2016 SADDLE CHALLENGE ENDS

It’s a fact of life that all good things must come to an end. So it is with the 2016 March Saddle Challenge. If you signed up for this year’s Saddle Challenge, please finish entering your miles cycled during March within the next few days. You can use the Saddle Challenge link in the menu on the left side of the DSSF homepage, or go directly to:

http://www.dssf.org/dssf_html/sc/

In addition, if you made a pledge, please mail a check (made out to Project Inform) to the DSSF post office box listed below, so we can pass on all money raised on behalf of Different Spokes. We’d really love to receive all checks before April 16th.

Different Spokes San Francisco
P.O. Box 14711
San Francisco, CA 94114

Of course, even if you didn’t sign up or make a pledge, you are still welcome to make a tax deductible donation to Project Inform as part of the Saddle Challenge. Just send your check to the address listed above and we will forward all checks received to Project Inform.

This year, the Saddle Challenge got off to a slow start due to the welcome rains in early March. However, we had lots of beautiful cycling days during the second half of the month. Based on miles entered so far, I am pleased to announce that 14 riders cycled a total 2,835 miles in March and raised $523 for Project Inform. I expect the mileage and dollar amount to rise as people finish entering their miles. Congratulations and thanks for participating!

Sal
President, DSSF

The 2016 Different Spokes Saddle Challenge is on!!!

The Saddle Challenge is our annual event, during the month of March, where members can challenge each other (and themselves) to get out on their bikes and ride. You choose your own mileage goal for the month, whether it be 25 miles, 100 miles or 800 miles, it’s your goal! Then use the Saddle Challenge Web site to log your mileage, watch your own progress, and see how other members are doing.

Historically, the Saddle Challenge has also been a way for members to raise money for Project Inform. Project Inform, is a non-profit based in San Francisco that provides information, inspiration, and advocacy for people with HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C. You can find more information about the life-saving work they do here:

http://www.projectinform.org/

Many years ago, a long time DSSF member, Ron Wilmot, organized an annual fund-raising ride for Project Inform. When this event ended, the Saddle Challenge was started as a way to continue doing our part each March. You can choose to pledge per mile, or as a lump sum, and this is entirely optional. No one is required to pledge money in order to participate. At the end of the month, we will ask those members who did pledge to mail a check (made out to Project Inform) to the DSSF post office box, so we can donate all money raised on behalf of Different Spokes.

This year, in addition to encouraging riders to make a pledge, we are also encouraging riders to find sponsors who are willing to donate on their behalf. Sponsors can donate a lump sum, per mile, or per mile with a cap. One of the benefits of donating through the Saddle Challenge is that unlike many other fund raising events, the Saddle Challenge has absolutely no overhead. That means 100% of your tax deductible contribution goes directly to Project Inform – not 70%, not 80%, not 90%, but 100%.

To sign up for the Saddle Challenge, use the link on the DSSF homepage, or go directly to:

http://www.dssf.org/dssf_html/sc/

To register, enter your first and last names and the password (to get the password, send an email to: president@dssf.org). Then, set your own mileage goals for the month of March. You will also have the opportunity to make your own pledge (per mile or lump sum) to Project Inform, but this is strictly optional.

If you have any questions about the Saddle Challenge, please contact me at: president@dssf.org

Thanks and hope to see you at the Member Kickoff and Social on Monday Feb 22nd (details on the Club’s Ride Calendar)! I’ll have more information about the Saddle Challenge at the meeting.

Sal
President, DSSF

A NEW YEAR BEGINS AT DSSF

Spokers,

Another Board election is over as a new year begins at DSSF. Thanks to everyone who has continued to support the Club by renewing their membership. The people who also give so generously of their time and talents to keep the Club going are a particular inspiration for me. I’m extremely thankful for the amazing group of thoughtful, friendly, generous, and fun-loving people that I’ve met here at Different Spokes. It’s a real honor and privilege to serve as president of what is probably the largest and most active LGBT cycling club in the country. And it’s great to know that we continue to provide a beacon of hope for people all over the world who find us on the Web or by word-of-mouth, wishing they could cycle with others, OUT AND PROUD, with friends who accept them.

