Tahoe Fund seeks proposals

Tahoe Fund seeks proposals     

Know before you go.

Good gear, stay warm, always check avalanche conditions
photo/J Ferris

The Tahoe Fund, according to a statement on their website, was “…founded in 2010,  as a registered non-profit corporation in the States of  Nevada and California. The purpose of the Tahoe Fund is to become a major source of private funding for environmental projects around the Lake Tahoe Basin with an emphasis on recreation, conservation and education.”

To that end, they’ve raised quite a bit of money and launched numerous projects around the lake. They are currently asking for proposals that will help solve the many environmental challenges facing Lake Tahoe.

Here’s what they are looking for:  “The Tahoe Fund seeks projects for its 2018 Signature and Premier Project Portfolios that will improve Lake Tahoe’s environment, reduce the risk of wildfire, and address climate change by enhancing water quality, restoring watersheds, creating healthier forests, improving transportation and fostering outdoor recreation.  The Tahoe Fund also seeks to build a greater sense of stewardship in the Tahoe Basin.” Fundraising goals run from $5,000 to $1,000,000.

Interested? If your organization is looking to participate,  submit your project ideas by January 31, 2018 at http://www.tahoefund.org/our-projects/submit-a-project/.

More Tahoe info at Tahoe Outside.


Posted in education, Lake Tahoe, Outdoor Recreation

Fun weekend at Taylor Creek Visitor Center

Fun at Lake Tahoe

Time for fun at Lake Tahoe

For a fun weekend for you and your children, consider heading up to the Taylor Creek Visitor Center at Lake Tahoe. Over the weekend of June 24 and 25, two festivals will take place.

The “Wild Tahoe Weekend” is sponsored by the US Forest Service Lake Tahoe folks and the Tahoe Institute for Natural Science. Both days are free. You’ll need to take or buy snacks and lunch.

Saturday, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, is dedicated to the 6th annual Native Species Festival, while Sunday, 10:00 am to 3:30 pm, is for the 7th annual Lake Tahoe Bird Festival. Lulu the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout and Smokey the Bear will be there, along with displays and nature walks.

It will be warm over the weekend. Sunscreen, hats, plenty of water should be on your list to take with you. These festivals are especially fun for children of all ages.

Taylor Creek is spectacular right now, and the Visitor’s center, 3 miles north of South Lake Tahoe on State Route 89, is a wonderful place to spend the day with your children, or with just you, enjoying an amazing early summer weekend.


Posted in blogging, education, families, Lake Tahoe, Outdoor Recreation, outside treks

Friends of Hope Valley

FRIENDS OF HOPE VALLEY WORK DAY & BENEFIT CONCERT

If you enjoy all the recreational fun in Hope Valley, consider giving a bit of time to help out. This is a great way to spend some time in a very beautiful place. The information below is courtesy of Friends of Hope Valley:

Friends of Hope Valley’s annual workday is June 10th… at 9:00am. Participants will meet at Pickett’s Junction (Hwy 88/Hwy 89) in Hope Valley. Join in a work party of their choice. Projects include watershed habitat improvement, general clean up and fence repair. FOHV members are welcome to stay and attend the general membership meeting at noon. Please mark your calendars and join us. Bring work gloves, shovels, and fencing pliers.

June 11th…The Back Forty Bluegrass band will returns to the Friends of Hope Valley benefit concert. This event will take place at Sorensen’s Resort located on Highway 88 in Hope Valley. Accompanying the Back Forty will be “local folkies” The Ten Dollar Pony, Larry Nair and Beth Oliverto. Based in Gardnerville, they play a lively blend of original and cover tunes.
Spend an afternoon in a beautiful setting at Sorensen’s Resort. Good music and good food will be guaranteed. Sorensen’s Resort is generous enough to host this event and match the funds raised. $10 donation requested. No host BBQ…. 1pm to 4pm

