Saturday, October 29, 2011

Circumnavigating San Clemente

San Clemente means sun & surf, tanned bodies, Marines,and Richard Nixon. Add to that short list excellent bike riding! Due to a collaborative effort between the city, developers, PG&E, CA state parks and the US Marine Corps, there are extensive trails throughout town. The city’s page highlighting the trails provides a pretty good map.

To the south of town and bordering Camp Pendleton are the popular and world-class mountain bike trails. An excellent overview to the San Clemente Singletrack can be seen on mountainbike bill's site. A mountain biker’s paradise, a mile from the ocean!

While the SC Singletrack gets all the attention from “serious” cyclists, the city trail complex gets overlooked. It shouldn’t be! These are some fantastic trails with approximately 13 miles of on-dirt, car (and mostly people) free riding.

The trails are extremely well maintained. Mostly hardpack with a few sandy sections.

There are some steep spots, maybe two or three hills of consequence, but the rest is rolling trail with minimal elevation gain.

A map showing the basic route is on That route includes sections riding from the North Beach Metrolink station. By the way, consider taking the Metrolik train down, riding the trails, then training back home. An entirely car-free day!

I most recently rode these trails with a bunch of friends from the Rivendell Bicycle Works Google group. Good people that it’s great to spend time with. We get together probably four times a year to ride. These are often mixed-surface routes, where there’s a good percentage of dirt, but not enough to bring a mountain bike. Rougher than what you would want to take a skinny-tired road-race bike on though. Rivendell bikes lend themselves to these routes as they are built around the “country-bike” ethos. Rough stuff riding at it’s best!

This ride took us about four hours when we did it in October. A few rest-stops, but pedaling pretty consistently over that time. Not tearing up the course by any means, but a collegial pace that lends itself to catching up with people you haven’t seen in a while.

A few of us took the extended route and rode a little more singletrack and utility roads to maximize our dirt time. At the end, we dropped into town for some well deserved pizza and beer at the world renown Pizza Port.

If you’re a SoCal cyclist, and you have a bike that’s versatile (that means fits tires larger than 25mm) you owe it to yourself to do this. A ton of fun!

More pix can be seen on flickr. Mine and Mike's.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Something new out there.

I live in a cycling-friendly town (Redlands, CA) and there are a LOT of bikes out and about every day. There are many more utility cyclists than in the past, but that's not what is new (just good!). The last few months has me seeing something different in the type of cyclist out there. Not the percentage of riders growing (like the utilitistas), but a new sub-genre: The serious hybrid-ist. This person has an upright hybrid bike (sit up and beg bikes as the Germans call them), but aren't a brand new, jump into cycling sort of a person. They look like the average roadie with a Radio Shack, Garmin, etc. jersey on, but are sitting bolt upright on a hybrid. And they are typically riding with other cyclists dressed the same way, but on everyday crabon fibre road bikes (MCRBs).

These cyclers don't look like they're new to the sport, but more like age or ailment has forced them onto a more upright bike. They're too comfortable on a bike and in traffic to be trying out cycling for the first time. Just moving away from the race-inspired drop barred bike. Unfortunately that leaves them little choice in alternative bikes. Basically MTBs or hybrids. They probably have a MTB in the garage, so are choosing a hybrid to get the upright position they need, but with slicks and lighter build than a MTB.

This is where it occurs to me that these people need to discover Rivendell Bikes. Rivendell isn't the bike company of the old and infirmed, it's just that they design their bikes around the idea of letting cyclers get the bars up high and comfortable. Who wouldn't want that? Once you decide that you're not going to get to podium on the local crit, maybe it's time to start thinking about comfort in a bike and what will let you ride it all day and into your dotage. Rivendell will be there for you.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


No thanks to my LBS (either of them) or Sram North America (nice people, crappy customer service policies), I now have my missing parts!!! One year and $7 later.

Now that wasn't so difficult, was it.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Another day, another rant

Another year has come and gone, and the bike parts I need still elude me. It all started way back in 2009. I needed to get a small replacement part for a P5 internal geared hub. No biggie the internets told me, just drop Sram a line and they'll send it to me...

The tubes were plugged or something, as Sram politely told me they only sent parts to dealers and I would need to work through a LBS. Uh-oh, warning lights start going off. My two LBSs at the time consisted of one run by a single-guy who pretty basically liked to play with his own bikes and not much else, and the other a large Trek-alized store full of pot-heads barely competent to install tires. My choices were limited, so I chose the small shop (individualized service and all that). "Uhm, yeah, I guess we can get that..." Two months later, lots of phone call, several stop bys, no parts.

I give up for a while and forget about my little IGH project. Finally think about it again as I'm cleaning out the garage and selling unused parts. Yeah, I'm not using that wheel, might as well sell it. I need to get that damn part though so I can sell it as complete/working wheel and make huge money that I can buy gold with. In the meantime, the bike shop has gone out of business (wow, who could have seen that coming!?!?), so that leaves Special-Ek as my only option.

I print out the email from Sram stating the part #. I print out their parts manual showing the part. I bring those to the shop. Guy at the shop is really trying to help, but just can't wrap his head around the idea of ordering the parts from Sram. He wastes half an hour going through a QBP parts book and trying to talk me into getting a Sturmey Archer part. I go home, get the wheel, explain how it goes together, and finally convince him the best thing to do would be to call Sram and ORDER THE DAMN PART FROM THEM!

A week goes by. He calls, says the part is in. I get over there. And massive fail. At least they didn't charge me anything.
does not equal

Fuck it, I'm just buying it online. Looks like $7 shipped from Petra Cycles in the UK.

Hopefully they won't end up sending me Shimao SPD cleat bolts.

Petra purchase of the Sram leisure rod.  Just love those British euphemisms..