Of course, as an all volunteer club, our continued success depends on YOU. Unfortunately, probably 90% of what gets done by the Club is due to the efforts of the same 8 or 9 people each year. During the past several years, there has been almost no turnover in the people serving on the Board, and in spite of our efforts to find volunteers, we still have 4 vacant leadership positions:

Ride Coordinator
Events Coordinator
Woman’s Outreach
Men’s Outreach

These positions don’t require a huge time commitment and it’s not too late to volunteer. If serving in a leadership position is not for you, there are plenty of other ways to contribute. Why not volunteer to lead some Club rides this year, or help organize a single Club event? At the Membership Kickoff and Social on Feb 22nd, David Gaus will be offering tips on how to organize an out-of-town cycling weekend. Come and find out how easy it really is. Yes, it requires some time, commitment, and motivation, but I think you’ll find the experience extremely rewarding. The first time someone says “Thank You” to you, you’ll know what I mean.

The fun all begins at our annual Membership Kickoff and Social on Monday, Feb 22nd. Details and a link to RSVP can be found on the DSSF Ride Calendar. Hope to see you all there!

Sal
President, DSSF

2015 Cycle Greater Yellowstone – trip report

2015 Cycle Greater Yellowstone – trip report (David, Gordon, Nancy)

A fabulous, well-run strenuous ride, with spectacular mountain passes, super helpful staff and volunteers, good plentiful food, weather extremes, and a lot of serious riders.  Best rides: Chief Joseph highway, Beartooth Pass (despite smoke, rain and snow!)

Along Chief Joseph Highway
Along Chief Joseph Highway

IMG_0063

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cold seats
cold seats

Beartooth Pass switchbacks
Beartooth Pass switchbacks

 

 

 

image

Bearclaw Bakery, Cooke City, MT
Bearclaw Bakery, Cooke City, MT

Beartooth Pass switchbacks
Beartooth Pass switchbacks


Temps were fine (except for the snow and rain;) and camping was easy (except for the snow and rain;). Did the happy dance in Cooke City hotel room (27 degrees overnight) that David wisely booked in advance (camping at 7700 feet even in August is iffy) and on one rainy day. Worthy cause – to protect wider Yellowstone ecosystem. Rides are outside Yellowstone, route varies each year. New route to past this fall Limited to 350 rides. Planned activities for non-riders. http://www.cyclegreateryellowstone.com/

IMG_0058

road to yellowstone east
road to yellowstone east

 

IMG_0062 IMG_0063 IMG_0060

Read on for more details…

pickles are good ride food!
pickles are good ride food!

What is Cycle Greater Yellowstone? It’s a 7 day ride that supports the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. http://www.greateryellowstone.org/mission/  It’s mission is protect the ecosystem, waters and wildlife that surround Yellowstone. Yellowstone is 2 million acres. Zoologists and ecologists recognize it’s not big enough range for genetic diversity of the big mammals – bears, bison, elk, etc. Need 20 million acres to maintain genetic diversity and a broader range for sustainable big mammal populations, and the ecosystem that supports them (otherwise, inbreeding and unhealthy populations). Greater Yellowstone coalition works with people to preserve the land – state and local governments – via conservation easements ad habitat protection.  Ride is all volunteer except for 2 employees. Beer and drinks donated. Appear to have low overhead. Most of the money goes to the cause. Can princess ride by doing hotels, or Sherpa service, massage. Ride supports local towns’ 4H kids fundraising – cookies, donuts, sherpa service in towns we ride through.

 

Gordon and grizzly eye to eye
Gordon and grizzly eye to eye

 

More Pictures:

These are from mostly our “pre-trip”:

Image1
Yellowstone

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Beartooth pass

Image5
Ride to Jenny lake, Grand Teton

 

Tips:

