Archive for December, 2009
For whatever reason, certain images never got posted during 2009. So this is some year-end housekeeping.
This shot is from the crest of the hill on Sir Francis Drake Blvd. just before descending into the town of Olema.
Here’s a few more. Click to make big.
Pacific Ocean, Christmas Day 2009
Hmmm, what’s with this big van at the end of my alleyway? Something bicycle related it seems.
See the little one peaking out of the trailer? (Good thing she’s wearing a helmet!)
Ah yes, it’s the local bicycle, brat and beer garden! Gestalt Haus 28 Bolinas Rd. on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
The Nishiki is a great city bike. The upright position is so comfortable (the height of the handlebars really contributes to this) that I ride it instead of my Guerciotti or Ebisu on errands around town.
I use it for trips to the Post Office, the Coffee Roastery, the Good Earth, the Scoop, Gestalt Haus, Fat Angel, and (especially) the hardware store. I’ve carried four cans of paint (two one-gallon cans and two one-quart cans) by using the front basket and then hanging one of the gallon cans around the handlebar grip. I’ve also carried 10 eight-foot strips of redwood lathe.
What I’ve added: a front basket, a kickstand, a bell, new tires, an extra long seat post (so I could get the seat up high enough to make the smallish frame fit better), and a halogen flashlight that I wedge in the basket for night riding.
What I’d like to add in the future: fenders, a bigger basket, mounted head and taillights, maybe an internal gear hub, and ultimately a full conversion to the 650B wheel size so I can use wider tires.
Here’s my Nishiki mixte making its first appearance on the blog (with my Macbook in the front basket outside the Fairfax Coffee Roastery).
People sometimes tease me for riding a girl’s bike, but I could care less if it’s a girl’s bike.
This is not just a case of a well developed Jungian anima at work. The step-through frame is downright practical for city riding and for things like getting on and off at red lights. But, I cannot dispute that mixtes are especially well suited for the fairer sex. Want proof? Cycle Chic from Copenhagen.
Need more proof?
Then I advise you to visit this mixte riding, coffee drinking, picture taking hipstress at Bikes and The City (and yes, I think I found my soulmate. )
You may also click here for more mixte pictures from around the site.
Bay Area on 12/05/09! Got to love the sunshine. And what a picture postcard vista.
You too can find the spot by clicking on the map link under the photo.
In the background are a few of the storied “seven sisters” — a series of beautiful rolling hills. Some are actually quite steep and not so rolling (see also here and here for a few more images of this stretch). I tend to get distracted by the scenery and want to get off my bike and have a little wine, cheese, dried fruit, or whatever else I’ve stowed in my big, roomy front handlebar bag!
A Prius ad was being shot at the top of Bolinas Road and Ridgecrest.
Three millimeters seems insignificant, but to the growing number of 650B wheeled bicycle riding nerds like myself, 3mm is a big deal.
The Quest for a 38mm tire. This is considered the sweet spot for optimizing the handling of many French-style, bicycle frames (designed for carrying stacks of newspapers, bottles of wine, food, camping gear, or what have you, on a front rack, in panniers, or in a handlebar bag).
Yet there are very few 650B x 38mm tire choices. The Col de la Vie, which I have on my Ebisu, is marketed as being 38mm wide, but it’s really only about 35mm.
There’s also the Hetre, by Grand Bois, a new and beloved tire which is a full 42mm wide. Unfortunately, when properly fendered (with at least 8-10mm of clearance), not many frames can accommodate this width.
The Mitsubishi Trimlines pictured above once filled the hallowed 38mm niche, but they have been discontinued (I’ve been trying to locate a pair for 4 years). A replacement for the Trimline has been the Holy Grail of the 650B biking community for a number of years.
Finally, a replacement (or two). It seems there will be not just one, but perhaps two true 38mm tires to fill this void.
Three cheers for more wide tire choices!
12/05/09: Current and former New York City Bicycle Club members Tania, John, and Carmen. Tania was in town for a visit. John and Carmen now live in SF. I did my best to keep up with these fast club riders during a very hilly 35-40 mile loop to and from Fairfax via Panoramic Highway and Mill Valley. (Here’s a map of the route.)
Just a few miles in and Tania punctured her tire. A new tube and the ol’ ‘folded dollar bill between the tire and tube‘ trick to deal with the 1/4 inch tear in the sidewall.
Breaking Away: the movie that first inspired me to take up cycling. It’s a wonderful, quirky little film that stands the test of time.
Two thumbs up!
On the right, is an alternative version of this image. On the left…well…I just like the way the colors of the shirt match the vegetables. (Click on the images for a larger view.)
These images of the farmer’s market basking in sun from just a week ago are now but a distant memory after yesterday’s dusting of snow on Mt. Tamalpais (click here for some older posts and images of Mt. Tam).
Scarlett City Coffee Roasters does a brisk business at the farmer’s market. It’s not bad — for an espresso served in a big paper cup — with striking reddish-brown crema. They do nice latte art too. Be prepared to wait in line during peak hours.
- Laziness. It’s a lot of data to collect. Plus, others (e.g. coffeeratings.com) are already doing in-depth reviews of local espresso and doing a very good job of it.
- Seeking the perfect espresso is often such an unrequited search that my reviews reflect the inevitable disappointment. (Lattes and cappuccinos are another matter — these seem to be the drinks that local roasters and baristas take the most pride in perfecting.)
I think I’ll just highlight espresso spots that are convenient for cyclists, continue to make images of these drinks, and offer some quick observations. I’ll reserve full reviews only for the rare and extraordinary experiences.
A visit to the Civic Center farmer’s market in San Rafael (open every Thursday and Sunday year-round) makes for an enjoyable little 13 mile loop ride starting from Fairfax. Bring a bike with a large front basket for all your market goodies.
Riding to San Rafael (via San Anselmo) is straightforward. But upon entering San Rafael you must pick your way through downtown to Lincoln Ave. without the benefit of a dedicated bike lane. I usually cruise down 4th St. to Lincoln, which leads to a path that goes under Highway 101 and provides access to the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Civic Center.
The fun part of this ride is making it into a loop — something impossible in a car because there’s no road connecting the Terra Linda neighborhood of San Rafael with San Anselmo/Fairfax. But a narrow paved trail (at the end of Freitas Parkway) connects to the Sleepy Hollow neighborhood making this loop possible, provided you’re traveling by foot or bike.
This short-cut which starts around the 10-mile point is very steep (as you can see in the elevation profile), but relatively short (and I’m often tempted to walk the bike.)
The amazing thing about the ballot victory at the polls last November — in addition to the north bay finally getting some fixed rail transit — is that the measure included full funding for a $91 million, 70-mile bike and pedestrian pathway stretching from Larkspur all the way to Cloverdale (70% of which is class 1 pathways, meaning bike/ped only — no cars)!
The beginnings of this infrastructure is visible in the image above.
(Full disclosure: I helped lobby for the ballot measure as the Marin Field Rep for Greenbelt Alliance). The Marin County Bicycle Coalition (MCBC) deserves tons of credit for their work spearheading the lobbying.
The voter approved SMART train (which by 2014 will connect Sonoma and Marin cities to the Golden Gate Ferry in Larkspur) is taking shape .
This image was made on Lincoln Avenue in San Rafael going north toward the Civic Center with Highway 101 on the right. The train will enter downtown San Rafael in the concrete canyon wedged between these two roadways.