CyclingSavvy Course in Orange, April 24th and 25th

Register Here

We will be teaching our first CyclingSavvy course of 2015 on April 24th and 25th in Orange.

CyclingSavvy is a program of American Bicycling Education Association, Inc. (ABEA). The course teaches the principles of Mindful Bicycling:

  • empowerment to act as confident, equal road users;
  • strategies for safe, stress-free integrated cycling;
  • tools to read and problem-solve any traffic situation or road configuration.

The course is offered in three 3-hour components: a bike-handling session, a classroom session and an on-road tour. The classroom and bike-handling sessions may be taken individually, the road tour requires the other two as a pre-requisite.

 

Sample Lesson

 

The object of the course is not to turn people into road warriors. Being a confident, competent cyclist has nothing to do with speed or bravado. You don’t need either of those things to have access to the entire transportation grid.

Even most confident cyclists prefer to use quiet routes when feasible. In many cases, it is only an intimidating intersection or short stretch of busy road which hinders a cyclist’s preferred route. This course is designed to show students simple strategies to eliminate such barriers, and ride with ease and confidence in places they might never have thought possible.

The philosophy and intent of our course is best described in this quote by Aimee Mullins:

…all you really need is one person to show you the epiphany of your own power and you’re off. If you can hand somebody the key to their own power… the human spirit is so receptive… if you can do that and open a door for someone at a crucial moment… you are ‘educating’ them in the best sense. You’re teaching them to open doors for themselves. In fact, the exact meaning of the word “educate’ comes from the root word ‘educe.’ It means to bring forth what is within. To bring out potential.

The 3 Part Course
Our course is designed to be taken as individual sessions or as a complete course. Train Your Bike (bike handling) and Truth & Techniques (classroom session) can be taken individually in any order. To sign up for a Tour of Orange, you must have taken or be signed to take the other two classes prior to the tour class. Individual sessions are $30 per session. A package of three sessions (the full course) is $75. A package may be used to take the sessions at any time.

 

Train Your Bike! (3 hours):

This session is conducted in a parking lot. It consists of a set of progressive drills designed to increase students’ control and comfort handling their bikes in various situations. Drills include:

  • Start/Stop, Power Pedal & Balance Stop
  • Snail Race, Slow-speed Balance
  • Drag-race, Gears & Acceleration
  • Ride Straight, One-handed
  • Shoulder Check
  • Object-avoidance Handling, Weave, Snap
  • Turning: Slow-speed Tight Turns, High-speed cornering, Emergency Snap-turn
  • Emergency Braking

The Truth & Techniques of Traffic Cycling (3 hours):

Through guided discussion with video and animation, this session familiarizes students with bicycle-specific laws, traffic dynamics and problem-solving strategies. Students discover that bicycle drivers are equal road users, with the right and ability to control their space.

Tour of Orange* (3.5 hours):

This session is an experiential tour of the roads in the city of Orange. The course includes some of the most intimidating road features (intersections, interchanges, merges, etc.) a cyclist might find in his/her travels. The students travel as a group, stopping to survey and discuss each exercise location. After observing the feature, discussing the traffic dynamics and the best strategy for safe and easy passage, the students ride through individually and regroup at a nearby location.

* The Tour session is only available with the full course. The other two sessions may be taken á la carte, in any order.

More information
Origins & Principles of CyclingSavvy

CyclingSavvy_Flyer (PDF)

Register Here

 

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2015 Joshua Tree to Las Vegas 300K brevet

“Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run, but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world.”

― Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Willie Hunt has an amazing talent for designing beautiful and audacious routes. This year he created a route from Joshua Tree to Las Vegas following (in reverse) the finish of the old Furnace Creek 508 course. Since the route traveled through such a desolate area, it required quite a bit of work on his part to make sure the riders were supplied and supported at the otherwise barren contrôles along the way. Other than scenery, there’s not much out there. Willie also arranged to shuttle the riders back to Joshua Tree after the ride.

Minutes before departure from Joshua Tree

 

 

Ride support: Willie and Judy

 

We left the town of Joshua Tree at 06:00 and rode quickly toward the rising sun and the town of 29 Palms, helped by a slight tailwind and a gentle descent.

From 29 Palms we climbed Amboy Road over Sheephole Summit and down towards the “town” of Amboy on old Route 66.

