Sunday, December 30, 2012

Bikeshop Candids: Counterbalance Bicycles...

As bicyclists we get used, and I suppose comforted by the normal sounds of a well-running bike - hum, click, ratcheting type sounds. There are certain other ones that bring a frown to our faces, curses from our lips - hissing from tires, the clacking of a chain in need of lube, for instance. For most of us these are probably more annoying than anything else. Bang, crack, or the clatter of many little bits and pieces bouncing off the pavement are a little more serious. And when you are in an unfamiliar city, far from home ... well.

A recent ride along the Samammish and Burke-Gilman Trails in Seattle and outlying areas brought me to the University of Washington, which I rambled around taking photos of some fascinating architecture and stunning sight-lines, before realizing that the sky was going to get dark soon, and I should give some though to returning from whence I started. It wasn't long after hitting the trail home when I heard one of those awful sounds mentioned above. Ping, clatter, ding, to be exact. I go to unclip from my left pedal and realize that I already am - what the? Seems my left Speedplay decided that this was an opportune time to fall apart. I picked up all the pieces (excepting one of two bolts holding the two halves on the spindle), but without the proper size hex wrench I resigned myself to riding back on the bare spindle. Then I remembered passing a bike shop right beside the path, maybe a mile away.

Thank goodness they were open, and they quickly got me going on my way. But, not before I snapped a few shots for this post. It was the least I could do. Counterbalance Bicycles have two locations (their website seems to be undergoing maintenance right now), one in Queen Anne, and this one in University Village. The UV shop has been at its current location beside the Burke-Gilman for five years. Walk up the ramp, through the sliding doors, and into a whole other experience. Most, maybe all, bikeshops I have ever visited have clearly defined sales and service areas. Not so at this shop. Inside these cozy walls, work stations are set up in a sea of bikes for sale, shelves of product, racks of kit. Meanwhile up above your head, every foot of ceiling space is occupied by hanging two-wheelers. It is a fantastic visual experience, maybe a little like a trip to Alice's Wonderland. It is chaotic, but well organized both at the same time - any other place this would be an uncontrollable mess, and you would expect it to be so, but here, it completely works and adds to the character of the place. I was only planning to take a photo of the outside of this shop as I rode by, so that broken pedal proved a blessing in disguise, and forced me through the doors. I will let this serve as a wider lesson - never pass on an opportunity to visit a new shop, you might be surprised by what you find on the inside.

Burke-Gilman Trail-side facade

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bikeshop Candids: Woodinville Bicycle...

By now you have probably gathered that there are going to be a number of posts originating from the Great Rainy North, in fact there already have been. Mixed in there, will be a couple of bikeshop candids, of which this is the first. Woodinville Bicycle has been serving this city to the east of Seattle, Washington for fifteen years - the last eleven of those years at their current, prime location on the main drag through town. The shop is a Specialized and Giant dealership, and you will notice that right off - road, mountain, cross, commute, kids bikes - they are all right there - in big letters on the downtubes. The other thing you will notice right off is the service; you will be greeted and your needs inquired about straight away. They pride themselves on 24-hour turnaround times for bikes requiring service, which based on my experience is pretty darn good. It is somewhat passé for any business to say that customer service is their top priority, but I got the impression that ideal is more than so many loosely spoken words, at this shop. 

This shop is neat, clean and well organized, and the people inside are friendly and helpful. I have been in need of a decent light-weight lock for some time now, and found a cable / silicon one which will do the job nicely. They also had that Hamm's cap I saw once, but didn't pick up at the time. Whether you are local to the area, or passing through, give them a look.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Off The Bike: Tripelhorn Brewing Co...

When in Woodinville, Washington for a visit, getting your riding fix, or whatever your reason may be, one of the local establishments to check out is the Tripelhorn Brewing Company

I spotted the sign from the main road and, then and there, added it to my destination list for this trip into the rainy north. Though spelled differently, this was my paternal grandmother's maiden name, and you don't exactly see it around much. This young brewery has six brews on tap at this exact moment, with the sampler getting you more than a few mouthfuls of each. My taste buds favored the two darker selections - a Syrah/Cabernet barrel-aged Harvest Porter, and the chocolatey, Nemesis Milk Stout, as well as the Falcon Cloak Blond. As it won't survive the bumpy ride home, the master brewers don't bottle up the Nemesis, so instead I (as well as other family members) had them fill up a couple growlettes of the porter, along with a souvenir pint glass to enjoy back home. If the smaller growlettes won't fill your needs, you can also get a full growler in a cool jug-style bottle, or a keg. Prost!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Squid Rack...

