July 2015 DSSF Board Meeting Minutes

Date: Monday 27 July 2015

Time: 6:30 pm

Attendees: Sal Tavormina / President , David Gaus / Vice President, Roger Sayre / Secretary, Ron Hirsch / Membership Coordinator, Jerome Thomere / Web & Blog Editor

 

1.  Call to Order

Sal called the meeting to order at 7:00pm

2.  Public Comments

No public comments received.

3.  Approval of Minutes

Minutes from the Board meeting of 3/23/15 were approved without comment

4.  President/Membership Coordinator’s Report

a. Saddle Challenge Results

11 riders cycled a total 4,435 miles in March and raised $1,267 for Project Inform. $400-$500 of that total was raised by Adrianne Ratner who had the benefit of a sponsor to help with fundraising. It was a very effective strategy and is something that we’ll encourage all riders to do next year. The beneficiary, Project Inform, is a non-profit based in San Francisco that provides information, inspiration, and advocacy for people with HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C. 

5. Treasurer’s Report 

a. Financial report: See attached report 

6. Membership Coordinator 

  1. Report on current membership
    7 new members have joined since the last meeting. The number of members not renewing for 2015 has remained the same. Ron will send out membership renewal reminder emails to those who haven’t renewed.
  2. Atmosqueer Event
    Roger & Doug O’Neil attended the AtmosQueer Spring Fling event on Saturday May 2nd at the LGBT Center. The idea of the event was to foster connections between LGBT organizations and the local community and also to connect with people who might be interested in joining DSSF. The event was well attended, but most of the attendees were members of other clubs looking to promote their organizations. Several people did show interest in DSSF, but only a few seemed like regular bike riders. Roger gave the sign in sheet to Ron for follow up. Ron will contact the people who expressed interest in finding out more about DSSF.

7. Ride Coordinator’s Report (Position Vacant) 

  1. No one has volunteered to be ride coordinator, so the former ride coordinator, David Glodsmith, is unofficially collecting ride statistics. Ride stats are comparable to last year and are expected to continue that way for the rest of the year 
  2. David Sexton has posted several rides. David Gaus will be posting a series of DBD training rides.

8. Web/Blog Editor’s Report 

  1. Jerome suggested that Mailchimp.com might be a more reliable email server than 1&1.com. Jerome will experiment and report back at next board meeting for board decision on implementation. 
  2. Jerome will try to get Larry L’Italien removed as administrator 
  3. Discussed using survey monkey for polls, but Yahoo seems to be working 

9. Secretary 

  1. Board elections will be coming up at the beginning of next year. Sal mentioned that if any board members are considering retiring, they may want to start looking for a successor. 

10. Special Events for 2015 

  1. Jock Sunday Fundraiser Aug 16 (Ron Hirsch)
    The Jock Sunday fundraiser at the Lookout is scheduled for August 16th. Volunteers are needed to help with the event which has been a good moneymaker for DSSF. There’s only one volunteer so far so more are needed. Sal suggested a few people to contact. Ron will ask people personally.
  2. Ride and Pool Party, Aug 23rd (Tony Moy & Roger Hoyer)
    The DSSF annual pool party will be held at Tony & Roger’s in Orinda on August 23rd. The date has been changed to avoid work on the BART tracks that could make it difficult for people to get to the party. There will be a ride before the party.
  3. Double Bay Double, Sept 12-13 (Project Inform)
    Emily Mariko-Sanders of Project Inform is organizing the ride. Sign-ups and donations are being done through the DBD website hosted by Project Inform. There are some issues with the website that Emily is dealing with. Roughly 13 riders have registered so far. SAG drivers haven’t yet committed. David Gaus is organizing a series of training rides. Nothing else is needed from DSSF.
  4. Big Sur Ride 2.0, Sept 26-27, (David Gaus)
    The Big Sur ride has been cancelled for this year. Hopefully it will be possible to do it next year.
  5. The DSSF Fall Social, October 4th
    Phil Bokovoy is available to host the DSSF fall social on either October 4th or 11th. The Jersey ride is on October 10th which would make two rides in one weekend. Tony has a ride scheduled for October 4th. Fleet week is the 8th-12th. Sal will confirm with Phil which date works best
  6. Mount Hamilton in the Fall, November 7th
    David Gaus will lead the annual fall ride up Mount Hamilton on November 7th
  7. DSSF Holiday Party, December 12th
    Jeff Pekrul will host the holiday party this year. It will be held on December 12 after the Jersey ride.

