While it seems like just about everyone gushes about how great it is to live in San Francisco, I occasionally feel out of place in the city and I begin to have an inner monologue about my doubts living here. I’m not trying to be unappreciative of the Bay Area and everything it has to offer (which is a lot) but lately these thoughts have been creeping into my head. Similarly, the movie Blade Runner came to mind a lot in the days leading up to and during the #fauxvet, partly because it’s always frickin’ raining in the movie and California has been recently experiencing a much needed wet season. The film also portrays a dystopian cyberpunk future society and while I don’t think San Francisco’s tech culture has taken us quite in that direction (yet), the film also highlights important themes about what it is to be human. As I began to wonder if my concerns with the city were valid or not, I realized that it’s only human to have these doubts rather than just accepting things at face value.
But you didn’t come here to read my long winded meanderings about geography and films, now did you? JOIN US IN THE FOLLOWING CHAPTERS FOR MUCH MORE EXCITING DETAILS FROM THE BOYZ ON THE HOODS #FAUXVET!
The 72 hours leading up to the #fauxvet were filled with questions about weather and terrain conditions and honestly no one really had a good answer for what mother nature held in store for us. Yet somehow at the ride start, I counted a total of 22 people who had been suckered into riding with us for the remainder of the day. My immediate feelings were surprise (WHOA PEOPLE ACTUALLY VISIT OUR BLOG!), followed by anxiety (How the hell are we going to manage all these people? Are they going to like our route? Will we be too fast or too slow? Did I wear my bibs inside out again?) and back to excitement (22 PEOPLE!!!!). I tried to shelve all of these concerns and hopefully I was able to convey to the group that a good time was to be had.
The group slowly rolled from San Francisco County and through San Mateo County, minus one Boy on the Hood, who had an “alarm clock mechanical”. This unnamed Boy on the Hood who attempted to rendezvous with the group unfortunately experienced the rare double flat en-route to catching up with us. However using his technical resourcefulness and smart phone vodoo magic, this Boy on the Hood was able to successfully meet us at the entrance to Sweeney Ridge.
With the group fully assembled, the weather looking optimistic and the first dirt section about to begin, my anxieties began to subside. We climbed up Sweeney Ridge and I noticed myself smiling a lot more. As I looked around and admired the scenery, it seemed that many of the other riders seemed to share my sentiments.
The views from atop Sweeney Ridge were nothing short of amazing and the rains from the past week didn’t transform the terrain completely into Play-Doh. Also there were these great puddles that just couldn’t be avoided.
The next section of the route is a great mixed terrain alternative to taking the Highway 1 road route from Pacifica to Half Moon Bay. Sometimes people hear the term “mixed terrain” and they think of the bicycle industry’s portrayal of super tough and gnarly dirt rides/races, but sometimes they just don’t show you the other side of the spectrum, which is filled with RAINBOWS, sunshine and smiles.
From there, the ride turned into a choose your own adventure book. One group opted to head directly to the lunch spot for quicker access to sandwiches, while another group took the scenic coastal route that passed by Pillar Point Bluff, with some riders literally “soaking up the scenery” as an errant ocean wave nearly engulfed us as we rode by.
After a well deserved lunch break at the always dependable San Benito House, the group made its way to the Cowell Ranch trail. It’s a nice and mellow trail that takes you to a scenic overlook of the Pacific Ocean. My favorite part of riding in a large group on nice open trails like these is you can look off into the distance and see the group of riders snaking along the path. It was probably a funny sight to behold if you were just trudging along the seashore that day.
We had already decided that we were skipping Purisima Creek due to the high chance of mud jammage for our fenderered friends. There was a quick stop at the Bike Hut to check out the facilities (go #biketourism!) before climbing Tunitas Creek.
Now, Tunitas Creek is a beautiful road through the redwoods and I’d like to think that people were too busy admiring the beauty of it to stop and take any photographs. However, the reality is that it’s an arse kicker of a climb and I’m sure everyone couldn’t wait for that climb to be done with. The only reward for climbing Tunitas Creek is a fast and spirited descent through Kings Mountain Road. It was only a short while after that when we were back to the suburbs of the peninsula, riding through streets with signs every block that urged drivers to exercise caution when zipping around in their cars and to think of the children in the neighborhood.