  • Clothing: Bring full rain gear. Bring hot and cold weather riding gear.
  • Sleeping: Due to weather, consider princessing the whole time, esp if 2 people share a room.  cold at 6 am in Powell, but probably just low 50s. Had breakfast in the gymnasium – Or you can do tent sherpa for 250 each if you share a tent (otherwise 500 solo), or camp for no extra cost.
  • Snacks: No need to bring food, unless you are particular. Mostly cliff or candy bars, chips or Cheetos, packaged cookies. Plenty of calories available.
  • Route: Varied, incredible scenery most days. Does NOT go into Yellowstone or Grand Teton National Parks. If you want to see these, add extra days. Do extra days before the ride, if possible, to acclimate to elevation.
  • Training: This is a strenuous ride. There are long rides and a lot of climbing, as well as winds. Mileage is similar to ALC but more climbing. (30,000 feet elevation (including optional ride day) v. 20,000 feet for ALC). Training is essential if you want to do it all and not get sagged in. But sagging is easy, available, and not discouraged by the staff. All of us sagged a bit due to weather, high winds.
  • Showers, porto-potties, laundry: all good, well maintained. Chairs set out for shower line. Laundry wash basins and soap provided. Some towns had coin-operated laundry.
  • Food: Plentiful. Good. Always real food. Good vegetarian options. You can eat pretty healthy on this ride.
  • Volunteer staff: The road and camp crew were a bunch of enthusiastic, energetic, idealisstic young people. Super helpful and accommodating. People were super nice and responsive and there for the riders.
  • Director: Jennifer was great. Excellent with doing things on the fly, amazingly responsivee to changing conditions – e.g., construction, weather.
  • Sag people were very understanding about picking people up, not explanation needed. Also would let you ride if you wanted to.
  • Mechanics were spectacular – super helpful, very competent, professional.
  • Riders: Oldest 80, youngest 16, average age 55. Virtually all white, professional, straight, except for a few closet cases. Experienced riders. Not recommended for novices
  • Road conditions: Very good, some highway riding, but decent shoulders

 

 

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Spokers,

It’s a fact of life that all good things must come to an end. So it is with the 2015 March Saddle Challenge. If you signed up for this year’s Saddle Challenge, please finish entering your miles cycled during March within the next few days. You can use the Saddle Challenge link on the DSSF homepage, or go directly to:
http://www.dssf.org/dssf_html/sc/

In addition, if you made a pledge, please mail a check (made out to Project Inform) to the DSSF post office box, so we can donate all money raised on behalf of Different Spokes:
Different Spokes San Francisco
P.O. Box 14711
San Francisco, CA 94114

Of course, even if you didn’t sign up or make a pledge, you are still welcome to make a tax deductible donation to Project Inform as part of the Saddle Challenge. Just send your check to the address listed above. We will forward all checks received to Project Inform.

Based on miles entered so far, I am pleased to announce that 11 riders have cycled a total 4,435 miles in March and raised $493 for Project Inform. Congratulations and thanks for participating!

Sal
President, DSSF

Saddle Challenge 2015 – Half Time Report

We’re now half way through the 2015 March Saddle Challenge. Beautiful cycling weather so far this month has led to a very strong start by the 13 participants. With people rapidly racking up the miles, it looks like we could well raise a record amount of money for Project Inform. So far, the participants have raised $336 out of an expected total of $916. Please help put us over the $1K mark; it’s not too late to sign up, enter your miles retroactively, and join the fun.

Based on miles entered into the SC Web site so far, the top 3 positions remain unchanged from the last report: David Sexton with 545 miles, Sal Tavormina with 435 miles and Gordon Dinsdale with 353 miles. Ron Hirsh and Will Bir have shown a burst of activity over the past week jumping into the 4th and 5th positions with 262 and 164 miles respectively. To round out the group that has recorded over a century, we have David Gaus with 159 miles, Jerome Thomere with 138 miles, and Nancy Levin with 100 miles. Rumor has it that some riders may be saving up their miles in order to enter them at the end of the month, so be prepared for a wild, unpredictable, and exciting finish!

As a reminder, the Saddle Challenge is the Club’s annual event in March to challenge each other to get out on our bikes and ride! Choose a goal for yourself: 100 miles, 300 miles, 900 miles…! Whenever you come back on the SC page, you’ll be able to log your miles, watch your progress and see what other members are doing.

The Saddle Challenge is also a way for members to raise money for Project Inform where Ron Wilmot, a long time DSSF member who started a fund-raising ride, the Ron Wilmot ride. You can choose to pledge per mile or a lump sum. Of course this part is entirely optional.

Other stats: 2,354 miles have been ridden so far towards the total goal of 5660 miles.

Happy riding!