11. Next Meeting 

a. The meeting adjourned at 8:04pm. Sal will schedule a meeting for some time in early November. 

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October 2014 DSSF Board Meeting Minutes

Date: Monday 20 October 2014

Time: 6:30 pm

DSSF Board Meeting Minutes: Sal Tavormina / President , David Gaus / Vice President, Ron Hirsch /
Treasurer, Roger Sayre / Secretary, David Goldsmith / Ride Coordinator

1. Call to Order – Sal called the meeting to order at 7:03pm

2. Public Comments – No public comments received.

3. Approval of Minutes – Minutes from the Board meeting of 6/18/14 were approved without comment

4. President/Membership Coordinator’s Report

a. Sal noted that DSSF currently has 122 paid members for 2014.

b. Sal also updated the Yahoo Group and it now has 73 members.

c. 2015 membership renewals: Sal will send out a membership renewal notification in early December prior to the holiday party. A second membership renewal notice will be sent out in early January.

5. Treasurer’s Report

a. Financial report: Sal thanked Ron for his work. Current financial status is: $5,200 in total current assets
$200 in income from membership dues since May. Income from membership dues has dropped in the last few months as it typically does during the latter part of the year.
$750 in income was generated by the “Jock Sunday” event at the Lookout

b. Ron will find previous years budgets for the holiday party. It was around $1000. In the past the policy has been to charge attendees a nominal sum ($10) to help with expenses. Sal would like to see if it’s possible to not charge people this year.

6. Ride Coordinator’s Report

a. The ride calendar is looking good for the rest of the year. Rides have been well attended.

b. There have been 12-15 people lead rides this year as compared to 25 ride leaders last year.

c. David Goldsmith would like to coordinate a ride leader appreciation dinner for sometime in January. He suggested a Chinese restaurant with a per person cost of $15-$20. Sal will be out of town from November 20th to mid-January, so won’t be able to attend before late January.

7. Web/Blog Editor’s Report

a. Jerome was unable to attend the meeting so there wasn’t any report

8. Secretary

a. Schedule for 2015 board elections: An email will go out to all DSSF members on December 1st requesting nominations for board positions. Nominations need to be submitted by December 31st. A second email will go out on January 1st announcing the candidates for board positions and requesting that members vote for each position before January 31st. Election results will be announced February 1st.

b. Ideas for recruiting people to run for board positions. Current board members indicated a willingness to continue on in their current positions for another year if no new candidates step forward, but new blood is needed. In addition to the board, several other positions remain unfilled. Ron will talk with Will Hayworth about possibly taking on something like membership or ride coordinator. Sal will speak with Bill Knudson to see if he’d be willing to take on a position. Jeff Pekrul also expressed interest in becoming more involved, perhaps as treasurer. Other people to approach about possibly becoming more involved might be Jacob Morgan, & Steven Sherrifs

c. David Goldsmith would like someone to replace him as ride coordinator.

9. Special Events for 2014

a. The events coordinator has been unfilled for the last year so there’s no one to plan special events. Brendan Patrick has indicated he might be willing to take on this job at some point in the future, but he’s unable to do so at present.

b. The DSSF holiday party is scheduled for December 13th after the monthly Jersey Ride. Jeff Pekrul has offered the use of his home for the party. Someone else will need to arrange for the food and clean up. Sal will contact Joseph Collins to ask if he’d be the point person in organizing the party. Chris Contos could be able to help if Joseph is unable to organize the event. David Gaus will email Sal contact information for the caterer that was used previously. In previous years DSSF also paid for the clean-up after the party. In order to make arrangements we need to get an idea of the number of attendees. Sal will send out invitations through Yahoo groups asking for an RSVP. Previous years have had 25-30 attendees.

