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

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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!