The group stopped at a Whole Foods for some liquid nourishment before the train ride back to San Francisco. However, due to bad time management and some confusing wayfinding, the group ended up scrambling to the Caltrain and unfortunately leaving behind 3 riders (Note: Boyz on the Hoods owes ONE STOKEN to each of these riders). Despite my earlier warnings in the day that the ride would have a “no-drop” policy, it was somewhat unfortunate that it was in the last stretch of the ride (in an urbanized city center no less) that we got separated. Anyways, here’s a picture of the group in happier times back at the bluffs overlooking the ocean at Cowell Ranch:
All in all, it was a very fun adventure and I’m glad everyone decided to brave the weather and hang out with a bunch of fellow bike weirdos. My own trepidations with the Bay Area still exist, but at least on this day I could smile and enjoy the benefits this region has to offer. You can check the Strava link here and also check out the #boyzonthehoods and #fauxvet hashtags for more radness.
Epilogue and also <Blade Runner Spoiler Alert!>
In the penultimate scene of Blade Runner, one of the most memorable lines in science fiction history is uttered:
In the context of my choice to juxtapose the film with this ride report, this quote came to mind and it really stuck with me. Now you could interpret it in a somewhat pessimistic sense in that all the feelings and memories associated with this ride are only temporary and fleeting. BUT, given all the good vibes that I got from the group, I’m glad to say that the #fauxvet series will continue in the future, so hopefully there will be more opportunities and great adventures to share, so stay tuned for the next #fauxvet route and dates!
A few days until the #Fauxvet 1.0 and inevitably the
weather wizards “meteorologists” are calling for rain. So I’m guessing you want to know if this ride will still happen?
Well sometimes it rains, and sometime it POURS. Some of us don’t believe in the rules but since this is America, you’re welcome to believe whatever you want. Period.
Just keep in mind the fender zone etiquette, pack your rain jacket and be prepared for the worst!
Boyz on the Hoods (Team A) spotted at 1:52!
brevet /brəˈvet,ˈbrevit/ noun: An unsupported 200-, 300-, 400-, 600-, 1000- or 1200- kilometer ride, under RUSA or ACP guidelines
Mixed terrain centuries appear to be the latest cycling craze so let us introduce the Boyz on the Hoods #Fauxvet 1.0. All the fun of your typical brevet, but no stinkin’ time limits or control point receipts necessary! This isn’t a race but more of an opportunity for us to share one of our favorite mixed terrain routes in the Bay Area with others.
1. Make sure you have all your food, tubes, tools necessary for any issues (physical/emotional) you may encounter.
2. Bring some of that allowance money, so you can buy some lunch, maybe a beer, and have some leftover cash for your Caltrain fare back to San Francisco.
3. Dude I don’t know what tires you should run. Jack Browns/Gran Bois Hetres/Panaracer Paselas? Cool. That wide CX tire you already have on your bike? That’ll work. Those crusty sun-baked gumwall tires or some skinny Michelin Pro Race 4′sss? Err… probably not.
4. Gearing question? Kinda like the tire question but pretty much whatever you’re comfortable with. There’s about 6,000 ft of climbing, so keep that in mind.
5. This ride is pretty hard but not like Contra III hard. In other words, make sure you’re adequately prepared for this ride but you don’t need to spend the next month in your hyperbolic time chamber.
6. Most importantly, bring good vibes to the ride and don’t be an idiot or jerk (seriously).
7. It’d also be cool if you RSVP’d in the comments, just so we get a rough head count of who’s going!
8. I forget what 8 is for.
SEE YOU IN MARCH!
There have been various reports that riders have been complaining about “bridge fatigue”. Bridge fatigue is something that Bay Area cyclists face, having to deal with the windy conditions, the maddening tourists on rental bikes, and the monotony of having to ride through the same North Bay cities over and over. Even a friend’s 7 year old son went so far as to say he preferred bike camping in the East Bay rather than at China Camp in San Rafael because he “hate[s] riding over the Golden Gate Bridge”.
And while I understand these complaints, there’s still something magical about meeting up at the Golden Gate Bridge Toll Plaza, hearing our RBA Rob Hawks do his pre-ride standup comedy/safety routine, and then riding over the bridge amongst a sea of flourescent vests and reflective gear at 7am in the morning.
The first 20 miles of this ride is almost like muscle memory to most San Francisco Randonneurs since they pass through the same roads repeatedly on brevets. To be honest, I’m not even sure of most of the street names for this first section of all brevets, however every time I pass by Shady Ln in Ross, this song starts playing in the jukebox in my head.
By the time we hit Sir Francis Drake Boulevard past Fairfax, I was pleasantly surprised by the nicely re-paved roads. I’m not sure when this roadwork was completed, since I usually opt to ride the Cross Marin Trail, but it was a pleasant experience that lead us over Point Reyes National Seashore.