c. There was discussion of whether DSSF should have a booth at the Pride Festival in June 2015. The general consensus amongst the board members was that having a booth at Pride was a lot of work and cost (roughly $600) for not much benefit. Participation by DSSF members has been declining over the last few years, and it hasn’t been particularly effective in attracting new members. If any DSSF members feel strongly that DSSF should continue to have a presence at the Pride Festival they’re encouraged to contact a board member to discuss. David Goldsmith suggested that an alternate possibility would be for DSSF to sponsor an on-screen ad at the Frameline film festival as a way of doing outreach during pride week instead of having a booth at Pride. The cost would be around $1,500 and includes “on-screen recognition” and two gold-level passes to the festival that could be sold or raffled, making the actual cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,000. The general consensus was that the potential benefits weren’t worth the time and expense.

d. Big Sur Ride: David Gaus spoke with Julie Brown and they selected the weekend of Sept 26-27 for a ride down the coast to Big Sur. These dates conflict with the DBD. Due to small group of riders in this year’s DBD there’s some uncertainty whether the DBD will be continued next year. David will discuss it with Chris Thomas. Organized rides must stay under 50 participants, otherwise permits are required. DSSF will need to pick up $140 cost for liability insurance. David Gaus will organize a series of training rides in the spring

e. A ride leader appreciation dinner will be scheduled for January 31st 2015

f. Weekend trips: Due to the vacancy in the event coordinator position, DSSF has gone for 2-3 years without a weekend trip. A weekend trip to Lake Tahoe used to be an annual event many years ago. Tony Moy has tried on several occasions to revive this trip but has had difficulty finding accommodations able to house a large group. Tony says that the large home rented for previous DSSF weekend trips has been unavailable for several years, but is available again. Tony also sent out an email via Yahoo Groups suggesting a weekend trip to Solvang.

10. Other Business

a. David Gaus distributed a “Safety & Group Etiquette” pamphlet that Sport’s Basement uses for the group rides they sponsor. Sal will review and edit, and have Jerome post to the DSSF website.

b. DSSF Apparel coordinator, Bob McDiarmid, previously reported that Primal Custom Cyclewear – DSSF’s vendor for the team kit – is running a special on custom kits – reducing the minimum number of orders required to ten pieces. (meaning one jersey and one bib = two pieces). He posted a poll on our FB group page earlier this year to determine interest. Sal will follow up with Bob McDarmid about whether there’s enough interest to put in a jersery order. DSSF hasn’t had tee-shirts many years, so we might want to consider coming up with a tee-shirt design and include that with the order.

c. David Goldsmith mentioned that he’d been talking with a DSSF member who’s on the board of another organization that’s been using “Wild Apricot” software to do many of the things DSSF needs done. They’re apparently quite happy with the software and suggest that DSSF might want to consider it for our needs. The thought is that it would integrate into one software platform many of the functions that DSSF currently has on different software platforms. There was a consensus that this would be worth further research.

11. Next Meeting

a. Sal will schedule a meeting for sometime in February after he returns from vacation in mid-January

June 2014 DSSF Board Meeting Minutes

Date: Wednesday 18 June 2014

Time: 6:30 pm

Attendees: Sal Tavormina / President , David Gaus / Vice President, Ron Hirsch / Treasurer, Roger Sayre / Secretary, Jerome Thomere / Web and Blog Editor, David Goldsmith / Ride Coordinator

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1. Call to Order

Sal called the meeting to order

2. Public Comments

– No public comments received.

3. Approval of Minutes

–Minutes from the meeting of 3/31/2014 were approved

4. President/Membership Coordinator’s Report

Sal noted that DSSF currently has 98 paid members for 2014. Ron noted that the website states 107 members and that if DSSF has more than 100 members it may make a difference for fees on certain things. It’s anticipated that additional members will join during pride festivities. The remainder of the year usually doesn’t see too many new members.

