measuring bike tire wear


I put a michelin speedium 2 tire onto my rear wheel last summer.  I found out after a few miles that these guys look like they wear out quickly.  They feel soft and tacky, though, which is kind of nice.  I don’t recall getting a lot of flats on this tire throughout its lifespan.  here’s what the tire looked like after about 2500 miles (and after AIDS LifeCycle):



2500 miles doesn’t seem like a lot for a tire, but I didn’t have high expectations – I purchased a pair on sale for $12 each.

I still had the other new tire, so out of curiosity, I weighed the two:




left: new tire.  right: old tire.


I know there can be manufacturing variations in tire weight, but it’s pretty neat to quantitatively measure about 20 grams in tire wear.  I liked the tires.  I’ll probably purchase another pair of michelins next.






ALC Day on the ride

Here are some photos from the the AIDS LifeCycle NorCal day on the ride:

Gathering in Mike’s Bike’s in San Rafael prior to the start





Bike parking




I took this picture for two reasons.  1) I thought it’d look cool with the guy kneeling and talking on the phone.  It didn’t turn out as cool as I’d thought.  2) Old school Trek Y-foil road frame.




Riders getting ready to roll out





and they’re off.. people were wearing bunny ears for Easter





1st rest stop: Nicasio Valley Cheese Company













peanut butter and jelly in graham crackers by Pierre foods





Ahhh!  got a flat on the Nicasio Valley Rd climb.





Not a good bike day for me though I felt fine riding.  Later in the day my rear wheel got pretty messed up from a pothole-filled descent.  Eventually the rim so out of true that it was rubbing against the brake pads.  I had to stop and do a little work on the side of the road.





View from Hicks Valley Rd





We cut through a more residential part of Petaluma – it was a nice little section of road en route to lunch





Lunch at the park.  Turkey + havarti sandwiches from Boudin.


We did about 65 miles in all.  I felt a bit tired towards the end was was climbing well otherwise.  It was fun to see a bunch of other riders out (~400 total?)  and to see all of the volunteers for the event.







ALC letterpress card update

Here’s a little update on the ALC cards:

I bought a bunch of paper from dick blick in berkeley.  I forgot what type I got now, but I got the heaviest printmaking paper that seemed reasonably priced.  Registration can be a bit tough with the quickutz L letterpress.  It didn’t help that the cards aren’t exactly uniform in size – that’s a lesson learned for next time.  If the cards were uniform in size, I would have been able to use the edges to register the print.





The Boxcar plates continue to be nice.  I traced this outline of the state of California in Illustrator and added a little SF to LA route.




I took Boxcar’s advice and got a soft rubber brayer.  I bought a 6″ speedball one from dick blick.  I probably needed a slightly larger one for what I’m doing, but the soft rubber makes a huge difference in the uniformity of the ink application.  A wider brayer would have helped even more because I wouldn’t have had to ink the plate in multiple passes.




Here’s the front side of a card that’s registered pretty well.  Next time I’ll try to make better use of the cross-hatching – I think the hatching is one of the fun things about these types of designs.




An outline of the state of  California on the back side of the card




I used one of the elum thank you plates and added my own bicycle icon.


I find it absolutely hilarious (and awesome) that the 1 cent USPS stamps are of a tiffany lamp.






Mount Diablo

Last weekend, (pardon my 1-week delay) the second part of a back to back ride was up and down Mt. Diablo.  My legs were quite tired from the day before which made it pretty hard to spin the legs around with any sort of force.  Looking back, it was a good reminder that I have zero 2nd day endurance and will have to build that up in order to survive 7 days back to back.


It was a pretty day though.



This photo is from near the base of the hill, just at the start of the climb.  I believe I took it from Mt. Diablo Scenic Blvd.





Lots of climbing ahead.  3849ft summit.  I was going pretty slowly at this point and really unhappy with how I was riding.. but my legs just didn’t have any juice.




We finally reached the saddle point where North Gate and South Gate road meet.  We saw a few AIDS LifeCycle riders who were part of the organized ALC ride.  It was pretty inspiring to see people tackle that climb for the first time.  I felt better after a little bit of rest and some calories, but things got tough again as soon as we started climbing.  My annoyance at my body kind of shifted towards anger as I decided that I’d push harder up the second half of the climb to get it over with.  It felt like a race.  I was yelling and cussing at my legs with every pedal stroke to get them to spin.  At one point, I looked to my right (above photo) and thought to myself, “Are you freaking kidding me?”.  Pretty steep pitch.  This was my third time climbing Mt. Diablo and I didn’t remember it being so hard the last two times.  Maybe I was in better shape, or maybe my body just needed a lot more rest.




We finally made it to the top.   It was a pretty day and was popular for motorists as well as cyclists.  At the summit, there was a line of cars about 6 or 7 deep waiting to find a parking space.  As I sat catching my breath, I even saw a bit of an argument when one person took a parking space that someone else had been waiting for.  My girlfriend got us a snickers bar for a celebratory snack since they ran out of ice cream.




View from the summit.  The observation deck was closed due to leaks but the views were still nice.