Our friend John from the San Francisco Randonneurs started feeling the effects of the rising temperatures and decided to abandon the ride and join the support crew. At this time of year I don’t think there’s any way to train for this kind of riding in Northern California.

Amboy Road from Sheephole Summit

 

From Kelso Depot the route diverged from the 508 course and headed northeast through the stunning and remote Mojave National Preserve.

 

I’ve noticed that every long ride seems to have a surreal experience or two. On this ride we passed a group of Japanese motorcycle riders on Harley Davidsons who were stopped to reconnoiter. Dressed in new leather motorcycle outfits, they were obviously on tour seeing the Western part of the U.S. The driver of their support truck stopped us and explained that they were looking for Route 66. Since we had just come from there, it was easy to point them in the right direction. They gave us a cheer and a round of applause as we pedaled North into the Mojave.

Joshua Tree forest on Morning Star Mine Road

 

This was the best part of the ride – quiet, remote and scenic. As we climbed the Joshua Trees started to reappear. Nearing Nevada, we could see a huge dust cloud created by an ORV race.

From near the state line, the course took the most direct course of riding on the I-15 itself, which wasn’t too bad as the shoulder was wide and in good condition. The only downsides to riding on the shoulder were the chunks of blown-out retread tires and the curiously large amount of gravel. Fortunately we had a slight headwind from the East that blew the dust from the ORV race away from us. At Jean Nevada the route took the frontage road, South Las Vegas Blvd, which was nice fast downhill all the way to the finish at the south end of town.

Made it to Vegas!

 

We were able to eat, shower and sleep before driving back to California the next day.

Ready for the shuttle back to California

 

Thanks to Willie for hosting this great ride, and to Judy and John for the support.

2015 Southern Inyo Double Century

March 7th we rode the inaugural Southern Inyo Double Century. The Southern Inyo Double is the latest addition to the California Triple Crown series of 200 mile rides. The course can be seen on RideWithGPS.com.

inyodc

Hosted by Hugh Murphy, Kermit Ganier, and a host of great volunteers, the ride is based out of Lone Pine at the base of the Sierras.

Although the start was cold, we wore our wool jerseys and quickly warmed up by riding. The subtle color changes on the mountains were beautiful as the sun rose over Owens lake. A trio of experienced ultra cyclists (Terri, Phil and Jack) caught up with us, and we rode with them to the first stop at Coso Junction, 40 miles south of Lone Pine on the 395.

After the rest stop we headed back up north on the 395 then turned east on Highway 190 along the south shore of Owen’s Lake.  We met Mike, another long-distance riding friend, and rode with him on and off all day.

At the junction of the 136 we turned south to head to Death Valley National Park. Unfortunately we only rode to the park entrance, as it is now impossible to get permits for cycling events in the park. What a pity, it would have been great to ride to Panamint Springs or even Towne Pass.

We saw Orange County Wheelmen friends Ron Hearn and David Park heading back from the turnaround before we got there. We never did catch up with them, but it was great to see them briefly.

After turning around at the park entrance we rode North along the 136 up the Eastern edge of Owens lake to the rest stop at Keeler, then back to Lone Pine.

From here the ride got even more beautiful. We climbed up Lubken Canyon through the Alabama Hills made famous in so many western movies. Eventually we reached Horseshoe Meadows Road and headed up into the Sierras.

After checking in at the road closure gate, a screaming descent brought us back down through the Alabama hills to Lone Pine once again.

From here we rode clockwise around Owens Lake once more to bring our total up to the requisite 200 miles. We finished in the dark, and the temperatures quickly dropped once the sun went down. The view of the moon rising over the Inyo Mountains and bathing the snow-capped Sierras in moonlight was spectacular.

PCH Randos Five River 300K, Saturday February 7th 2015

We rode Terry Hutt’s “Five Rivers 300K”  as our first 300K brevet of the year. The route uses several of the long-distance bike trails in Orange and Los Angeles counties. Although the multi-use trails are no place for fast riding, the flat terrain and lack of stop signs and traffic signals allowed us to make good time while riding at a comfortable conversational pace.

 

Route Sheet: 2015_Five_Rivers_300k
Route on RideWithGPS
 

We had perfect weather, missed all of the rain, and had very little wind. A brief headwind refreshed us on the way to Long Beach, and after that, nothing but net (tailwinds) on the ride home. It was really wonderful to ride the entire 300K with six randos. Everyone waited for each other at stops, and flats were quickly repaired.


