The variety of bikes easily covered just about everything anyone who has an interest in bikes could possibly imagine. Judging from the crowds over the three days of the show the success level was over the top.
While we wandered about the Convention Center we came upon a really different bike. You could see through the tubes. The guy at the booth, who turned out to be the head of Razik bikes, handed me a frame. It was like lifting air. Read on.
Razik BicyclesÂ easily had the standout, and most interesting, bikes in the show. On any other bike the top tube, seat tube and down tube are formed tubes of steel, aluminum, titanium or carbon fiber. Razik has stepped out of that mold and into something entirely different. Those parts very different on their bikes.
Ryun Noble, who is the co-founder and president of the company, was on hand at the show, letting the curious know what Razik had done. The frames are very light. The top tube, seat tube, and down tube are an open tubular lattice. It’s known asÂ IsoTruss technology. It looks like a woven tube. Noble said that this technology uses carbon fiber and takes advantage of the strength of reinforcing pyramids and triangles. You see this type of construction all over the place in all kinds of towers, beams, bridges and support structures.
His frames are very light. According to Noble, they are also extremely strong, and very responsive, more than “any other bike.” When asked about wind resistance, Noble said that the technology works just like the dimples on a golf ball, which is to say it helps reduce drag on the frame. Less resistance to wind is always a plus, on any kind of bike. Razik seems to have nailed it quite well.
This technology is available only on Razik bikes. Additionally, the bikes are handmade in the United States, “…Not part of itâ€¦ the whole thing.” That in itself is noteworthy.
Your next chance to see these bikes out here in California will be at theÂ Sea Otter Classic, April 14 to 17. The Sea Otter Classic is held in Monterey, and Razik Bicycles will be in the Loaded Precision booth at this iconic bike race. It’s well worth the trip. You’ll have to contact Razik to see if they will be anywhere close to where you live so you can see one of these beauties.
Do yourself a favor if you’re going to the Sea Otter, and stop by their booth. Talk to the Razik folks, pick up one of the frames, then a whole bike. They really are light, and really do look pretty amazing. This may be the next bike in your line up of bikes.
Posted in bicycles, blogging, business, cycling, education, families, Handmade bikes, Uncategorized
The NAHBS will be in Sacramento this year at the end of February, from the 26th to the 28th. If you are anywhere near Sacramento, are a cyclist of any kind, make plans to see this. It is, in a word, fantastic.
The Sacramento Convention Center will be filled with all things bicycle, and all handmade. Some of the tools that make parts and frames will be on display too. Â There are bike accessory makers all around, including clothing, hats, and all kinds of gear. Handmade, by the people standing there at their booth. It’s more than just a little interesting. Even if you don’t ride, the art of bikes, and the art of making bikes, is stunning.
The last time the NAHBS was in Sacramento I urged parents to take their children out of school for the day and go to the show instead. Bear in mind that I am a retired teacher. I simply saw more value at this show than could be had in a classroom for the day.
If you want to encourage your child’s interest in science, technology, engineering and math, the much spoken about STEM component of school, you have to see this collection of bikes, artists, and makers. It encompasses all of STEM, plus art, in a very real world setting.
The people at the booths, and there are a lot of booths, are there because they made what ever is displayed in the booth. These are some extremely competent builders. Bikes aren’t just bikes, even the mass produced kind. The amount of science that goes into the design is massive. The technological aspects, combined with the engineering to make it work, requires very bright minds. Along with that, the angles, the stresses, the strength of the materials, are all math based.
On top of that, the bikes are simply works of art. From fantastical to very functional, these bikes are rolling examples of how function, form, and art work together with the STEM processes to produce bikes that will make you smile. You’ll see very futuristic bikes, along with memory jogging retro designs, and everything in between.
NAHBS rotates between cities each year. The last time it was here was in 2012. You’ll want to come to this, as the wait for a return could be a few years. Bring your camera and make sure you have plenty of space on your memory card. You’ll need it.
Posted in bicycles, cycling, education, families, Handmade bikes, Uncategorized
Winter brings colder weather, at least in our part of the world. In the Sierra it means consistent cold, especially this year. In mid-America and back east, it’s really cold. Staying warm is critical if you’re to continue enjoying riding, hiking, xc skiing, snowshoeing, skiing and so on.
First rule is this: leave all your cotton gear at home. Cotton will not keep you warm, and if it gets wet, can be a big detriment to your health. Depending on where you are, it could lead to very serious consequences, like death. Hypothermia really is a killer.
Wear either wool, smart wool, or synthetics when you venture out in the cold. These fabrics not only keep you warm, they dry quickly and will wick moisture away from your skin. Layer everything. You’ll be able to shed a layer if you start to feel too warm, or add a layer if the cold starts to settle in. Gen
erally speaking, if you are too comfortable when you start out, you’ve got too many layers on. Ideally you will be just a bit on the cool side.
When you start whatever activity it is that you’ve chosen, you’ll start to generate heat. That’s good, and the reason you don’t need to be completely over layered when you start out.
If you’re headed out into a cloudy day, or into the back country, always take rain gear with you. If your top layer keeps you dry, it’s a much better day. Worst combo is cold and wet. Bad, very bad.
Knowing the weather forecast is especially important if you’re out in the mountains. or out there quite a ways on a trail. In town, you still need to know if there is rain heading your way. Stay warm, stay dry and your day will be much more enjoyable.
You’d think Boomers would know all this. We’ve had plenty of time to learn it. It bears repeating though. Mother Nature doesn’t care whether you’re dressed for the prevailing conditions. You’re on your own, so stay smart out there.
Posted in bicycles, blogging, cycling, education, families, health, outside treks, Uncategorized