Sal also updated the Yahoo Group and it now has about 66 members.

Sal updated the New Member Guide for 2014. A copy was distributed to board members for review and input. Email Sal with any corrections. A pdf version will be available on the DSSF website and David Gaus will print hardcopies for distribution at events like pride.

The DSSF Membership Kickoff meeting went smoothly. Sports Basement issued a $35 gift card for their revenue sharing. They don’t issue a check for under $50. David Goldsmith will purchase the gift card and the $35 will go into DSSF funds.

Only 6 or 7 people responded to the JFK Initiative poll, mostly Board members. No further action

Brendan Patrick may be willing to take events coordinator position if he moves to San Francisco

DSSF will have a booth at the Pride Festival on Sunday, June 29th to sign up new members and get people excited about riding. Last year 10-12 new members joined DSSF. This is a great opportunity for outreach and to make DSSF known in the wider community. All paperwork is completed. Volunteers are needed to help man the DSSF booth in 2 hour shifts from 10am to 4 pm. So far only David Gaus & Joseph Collins have volunteered. Additional volunteers are needed. Someone must be there at 9am to set up the booth. The parade starts at 10:30. Ron suggested not bringing a cooler with drinks since the cooler is difficult to maneuver through the crowds and drinks are readily available. Sal will contact Phil Bokovy to get the DSSF banners. Phil had them for the Great Western Bike Rally.

DSSF’s annual club picnic is scheduled for Saturday, July 26th. China Camp in Marin County was selected as the location for this year’s picnic. DSSF has used this location many times and it seems to work well. Advantages are a beautiful location right next to the Bay, privacy, quiet, and flush toilets, and probably the best chance for ideal weather. The main drawback is the aggressive bees that go after the food. The ride to China Camp is about 45 miles round trip from MacLaren Lodge in SF. David Goldsmith will coordinate the ride. All board members are encouraged to co-lead this ride.

Jerome suggested that DSSF consider doing away with family memberships. Ron noted that it would simplify the bookkeeping. Only 10-12 people currently have family memberships. Sal felt that since the gay community has struggled for so many years to have our family relationships recognized that it’s symbolically important for DSSF to continue family memberships. It was agreed that family memberships will continue.

Ron requested that half price memberships be restricted to new members only. Offering half-price memberships during the second half of the year does make sense since the year’s half over, but as Ron pointed out it also rewards procrastinators. Only 5-6 people have taken advantage of half priced membership. Jerome proposed that instead of renewing all memberships at the beginning of the year we change to yearly memberships that are renewed throughout the year depending on when the membership started. After some discussion it was decided that it’s much simpler to send out renewal notices all at once. Eventually it was decided to leave things as they currently are.

Ron requested clarification on approving people for Facebook group page. David Gaus said he just checks the persons Facebook profile to verify that they’re a real person and not some spammer. Basically just use judgment.

DSSF business cards have been printed. Ron & Sal each have half of them

5. Treasurer’s Report

Government Forms up-to-date: CA, SI-100; CA, RRF-1; CA, 199N; and IRS, 990-N

Financial report: Sal thanked Ron for his work. Current financial status is:
$4,800 in current assets (Pay Pal + bank account + $20 cash)
$1,600 Y.T.D. revenue
$1,300 Y.T.D. expenses
$520 fee for Pride booth + $120 for insurance for pride = $640 pride expenses
Most financial activity occurs during the first half of the year

6. Ride Coordinator’s Report

David Goldsmith just posted about 12 new rides to the Ride Calendar, so it’s starting to look pretty healthy for the remainder of the year. He’s had some time off between jobs so he’s been using it to plan rides. Ron will post two rides. David Gaus has posted some Saturday rides. Chris Thomas will be posting DBD training rides on Sundays. Joseph Collins will also be posting rides. David Gaus will solicit ride leaders where there are gaps in the ride calendar.

It was suggest that rides with a lunch destination are always popular.

