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.






This post:

Union City to Mountain view, Grand Cru, and back

A few weeks ago, I decided to ride from the East Bay to Mountain View to meet up for a Grand Cru ride.  I checked out the maps and decided that I could start a ride from Union City BART and ride a manageable distance (with ALC training in mind) including the round trip from Union City to Mountain View and the Grand Cru ride itself.


The Learning Tree, a preschool located on Paseo Padre Parkway at Fremont Blvd


I used Map my Ride to do the route.  It’s a little ad-heavy but has been generally improving.  I think I prefer bikemap but for some reason Map my Ride worked better this time.




Riding on the overpass over Thornton Ave


It was around this point that I ran into some bike trouble.  My pannier, though built very nicely, doesn’t have a hook at the bottom to keep the base in place.  And it’s a rather long (tall) pannier.  As I was standing and swaying around a bit to get up the incline of one of these overpasses, the pannier got caught on a spoke and made a pretty horrible-sounding crunching sound.  I stopped and discovered that the wheel reflector had broken off (no big deal), a few spokes were bent (sorta big deal) and a fairly large hole had been ripped in the bag (a sorta big deal).  Luckily I had one of those delta cargo nets and a spoke wrench.  I put the cargo net on the outside of the pannier and then trued the wheel enough so that it was ride-able  and finally set off again.  It didn’t seem like a good start to the ride, though.




Marshlands Rd


By this point, it looked like the wheel and pannier were holding up, so I continued.  This photo is from Marshlands Rd, which travels along the marshes and leads to the Dumbarton bridge.  The road kind of sucks for cycling – the asphalt is super bumpy.. but at least it’s isolated from most vehicular traffic.






the pannier with the netting was not very pretty.




dumbarton bridge bike lane


I’m glad that the Dumbarton bridge has a separate bike lane.  But it’s not very much fun to ride over.  Traffic is fairly loud as the cars are traveling highway speeds and it’s quite dusty.  The lane is decently wide though and I appreciate that there’s a large barrier between bikes and vehicular traffic.  On the east side of the bridge on the south side of the bay, there looks to be remnants of a pedestrian walkway that is no longer in use.




I rode through East Palo Alto en route to Mountain View.




A bridge to Ravenswood open space preserve


Here’s where the map (based on google maps) got a little sketchy.




The bike trail from Bay rd to Weeks St


Google maps has this trail marked as dark green.  It was okay for me to ride over since I have 27 and 32-sized tires but it was a bit uncomfortable and I was a worried that the rest of the ride along the shore would turn out to be like this.  It’d be fine for a mountain bike though.




pumping station


The bumpy trail eventually led to a paved trail and all was good again.




I think this is from Palo Alto Baylands Park.




It’s a super flat area but a bit windy and doesn’t have too much variety.  Some of the riding was along the San Francisco Bay Trail.




After a short ride on the Stevens Creek Trail, which was pretty nice, I arrived at the meeting point for the start of the grand cru ride: The Tied House Brewery & Cafe.




we rode up moody rd, which was a bit of a climb.  I’ll post more pictures from that portion of the ride on the grand cru website.




after the ride and a burger and beer, I headed back for Union City.

I had just turned off of Stevens Creek Trail at this point.




google bike

I decided to take a tour through the Googleplex.  These little bikes were everywhere.  They’re apparently free to borrow for getting around the campus.




a google chrome bike




more google bikes near the main lobby




marshmallow and spaghetti pyramids!  I was a little excited to see this.




at the end of Marhlands Rd, a bit before sundown


The rest of the ride wasn’t that interesting.  I was feeling a bit uncomfortable from riding such a long distance on my commuter, and between back fatigue, leg fatigue and the headwinds, I was ready to be home.  I put my head down and pushed through the rest of the ride.  I made it back to Union City BART before the sun went down and all in all did about 80 miles.  It was definitely an interesting ride but not one of my best.