I had difficulty during the previous year’s event, due to the windy conditions, the rolling terrain, and the constant stream of Marin Airporters zipping passing cyclists on the narrow roads to the lighthouse. This year there were far fewer tourist buses and one of them got stuck on a turn. I know it’s been quite popular to pour the hatred on buses in the Bay Area lately but I refrained from throwing rocks at the down and out bus.
The Lighthouse control point was particularly pleasant and not absurdly windy. I overheard some other rides talking about how the Point Reyes Lighthouse is the furthest point west in the mainland U.S., which is also pretty cool (Editor’s Note: … and FALSE).
I spent the next portion of the ride from Highway 1 to Marshall trying to stay alive and hoping that cars wouldn’t buzz me on their drive to Tomales Bay. The reflecto triangle definitely did it’s job in this situation. As a reward for stayin’ alive, I treated myself to some tasty fish stew and a root beer over at the Marshall store.
The rest of the ride was pretty much smooth sailing. Brian and I took a quick break over at Rancho Nicasio for some caffeine and carbs, before continuing to roll back into San Francisco shortly after sunset.
Once again, the SFR rides are always amazing because of the jolly people that attend and the gracious help of the many volunteers who staff our control points. I’ll be opting out of the next Two Rock/Valley Ford 200k in February but I look forward to staffing the finish control and cheering on randonneurs as they cross the finish line.
My girlfriend and I stayed in Santa Cruz over the weekend. On Saturday, Emily wanted to hangout at the pool and nap, and I wanted to explore the Forest of Nisene Marks. I’m happy to say that we both got what we wanted that day.
A big part of my desire to explore this route was to determine what is the best way to get over the Santa Cruz Mountains during the nighttime on our planned 2014 Fleche route.
A.) Eureka Canyon Road (just north of Corralitos)
B.) 14 Mile Fire Road Climb through the Forest of Nisene Marks
C.) Soquel San Jose Rd.
I rode Soquel San Jose Road the night before on a night ride from Mountain View to Santa Cruz. Although I enjoyed the constant at which I was going downhill and the gradual grade of the hill, the speed of cars passing me gave me the impression that it would not be fun to travel up it at night.
I was happy to discover that Eureka Canyon Road was a great gradual ascent. For the first 5 miles of the climb, I could hear the gentle stream of the brook that accompanied me. Even better, is I felt at ease with the lack of cars passing me. After passing Corrallitos, Eureka Canyon Road goes in and out from a two lane road and one lane road. This assured me that cars would not be passing me at 40+ miles an hour.
Theres a subtle arrogance with using the voluminous supple Grand Bois Hetres tires. A type of arrogance that welcomes signs that say “Rough Road.” At 35 – 40 PSI the wheels seem to absorb potholes and uneven road. The true value of these tires come when riding at night. This is when the arrogance of these tires feel more like confidence.
The Forest of Nisene Marks was magical and beautiful. After the entrance, there was about 3-4 miles of climbing on Fire Road. This also the entrance of a famous mountain biking trails of Soquel Demonstration Forest. This was evident by the multitude of berms off the trail. After reaching the peak, it was about 12 miles of downhill fire to Aptos. This was by far my favorite part of the ride. The trail occasionally dipped in gradient, however all of it was very ridable on the BDB Pelican. It really felt like endless downhill. The trail swooped in and out of the dense forest, only occasionally revealing beautiful views of the Pacific.
At one point while I was stopped, a mountain biker pointed at my bike and asked, “So is that like a hybrid?” A flurry of ideology from Jan Heine, Chris Kostman, and Jobst Brandt rushed to my brain to come up with a clever response. None did and I replied, “ummm. yeah, pretty much.” He replied with “Cool retro fenders” and rode on. In retrospect, I don’t mind calling my Egret, my rando steed, a hybrid. After all, that’s pretty much how I use this bike. She just happens to be the best hybrid I’ve ever ridden on.
The 2014 San Francisco Randonneur season kicked off this past saturday, and let’s see if you can pick out which rookie mistake(s) I made before embarking on the 117k Pt. Reyes Populaire:
A) Staying up until 1am
B) Not bringing my rain gear or reflective gear because it was a “shorter” ride
C) Deciding to ride with flu/cold symptoms
D) Riding my non-fendered bike, because it was only a 40% chance of rain
E) All of the above
Obviously the answer was E), but despite my lack of preparedness, it was a social day on the bike and it was good to see the SFR crew out in full force.
Thanks to all the volunteers who braved difficult conditions to help provide riders with warm stew, a myriad of snacks, and craft beers at the finish control!
