Gone Upright

My Sam Hillborne is a year old this month. I haven’t ridden another bike since I brought her home. I had Rivendell build up my Sam with moustache bars, which when compared to drops was immediately comfortable. I’d never used bar end shifters before, and they were OK, but it wasn’t like I couldn’t live without them. Ascetically, I really liked this look.

January 12, 2014_untitled_0496

So now it’s like I’m going feral compared to my riding partner who has continued with a racing bike and drops. Yesterday I removed the moustache bars and added an Albatross bar with thumbies and cork grips. I love the thumbies. Much more natural for me. I’m really excited about adding the Newbaums tape (and twine); I really like this color. I first saw the color on Pondero’s bike. Not in person, but he’s got a wonderful header shot in his blog of his bike.

IRD shifters
IRD shifters
my bell
my bell

Switching bars necessitated also changing the stem and brake levers. These are Shimano mtb brake levers. I had a new box of Gore RideOn derailleur cables laying around, and I used them with the new IRD SOS Silver shifters. That’s a Nitto stem.

new shifters and brake levers
new shifters and brake levers

Just did a litlte spin today; about 15 miles. Shifting was crisp, and the brakes are much better than with the Shimano road levers that were on the moustache bar. Don’t know if you can see my new pedals in this shot, but I’ve gotten rid of clipless and now have VP platform pedals. Paired with my Five Ten Freeriders, my feet aren’t going anywhere!

Nitto Mark's rack
Nitto Mark’s rack

Also in this shot you can see the rack. I switched from the Carradice SQR system when I got a bigger saddlebag; the Nelson Longflap. This rack is for sidepull brakes and is perfect in supporting the saddlebag, especially when it’s full for a day’s commute; no fender rub.

peace, KS



Today is the beginning of the Coffeeneuring Challenge sponsored by Chasing Mailboxes DC.  I had a bit of a longer ride planned for the day, but it’s windy, warm and dry. Only 16% humidity;  the area is covered with fire warnings.  I hope everyone in the Bay Area and surroundings is careful. I got so hot I had to stop for a cold drink; an iced berry, pomegranite tea cooler. First time I’ve tried one of those. Tasty! I probably could accomplish all 7 rides required for the challenge by hitting 7 different Peet’s.


Went out on the Hillborne today. Actually I haven’t ridden any of my other bikes since I brought her home. And yesterday I listed my Salsa Vaya for sale to finance the changes for the Dummy. If anyone’s interested in the Vaya, email me: kls01@me.com       I was siting enjoying my iced beverage when I saw a fellow cyclist pull up and lock up his bike. Funny because I noticed the moustache bars on his bike; they’re not that common. He came up to me inquiring if the Hillborne was mine. He hadn’t been able to find bar end shifters for his bars. That’s easy, contact Rivendell.

peace, ks

Almost Twice

I had all intentions of getting out on my ride early today, but didn’t. I finally managed to leave the warm, sunny deck, and cozy coffee and get dressed for an easy 15 miles. I’d planned on repeating the nice little loop I did last Sat. Well, it was 11:30, the trail was crowded and the wind was already up. When you ride the SF Bay Trail at this time of day you have to be prepared for others.

At about 2 miles into the the ride a father with 2 children on bikes were up ahead. As usual I slowed and moved to the left, and called out. I moved as far to the left as I could as I was almost taken out by a child on a bike earlier in the week. But…….. just as I almost squeaked by, the little boy darted right in front of me. I swerved, having to go off the trail and expertly (haha) negotiate the dirt, rocks and brush without hitting him! I crashed last Sun., so I really didn’t want to go down again.

It took me a few miles to let go of the incident, and after stopping for some pictures I’d left it all behind me. Here’s the sentry to the cool Berkeley bridge I’ve been using to get over Highway 80, sentry

and the bridge itself. Bbridge

I was actually looking forward to getting onto the city streets with a bike lane; there was just too much traffic on the trail. Crazy huh?

A few more miles and I was on the Ohlone Greenway (hardly crowded at all) which took me to the street which would again deliver me to the Bay Trail. Now that it was lunchtime there seemed to be fewer people and on a major section of the wetlands I stopped for some more pictures.



Can’t resist one of the Sam:


Super Supple, Buttery Smooth

I posed a question on a randonneur forum whether it was worth it to switch from 38mm tires to 32’s. You can imagine the range of responses I might get. It’s just not a simple question. Besides the obvious difference of decreased tire contact the smaller you go, there’s weight, tread, and casing differences. I actually had a tire in mind; the Grand Bois Cypress.