Ride Coordinator Report: David sent out reports last week. He’s been having some difficulty getting all ride waivers submitted, but will keep working at it. David would like to do a ride leader appreciation dinner this winter.

7. Web/Blog Editor’s Report

Jerome requested we replace the Yahoo Group. Outgoing emails are only having an 80% success rate in reaching the recipient. Yahoo groups does have some advantages in that it allows the organizer to see who voted for what in polls whereas alternates like Survey Monkey don’t have that feature. Jerome will investigate whether it’s possible to send email through DSSF’s web hosting provider 1&1

Sal asked if there are any better alternatives for sending emails to members. Emails sent through DSSF’s web hosting provider 1&1 only have about a 75% success rate, and it’s even lower with Yahoo. Jerome says that Sal’s email, president@dssf.org is an alias which may be blocked by the recipients spam filters. Jerome will set up a new email address members@dssf.org . Jerome also suggested using blog posts more frequently although that does require people to go to the blog.

8. Apparel Coordinator

Bob McDiarmid reported that Primal Custom Cyclewear – vendor for the team kit – is running a special on custom kits – reducing the minimum number of orders required to ten pieces. (meaning one jersey and one bib = two pieces). He posted a poll on the DSSF Facebook group page to determine interest and so far 5 people have responded positively. The order would need to be for either the old Rainbow jersey or the 30th Anniversary jersey. It’s not possible to combine both types in one order.

9. Special Events for 2014

Jock Sunday at the Lookout bar is scheduled for Sunday, August 17th. Ron will coordinate. This is a good moneymaker for DSSF since the Lookout splits the proceeds 50/50 with DSSF. Ron prefers doing the jello-shots to the raffle.

Big Sur trip won’t happen this year. David will ask Bob if he’d be willing to coordinate a trip to the Davis Bike Museum.

10. Other Business

Tony Moy suggested that the Club open an account on ridewithgps.com to store the Club’s ride library. Account levels are free/$50/$80. Tony suggests the premium membership at $80/year. David Gaus will check on group memberships. He thinks that he may have already set up one.

11. Next Meeting

The next meeting will occur in October. Agenda items will be to plan the xmas party, ride leader appreciation dinner, and board elections

June Updates at DSSF

As we approach the middle of the year, I’d like to provide a few brief updates about what is going on at DSSF:

1) MEMBERSHIP: Thanks to all of you, paid membership in our club just reached 97 yesterday. With just 3 more to go to reach that magic 3-digit number, I’m thinking you must have some awesome cycling buddies who can help us hit the century mark before PRIDE. As an added incentive, membership dues have been reduced to half price ($10 single, $15 family) for the remainder of 2014. So now is a great time for your friends to join us on a trial basis if they have been considering it. Remember, all memberships expire on Dec 31 each year.

2) IS THERE LIFE AFTER ALC? Congratulations to all of our members who participated in ALC this year! You all did an amazing job and have a lot to be proud of. So many inspiring stories came out of that ride. So what’s next? Are you suffering from PALCLBD (Post ALC Love Bubble Disorder)? Do you still have an uncontrollable urge to hop on your bicycle and ride long distances with some of your favorite people on the planet? Do you need more pictures of yourself in spandex? Do you miss shouting out directions to all the cyclists around you: “On your left!”, “Stopping!”, “Rolling!”? Fortunately, DSSF is here to help. Check out the Ride Calendar on our Web page at least once per week and sign up for some of our rides. Bring your friends and a camera along. Or better yet, post your favorite ride and invite your friends to join you. It’s all just a few clicks away. And don’t forget to join us for the monthly Jersey Ride this Saturday (June 14th) and the second Saturday of every month.

3) JUNE BOARD MEETING: The next DSSF Board meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 18th at 6:30 pm. If there are items or issues you would like us to discuss, please send an email to: president@dssf.org OR talk to me about it at the Jersey Ride on June 14th.

