Our fearless ride leader for today, May Woo, led 13 folks of the Ride-On crew from San Francisco to Tunitas Creek and back to the city today for a total of 90 miles and 7,000ft. of climbing! TBO and I were a bit tired from yesterday’s bakery brevet, so we resolved to ride only through one of the new Tom Lantos tunnels at Devil’s Slide before heading home. But it was such a spectacular summery Sunday — I think it averaged about 88 degrees — that we couldn’t resist joining our friends to the 55-mile turnaround point at Woodside (and got in about 4,000 ft. of climbing.) There were several sections that I hadn’t ridden before, and I always love checking out new territory. Thanks to May for leading an amazing ride!
Category san francisco
This evening I received an email from Marc Caswell, Program Manager of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, in regards a bicycle that had been recovered in Noe Valley.
On the afternoon of March 22nd, two residents found a black Raleigh Misceo bicycle leaning against the railing of this house on the corner of Duncan and Newburg. They think that it was stolen out of a garage as it still has a u-lock and cable still attached to the frame, and perhaps the thief became spooked in the process and abandoned in that location. Apparently there are quite a few bike thefts in that area.
They reported it to an Ingleside PD officer who took a report but declined to take the bicycle stating, “Because that would make it seem as if we’re stealing the bicycle.” (This seems highly strange to me, but I’m hearing this story secondhand.) So the officer left the bicycle behind and the two residents felt they should hold onto it in case they could find the owner. They contacted Diane, who is their neighborhood liaison; she made a concerted effort to try and track down its owner by checking the serial number in online bicycle registries (nothing turned up), emailing neighbors and finally, contacting Marc.
I called Ingleside PD and was told they couldn’t look up a bicycle’s serial number unless it’s one of these that were recovered recently in Oakland. Then I tried another number but was put on hold for 10 minutes and eventually gave up. I’ll try emailing Sgt. Kumli who’s listed on Ingleside’s stolen bicycle website.
Searching Craigslist and the Stolen Bicycles Bay Area Google Groups to see if any bicycles matching this description had been reported yielded no results, so I’m also going to contact all of the Raleigh bicycle dealers in the immediate area to see if they have a matching serial number on record.
In the meantime, please help me spread the word about this bicycle! If I don’t find the owner within a month, I’ll donate it to a local bicycle organization.
Shortly before 6:30PM tonight, The Bearded One met me at KQED so we could ride an after work Friday night city loop. Just as we were making our way through the Mission on 23rd and Harrison, TBO saw a man crouched down by a bicycle out of the corner of his eye. Then he heard a loud cracking sound, so he immediately swerved onto the sidewalk to see what was happening. The guy had a pair of bolt cutters and was attempting to cut through the u-lock of a light gray Miyata that was locked to a street sign.
“Is that your bike?” TBO asked the thief.
“Ummm…..yeah. I lost the key.”
“Oh, I see.” [rolls eyes] “Well, do you have proof that it’s your bike?”
I whipped out my phone and started to take photos of him.
The thief started to back away from us and the bicycle, but began issuing idle threats as he made his way down the street.
“I know where you live,” he said, trying to sound as menacing as possible.
“Oh really?” TBO replied. “Come visit us then.”
“I’ll come get you.”
“Go right ahead,” TBO said.
After he disappeared, we inspected the u-lock. There didn’t seem to be any damage, so he must have just started his shady little operation right when we encountered him. We lingered for 10 minutes just in case he was foolish enough to come back a second time, and I started to spread the word on social media as TBO called the police and texted a friend in SFPD. They promised to share the info with the cops in the area. (We actually saw a police car drive by, but they had their sirens on and were en route to some other situation.)
As the Miyata was parked in front of an apartment building, we asked every single resident entering and exiting the building if they happened to know the owner of the bicycle. No luck. Neither of us had a pen or any paper to leave a note with the bike, so we left shortly thereafter — hoping that it would remain safe upon the owner’s return.