Happy New Years! Had the pleasure of doing a brief Twin Peaks ride on New Years Day with two wonderful ladies: Amanda and Emily (left to right)! What a great way to kick off the 2014.
Out of all the bikes I own, I think my Box Dog Pelican has the most stories and reasoning behind ever single part and component. The following table is a list of every part that is on the Pelican and why I chose it. (note: it is very long and nerdy)
(Also there are no commas in the description, due to some weird table widget I used. Sorry in advance)
|Type||Part||Why I like it||Source|
|Frame||60cm 650b Pelican||Designed by Gabe Elhert (a well respected randonneur and friend) This frame also supports my favorite local bike shop and is an amazing frame||Box Dog Bikes|
|Box Bag||Acorn Box Bag in Original Tan||I first discovered Acorn Bags about 4 years ago when I was researching touring bikes. This was when my object of desire for a touring bike was the Masi Randonneur. (more on the origins of my dreams of randonneuring later) Positive reviews from the Path Less Pedaled Blog made me want it even more. I've dreamt of owning this bag for about two years until I picked this up from a craigslist deal in Orange County about two years ago. I believe the bag was originally being sold as a group with another bike. The seller was kind enough to sell the bag separately. Fortunately I still keep in contact with the seller today in emails and occasional lunches.||Daniel|
|Saddle Bag||Acorn Roll Bag in Original Tan||I've also dreamt of owning the roll bag for quite some time. I've thought this to be a clever and cute way to store tools.||LAFixed Forums|
|Tires||Grand Bois Hetres||Fat and fast; Jan thinks they're the best thing in the world. I love love love the clay color on the tires. It reminds of shredding it hard in the Marin Headlands and having a reddish film of dust all over your bike.||BDB|
|Front Wheel||Velocity Synergy 36h to Schmidt SON28 Classic||Solid 36 hole wheelset; built by the amazing wheelbuilder Rich Lesnik. If you haven't met Rich I highly recommend you do.||Traded Carlin for the Rims and Koga Miyata for hubs|
|Rear Wheel||Velocity Synergy 36h offset to White Industries rear hub||White Industries makes a darn light rear hub that also makes a beautiful noise when coasting. I love the silver polish rounded bubble in the center and the bay area roots of White Industries.||Traded Carlin for the Rims and Koga Miyata for hubs|
|Fenders||650b Honjo Zeppelin 58mm wide||To me these are the best looking metal fenders. Beautiful lines from front to back and a unique and elegant shape. Also a beautiful installation job by Box Dog Bikes.||BDB|
|Mudflaps||Gilles Berthoud Leather Cork||I originally wanted a cork Gilles Berthoud Aspin saddle but I got too anxious about it. I guess I thought it would be too bold for my taste. Instead I got the cork mudflaps. I thought this would be very fitting as it already looked dirty and mud splattered||BDB|
|Front light||Edelux II||Ever since I heard about the Busch & Muller Luxos B I've been waiting for the time that Schmidt comes out with their fancier more elgeant aluminum body Edelux. The light came out in the nick of time before this bike got built otherwise I wouldve been rocking a Busch & Muller Luxos B. (Light mount was custom made by BDB from a centerpull derailleur)||Peter White Cycles|
|Rear light||Busch & Muller 4D Light Plus||This tail light has been in my possession for probably about 2 years now without me mounting it. Nevertheless this is still my first choice for rear dynamo taillight. I love the reinforced protection bar to secure my light in the case of a rear end collision. Also the long flat reflector seemed to be the most optimal shape for a reflector. All in all it's the most reminiscent of old french style fender mounted reflectors IMO.||Velo Orange?|
|Front rack||Nitto M-13.||Not going to lie I got this rack because Jan said so. More than that I really like how it looked without a handlebar bag (small & compact) and how it sits very low and close to the fender to drop the weight of the bag. These things I do believe to be important.||BDB|
|Seat Post||Nitto S-65 Crystal Fellow||I normally care very little about seat posts but I really really enjoyed the pantographed Nitto at the head of the post and all in all loved the modern square tappering at the top. I think it carries this blend of classic & modern theme of my bike||From Irving. When Irving realized he needed a seat a different seat post for his Rawland Stag I hoped on the opportunity to get this seat post|
|Stem||Nitto S-65 Crystal Fellow||If it wasn't for Ely from Ruthworks I wouldn't have even known this stem existed. Once I did know I had to have it. I was obsessed. The rarity of stem drove me to want it even more. Apparently this stem isn't production anymore. It's a real shame because it's on of the prettiest stems I've seen. Similar to the seat post the stem has a modern 'edgy' look for a quill stem . Also it matches the lines of the fluted honjo fenders so well. This is my favorite part on my bike||WTB post on iBOB Google Group|