If you search "squid bike rack" you will find many similar photos. Thanks to my son for taking a shot of this at the Seattle Center, I now have a photo of my own. The Parking Squid was designed by Susan Robb, and according this website on a post dated March 2012, information says that it was to be moved to a new location in October 2012 from its original spot at the Seattle Center. So maybe its temporary home has become its permanent one. Whatever the case it is quite elaborate (artistic) as far as bike racks go. You've got to love commissioned pieces like this which deviate from the basic, standard geometric shaped racks.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Year End: Looking Back, and What Lies Ahead...

Well, by now Christmas and the Winter Solstice are past, Hanukkah is a more distant memory, those who celebrate Kwanzaa are doing so today, and we will soon be flipping the page on another year. I have had a full year of riding, and hope you have as well.

In the middle of the year I moved forward with a blog change over; the Claremont Cyclist ceased, and the CLR Effect launched. It was a surprisingly difficult decision, and there was some disappointment / concern amongst a few readers that the local flavor would be lost. I promised, and have tried to keep some of that going though, particularly through the Slow Scenes and Cycling Claremont series. As long as I call Claremont home, sharing the local cycling scene will be a part of what I do. At about the same time I was reacquainted with some old friends and teammates, formerly the Squadra Folgore and now calling themselves the Milly's Riders. I have only been able to make a few of the rides with them, but am hoping that 2013 will bring even more. I also did not do as much racing, or make it out to as many of the training rides as I would have liked, but am already looking forward to the coming season.

Expect the next installment of the Cycling Landscapes series, in which I consider the idea of landscape as theatre, early in the coming year. It has taken a long time to research, gather thoughts, and compile the information, but it is getting close. Another post series I will continue to expand will be the Velo Course, highlighting some favorite routes around Southern California and the Central Coast; and hopefully, more information on the Claremont Racing scene, past and present, will be revealed. I am really hoping to put together a couple themed rides this year - preliminary ideas are for a coffeeneuring adventure through some of the local cities, and then maybe around early summer, a Fish 'n Ride. Planning is ongoing and details will be coming. I have also been toying with the idea of some unique CRL Effect product - what exactly is being kept under wraps for now.

Here is to a fruitful 2013 to you all, one filled with as much riding as you can stand. Hope to see some of you on the roads and trails in the months ahead. Remember, virtually any occasion is a good one to bring out your bikes

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays...

In which ever form you celebrate at this time of year,
I wish all my readers a happy, fulfilling season.

And if there are bikes thrown into the festive mix
somewhere, at some time, so much the better.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

On The Road Again...

Woke up this morning in Vancouver, Washington. And then I remembered I was in Sacramento the night before, and will be in Seattle tomorrow. Not a great time to come down with a cold, or whatever this is, that I think the son presented me with. And it has been a a long time since I have seen, heard, felt so much rain. Hopefully both it, and this congestion clears for at least one day of riding soon.

the Great California Delta Trail - American and Sacramento Rivers to the right

bridge over the American River

confluence - American River in foreground, Sacramento in back

freeway underpass on the way into old town Sac - a river flows here - pretty nice

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Velo Course: West Fork Extra...

a more open stretch of the canyon through which flows the west fork of the San Gabriel River

Back at the Claremont Cyclist I wrote a few posts mentioning the West Fork of the San Gabriel River, most notably the West Fork Wildflower Ride, but it is such a treasure of a ride that I decided it was worthy of Velo Course designation. The most basic West Fork ride is a simple seven miles in, seven miles out. Since it follows the river along a paved road the route does flow slightly up, and then down for the return. Slight is the optimal word there, and since the road is essentially closed, it is especially family friendly. It has also been designated as a National Scenic Bikeway.