MARCH 2015 SADDLE CHALLENGE – Week 1

So far, 13 intrepid cyclists have signed up for the Different Spokes March Saddle Challenge. We’re on target to raise $916 for Project Inform! Please help us reach an even $1K. Remember, it’s never too late to join. Just go to http://dssf.org/dssf_html/sc and enter your first and last name, and the password and then you can retroactively enter your miles for the month. To get the password, send an email to: president@dssf.org

At the end of the first full week of cycling, David Sexton is out in front with 346 miles! Sal Tavormina is a distant second with 217 miles followed by Gordon Dinsdale at 171 miles. Two more cyclists have ridden a century or more, Nancy Levin and David Gaus, with David Goldsmith close behind at 97 miles. Other riders who have entered miles include Evan Kavanaugh, William Bir, Jerome Thomere and Ron Hirsch.

With mileage goals varying from 100 miles for the month (which is 25 miles a week, quite doable), up to 1000 miles, the Saddle Challenge makes it easy for any member to participate and not feel like they have to be a fast or high mileage rider to compete.

As a reminder, the Saddle Challenge is the club’s annual event in March to challenge each other to get out on our bikes and ride! Choose a goal for yourself: 100 miles, 300 miles, 900 miles…! Whenever you come back on the SC page, you’ll be able to log your miles, watch your progress and see what other members are doing.

Don’t forget: every mile counts. So, if you commute with your bike, it’s even better!

The Saddle Challenge is also a way for members to raise money for Project Inform where Ron Wilmot, a long time DSSF member who started a fund-raising ride, the Ron Wilmot ride. You can choose to pledge per mile or a lump sum. Of course this part is entirely optional.

Other stats: 1,264 miles have been ridden so far towards the total goal of 5535 miles.

Happy riding!

Marshall Wall!

David (Prez) and David (Secy) led this 61-mile long (well, my longest to date anyway) but BEAUTIFUL DAY’s riding as a part of David G’s (Secy) multi-ride training series. We were joined by Frank (bike mechanic extraordinaire and tire-changing contest winner at annual meeting), Roger (car mechanic extraordinaire and dedicated photo chronicler of the lovely scenery along our ride routes), and yours truly, Evan (on his new/first road bike and SO HAPPY to be moving past the heavy hybrid).

We started out at the Marinwood Community Center near 101 and Lucas Valley Road and rode up to the top of that long climb, the Big Rock. This route takes us past (unknown to many) George Lucas’ offices. After much of ILM moved to the presidio, I think his international operations are based there now. Anyone know? Along that road, wherever you see really nice fence and signs saying the land is dedicated to farmland forever, it is likely Lucas’ land that has been left as open agricultural space through the Marin Agricultural Land Trust. We LOVE this because it means open beautiful spaces for us to ride past and enjoy for generations to come!

After pausing at Big Rock, we continued down Lucas Valley to Nicasio Valley Road, past the Nicasio Reservoir (very full thanks to recent rains) to the Point Reyes-Petaluma Road, where we turned right towards the Cheese Factory and La’Alp du Fromage. With high spirits we mounted Le Alp and paused at the Cheese Factory’s little lake for a break. While there, we met up with the intrepid group of riders doing over 100 miles that day led by Joseph C. I think five of them were showing us how it was done by doing the same riding in beautiful West Marin but with a starting point in San Francisco! With water topped off, I made sacrifices to the wind gods asking that we be spared a headwind on the coming Marshall Wall. David G had dramatically warned that, with a headwind, the Marshall Wall is some of the hardest climbing he had ever done.

Frank, who may well be the fastest rider in the group went on ahead of us and “missed” the turn to the Marshall Wall. So he was cheerily waiting for us in Pt. Reyes when we arrived for lunch- looking much better than we were.

Thank the Heavens, we were spared a headwind on what for me was a looong climb – especially because there were so many false summits. Sure, you think “this has got to be the end” and then there is a curve and another hill!! This is where I was grateful to have gone for the road bike and left my hybrid at home. Having a few less pounds to drive up that hill was welcome! One of the best things as you crest the Marshall Wall is the view of some wonderful body of water ahead. It might be the Nicasio Reservoir again—who knows what this is? Speak up. Anyway, it looks cool and lovely in the distance! Set among those rolling hills (and between us we’ve now climbed ALL of them!) that is a real treat.

The decent down the other side after Marshall Wall is a long and rushing pleasant surprise. I’m sure the more aggressive riders must have hit 35 mph. Being new on a road bike, I kept myself slow and safe for what was a new experience on very skinny tires!

Pt Reyes never looked so good to me. After 41 miles before lunch, I was famished. A big lunch and nice social time was had by all.