It was a bit chilly descending from the summit back to the saddle point but I didn’t mind since I enjoy the descents.  My fingers were a little tired from braking though.  We met these two guys riding a greenspeed recumbent tricycle.  Looked like a pretty sweet setup.  They said it was hard to climb but the descents were fast as anything.  I was feeling much better at this point since, of course, the hard part was over.




We took off and headed all the way down to the base.  I waited for a bit to rest, took a picture or two and then WHOOSH, saw the recumbent trike go flying by with one of the guys waving.  I’d love to try one sometime.


We rode back to Walnut creek BART and called it a day.  49 miles in all.




Skittles for a post-ride snack


I heard news yesterday of a cyclist killed in a hit and run by a Ford F-150 while riding a 600k in Southern California.  Really sad story and the guy was a friend of friends.  It’s sometimes hard to work out in your head that despite having the strength to be able to ride 375 miles in one go, our bodies and lives can be so fragile – and that one person’s mistake or impairment can destroy all of that in a matter of seconds.





First April ALC East Bay training ride

April 2nd was the first training ride that I’ve participated in in a little while.  The weather finally cleared up.  We rode from Actual Cafe in Oakland up Tunnel Rd and then took Grizzly Peak to Golf Course Rd to Shasta and then Wildcat Canyon down to the east side of the hills.   Then, we did a counterclockwise loop of the bears.


Here are the photos:

reading the safety speech




Saw a fire from somewhere in Berkeley.  Dark smoke.




Saw members of the Cal Triathlon team at Bear Creek Rd and San Pablo Dam Rd.




Fields of yellow mustard




Cruising through the streets of Berkeley on the way back





AIDS LifeCycle cards, the L letterpress Epic, and plates from Boxcar press

I received the Epic combo kit from Lifestyle Crafts for my birthday and I thought it’d be a cool AIDS LifeCycle fundraising idea to create some custom plates based on my photography.  Designing and creating the artwork took much longer than expected, but I ended up choosing to create something based on this photo that I took from a ride last month:

I decided to create a 2-color print.  I did the color separations in Photoshop and then used Illustrator to create some cross-hatching patterns to give the image a more interesting texture.  It took a long freaking time (I used Illustrator’s live trace.  This was nice, but created a bunch of paths and points.  When I compounded that with the cross hatching swaths, there were even more paths and points.  This made it hard and slow to edit.)


Here’s a preview of what I expected things to look like:



I ordered plates through boxcar press and received them this past week.

The above photo is of one of the plates from Boxcar press.  It’s a flexy plastic material with a bit of hardness to it.  This one is partially inked with the yellow/orange speedball block printing ink that I had purchased.  I was surprised at the resolution that the plates could handle.


above:  Brayer, with ink.


I tried varying amounts of ink to see what would look better on paper:






above: blue ink for the second plate









above: This is what it looks like when you run a plate through the press.  It’s basically some rollers that apply a lot of pressure to the paper and the plate.




above: an unevenly inked blue but still pretty cool



I didn’t have enough time to play around too much,  but here are some of the prototype cards:

I think I’ll make sure there’s more ink coverage for the next set.








claremont, centennial, claremont

I did a short but intense solo training ride on Sunday.  The weather was cold and I thought it’d be a good idea to try some intensity workouts as opposed to just putting in the miles.  I ended up choosing a 32.7 mile ride with 4527 feet of climbing.  I went up Claremont, along Grizzly Peak, down Euclid.  Then I rode up Centennial, took Grizzly Peak to Skyline and went down Tunnel Rd.  Tunnel was full of all kinds of stuff from the 3 weeks of rain.  An entire portion of the road was covered with mud and gravel.  There was debris in a bunch of places, which made for not such a great descent.  Then, I rode back up Claremont and went down Grizzly Peak and Euclid again.  Then I went home and took a nap.


I don’t have any photos from this ride as I just wanted to get a training ride in.

ALC from the Golden Gate Bridge to Petaluma and back

We rode in one of the official ALC training rides last Saturday.  I took the GF1 along on what turned out to be a gorgeous day.  Grand total: 92 miles of training ride, 108 miles total and I felt pretty good.

We started off in Portrero hill.  We rode through Mission bay just after sunrise en route to the meeting point at the Presidio Sports Basement






Sun over mission bay





Riding along the Giants Promenade by AT&T ballpark





Fast forward to the climb up White’s hill from Fairfax along Sir Francis Drake Blvd..  A huge group of 20+ cyclists powered past us on the climb.





The always popular Rancho Nicasio.  Lots of Dolce Vita riders representing.





I forget where this was – probably Point Reyes Petaluma Rd / Red Hill Rd





Beautiful shadows on the rolling hills









The cheese factory – Marin French Cheese Company









At the top of Wilson Hill Rd





Lunch at the apple box










Climbing back up the hill on Petaluma Pt Reyes Rd





I treated myself to an It’s It at the cheese factory





The view of San Francisco from Sausalito along Bridgeway





Looking west from the Golden Gate Bridge





Always a spectacular view