East Bay PBP Ride – Sat 11/19

This ride has a rather innocuous sounding name, it wasn’t till Kim W. explained the PBP (peanut butter and popcorn, I wondered?) that I got it; Pleasant Hill BART to Blackhawk to Pleasant Hill BART! Via Morgan Territories, the first ride I was co-leader last year with Tony M., but from Walnut Creek BART.

I met up with Kim and Cheryl S. at their home, to ride down to BART together. No sign of any bikes as we pulled up; on the other side however in the sun, were thirteen Spokers anxious to enjoy yet another beautiful fall day: Chris L. and Anne Z., Erika H., Liz A., Debra, May Anne R., Bill B., Tony M., Scott S., Kevin T., Randy D., Michael S. and new member Tom.

We headed out of the BART parking lot and I knew that Scott & Kevin had missed the traffic light, so I waited were we turned onto the Iron Horse trail so Scott would know were we went. I figured Kevin knew the route, so we headed off. I guess I should have read the route sheet better, because I missed the “L” turn onto the Contra Costa Canal bike trail, and led Scott a mile or so off track (gulp.) When we did notice that Kevin wasn’t catching up to us, we figured out the wrong turn and back tracked, after asking for directions to make sure. So we arrived at the first snack stop on Main Street in old Clayton, and took the expected razzing.

The next leg of the journey is up Marsh Creek Road, and Scott & I passed the stripping (vests & jackets, that is) She-wolves on a turn out, with Michael following us. Scott & I pedaled away, chatting, as we climbed. When Kim didn’t show after the She-wolves and Michael arrived, we found out that she had not seen Scott or myself pass them on Marsh Creek, so she turned back figuring we were having problems. This wouldn’t have been a problem, except she encountered four rather nasty Rotweilers; fortunately a good Samaritan witnessed this, and got their vehicle between her and the dogs allowing her to get away safely. Scared and understandably upset, but unharmed.

The decent down the wall towards Livermore and Manning Road proved uneventful although several “mechanicals” showed in the next leg. Bill provided a front wheel hub adjustment for Michael, his front tire had been rubbing, slowing him down. A bit later as we were passing thru Blackhawk, I noticed Tom’s rear wheel wobbling and pointed it out; he already knew a spoke had broken going up Morgan Territories, and had completed both the climb and the descent safely, with no real choice but to continue.

We zipped down Camino Tassajara to Sycamore Valley before the quick return via Danville Boulevard back to Walnut Creek and on Pleasant Hill BART. Kim had also invited the group back for grub, which (it turns out) was to celebrate her birthday! Some grub, a huge pot of chili, rice, veggies, salad, cheesy garlic bread (a club staple) and birthday cake!

Happy Birthday, Kim, and thanks again for a fabulous ride!

Morgan Territories to Palomares – Sun 11/13

Fall is Morgan Territories season for Spokers. After last years, seven flats on two bikes, I dared the flat gods and asked Jerome to lead the ride again, and I volunteered to co-leader (read: sweep.)

On another fabulous fall day, seven of us took on the challenge, in addition to Jerome & myself, we were met at the Concord BART station by Tony M. and Roger H. on the tandem, Bill B., Doug D. and a newcomer to the Bay Area and to Different Spokes, Brian S. We departed the station; with me immediately leading us out the in direction of the entrance, followed by a wrong turn. Once on the right track, we headed out Clayton Road.

The Morgan Territories is on the back (east) side of Mt. Diablo, you have two climbs, the first up Marsh Creek Road, followed by the real climb up Morgan Territories Road. There are several spots where you think you must be at the top, but the clearings are deceiving. Fortunately it is “only” 2,000 feet in 20 miles, compared to last weeks Mt. Hamilton.

At the top, or very near it, is the park where we re-assembled, and took a snack break. Refreshed, we finished the last very short climb to the top, and begin the descent towards the Livermore valley. The landscape changes from oaks & pines of the climb, to bare rolling grass land, it’s quite amazing. After the descent, we eventually head toward Pleasanton and stopped for lunch.

