The Other Flume Trail
What other Flume Trail? ¬†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 District¬†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 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
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.¬†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
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 Bike¬†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.¬†Check out Razik Bicycles if you want to see what’s really different in a frame. ¬†They really are¬†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
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
The snows started to fall in the Sierra early this year. It hasn’t stopped, and everyone in California is grinning. The biggest grins are on the faces of anyone who enjoys snow sports of any kind.
Boomers around the Sierra in California, from 4,000 feet up, may have to park their bikes for a few days. Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows reported 4 feet of new snow over the last day and a half. Christmas Eve will bring in a robust and cold storm, with snow levels dropping to 2,500 feet.
This doesn’t mean that the more mature generation will head for the couch. Hot chocolate maybe, but the lure of keeping active simply means that we’ll head out into the snow. For hard core cyclists there are fat bikes to explore. These bikes have very wide tires, knobby for gripping the snow, and apparently are great for pedaling about in the slippery white stuff. If you are at a spot where they are available for rent, it’s probably worth it to climb on one and find out how they do. Could be fun.
There’s also Alpine and Nordic skiing. In the Sierra around Lake Tahoe there’s a boatload of places to do both. If strapping waxed boards to your feet and launching yourself down a steep hill is too much for you, snowshoes could be what you’re looking for.
Snowshoes simply allow you to hike in the snow without sinking in up to your ears. You’ll need poles along with the snow shoes. What you’ll get is a wonderful experience in the quiet winter woods. Sounds good to me.
The whole point is that winter is here, and there’s still plenty to do, where ever you are. Do it. Get outside!
Posted in bicycles, families, health, outside treks
While this blog is named Boomers on Bicycles, and certainly covers the older crowd on bikes, that’s not all we do. BoomerGen, which is us, in younger people speak, is an active and diverse bunch of people. Right now, it’s cold outside in most places, and anyone within range of a mountain probably has a set of skis, a snowboard, xc skis, or snowshoes in addition to the two wheeled steed.
Some things cut across all cold weather outside sports. Staying warm and dry is critical not only to your comfort, it’s critical to your continued existence. The first caveat is that all the cool cotton clothing that you trot about town in needs to stay home when you head out to the forest, the trails, or the bike paths, in cold weather.
The layers that you wear need should be either wool, smart wool, or synthetics of some kind. These fabrics have the ability to wick moisture away from your skin. When wet they retain some ability to trap whatever heat you are generating, and they dry quickly while doing so.
Layers are important because you can easily take off one if you are too warm, or add something when you start to get chilly. Most of them are lightweight but have the ability to keep you comfortable. If they have a wind blocking fabric built in, so much the better.
If you are too comfortable when you first start out on your trek you’ve probably got one too many layers on. As soon as you start hiking, skiing, snowshoeing and so on, your body will heat up. If you’re overdressed to begin with, you’ll have to stop and shed a layer. Starting out with the right mix simply means you get to hoof for a longer and more comfortable period of time before shedding that layer.
While this is a bit of repeat of the last post, it bears repeating. There are stories every year about back country travelers who, while wearing cotton clothing, got caught in the wet and cold and died. It really is critical.
Posted in bicycles, education, families, health, outside treks
This Saturday, December 21, at about 9:11 a.m., autumn bows out for the year. Winter officially makes its debut. Despite all the weather guessers touting “winter weather” and “ooh, it’s wintery cold outside”, the facts are that winter starts in December, every year, not November.
The Winter Solstice marks the shortest day of the year. This is a big day for all of us outdoor types. The need to keep lit, as in bike lights and so on, continues. The day and night hours won’t be equal till the Vernal Equinox in March.
The way the light filters through everything at this time of year makes for some pretty muted scenes. The earth is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun, so the light has to shine through more things than in summer. Those things are trees, bushes, and buildings.
It doesn’t matter how you chose to make yourself more visible, it only matters that you do. There are far too many riders who pedal in low light and plain dark conditions wearing dark clothing, no lights on their bikes, and riding against the traffic on a street. There’s no polite spin on this. It’s just plain stupid.
That type of riding puts everyone in a bad spot. Drivers can’t see the riders well, if at all, until they are right on top of them. Car vs. bike ¬†crashes don’t work out well for the bikes. Riders simply put themselves in the Grim Reapers crosshairs.
Keep the lights lit. Wear gear with reflective tapes and logo’s. Ride with traffic. If you able, stay off the streets at night. We didn’t live this long by ignoring too much of reality. Some maybe, but not the really obvious stuff.
Enjoy these last really wonderful days of autumn. On Saturday, you may start enjoying the early winter days. Ride on!
Posted in bicycles, cycling, education, health and tagged blogspot, delicious, digg, technorati
Ah, the joys of autumn. The trees putting on the their annual color parade, riding through fallen leaves, eating more warm pastries than we should–it’s great.
It’s also getting darker earlier. Slowly but surely, the light fades out just a bit earlier every day. Soon, taking off for a ride at around 4 p.m. will be a bit sketchy.
Since those of us in the more mature group, or so we think anyway, may already have some vision issues, riding in fading light can be a bit of challenge.
Considering that Boomers are also driving in fading light, it seems important to shout out my yearly blast about lighting up your bike. It doesn’t take much brain power to understand the results of a car hitting a bicycle. Bikes lose, it’s that simple.
I don’t race, and am unconcerned about whether I am in the super cool crowd who wouldn’t ever put lights on their bikes. They weigh too much, they produce drag, and other very elite arguments, just don’t have anything to do with me.
My bikes have lights, road and mountain, front and back. ¬†Before I saddle up, the lights go on, every time. I don’t ride in fading light or in the dark. I do have to say that, once, on what was supposed to be a “group” ride, I ended up riding half of it in very poor light, by myself. I didn’t appreciate either the dark or the alone part. I was quite happy I had lights on my bike though.
The reason most of us wear brightly colored jerseys and so on is so that we will be seen by the motoring public. It’s good to be seen. I wear the colorful jerseys, and I have bright flashing lights too. I got hit once. Didn’t like it.
Not only do I have the lights, I actually change the batteries twice a year. As I said, being seen while on the road is good.
As we ride into the wonderful light of autumn, remember to light up. No excuses. Our older bones don’t need any auto hits.
Suit up, turn the lights on, and ride on!
Posted in bicycles, blogging, business, cycling, education, families, Handmade bikes, health, Uncategorized and tagged blogspot, delicious, digg, technorati