4) EVENTS CALENDAR: The 2014 DSSF Special Events Calendar is now posted on our Web site at:

http://www.dssf.org/dssf_html/pdf_documents/events2014.pdf

5) PRIDE FESTIVAL, Sunday, June 29th: Once again, DSSF will have a booth at the Pride Festival to sign up new members and get people excited about riding. This is a great opportunity for outreach and to make DSSF known in the wider community. We need your help to make this happen! We’ll be looking for volunteers to work 2 hour shifts from 10am to 4 pm. More details to come.

6) CLUB PICNIC AND BIKE RIDE: The annual club picnic is scheduled for Saturday, July 26th. We’ll be choosing a location at the Board meeting on June 18th. Here is a brief description of some possibilities. Mileage refers to the shortest possible distance for a bike ride from the starting point to the picnic location and back. Of course, it would be possible to configure longer bike rides for any of these locations.

a) China Camp in Marin County – Tried and true. Beautiful location right next to the Bay. Privacy, quiet, and flush toilets. Probably best chance for ideal weather. Main drawback are the aggressive bees that go after the food. About 45 miles round trip from MacLaren Lodge in SF.

b) Samuel P Taylor Park in Marin County – Untested. Beautiful redwood forest. Maybe all shade. It can sometimes be cool and foggy. Don’t know about mosquitoes. About 65 miles round trip from MacLaren Lodge in SF.

c) Junipero Serra Park in San Mateo County – Untested. High up on the ridge of the Coastal Range with sweeping views of the Bay. Web site says, “Expect cold windy weather in summer.” About 35 miles round trip from MacLaren Lodge in SF.

d) Huddart Park in San Mateo County – Untested. Located close to the town of Woodside. Area extremely dry due to the drought. Possibility of no running water or flush toilets. Opportunity for bike ride along the crest of the coastal range. If you ride down to the Pacific coast, it’s likely to be cold and foggy. About 75 miles round trip from MacLaren Lodge in SF.

e) Briones Regional Park in Contra Costa County – We tried this in 2011 and people seemed to like it. Multiple options for bike rides in the East Bay. It can be very hot here in July. More people would probably have to drive or take public transport to the start point. Pool party and ride will be in the East Bay in August. About 25 miles round trip from Orinda BART station.

All of these locations currently have at least 1 site available, but could fill up before we make a reservation. I have set up a poll where you can list your preferences and suggest other options as well. To have your opinion count, you’ll have to respond before Tues, June 17th. I am trying Survey Monkey for this poll so that all members can participate, even if they haven’t signed up for the DSSF Yahoo! Group. Just use the following link:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/XCJSLM8

7) OTHER ORGANIZATIONS – I often get emails from other organizations asking me to promote their events. Here are a few that you might be interested in:

a) Big Gay 10K (run and walk to fight AIDS): http://www.biggay10k.com/
b) JDC Bike-a-thon (fundraiser for Justice and Diversity Center): www.sfbar.org/bike
c) AIDS Walk San Francisco (fundraiser): http://www.aidswalk.net/sanfran

8) VACANT LEADERSHIP POSITIONS – Membership Coordinator, Events Coordinator, Female Outreach, and Male Outreach positions are all still vacant. Please consider volunteering for one of these positions.

Thanks for your time and your participation in DSSF.

Cycle Safely,
Sal
President, DSSF

Saddle Challenge 2014

It’s that time again, time for the Different Spokes Saddle Challenge!

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

To register, enter your first and last name and ask me for the password.

What is the Saddle Challenge?

It’s our annual event, during the month of March, where members can challenge each other (and themselves) to get out on your bike and ride.

You choose your own mileage goal for the month, whether it be 25 miles, 100 miles or 800 miles, it is your goal!

Then come back to the Saddle Challenge each day and log your mileage, watch your own progress and see how other members are doing too.

Every mile counts, so if you commute by bike, don’t forget to log that too!

Historically, the Saddle Challenge has also been a way for members to raise money for Project Inform where Ron Wilmot, a long time DSSF member started a fundraising ride. 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’ll remind members who have opted to participate in the pledge portion to send their checks via the DSSF PO Box (14711), so that all the pledges can be submitted to Project Inform on behalf of all Different Spokes members who pledged.