|Headset||Chris King Two Nut||I was initially going to go for a needle bearing headset (admittingly mostly for Rando cred) but I was suggested the silver Chris King. After one look at it I realized that this would really complete the bike. Headsets are not something I want to service in the middle of the ride and the Chris King two nut works well with the extended steer tube.||BDB|
|BB||Phil Wood's Sealed BB||One of the few things that did not get damaged when the Koga-miyata was rear ended (while on a trunk rack)||Koga|
|Bars||Grand Bois Randonneur Bars||I had a great experience with these bars from my Koga Miyata Rando build before it was rear ended. These bars are truly comfortable if you spend a lot of time riding on the tops of the hoods (area just behind the hoods)||BDB|
|Bar Tape||Toshi Leather Tape||With the Koga Miyata I used Velo Orange's leather tape and I thought it was… just alright. Every time I rode the bike in the rain the leather would feel weird and crumbly for about two weeks afterwards. I considered for a while using shellac'd cotton tape but I ended up really enjoying how the Toshi Leather Bar Tape looked on the Pelican display at Box Dog Bikes. Angus did a killer job wrapping the bars as this leather is particularly hard to stretch.||BDB|
|Saddle||Berthoud Aspin Tan||I have a Brooks B-17 on my previous bike that I love. People swear by the Berthoud Aspin so I wanted to know the story||BDB|
|Brakes||TRP Euro X Silver||In all honesty I wanted Paul Canti brakes because they look the most like Mafac cantilever brakes are incredibly easy to adjust on the fly. I chose TRP Euro X brakes as they are similar in to the Paul CNC machined look but have a slightly lower profile so they fit a little better with the Nitto M-13. Unfortunately it seems that Paul Cantilevers stick out just a little too far to make for a completely level rack. TRPs look just as good and brake very well.||Ebay for really cheap! I think $23 which is a steal.|
|Shifters||Campagnolo Centaur Ergo Shifters||I'm very happy with these as they are new the new hood shape model with "Ultra-shift" capabilities. I'm not actually very knowledgable about all of Campy's shenanigans but these shifters can drop about 6 gears at once going down and about 4 going up. Braking feels great. Hoods are very very comfortable. The new hood shape from campy feel better on downhills on the dirt as they have something to hold on to. This is also compared to the previous 10 speed hoods which are a bit shorter. The other big reason I chose Campagnolo was because of the really good trimming abilities for triple shifting. I'm very pro-triple gearing and I think Campagnolo does it best. I particularly like this pair because it's silver and shinny||Once Irving decided to go with bar end shifters I hopped on the opportunity to buy his 'rare' shifters.|
|Cranks||Campagnolo Comp Triple||I love the non existent Comp Triple grouppo. Why doesn't it exist anymore? Maybe only in the form of Athena Triple but ultimately it's not the same. Campagnolo's Comp Triple was a great group set that is silver and squared tapered (for durability as the Rando world believes). 170mm||Ebay|
|Chainrings||28T 39T 47T by TA||I bought these chainrings originally for the Koga Miyata's record triple crankset (135mm BCD). I wanted to have a low granny gear so I chose a 28 tooth ring; next I wanted to have a middle ring with a wide range but can still be low enough to shift to the 28 tooth granny ring. Lastly I chose a 47tooth top gear because I thought it was a funny number of teeth. Who else has a 47tooth chainring?||Wiggle.co.uk|
|Rear Derailleur||Long Cage Campagnolo Comp Triple||It was in between this and the highly desired Campy record Titanium/carbon body long cage derailleur; I thought it was silly to have a record derailleur with Centaur grade everything else. After much searching I found a pretty good deal at a Triathlon marketplace. What triathletes do with long cage derailleurs? I don't know||AnotherTri.com|
|Front Derailleur||Campagnolo Comp Triple||This was also an item bought for the Koga Miyata before it got hit. My Ultegra FD had some problems shifting into the granny gear.||Wiggle.co.uk|
|Chain||Centaur 10 speed||I received this chain as an extra chain when I bought the Koga Miyata 2+ years ago from Izayuh. I'm happy that I finally got to use it.||Izayuh|
|Cassette||12-30 Centaur Cassette||After having the 13-29 cassette on my Koga Miyata I wanted to increase the range by a bit to 12-30. I waited and waited until Campy finally released the 12-30 cassette.||Ribble.com|