This was the first time that either of us had actually confronted a bike thief during an attempted robbery. In retrospect, TBO said in the future he probably would follow a thief while calling the police. My natural instinct is to just run him or her off. Either way, it’s best to take the safest course of action in these situations; I’m glad no one was hurt and the thief was scared off.
If you ever see anything suspicious, please don’t hesitate to contact the authorities. Let’s keep our bicycles safe on the streets!
Beep, beep, beep, beep…oh, that’s our alarm going off at 5:45AM. Must be time for another 200k! Yesterday was one of those, “Justfivemoreminutes-hitsnooze-nojustthreemoreminutes-hitsnooze-onemoreminuteplease-ohnoit’s6:20getupnow” mornings. I did not want to leave the cozy comforts of our warm bed. (I probably should start training for early wake-up calls as much as I’ve been training on the bike.)
I finally pried my eyes open against their will and jumped out of bed as quickly as possible as soon as I realized I was running late. The Bearded One had decided to join me on the ride at the last minute, so we both rushed around getting ready at warp speed so we could make the start at Crissy Field.
We checked in at about 7:40am, where our jovial greeters joked that the leaders were probably in Petaluma already. (Thank goodness it was open until 8am to accomodate us slackers.) TBO and I got our brevet cards and rolled on out to try and catch some other folks; apparently there were 110 riders already on the road.
So yes, it’s early, and you’re barely awake, but views like this one are part of the reward for riding first thing in the morning.
After descending into Sausalito, I realized that this ride might turn into a repeat of The Campagnolo Cleat Saga from last month’s 200k. My left cleat was mis-aligned, and I had no multi-tool on me. It wasn’t even 8:30AM and I had already broken two rules this morning: Don’t replace your cleats before doing a long ride without testing them extensively beforehand, and bring a multi-tool along — especially if this just happened to you less than a month ago. (And with Campy cleats, you need a flathead screwdriver to adjust them because Campagnolo always has to make everything super finicky and proprietary, as you fellow users know.) I ended up unclipping my left foot and climbing Camino Alto with it resting on top of the pedal so as not to further tweak my knee, which was already starting to twinge in protest.
Of course, this being Sunday morning, there weren’t any bike shops or hardware stores open yet — just lots and lots of bakeries tempting us to stop and eat their fresh-out-of-the-oven muffins and drink their hot coffee. We did pass a few riders heading in the opposite direction (and who are these cyclists that are just finishing their rides at this hour? Sheesh!), but it wasn’t until we reached Ross that I was able to find a helpful group of mountain bikers that had a multi-tool.
Now we were ready to tackle White’s Grade. I absolutely hate this climb. No matter how fit I am, this climb always sucks. I don’t know why. I’ve climbed far worse ascents, but White Grade’s always makes me whine and complain. Here’s where The Bearded One, who riding his Nagasawa track bike (fixed, brakeless) and had been off the bike for over 3 weeks due to illness, turned to me and said, “Well, at least you have gears.” Thanks for the reminder, Jens. And my legs were feeling so slow and sluggish today. Was it too much training? Not enough training? Too much beer from yesterday’s Tour de Biere? I felt like they had been encased in cement blocks and were ready to be thrown into the nearest river by the mafia. TBO said, “Just go as comfortably as you can,” and so I blazed up White’s Grade at a scorching 6 mph.
With White’s Grade thankfully behind us, it was onwards to Nicasio Reservoir.
Speaking of dreading climbs, TBO was not looking forward to the one immediately after the Point Reyes Petaluma Road / Nicasio Valley Road junction. He remembered it to be a real slog, and his prolongue absence from riding made him wonder whether he’d be suffering up this climb. But we actually motored up it in no time, and he figured living in the East Bay and climbing up the Oakland hills on a regular basis had made these hills seem easier by comparison.
