Saturday, June 11, 2016


It's done. I've officially registered for two century rides, two weeks apart, for two great causes. I first mentioned them here, and as of today am registered for both. There are two things I'm absolutely depending on for these rides:

1. Patience: I am slow. There are not a lot of things in my life where I am content to admit that I'm slower than almost everyone else and am satisfied there, but cycling is one of them. I'll train as much as I can train, but there are certain immutable facts (namely residency) that slow me down. Luckily, I'm pretty happy riding all day all alone, so even if the friends, family, and colleagues who will be joining me on these rides are much faster, I don't mind bringing up the back.

2. Your money: You read correctly. I've made some rather lofty fundraising goals in order to feel good riding in both of these rides. Compared to my ride last year (40 miles), I'm increasing my mileage this year by 500%. Can you do the same with your donations? If that percent increase seems a bit steep to you, perhaps consider a 100% increase since I'm doubling my number of rides. Here are the links to my fundraising pages:

BikeMS: Waves to Wine

Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle

Last weekend I rode 54 miles (all at one time!) on what was the longest bike ride my new bike has ever experienced. Apart from grossly underestimating the amount of water I needed, and forgetting to sunscreen my legs, both of which only became apparent after 95% of the ride, it was lovely.

 In which I demonstrate that even in the daylight I favor cycling safety

China Camp State Park, or, the very lovely surroundings of the public restrooms around which I planned much of my ride

Friday, June 03, 2016

Some thoughts about regional cycling culture

In Michigan, looking cool on a bicycle meant several things. First and foremost, it meant sporting a variety of cycling clothes (jerseys, shorts, socks, etc) from the various events you had previously completed. Started riding DALMAC (the Dick Allen Lansing to MACkinaw) in 1971 when it originated? Then wear that vintage jersey from the first year they made them to show just how awesome and dedicated you are. Secondly, although there were probably small subgroups of cyclists that favored the matching kit, where the jersey and the shorts are made to match, the vast majority favored mixing it up, perhaps to demonstrate the wide range of interesting pieces of cycling gear available to the enthusiastic rider. My rides would leave me asking questions along the line of, "Huh, I wonder where I can get those bright crazy shorts that guy had, so that I can wear them with my florescent pink jersey with the little devil on it from the ride through Hell, MI?"

In San Francisco, and I suspect in most of California, the approach is completely different. Fitting in and looking like you mean it on a bicycle requires a matching kit. You may select a pattern or color, and if you are part of a professional or amateur cycling team, it is acceptable to wear that jersey, but otherwise black is the preferred color. All of the fancy cycling clubs seem to produce all-black cycling gear, perhaps with accents that attempt to prevent accidents and make you more visible. While my training rides here have also prompted question asking, they have been more along the lines of "Why would you market a line of black, solid colored cycling garments in a city with so much fog?"

While I'd like to avoid high inference statements about cycling clothes that demonstrate that you have money rather than cycling clothes that demonstrate that you have fun, this difference seems stark. Am I missing something? Is there another obvious reason to eschew mismatched cycling gear in favor of the all-black kit? Help me out, dear readers. Perhaps needless to say, I continue to pair pieces of my maize and blue University of Michigan kit with other random bits, like the bright pink jersey I mentioned earlier, and my Menstrual Cycles team jersey, all with the primary goal of making myself as noticeable as possible to cars on the road, and the secondary goal of wearing clean things while riding. Look for me on the roads in an awesome kit comprised of colors and patterns that were never meant to be!

 Looking out over the Marin Headlands

 Finally biked up to Muir Woods

Clouds from Twin Peaks