Continuing on towards Sunol the ride then heads up Niles Canyon. At this point, Roger & Tony kicked the tandem into overdrive; Jerome and Doug were close enough to hitch a ride on their pace line, Brian and I never did catch up, and it was here that I designated myself permanent ride sweep. At about mile 50 is the turn up Palomares Canyon, a 5 mile and 1,000 foot journey. From there, it was all downhill to the Castro Valley BART station.

The ride was completed an hour and a half sooner and before sunset, than the previous year! Thanks everyone, for another fabulous ride, and… no flats!

Mt. Hamilton in the Fall – Sat 11/5

Sharon’s annual ride was almost cancelled on Thursday night due to a family emergency, but since I had been looking forward to it and the weather reports were favorable, I quickly agreed to lead it in her absence.

I found out later on that that some Spokers had silently breathed a sigh of relief when the ride was canceled, followed by an “oh, crap” when I un-canceled it Friday morning. Despite that sentiment, we had a great turn out on one of several fabulous fall ride days; Chris L. and Anne Z., Kim W. and Cheryl S., Tony M. and Roger H. on the tandem, Don D., Jerome T. and I tackled the 4000 foot climb.

There was an informal rest stop at Joseph D. Grant County Park, before the real climbing began. Getting there took just over an hour to complete the first 12 miles. The next 12 miles to the top takes an hour and a half (of actual ride time that is,) just so you have some perspective.

I was wearing my BikeJournal.com jersey that day, and as I passed another cyclist (very slowly, mind you, this is up a mountain after all) she asked my screen name. I didn’t quite hear her at first and after we talked (between breaths) it turned out she (and most her group, ahead of her) are also fellow “Ride, Log, Repeat” members. If you haven’t checked out this site yet, you should. Different Spokes San Francisco is set-up as a club now, in fact!

A couple miles from the top, my legs started feeling tight, so I pulled over to stop and stretch for a few minutes. Well it wasn’t stretching I needed, as I lifted my leg over the saddle, my thighs started to cramp. In 3 years of cycling, three times I’ve experienced leg cramps, twice was while doing Mt. Hamilton, and both this year, not pleasant.

I finished off the bottle of Gatorade/Accelerade mix, had a snack bar, and did some light stretching, while I contemplated the situation. Luckily, they passed relatively quickly and I (much slower this time) continued on the last few miles to the top. And thanks, Anne and Cheryl, for the tips on preventing future leg cramps!

At the top, there is no doubt, you are treated to a spectacular view in all directions, east towards Livermore/Patterson and the remote San Antonio and Arroyo Mocho Valleys, west to the entire Bay Area, the climb is well worth it.

After lunch, we began the descent, those comfortable in a speedy descent with hairpin turns and such left the cautions few at the rear. All arrived safely at the bottom, and we headed off in search of (what else?) coffee!

Looking forward to Sharon leading the ride next year!


Come check out http://www.bikejournal.com

The free site is designed to provide you, the avid or recreational biker, with a convenient and fun way to track your rides. If you are interested in joining, click the sign up button above to join today. Basic membership is FREE and within minutes you will be able to access and add rides to your own customizable bike journal, with up to 24 customizable fields. You can also become a premier member, for $10 per year, which allows you to share your ride log outside of the site, and provides enhanced features.

Along with tracking your own rides, come join the “virtual” club for Different Spokes San Francisco! Let’s see how many miles we go as a club.


Holiday Party

The DSSF Holiday Party:

When: Saturday December 10th, 6-10pm

Where: Michael Schmucki’s place
253 Sanchez Street #1
(between Market and 16th)
San Francisco, 94114

Cost: $20/guest. Please pay Scott Steffens:
Send your check to PO Box 14711, SF CA 94114 or
arrange to pay Scott at the party.

Provided: A catered (vege-friendly) spread. Soft drinks and
water also provided.

Bring: Your favorite alcoholic or other beverage. Please also
bring a dessert or christmas goodie, if so inspired.

Transport: BART: 16th and Mission (0.6 mi/5 block walk)
SF Muni: Church St Station (0.3 mi/1.5 block walk)
Parking: Sullivan Funeral Home (0.2 mi), $10

We are also looking for a few volunteers to help do clean up
the next day. Coordinate with Michael: schmucki@mac.com if you
can help out.

Happy Holidays, Dave