After nourishment, we took our time on the long gentle climb and rolling hills of Hwy 1 along Tomales Bay. If I need reminding, next time tell me to eat a smaller lunch or save the second half for the first stop! Lesson learned!

Back to the Pt. Reyes Petaluma Road and then up the back side of Lucas Valley Road to Big Rock again. This was, for me, the hardest climb of the day. I relished my granny gears. Thank goodness I didn’t go for a compact double gearing option on my new bike! When I figured out that the roadside numbering system was essentially telling me how far the end of the ride was, I was a happy man. (You know, sign tells you this is mile 6.67 of the roadway.) I’m training for my first century ride in a month so adding on miles is important and so much of this is new—and so welcome (22 pounds lost later!).

Again the descent down Lucas Valley on the East side was a joy. Nice long lovely drop and then a bit a flat riding to finish up the day. The guys were all waiting for me at the end and we traded comments and stories on our day’s achievements. I was especially gratified when the more experienced riders shared which part of the ride had been difficult for them as well. It wasn’t just me!

Thanks to David, David, Frank and Roger –and Joseph’s whole brave crew!- for coming out- and thanks to all of you for showing up on these rides!

–Evan

http://ridewithgps.com/trips/26159/embed

Caffe

Approximately 12 riders joined fearless leader David Goldsmith and myself for this lovely ride over to Caffé Rulli in Larkspur and back. These included fellow FrontRunners Tim Offensend and Bruno Olhshausen as well as many of our regulars, such as our pres David Gaus, Doug Sabo, Evan, Tim (a new DS rider), Rob, Lee and others. The sky was cloudless and the sun was out in all its glory though it was still a bit crisp in the city at the start. By the time we made it to the bridge, most of us had shed our extra layers, leggings, arm warmers, etc.

We had a nice rest stop at Rulli’s and then headed back. It was still mostly sunny though a few clouds had entered the picture and it was slightly colder on the return trip. Everyone had a nice ride back save our newbie, Tim, who unfortunately got a major blowout just before the climb back up Camino Alto and thus had to walk to REI to get a new tire, the old one being useless. We bumped into Joseph Collins at the Sausalito side of the bridge on the way back as he was leading a Cat 2 ALC training ride and bemoaning the loss of his pink handlebar tape but sporting a brand new sensible black one. After returning to the city folks could get on with their afternoon plans, mine (as well as a few others, I understand) included watching the Saints come back and beat the favoured Colts in the Super Bowl; all in all a very excellent day.

DS Caffe Ride 2-7-10 001

DS Caffe Ride 2-7-10 002

DS Caffe Ride 2-7-10 003

DS Caffe Ride 2-7-10 004

Woodside to Pescadero

September 26 was a warm day as Scott Steffens, Nancy Levin, and Maurizio Franzini joined me in Woodside, where we started our ride to Pescadero. Climbing Old La Honda, I was regretting the missed opportunity to wear a sleeveless jersey. However, descending into La Honda, we met the the Bay Area’s natural air conditioning. As we regrouped in La Honda, the club’s former ride coordinator, Bill Bushnell, passed us. He was taking advantage of the still longish days for a ride from Sunnyvale to Santa Cruz and back.

Nancy started out ahead of us from the regroup. Her day hadn’t started too well: She woke to find a flat tire and had gone to a bike store thinking she needed to buy a replacement tire. In her haste to get to the ride start on time, she had forgotten to pack her bike shorts. But without a second thought, she decided to do the ride in some loose-fitting gym shorts. I think those loose-fitting shorts acted like wings because the rest of us didn’t see her again until we arrived at the bakery in Pescadero for lunch.

Maurizio purchased a delicious-looking raspberry pastry twist for lunch. Some yellow jackets found it appealing, too. After changing tables and hopping about, he finally lured the yellow jackets with a nectar-flavored Snapple drink and salvaged the pastry to fuel the ride back along the rollers on Stage Road and the climb on Tunitas Creek. Turns out that the insect species had the last laugh: Riding down Kings Mountain I felt something bite me. Of course, I wasn’t going to let a little insect bite ruin this fun descent. But at the bottom I found a stinger in my Tibialis Anterior. I removed it and applied some Sting Eze, but over the next few days my foot and lower leg swelled up. Still, insects or no, this remains my favorite ride.