Most local ride guide-type books worth their dollars include the West Fork in their list of family appropriate rides. And so they should - few are better than this. That's all fine and well, but in order to make it a little more challenging, the Velo Course route begins in the city of Duarte outside of the mountain realm and makes you climb a little before getting to the easy stuff.

highway 39 - almost to west fork

shady portions of the canyon gave my slow camera speed some
problems, and some unintended action shots

seems like the water should be moving, not the riverbank

The route: Begin at Encanto Park in Duarte where there is plenty of parking. Cross the river via the pedestrian/bike bridge and ride upstream on the San Gabriel River Trail. This is a good two mile stretch allowing you to spin your legs to life before the climbing starts. When the path ends at the mouth of San Gabriel (Azusa) Canyon simply cross the road (state highway 39) and keep heading up. You will read a lot about Highway 39, the entire climb to Crystal Lake, and beyond, is a challenging local favorite. This ride, however, only covers the lower, and less steep, portion of that longer ride. The climb to West Fork is more gradual, with some easy descents interspersed to provide a little respite for the legs. You will crest alongside the two dams and quickly cruise beside San Gabriel Canyon's two reservoirs, Morris and San Gabriel. You will notice the concrete ramp midway along Morris Reservoir, where the Navy tested submarine weapons systems beginning during WW II. You'll notice the difference in the two dams - Morris in concrete, while San Gabriel is earth-fill. After SG Reservoir, you come to the East Fork bridge, but don't cross. Continue along Hwy 39, pass the OHV area, pass the Forest Service facility, and one final short rise before a quick drop to the West Fork. Once you get yourself and your bike around the yellow gate you are free to cruise as slowly as you want; there is plenty to see. Watch the fisherfolk, look for Bear Creek tumbling down a side canyon, watch how the alders filter the sunlight to play on the water surface, get close to the dripping cliff and feel the cold water as it cascades, or drips, from above, peek at the Pasadena Bait Club lodge constructed circa 1919, spy the waterfalls dropping in from side canyons or gurgling along the main river, and finally relax a moment in the sun or shade at Glenn Campground where you turn around. Total mileage comes out at 38.58 miles, with 2293 feet of elevation gain. You can also add another two miles by climbing to the top of Cogswell Dam just beyond Glenn Camp.

just a trickle over that small waterfall

serenity now

pasadena bait club lodge

trees-full of cones

A couple things to keep in mind, Highway 39 is not only popular with cyclists, but drivers as well, and can get a fair amount of motorized traffic during the weekends. You can avoid that by picking a weekday to ride; there will be far fewer cars. My most recent ride along the West Fork came just a couple weeks ago, so early December; I had forgotten just how cold the West Fork air can get. It is a, mostly, narrow canyon with high walls and tall trees. Very shady in other words, and cold enough that I started to shiver. I made all kinds of excuses to stop in the occasional patches of sun for just a minute or two; just enough to unthaw my fingers and knees. You might want more than arm warmers and windbreaking vest for winter rides. Finally, water in the canyon is extremely low right now and, other than Bear Creek, there is almost no flow coming in from the smaller side canyons - Spring or early Summer is best for those. 

The attraction: As you will discover, the West Fork section of this ride is the jewel. Each season of the year offers up its own unique display - Spring wildflowers, Summer berries and waterfalls, Autumn leaves, Winter silence - you will likely make more than one trip. Thanks for reading, and enjoy the ride.


and wet in one place

The Velo course series at the CLR Effect is a continuation of the My Favorite Routes series that I did at the Claremont Cyclist. It describes various regular routes, or interesting irregular ones that I ride now, mixed together with routes I rode while living in different areas of Southern California in the past.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Feedbag and Quotable Links...

Stealing a bike is bad enough, but how low a knuckle-dragger do you have to be to steal one from a five-year old? You gotta like the missing bike poster, though:

Next we go to Chicago, where city leaders really do seem to understand the economic and societal benefits of bicycle transportation: "...sheer super-speed at which the city has laid down protected bike lanes, going from zero to second-most in the country in just 18 months."

"Average Joe's don't bike to work." We have read about LeBron James' penchant for occasionally getting to work by bike. Apparently the two wheeled commute has evolved into a near daily one. Meanwhile the Average Joe's continue to waste time, health, money by locking themselves to four wheels. Maybe that's why they are just Average Joe's.

Nor is James the only Miami Heat athlete to find that riding bikes can be inspiring"... riding through the streets, I like it. It's nice, man."

Rapha has become pretty darn big in the bicycling world. Often when this happens, we start to hear, read, see some backlash. Sometimes the backlash is due to misplaced jealousy, other times it may actually be justifiable. Though I don't own any, I think Rapha produces some good stuff, from their inspirational videos to their sharp-looking kit. I am not sure what is going on here, but could this be the first shot:

I was going to empty this edition of the Feedbag with Rapha, but them Ted at BikingInLA posted a link to yet another biking song and video by Luka Bloom. If that, in itself, was good enough for me, but it was the scenes of riding around Dublin and the Irish countryside that put the smile on my face.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Gift of Giving Bikes to Kids this Weekend...