This post:

bike to work day 2011 and the bike away from work party

bike to work day 2011 was fun – here are some photos:



volunteers at one of the many east bay energizer stations.  This one was in berkeley, staffed by grizzly peak cyclists(?)  The woman is holding up little colorful bike pins.  They had snacks and coffee and information about the east bay bike coalition.  According to streetsblog SF, about 10,000 people biked to work in Alameda county, up 12.3% from last year.  I definitely saw a lot more cyclists out on the streets.




bike love


this photo was taken from the energizer station outside of actual cafe




people were out from Spokeland – a north oakland bike co-op.


after work, we headed to bike away from work party, where there were tons of neat bikes to check out:



a rusty paint job




leathery cowboy bike




this bamboo bike was really well done








the crucible was showing off some bikes modified by teenagers




the popcycle




actual cafe’s parklet




this bike was handcuffed to a speaker




a danish pedersen bike.  wood fenders, rims.  hammock seat.  stumey archer 3-speed internal rear hub. coaster brake.




bike, shoes, jeans, shirt, hat





and cyclecide was there with their deadly-looking-but-fun looking bikes and rides


It looked a little smaller than last year’s but was still a fun time.






This post:

steering wheel bike in somerville


a photo of steering wheel bike from a walk in Somerville, MA.  Across the street from Razzy’s, which is apparently now closed according to yelp.  Pretty sweet.  complete with banana seat, front rack, and an apparently non-working headlight.

This post:

wine country, clif bars and wine at velo vino for the climate ride

This past Saturday’s ride was very nice.  Very different than my Mt. Diablo ride.   We participated in a fundraising ride for Clif employees riding in the Climate Ride from New York to DC.  Clif sponsored the staging at Velo Vino ( a new wine shop/tasting bar with Clif wines, Luna and Clif cycling apparel, olive oil and snacks, Clif food products, coffee, and soon, food) and of course provided nutrition for the ride – bars, shot blocks, shots, rocs, and so on.  

Long shadows of bikes on bike rack on car

I hadn’t been to St. Helena in quite some time – not since my family came out for a visit maybe two years ago.  Here’s the front Velo Vino sign, pre-landscaping.  This place is super new.

It was an unexpected surprise to see Gary, the Clif founder there to support the ride.  Melissa and Christine talked about the Climate ride and then our route for a bit, then Gary chimed in with a few words.

Lots of nice folks from Clif, Backroads, and Berkeley Ironworks.  Velo Vino is turning that grassy area into a backyard patio as I post.

A long line of cyclists through filtered light.  I expected it to be cold, but it was a bit warmer than expected – just about perfect for cycling.  It was probably about 60 when we started and it got up to maybe 70 during the day.  Sunny all around.  It was fun riding as a part of such a large friendly group.

There was a little bit of a slide on old howell mountain road.

Stopping to regroup at White Cottage Rd.  Gary led the first parts of the ride and, man, is he a strong rider.  The first part of the ride was all climbing.

We were aiming to do the longest of the routes at 63 miles but missed a left turn.  I think we were on Chiles Pope Valley Road at this point.

A beautiful open field

I took a little photo break and got this shot of a few california poppies.

Got this shot of Lake Hennessey while riding.

Riding alongside a rocky cliff.  Not used to this visual.  Pretty cool.

Lunch at Nichelini winery

Quite a lunch spread.  We realized we missed some turns and made it to lunch at mile 35 instead of mile 50.  This was great because there was plenty of food available but I wasn’t able to enjoy most of it because I didn’t want to spoil my stomach for the rest of the ride.


I took pictures of peoples parked bikes.  There were a bunch of fun ones.  I had to look this one up – an Albert Eisentraut frame.  He was a local Oakland guy.



A pink and grey Orbea with what looked like an aluminum/carbon frame


Marty’s Rivendell Romulus




Nichelini wine tastings


I hadn’t noticed this Surly Cross Check cable hanger before.

A fancy Ti/carbon Serotta


Cruising down Sage Canyon Rd.  This guy was pushing it on his Bike Friday.  The descent was so fun that we did it twice.  Actually, we wanted to make up some mileage so we did a little loop back along Chiles Pope Valley Rd, then a climb up Lower Chiles Valley Rd and then headed back down Sage Canyon Rd.


We had a bit of a fast paceline on the last few miles back along Silverado Trail rd.



Velo Vino threw in a wine tasting afterwards to celebrate.


Clif cork


Torta carnitas from the shop next door.  I didn’t realize I was so hungry until this was in front of me.


All in all, I got in 59 miles, which wasn’t too far off from our goal of 63.  The wine and the fast pace got us pretty sleepy.  I think we turned in at 8pm that night.  All in all, a really nice day.

This post:

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.





This post:

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





This post:

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







This post: