Category Archives: Social Ride

In Between Two Social Bike Clubs

I have to admit, I’m a little spoiled here in the Bay Area.  I live geographically in the middle, between two social bike clubs.  Western Wheelers, usually starts rides in the Palo Alto/Los Altos area, while Almaden Cycle Touring Club (ACTC), usually starts rides in the San Jose/Milpitas area.  However, there are times where rides are cross-listed.

Last week, I did a ride on Saturday with Western Wheelers, a ride we do almost every week .. Old La Honda, to West Alpine.  It’s a nice ride, with good amount of climbing.  However, there is one thing I notice about this particular group .. no picture taking.  It’s not like it’s a rule, but I noticed no one took the initiative to try to take any pictures at all.

On Sunday, I did a ride with ACTC, and it was a good ride, with some climbing, that led from Lexington School (South of Los Gatos), then down to Corallitos, then up Eureka Canyon.  Immediately, at the start, the picture taking begins.  Every stop we made, there was some pictures to be taken.  So immediately, I felt I had more fun on the ACTC ride.

This is not to say that Western Wheelers is anti-social … they are very social.  But doing the whole picture taking thing, kicks up the fun meter to another level.  It could be just the group of people I’m with, but it does make a bit of difference.

Viva Calle San Jose

Today, the city of San Jose closed a few streets in downtown San Jose.  Normally, these are not the most pleasant streets to ride, but closing these streets to traffic, I had to experience it.

It started out with the Heroes ride, which was a mass start from the Shark Tank.

It was nice seeing those who don’t ride like I do, and take advantage of this.  Of course, when hills came, lot of novice riders were unprepared.

The route featured going through Willow Glen, and Japan town.  Japan town was definitely the crowd favorite, and boy was it crowded.

Postcard Day in Palos Verdes in November

It’s November, and California is being subjected to spring-summer like weather.  We are forced to bake in mid-80’s to lo-90’s weather.  Aw, shouldn’t you feel sad for us?  Since it was going to be a hot one today, I decided to ride with my friends in Palos Verdes (letting them lead the route, being the locals).

My local PV friends, David, Teresa (Tiger), and Ken

Don’t get me wrong, this was a little more than a leisure sight seeing tour of Palos Verdes.  True to form, it was a climbfest, but with a tourist slant to it.  We had many photo ops, as you can probably tell.

Malaga Cove Dive Spot

View from top of Via La Cuesta … Wow!

After a day like this, I had forgotten what amazing views there are in the South Bay.  It’s one area of Southern Cal that I miss … I’ll have to do this more often on my monthly visits.

More pics found at

Stats?  Does it really matter after seeing the shots above?  Well, ok, here it is … 43.4 miles, 4072 feet climbing,  Still, pretty epic ride, for being a sight seeing ride.

2nd Day of 30 and First Ride with Meetup Group

On the 2nd day of the 30 Days of Biking, I needed to go on a light spin, so that I can have enough energy for the Nifty 1050 ride (in Berkeley, 50 miles and 10,000 feet of climbing). I decided to go on a ride with the South Bay and Peninsula Biking meet up group.

I rode over from home to meet them in Palo Alto. As always, I mistimed my arrival and I got there way too early. So I decided to do a few extra loops around some of the hills, som I made the 30 mile ride into more of a 50 miler, but not enough to wear myself out.

It’s a nice social group (for me at least, but my definition of social may be much different from their definition).  There were a couple of triathletes in the group, plus a few that just love to ride their bike, but not at the beginner level.  At least everyone has good bike handling skills, which is a lot more than some other social rides I’ve been on.  It was definitely a social ride, but still one where you did get some workout.

We did a counterclockwise direction on the Portola loop.  We only got one flat on the ride, so the stops were kept at a minimum.  The group did get splintered a little bit on the climbs, but it wasn’t too bad.

I was first to get to the corner of Alpine and Portola.  I got a chance to take a few shots of the rest of the group (a rarity, as I’m usually the last one on my normal rides).  Everyone arriving seemed to have a really happy smile on their face (most likely because of the downhill stretch we are going to embark upon).

When I got there, I noticed the San Mateo Sheriff had a booth set up right at that intersection.  They were just wanted everyone to honor the stop sign, and just make sure everyone doesn’t just blow right past it.  They also wanted to pay homage to those fallen cyclists (like Kristy Gough).  One of the riders in the group, Michelle, visited the booth, and they were actually quite courteous to the cyclists.  Yes, they were there as a presence, and I recall seeing some cyclist riding down to warn the cyclists that there are sherriffs parked at the intersection.  However, they really wanted just to make sure the stop sign is observed, and just make everyone aware of general safety overall.  They even gave us wristbands (kind of like the Livestrong bands).

They also gave away a blue teddy bear … I guess that’s their mascot.  Here we have Michelle mounting him in a TT tuck position.  A cycling teddy bear … imagine that.

This is a fun group.  They also have Tuesday night rides … I think I’ll try to hook up with them on that.

Anyhow, wound up with another 48 miles, and 1773 feet climbing.  Definitely a mellower ride than I normally do.  Now to get some sleep, and suffer through 50 miles and 10,000 feet of climbing.  Why do I do such things?

Volleyball and Cycling Do Not Sync

Friday, our department at work had a farewell team outing at City Beach in Fremont.  My boss is moving on, so we all got together to bond together … we spent the majority of it playing volleyball … for 3 hours.  Ugh, that is tiring … well, I didn’t realize how tiring until the next day.