If you have any difficulties signing up or logging your entry, give me a holler at webmaster@dssf.org and I’ll give you a hand.

So, what’s your challenge? Sign up now!

Saddle Challenge 2012

It’s that time again, time for the Different Spokes Saddle Challenge!

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

To register, enter your first and last name and ask me for the password.

What is the Saddle Challenge?

It’s our annual event, during the month of March, where members can challenge each other (and themselves) to get out on your bike and ride.

You choose your own mileage goal for the month, whether it be 25 miles, 100 miles or 800 miles, it is your goal!

Then come back to the Saddle Challenge each day and log your mileage, watch your own progress and see how other members are doing too.

Every mile counts, so if you commute by bike, don’t forget to log that too!

Historically, the Saddle Challenge has also been a way for members to raise money for Project Inform where Ron Wilmot, a long time DSSF member started a fundraising ride. 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’ll remind members who have opted to participate in the pledge portion to send their checks via the DSSF PO Box (14711), so that all the pledges can be submitted to Project Inform on behalf of all Different Spokes members who pledged.

If you have any difficulties signing up or logging your entry, give me a holler at webmaster@dssf.org and I’ll give you a hand.

So, what’s your challenge? Sign up now!

Planet of the Apes

This all started because I wanted to find an alternative route to the west coast of the Peninsula (Half Moon Bay, San Gregorio) without having to go through Skyline and Hwy 92. I had heard about this old road, predating Highway 1 and nicknamed “Planet of the Apes” (its real name: San Pedro Mountain Road) because of the erie feeling you are supposed to get riding it, like you were in a post-holocaust world.

I tried a couple of years ago, but I chickened out a bit after Pacifica and ended up riding Hwy 1 at Devil’s Slide. Oh my. If there was a road hostile to cyclists, that was it. No shoulders, one lane of heavy traffic with drivers just coming out of the freeway part of Hwy 1, on a climb.

So this time, I decide to try it again. I posted the ride the day before, starting from my place. Needless to say, I was not expecting company. So imagine my surprise when I saw no other than Thomas showing up at 10am sharp in front of my garage.

Off we go, the first miles completely uneventful, until we reached the start of the trail. Tony had warned me, but I still felt a bit hesitant when I saw it: it really look like a dirt road with no apparent (even old) pavement. It got better: most of the time, we got to ride on some very old pavement, but pavement nonetheless. The whole road goes over the aforementioned Pedro Mountain, so it climbs for 2 miles. We had to ride so slow anyway, because of the road conditions, that it didn’t feel much of a climb. As a matter of fact, the descent was much more unpleasant, especially since that side of the road was in worse condition. And the weather was not cooperating: we were going through a heavy fog, indistinguishable from a drizzle, and the pavement/dirt was becoming very wet. At one point, my iPhone jumped off my handlebar bag, without me noticing it. Without Thomas, I wouldn’t have realized it before a couple of miles, and it would have been a nightmare trying to find it. Thomas, I owe you big time…

Pedro Mountain Rd

But we finally made it to Hwy 1 and that oh-so-smooth ride to Half Moon Bay, where we enjoyed a nice albeit late lunch. Originally, I had planned to ride back through Tunitas Creek Rd (I know, I know…) but it was so late that we would not have made it on the other side of Skyline before dark. Notwithstanding the fact that it would have probably killed Thomas.

So we had no choice but taking Hwy 92, which I had never ridden eastbound. Well, I probably never will, if I can avoid it. The traffic is awful, and the shoulders inexistent or worse, treacherous. Worse than westbound. But we made it and finish the ride in a light rain towards Millbrae BART station.

I am glad I did this Planet of the Apes, but it’s clearly not a road bike option. On the other hand, with a mountain bike, it’s a peace of cake. Oh, and about this “post end of the world” feeling, I was frankly a bit disappointed: it is just a trail.

Here is the complete route and some photos.