Check out Sorensen’s Resort for more events and information


Posted in education, families, Outdoor Recreation, outside treks

Sierra Avalanche Center Alert

Logo for Sierra Avalanche Center

Sierra Avalanche Center
Logo courtesy of Sierra Avalanche Center

Back country skiers and snowshoe enthusiasts will be without the extremely valuable Sierra Avalanche Center alerts after April 23. The last advisory will be on that date. You are on your own after that date. Pay attention to what you see out there. Common sense, buckets full of it, comes into play now more than ever. Here is the complete information from the SAC website:

“The last advisory of the season will occur April 23rd.  Thanks to all who have supported the avalanche center.

After this winter’s historic snowfall and with exciting spring skiing/riding prospects approaching, Sierra Avalanche Center would like to prepare our users for the end of SAC’s 2016-2017 forecasting season.  The daily advisories will continue through April 23rd. After that date, SAC encourages you to put your hard earned avalanche training and knowledge gained from previous days of travel in avalanche terrain to use to act as your own avalanche expert.  For your assistance, Sierra Avalanche Center will include a list of internet resources in the spring statement on the SAC advisory page. These resources can be used for daily travel planning and assisting with go/no go decisions.

Like you, the avalanche center is always disappointed at the close of a season and understands and acknowledges the desire to extend operations, but are not able to forecast beyond April 23, 2017 for the following reasons:

1) Public use of the daily advisory declines dramatically – Tracking of website usage shows that regardless of the snow year, big like 2010-2011, one of the recent drought years, or a fairly typical winter like 2015-2016, use of the SAC website drops by approximately 80% during the month of April when compared to daily use during December through March.

2) The forecast season’s budget is exhausted – The avalanche center’s funding is a complex mix of public and private funds and the budget is created to provide a sustainable avalanche center. Extending the season would cut into funding for future seasons. In addition to this problem, due to the complex nature of the public private partnership, the timeline for altering the agreements and contracts to make additional funding accessible for late April and May was deemed unattainable when examined at the beginning of March.

3) Forecaster availability – The forecasters have other work obligations beginning in May.  These obligations conflict with forecaster availability to provide continued full forecasting operations and are necessary to ensure continuous income and seasonal stability regardless of the snow year.

4) What about weekend only advisories? – The majority of late season users are interested in storm events rather than the predictable day to day spring melt-freeze conditions. Storm events would not be adequately covered by weekend only advisories. To properly cover late season storms to the expected standard, employee availability would be needed 7 days per week and this would require continued full operations.”


Posted in education, Lake Tahoe, Outdoor Recreation, outside treks, skiing, snow

Change of Seasons

Autumn is here!

Autumn is here!

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 the 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

May is over, so is bike month

Fat bike in snow

Remember this weather?

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

May is Bike Month

mibm 2016 logo

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. 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 at 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 Month 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. 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 the events calendar on your local May is Bike Month website 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

Razik Bicycles stuns at North American Handmade Bike Show

Amazing technology.

Amazing technology.
Photo courtesy of Razik Bicycles

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.

The North American Handmade Bicycle Show 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 Bicycles 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 as 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 it… the whole thing.” That in itself is noteworthy.

Your next chance to see these bikes out here in California will be at the 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

North America Handmade Bike Show

stainless steel bike, car

Tune it up, then ride/photo J Ferris

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.  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.

Mt. Bike at NAHBS/photo: J Ferris

Mt. Bike at NAHBS/photo: J Ferris

Bamboo bike, NAHBS, 2012/photo J Ferris

Bamboo bike, NAHBS, 2012/photo J Ferris

The future is here: internal hubs/photo J Ferris

The future is here: internal hubs/photo J Ferris

retro style bike, 2012, Sacramento, CA

Retro style at NAHBS 2012/photo: J Ferris


Posted in bicycles, cycling, education, families, Handmade bikes, Uncategorized

Layers count

Good gear, stay warm photo/J Ferris

Good gear, stay warm photo/J Ferris

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