Then we cruised down a smooth descent on freshly paved roads, enjoying the spring-like scenery in the valley. As we were taking in the views, a speeding driver laid on his horn as he and his Porsche obnoxiously passed by us. TBO flashed him the peace sign, and the guy stuck his hand up out of his convertible and was about to flip us the bird — but decided to return the peace sign instead. I guess he felt our hippie vibe. Share the road, dude!
Just beyond this point was new territory for TBO and I, as he normally made the left turn towards Marshall and I had never ridden any of this section on previous rides. This is another aspect of randonneuring that I love, as it’s the reason I took up cycling in the first place: exploring the country by bicycle.
The next thing we knew, we had reached Petaluma.
We spotted a few riders at the 7-11, but rolled up to Peet’s Coffee for our first control point. There were no volunteers working any of the controls, so we had to purchase an item at each location, write the time onto our brevet cards and save a receipt as proof of our visit.
Here’s the TMI portion of my ride report. Getting up early disrupts the, shall we say, harmony of my morning bathroom rituals. I normally poop like clockwork on other days. TBO used to join a regular (pun intentional) early morning Sunday ride to Marin, and he says as soon as the group hit Sausalito, several of them would turn to each other and with a knowing nod say, “Ok, it’s time.” So I’d personally like to thank Peet’s mocha for helping to restore the balance of my gastrointestinal tract, and for accommodating all of us who checked in here. “A stampede of folks just left,” said my server with a grin.
And here’s where we had our second breakfast. Riding long-distance makes you feel as if you’re on a Hobbit-like eating schedule; our first breakfast was a burrito at 7am, and this meal would consist of homemade peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches with bananas and tangerines. TBO had already snacked along the way but was ready for more food.
Time to hit the #2 on the list: Valley Ford. Tail winds and flattish roads allowed us to power through this section at about 16-18mph and make up some time.
All I had to do was hang on and suck TBO’s wheel.
It was time for first lunch in Valley Ford, and during our stop TBO helped out a guy named Gary who had unfortunately broken off a derailleur cable in his shifter. (The Bearded One possesses some MacGuyver-esque engineering abilities, and I consider myself truly lucky since I’m always breaking appliances and doing bad things to my bicycles.) We also caught up with my friend Alice and her riding companion Juliayn. (I was supposed to meet them at the start, but they were on time unlike my lazy ass self.)
Point Reyes Station was next on the itinerary. We were about 60+ miles in at this point, and The Bearded One was starting to feel a bit cooked.
I kept trying to distract him by pointing out the beautiful scenery that surrounded us.
But he kept making faces like this:
And he started saying things like, “Put a fork in me,” and “My legs have turned into Sizzlean.” We were planning on stopping at the Marshall Store, but every single place was jammed with oyster-seeking foodies. So we soldiered on, dreaming of the pizza at Bovine Bakery.
At last, the blessed tail winds brought us to Pt. Reyes Station for control point #3 and second lunch. Bovine Bakery and the store across the street were also packed with Sunday tourists, so we ventured over to Tomales Bay Foods for some flank steak bruschetta and tomato soup.
It was definitely beer o’clock.
Only one control was left — the finish at Crissy Field!
There were several climbs we had to conquer on our return journey: the one just past Nicasio Reservoir; White’s Grade (it’s not bad on this side, however); Camino Alto and Sausalito.
We took a third lunch break in Fairfax — just a quick PB & J and some more fruit. TBO later wondered whether he should have had more beer, however, for extra nutrients.
Would we make it before dark to Crissy Field? My cycling computer popped off of my handlebars during a bathroom break in Mill Valley, so we lost some time as we backtracked looking for it. Ah well, at least we weren’t stuck in all of the nasty weekend traffic leading up to the Golden Gate Bridge.
11 hours, 47 minutes later, we arrived back at Crissy Field. Our happy welcoming committee ushered us in and processed all of our official paperwork.