There are at least three events taking place between now and Saturday at which bicycles will be given to kids who would otherwise go without.

Matt of One More Move has put out a call for assistance in locating a 24" or larger bicycle. One More Move is working with a Los Angeles area hospital to provide a bike to a family that is in need. Their stock is low this time of year and they could desperately use help in locating an appropriate bike. See the One More Move website for more information and to contact them. They are looking to give the bike away on Friday, so don't delay.

On Thursday evening in Los Angeles, Bike Nation, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and Los Angeles Clipper, Caron Butler who is serving as the Bike Nation Community Ambassador, will distribute bikes and helmets to 8 - 12 year olds of the Los Angeles Boys & Girls Club who are currently involved in the club's own bike program. You can check the Bike Nation website for information on the event.

Finally, on Saturday, members of our own Claremont Rotary Club will be distributing bikes to local kids. Club members spent last weekend assembling 30 Giant bicycles, bought at a reduced price through the efforts of Corey at Coates Cyclery. This is one of those long running annual events that the Rotary Club holds for the benefit of neighbors in our community. Likewise Coates, every time you turn around it seems, is doing one thing or another for the community, cycling groups, schools, you name it. Show them both some support.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Midweek C&V: Panasonic DX2000...

I noticed this bike in the Village over the weekend. It is not everyday to spot a Panasonic, so I snapped a couple quick shots.

I believe this is a 1987 DX2000 model Panasonic. In 1987, this model was made with a Tange 900 CroMo double-butted frame, and a fork made from Tange Mangaloy 2001 tubing. Mangaloy is a manganese-molybdenum (MnMo) alloy which retains a higher percentage of its strength after brazing than does the more common chromium-molybdenum (CroMo). It is also a lighter material. The alloy allows less-strict heating controls which make it especially suitable for mass production, and allow for lower prices on products made with it. The 1987 DX2000 bikes were offered in the United States with Sugino DVP crankset, Shimano L523 S.I.S. rear derailleur, Shimano Z204 front derailleur, Shimano S434 S.I.S. shift levers, DiaCompe QS500N brakes with AC260 aero levers, Araya SS-45 rims, and the paint scheme (somewhat shown) was a Classic White / Imperial Red fade (unfortunately I didn't get a photo of the "fade" part).

The company which would come to produce bicycles under the name Panasonic originally began in 1918 as Mashushita Electric. Though the company began producing bicycle related products at earlier dates, it was not until 1951 that they began to produce bicycle frames. At this time, and under the direction of Konosuke Matsushita, the bikes were built under the name National (National Bicycle Industrial Company). At first bikes were sold only in Japan; it was not until the company began to export their bikes in 1971, first to the United States, and then worldwide, that they sought a name with wider appeal, and settled on Panasonic. The NBIC, or Panasonic, eventually manufactured various models for other bicycle companies. During the 1970s many bikes may have been labeled with the names Schwinn, Raleigh, Royce Union, Suteki, and Centurion, but underneath the paint and decals, they were Panasonic frames. Schwinn's World Traveller, World Voyager, and LeTour models all came off the NIBC production line.

Like many bicycle manufacturers, Panasonic made a range of bikes, including high-end racing bikes, and sponsored professional teams. Most notable among these was the Dutch-based Panasonic team of 1984 to 1992. This was one of the strongest teams at the time, and included such riders as Eric Vanderaerden, Phil Anderson, Viatcheslav Ekimov, Robert Millar, Olaf Ludwig, Jens Heppner, Maurizio Fondriest, Eddy Planckaert, Erik Breukink, Gert-Jan Theunisse, and Wilfried Nelissen on their roster.

For more information about NBIC, and Panasonic bikes check the Panasonic Bicycles Virtual Museum website.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

From the Library: Where To Bike Los Angeles...

Still need one more gift for that cycling someone you know? Where to Bike Los Angeles may be just what you are looking for. As you may have guessed by the title, the Where to Bike books are a series of guidebooks covering various cities in the United States and Australia (the publisher is an Australian company), as well as Aukland, New Zealand and London, England. 