We arrived at the Long Beach control as the Mardi Gras festival was underway. The parade passed us as we were getting our receipts.

Made some new rando friends. One with a very old RUSA# and one with RUSA# in the post 10,000 era.

James Yuan, the badass in the group with the cool 650B 42mm tire rando bike complete with Schmidt dynohub and Rene Herse cranks. He is hoping to take his wife and 3 year old daughter to PBP this summer. He said he daughter likes to go fast and can be found on the river trail yelling “Go, Daddy, Go!”

Jim Kehr from SD Randos with the lowest RUSA number in 3000s riding his new MOOTS bike.

Alan Tolkoff of PCH Randos picked up his bike in December after a long hiatus, and is thinking about PBP too.

Keith Olsen of SD Randos joined at the turn-around.

More photos in Stacy’s Google+ album.

OCW Traffic Skills 101 – Irvine CA, Spring 2015

Stacy and I are proud of our continued involvement with Orange County Wheelmen’s  cyclist training program. This year the commitment to safe cycling continued with our first Traffic Skills 101 training course of 2015.

Traffic Skills 101 is offered free of charge to all OCW members. To date 33% of current, active club members have completed the course, making Orange County Wheelmen the leader in bicycle safety and training.

In the Traffic Skills 101 class we teach essential cycling knowledge and skills:

  • Bicycle Laws in California
  • Bicycle Safety Checks
  • Flat Repair
  • Bike Handling
  • Crash Avoidance Skills
  • Riding safely and legally in traffic

Thanks to our co-instructors Kevin Ansel, Ximena Ansel, Paul D’aquanni, Robert Neiuber, and Lee Stebbins.

Congratulations to our newest TS101 Graduates and to all Orange County Wheelmen who have completed Traffic Skills 101 training.

OCW Spring 2015 TS101 graduates and instructors

How to avoid being right-hooked

A right hook can occur in either of two ways: a motorist overtakes a bicyclist and turns right, or a bicyclist overtakes on the right of a waiting motor vehicle which turns right. That’s bad news, but the good news is that you can take charge of your own safety.

– John Allen

 

One of the key concepts that Stacy & I try to convey in the Traffic Skills 101 and Cycling Savvy courses we teach is the idea of “Situational Awareness” – the ability to recognize what is happening around you and to assess and correctly respond to a dangerous situation as it develops.

Here’s one example of a dangerous situation that can lead to a crash. This type of crash happens often enough that it has a name, the “right hook”.

 

In this case the fault was the motorist’s.  This right hook occurred in Texas, and Texas (like most states) requires a motor vehicle to merge with cyclists and turn from the right edge of the roadway.

Bike lanes and lanes wide enough to share side-by-side with motor vehicles are more likely to lead to a right-hook. Be aware of the dangers posed by riding to the right of potentially right-turning traffic.

Preventing right-hooks is better than reacting to them. Position yourself so that you are out of the danger zone:

  • Do not pass to the right of a right-turning vehicle.
  • Merge into a position of lane control as you approach an intersection.

Recognize the warning signs that a right-hook situation is developing:

  • Motorist pulling up next to or passing a cyclist, then slowing down.
  • A turn signal is an obvious sign, but they aren’t always used.

If you are right hooked, use learned evasive maneuvers and advanced bike handling skills:

Remember, it’s always better to prevent than to react to dangerous situations. Keri Caffrey has produced a great video that shows how to prevent right-hooks:

Right Hook Prevention in Bike Lanes from Keri Caffrey on Vimeo.

PCH Randos 2014 Simi to Solana Beach 400K

The wind is blowing, adore the wind.
-Pythagoras

 

The “bike path” on the Solana Beach 400K

 

 

Getting ready to ride the 2014 PCH Randonneurs 400K the first thing I did was check the weather forecast. 20% chance of rain before noon. Not too bad. I’d always prefer not to ride in the rain, but a few hours of it isn’t the worst thing that could happen – especially if it’s over with early in the ride.

Then I got to the good part: northwest wind 20 mph gusting 30. Hell yeah! Apart from a few miles heading northwest at the start of the ride, our route would take us mostly southeast. Tailwinds almost all the way? This could be good, really good…

Checked the PCH Randos website to see who is signed up. It reads like a who’s who of So. Cal ultracyclists.  Willie Hunt with his “BananaMobile” velo will be there. We were able to visit with Willie at the start, but after that he was off like a rocket and we did not see him again until the finish. Greg and Lisa Jones, ride organisers, are riding a tandem as are Foster and Janeene Nagaoka.