Grand Bois Cypress
Grand Bois Cypress

My Sam Hillborne came with Continental TourRides; heavy and stiff, at 38mm (this is what is measures, I think the labeling lists the tire at 42). Everyone agreed, Grand Bois tires are quite magnificent, though some believe a little more flat prone than others. Some recommended staying with a 38mm for comfort, and a common tire of choice was the Pari-Moto. This tire also has a nice recommendation on Rivendell’s website. However, coming from 23cm on my Lemond (which I sold in Jan.), I felt like 32mm would still provide me with plenty of comfort. But, what turned the tide in favor of the Grand Bois was the description by fellow randonneur who said, “Going from heavy, 650 gram, super-thick, tough Conti TourRides to not-quite-paper-thin, super-supple, buttery-smooth 290 gram Grand Bois Cyprès tires will, indeed, give you a very different ride.” Yep, that’s what I’m hoping for. I ordered them yesterday from Compass Bicycles.

The Conti’s are great for commuting and mixed terrain. I have full confidence in them rolling over street debris and don’t think twice about riding off-road, like a fire trail. But, for lots of road riding, increased time in the saddle, and some events I want to participate in this summer, I just wanted the super supple, buttery-smooth ride.

Friday Bike Ride

It’s rides like today that fuel my fire and create the yearning to get back on my bike. Today I did the route I had planned before I got that cold; a route I did about 21 years ago. It was slightly overcast today; just a thin, wispy cloud cover. At times it felt like the sun was filtering through window shades. I dressed perfectly with a winter jersey and a sleeveless Craft shirt underneath,  and a light windbreaker. A few mistakes today; forgot the phone and one of my bottles of water. Though some of the route was slightly rural I also passed through a couple of towns where I could fill up if need be. Here’s a shot about 3 miles into the ride. Somewhat of a shoulder to ride on. Luckily most people are use to a lot of bikes in the area.

Gloreitta Ave.
Gloreitta Ave.

I extended the route about 4 miles from the one I’d done before and connected up with a trail that was all off road; made for horses, bikes and pedestrians. Being Friday, midday (I took a vacation day today), it wasn’t too crowded. More walkers and runners and just a couple of bikes. It’s really a lovely trail, follows a creek for quite awhile, with lots of trees, flowers and grass.

Lafayette Moraga Trail
Lafayette Moraga Trail

I’m excited to do this route again on Sunday with K. I think she’ll really like it. I know I will. What a great vacation day I’m having!

My Hillborne
My Hillborne

Testing One’s Mettle

Prior to moving to my loft last Aug. I had a base mileage of riding where I could easily go out and ride 15-20 miles. Then with all the changes and time restraints I didn’t ride much until after the New Year. I started commuting (by bike) about a month ago a couple of days a week and have gotten out on the weekends for longer and longer rides. Since I’ve acquired the Hillborne, I’ve wanted to ride much more and have set some goals for the year with regard to distances. I believe I’ve mentioned wanting to do a populaire.

First, I want to increase my base mileage, building up to a mildly structured training regimen. However, most of my riding has had the absence of any significant hills. Last Sat. I decided to see what kind of shape I was really in and challenged myself to a local climb over 4 miles long with a consistent 4% grade. I’d ridden this many times before, but what can I say, it’d been awhile; about 22 years! And, yes, I was also lighter. After the birth of my daughter (22 years ago) I began road riding more seriously and rode all over the Berkeley/Oakland hills. I’ve been riding since,  both road and mtb off and on, with a few years where I’ve trained and ridden in a few centuries, with a 100 mile kayak race thrown in between. Now, I want to ride long again, on a comfortable bike (Hillborne), and I don’t care much about racing.

I came from down there
I came from down there

The long and short of it is, I did get to the top of the 4 mile climb. The bad news is that it was very hard and required a couple small stretches of hike-a-bike. Demoralizing when you remember how you use to do it, encouraging when you remind yourself that you didn’t just turn around and coast all the way back to the start when it got hard. I’d had a 20+ mile ride planned for the day, but when I got to the top my legs were spent. There was one other good uphill on the planned route, but I decided to decrease the mileage for the day and head a different direction. Then it got really cold as I was on the shady side of the mountain and had some downhill patches of road. My legs felt really dead and as I pedaled by a road I’d been down before, wondered if I should cut my losses and just get to the end as best I could. I rode maybe a 1/4 mile further and stopped on the side of the road with a large shoulder in the sun to think about it. My goal was to see if I could do this climb, and I did.  I still had to remind myself (especially when I set goals) that I want to be having fun. And I say, still, because I can lapse into the mentality of a youngster who doesn’t believe they’re really accomplishing anything unless they are really suffering. Lastly, I knew continuing on the present road for an additionall 5-7 miles to add to my weekly totals was not going to make today’s ride fun. I turned around. Down and down I went, 28 mph, and found myself dropped in Montclair. A pretty easy last few miles to the start with a sunny stop sitting on a bench in front of a beautiful, little lake ( Lake Temescal) where I devoured a Honey Stinger.

After Sat. I’m feeling some doubts. Am I pushing too soon for the June populaire? Should I take more time, just build more base mileage? Can I really do this?