Saturday, my plan was to do the LKHC on Dunne Ave (which goes up to Henry Coe Park), which starts in Morgan Hill.  However, combination of wet roads, and volleyball the night before (and subsequently my body being stiff and aching in the morning), made me skip that climb.  So instead, I drove down to LA.  All along, I was not very nimble, and moving very gingerly.

I was originally going to climb the mountains, do Mt. Baldy, but with the condition I’m in, I really was not in condition to do any climbing.  So I went with my friend Lynn, and the Cyclepaths, for a relaxing, leisure recovery ride (even though I didn’t do a ride previously … but still, recovery from volleyball).

We started from Cerritos, and our destination is Palos Verdes.  It was an excellent day, a few days after a rain storm, and the skies cleared up, leaving us with excellent weather conditions.  It’s good we were going flat … well, compared to what I normally do.

At Palos Verdes, we went to Malaga Cove, which is a popular hangout for cyclists.  We stopped by a new bakery, Yellow Vase, and it’s nestled in a corner, and looked a little like a village in Italy.  Okay, maybe not … but it’s a nice exaggeration.  But look how happy everyone is!

We then headed over to do a loop of the peninsula … no, we did not go up PV East …. I think Lynn made sure of that.  However, we did do a nice little detour, doing a pseudo-cyclocross type route, going through parts of Terranea resort and Trump Golf Course, which used to be the old Marineland.  The legend of Orky and Corky lives on.  I’m still reeling from the fact that Sea World bought Marineland, and they renamed Corky to Shamu …

Anyways, Arnold took us through Terranea resort, where we meandered through obstacles (stairs), where we were doing a cyclo-cross tour of sorts.  We were greeted to such amazing views of the Pacific.

In the 30 years I’ve lived in LA, and the countless number of visits, I’ve never seen the Pacific from this vantage point.  It was totally awesome.  But, as you know, where you go down, you definitely have to come up … muscles are still stiff from volleyball on Friday, so this made my climb interesting … it’s not like climbing Welch Creek, but still had to gut it out.

When we finally got back to the cars, we got 61 miles, and roughly 2200 feet climbing.  Not bad for a recovery ride.  I also think it helped loosen my limbs a little bit.  Still a little stiff, but not as bad as on Saturday.  Next time I do volleyball, I think I’ll only go for one game … it’s now Monday, and I’m still moving gingerly.  I’d had to see how everyone else is moving …. but then again, at 47, my recovery is not what it used to be … I’m the old fart in the group.

Social Ride with Old Friends

This was weekend was my scheduled monthly visit back to LA.  I hooked up with my old friend Lynn, who I have known for about 15 years … jeez, has it been that long?  Actually, it might be longer, but who’s counting.

Lynn is a veteran of about 90 double centuries, and is someone who I hold in high regard in cycling.  I’ve also known her since the old days when we rode with Foothill Cycle Club, and then later on with Bicycle Club of Irvine.  At the time, I was still living in Pasadena (in Southern California).  We had been riding together for a while, then we decided to ride Wine Country and Grizzly Peak (back to back rides on the same weekend).  We hung out at my brother’s place in Fremont, and after talking, we realized that we both had the same teacher, in the same IS Math class, and of course the same high school, Mark Keppel High School.  Now here’s the stranger part … she and my brother were in the same IS Math Class together, and Lynn was in the same graduating class as my sister.  No one knew this … boy what a small world.

We also rode with her friend John, who also has a number of double centuries under his belt.  And here I am, with a scant 4 under my belt … I was the newbie in doubles in this group.

This was a long but flat ride, where the first 30 miles or so had < 500 feet.  This was a nice change from the typical Wrecking Crew ride (averaging 1000 feet climb per 10 miles).  Well, I definitely wouldn’t be accomplishing this.  As Lynn says, sometimes you need a break from this, because otherwise you’ll get burned out.

Lately, in the Bay Area, the rides have been cold, and even when the sun comes out, it is not enough to peel off your arm warmers, or take off your jacket.  Today, when the sun was out, it was nice.  The temps were in the 70’s … nice contrast to the mid-50’s we have been experiencing lately in the Bay Area.  This is Southern California cycling … gotta love it.

This was the first time I rode with no arm warmers on at all.  But as I was riding, with no arm warmers on, I realized, I didn’t put sunscreen on.  Gotta remember this next time.  Good thing the clouds did come later, and the sun intensity wasn’t too bad.  However, we had to keep pulling arm warmers off, putting it on, pulling off, etc …  I even contemplated taking off my knee warmers.

I started to run low on water, so at the top of the last major climb, we decided to hang out at the Pavilions to refuel with water (okay, I was the only one, since both Lynn and John had camelbacks, and have ample water).  Just as we were about to head off, Lynn’s rear tire was flat.  Doh!  We couldn’t find source of the leak, so maybe she had been climbing on this flat all along, without realizing it?  Maybe that’s why she was having an issue climbing?  Well, I find that a little hard to believe, but we’ll never know now.

We ended up having lunch in Seal Beach, and with the best sweet potato fries.  This was at the 75 mile mark, and that really hit the spot.

By the time we got back to the cars, we had logged in 85 miles, and roughly 2900 feet of climbing.  This is a far cry from the Wrecking Crew ride, and this was a nice change of pace.  This was also a bit odd, not being the last one to the top of the hill.  And this answers everyone’s question … yes, I can do social rides, when needed.