Matthew O’Neill was riding his recumbent. Linda Bott, Mel Cutler, Michael Bratkowski, Terry Hutt, Pete Eade, Stacy and I were on standard bikes. All strong riders with years of experience. If Stacy and I were lucky we’ll be able to hang with them. If we’re really lucky everyone will be in the mood for a “social” ride instead of a race to the finish and we could relax and enjoy the tailwinds on what could turn out to be an “easy” 400K (250mile) ride. OK, maybe easy is an exaggeration. No 400K could ever be called easy.

As it turned out the weather gods had some new tricks in store for us.

Lisa Jones checking in Willie Hunt, Janeene Nagaoka and Mel Cutler at the start

 

The ride started at 0500 at the Simi Valley Train Station. Not only was it not raining, the dark sky was clear and stars and a crescent moon were shining brightly. After a few minutes spent getting route sheets and brevet cards we headed west out of Simi Valley on the kind of bike paths that are great if you know them, but are tricky to navigate if you are just going off the route sheet. Fortunately Greg & Lisa Jones were there to show us the way.

A few hour riding took us through Moorpark, Camarillo and Oxnard to hit the coast just south of Ventura. By now it was looking like we would not get any rain, but there was be plenty of wind. Fortunately most of the riders were still together as we turned Northwest to head directly into it.

The only thing better than following a tandem into a headwind is following two tandems into a headwind. Thanks Foster, Janeene, Greg & Lisa!

While waiting for other riders during a restroom break, Greg Jones displays top randonneuring form paying heed to the adage “during a break, don’t stand if you can sit, don’t sit if you can lie down”

 

We met some Channel Island Bike Club members on the northbound route and at the turnaround point at Carpinteria.

It was a bit breezy…

Everyone was ready for the tailwind. Rolling south, the miles flew past. The strong winds had torn branches and palm fronds from the trees and they littered the streets and completely blocked the bike lanes in some places. We were making such good time we took an unscheduled stop at a Wendys to fuel up and relax for a bit.

More bike lane debris than usual

We slowed briefly as we headed into the wind rounding point Mugu, but quickly accelerated again as the route turned south again through Malibu to an official stop at the south end of town.

Mile 110, only 140 miles to go.

From here the route took us on the bike paths past Venice, Manhattan and Redondo beaches. This is where the weather gods threw us a curveball.

The wind has cleared the path of the crowds of cyclists, pedestrians, rollerbladers, dog-walkers, etc. that usually pack the path in nice weather. But we quickly fond that the wind had completely covered the path with sand dunes in many places, and our progress slowed to a crawl as we pushed our bikes over the dunes or attempted to ride through them.

No we aren’t lost. This *is* the bike path. Or it was the bike path before strong winds covered it with blown sand.

Eventually, after much cursing and laughing we make it to Palos Verdes. A short steep climb took us to our next control, then onward through San Pedro as the sun began to dip. We reached the shoreline bike path in Long Beach as the sun went down, but this path was mostly free of the “sand traps” that slowed us earlier.

Matthew O’Neill unfazed by the sand.

 

Donning our reflective gear and turning on our lights we headed south with the last of the tailwind through Seal Beach, Sunset Beach, Huntington and Newport Beach.

We ate dinner at Chronic Tacos in Newport then headed out into the cold, still evening to ride the last 60 miles.

The roads were quiet and only a few rollers remained, but our pace slowed as we all started to tire. The line of riders stretched into smaller groups spread over a mile or so. We re-grouped at a stop in Dana Point.  Matthew, Stacy and I decided to keep moving in an attempt to stay awake instead of lingering at the control.

Past San Onofre we rode the old 101 bike path. After the 5 freeway went in, disused portions of old highway 101 were converted to use as a bike path  Eventually we got to Las Pulgas and rode the shoulder of the 5 freeway south to Oceanside. At night, cyclists are forbidden from riding through Camp Pendleton.

In Oceanside we rejoined Highway 101 (Coast Hwy). From here on 101 was no longer a bike path, but a road open to cars. We finally arrived in Solana Beach in the wee hours of the morning.

We were able to get a few hours sleep in the motel at the finish then had breakfast with our randonneuring friends before we split up for our carpools and train rides back home.