Los Angeles is part of a large and, potentially confusing, region. Most of us who ride here have our regular routes we ride, ones we know like the backs of our hands. Going outside of these familiar routes can be problematic - there are a lot of unknowns. Guidebooks such as this can take the edge off those unknowns, and open up a range of rides through territories we may not have otherwise considered. Clearly, riders new to the region, and those less familiar with it, as well as people new to riding are likely to benefit the most from this book. That does not mean that long time, experienced riders won't find it useful. On the contrary, guidebooks are all about opening up possibilities, discovering new places, which is what this guidebook is designed to do.

Where to Bike Los Angeles provides description for 81 rides in the greater metropolitan area. The rides are grouped by area - San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley, Westside, Downtown/Beverly Hills, Long Beach. The table of contents gives a quick overview of each, including terrain, kid-friendliness, distance, elevation gain, and a difficulty scale. Each ride "chapter" then adds detail to each of the overviews, and includes a ride map, turn-by-turn directions, an elevation profile, and descriptions what you can see along the route, where food and drink can be found, as well as photos to pique your interest. The guide also groups together a section of 30 especially kid-friendly rides at the back, making them easy to find.

You may recall from an earlier post that the authors have been holding a series of rides corresponding to the rides in the book. I was able to attend the first of these, and thus know that they are knowledgeable, putting much thought and effort into selecting, researching, and describing the rides. Thanks again to co-author Jon Riddle for providing a copy of the book for review. Look for it at your local bike shop, or local REI store, or find it on the web. Check the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition for future rides; I also post announcements here, and look forward to seeing more people out exploring the diverse region in which we live. 

Riddle, Jon and Sarah Amelar   Where to Bike Los Angeles   Where to Bike LLC, and BA Press, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday Blues: F. E. Weymouth...

When I first moved to Claremont I used to ride up into the hills of what is now the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park and look out over the valley below, or even just glance left as I crested the Baseline / Live Oak hill at the edge of town, and notice one especially prominent structure. Eventually during one wandering-around-type road ride brought me to the F. E. Weymouth Treatment Plant, one of five large Metropolitan Water District facilities that treats water brought into the metro area from the Colorado River Aqueduct or, to a lesser degree the California Aqueduct bringing water downstate from Northern California.

Rising out of the surrounding residential neighborhood of La Verne, the largest building at the facility, a Mission Revival structure, is capped by a blue-tiled bell tower. Finished in 1940, Weymouth was the first of the MWD's filtration plants, and today provides clean water to both Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Just another of those things you see when you get out and ride.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Dirt(y) Pictures...

A gathering of the In-Laws prevented me from attending the SoCal Trail Riders (STR) Governors Ball in Blackstar Canyon yesterday. However, I have managed a couple dirt rides over the past week or so, both local, well known routes I just never get tired of:

nothing but steep roads around these parts; helmet suggested, climbing legs required

because it is so deep and narrow, Cucamonga Canyon is one of the most dramatic
landscapes of the local San Gabriel Mountain frontage

well someone certainly likes their ride. or does Soma, in this case,
refer to something completely non-cycling related?

i topped onto the little plateau above Marshall Canyon behind a father and son riding ahead. also up there were twelve deer, the largest local herd i have ever seen. usually there are four, five, maybe six. to see this many together you usually have to go deeper into the mountains

i have always figured this must be a firefighting reservoir - the sloped portion where i am standing collects and directs rainwater into the concrete reservoir where it is stored. a hatch on the top (not visible) has been ripped off so that you can see into it, and it is full. whatever its intended purpose it certainly provides a great perch with a view of the road to Potato Mountain, Frankish Peak in the back, and some dark clouds racing in the sky

farewell old tree. this old oak on the downslope side of the Palmer-Evey had been dead for quite a while. its bleached skeleton always stood out starkly between a couple live oaks. most of its white, twisted branches were so brittle that they snapped off when it crashed down. it provided great photo opportunities, so i was kind of sad when i rode up to where it stood and found that it had toppled during the most recent winter storm

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Rain Delay Projects...

We are not quite to the start of Winter yet but there has been some rain making things wet, some cold making you shiver, maybe you live where the snow is a little bit closer than "up in them thar mountains". Maybe a day comes along and you just don't feel like dealing with one or more of these wintery conditions; a day you just decide to stay warm and dry. Those days are perfect for those little projects you have been putting off. No, not cleaning the rain gutters, it is too late for that. No, not helping the wife clean house. Sheesh, anything but that. I'm talking about important stuff. The obvious one would be bike maintenance - making sure your ride is in top condition for the next day out. There is another option that we tend to ignore, forget, or have maybe never even considered - a record of what is in the stable. Most everyone knows to write down the serial number(s) of our bikes, it is the least we should do. Consider also a photo record; an overall shot, and some close-ups of components. If you are anything like me, your bike(s) do not stay unchanged for long, we switch out parts, upgrade components, replace broken ones. It is good to have records of these things. Just in case.

one good overall shot

component close-ups

maybe even some artsy details

Friday, December 14, 2012

Take a Moment During the Day...

Give a thought to the families in Newtown, Connecticut, and then hold your own close.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Cycling Claremont: I Like Pie Bake Shop...

And How! There is some good stuff in this new little personal pie-erie / bakery. They have an extensive menu of pies and other similar baked goods (empanadas), ranging from fruit pies, to custard and cream pies, and pot pies. There are the traditional, seasonal flavors, such as apple, various berries, and pumpkin, alongside some very interesting combinations - the banana, sweet potato, pecan one I savored the other day was killer. A steaming cup of Intelligencia coffee partnered nicely with the pie, and refueled me following a quick morning ride. 

don't let the lack of a distinctive sign fool you, tasty things await through those doors. even though i leaned my bike against the building, the doors open onto the public plaza (175 N. Indian Hill Blvd), so there are plenty of bike racks, and seating, nearby.

I am not sure about the portion size of the pot pies (though they sound perfect for lunch on a cold winter day), but the sweet pies are what are called jelly jar pies, not slices. The personal-sized treats are about the size of a muffin, so you can relax and enjoy it there, or take it to go. You can check their website for the full menu and other info by clicking here. The I Like Pie Bake Shop is yet another bike-able local business worth checking out.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

"First of the Winter Honkers"...

In honor of last Monday's night ride, I thought I would dredge this up from the slightly distant past:

From time to time in my past I dabbled in writing a little prose. The First of the Winter Honkers is one I penned in 2007. At that time I would get home from work, saddle up the mountain bike, and head into the hills for a quick loop or two (or three), up in the canyons of the Wilderness Park. Well, the park closes at dusk so, at the Autumn time change, I would break out the road bike, turn the lights on and do some street laps on this little three mile circuit near home. On the first of the dark nights that year, there was an encounter with one of those rude drivers we are all familiar with, which resulted in this:

The time has come,
The summer sun's early departure,
          and darkness slips in over the home trails, now
          before the time clock ticks five.
Time to slip on the lights
          and let wheels humm along
                    black asphalt roads,
Instead of rocky trails, beneath
          glowering street lights,
                    instead of sheltering sycamores.
A time of change,
A new routine,
          until Spring returns,
          a longer sun.
In the past week's waning light
          coyotes have howled in the canyons
          through which the home trails wend
While raptors,
          startled as I swoop down out of the dim of dusk,
          took flight with rapid beats of wings.
Sounds that mark the passing of the light.
Tonight came the first sounds,
         marking the return of the darkness
         it stole up on me from behind
         and let loose with a futile blaring
                    that first of the Winter's honkers.
Of course I cursed him,
          salutations with the appropriate finger
          and briefly thought of giving chase, but
          his tail lights quickly grew smaller
                    in the distance
That ignoble denizen of the Winter road,
The first of the Winter's honkers.

copyright 2007 Michael Wagner

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Festive Lights: Erik's Night Ride...

I didn't do any night-time rides last winter; it was the first time in many years and I missed the different sensory experience you get from riding in the dark. I have been wanting to get out for Erik's Claremont Night Ride (organized through the BOBie's, whom you can find under the Ride With Us heading in the right hand column) and as the photos show I finally did. I think about ten of us rode, other than the Mayo's, all new faces. The ride goes out every Monday at 7:00pm from the Euro Cafe in Claremont, runs through La Verne, San Dimas, into Covina, and then back. I ended up with a little more than 25 miles for the loop, and if you subtract the 1.5 mile addition to and from home you get 23.5 miles which matches the ride description. The 17.6 mph average speed was a little higher than expected, not unreasonable, not a problem, but as the second ride on the day it was more speed than I was looking for. Anyway, the ride takes a route along low traffic volume streets, and is a fun way to wind up a busy Monday. As I said night riding is so different than riding during the day; the cool air, the different visual perception, people have retreated to their homes and the city is quiet.

As for the photos, well forget about anything in focus; but that's alright, the darkness creates some interesting effects in its own way. The movement of the lights, the ephemeral, ghost-like riders, and the black void of the background.


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