TBO said as we drove back home over the Bay Bridge, “That’s one thing I can check off the list of things I’ll never do again: 200k on a fixed gear.” But I was proud he finished his very first randonneur ride while still recovering from the plague and on his Nagasawa. He deserves a medal just for that in my book!
Thanks again to the San Francisco Randonneurs for organizing this fantastic event. See you at the 300k!
I’ve said in previous blog posts that I never thought I’d be racing track or cyclocross, or find myself riding a mountain bike — but something about living in Bay Area encourages extreme cycling behavior. And when I use the term extreme, I mean that cycling can take over your life if you let it. And so my inexorable evolution into becoming a serious bicycle junkie, which began in earnest in my early teenage years but kicked into high gear 6 years ago, continued into its next phase at the start of 2013 with randonneuring*.
A typical randonneur event, or brevet, means you ride a specific distance within an allotted time period. You have to check in at control points and have a signature or card stamp as proof.
This format is appealing to me for many several reasons, primarily because it’s not a race, but you’re still encouraged to go at least a certain pace within the time restriction (usually a generous 10-12 mph). The challenge lies more in the amount of distance and elevation you cover within the brevet. A brevet series consists of 200km, 300km, 400km and 600km, with the French grandfather race of them all, the Paris-Brest-Paris, running a staggering 1200km in a 90-hour period. (Once you complete a brevet series, you can qualify for this event which is held every 4 years.)
You can also ride whatever you like for a brevet. I saw everything from carbon TT bikes, recumbents, vintage steel touring bikes and mountain bikes at the start, along with ones built with the more traditional randonneuring accoutrements (relaxed geometry, wider bars, fenders, handlebar bag and generator lights).
The only drawback I foresee for myself with randonneuring is that you have to get up early for these events, and I am most definitely NOT a morning person. When my alarm went off at 5AM, I thought, “Ugh, what have I signed up for?” But by the time I was checking in at the Golden Gate Bridge with a large crowd of other insane cyclists, I was excited for my first brevet.
The 200k Point Reyes Lighthouse is the scenic brevet that kicks off series organized by the San Francisco Randonneurs. You ride out to the Lighthouse, then make a detour up Hwy. 1 to Marshall, loop around Nicasio Reservoir, then head back to the city. It’s a challenging ride of about 126 miles and 7500 ft. of climbing (although this number seems to vary depending on the accuracy of your GPS.)
The Bearded One was out of commission due to a cold, so I was on my own for the ride. But my friend Brian, who I met through bike touring, spotted me right as we were bombing down the hill towards Sausalito. I joined him and his awesome biker gang, the Homespun Heartthrobs, for the duration of the ride. Ami, Amar, Brian, Omar and Tim have ridden the Davis Double together and have matching wool jerseys and cute caps made by Brian that they wear to signify their allegiance. (That’s another great aspect of randonneuring: the potential to meet wonderful new friends along the way.)
I had never ridden out to the Lighthouse, which takes you through federal land that’s managed by historic dairy ranches. It’s a beautiful ride of rolling hills with stunning views of the ocean. The road is peppered with a few cattle guards along the way and culminates with some steep climbs towards the finish. The wind, which was in full force yesterday, was our biggest foe.
By the time we checked in at the first control point at the parking lot, it was pretty cold. It compelled us to keep moving and continue on to Inverness.
This was when my pedals started to act up — perhaps due to the sand we had to walk through at one section of the road near the Lighthouse — and I wasn’t able to unclip my shoes. Ami, who’s a mechanic at Missing Link, made some quick adjustments to my pedals and I cleaned out the gunk within my cleats. But they continued to plague me for the duration of the ride, and I’d approach intersections with terror not knowing whether I could unclip or not. (Luckily, I didn’t fall over once.)
After a lunch stop in Inverness, we powered onwards to Marshall. The wind, which had been pretty cruel earlier in the afternoon, was now just plain brutal. It was over 10 miles of sheer, soul-crushing headwinds to the second control point. Ami and Brian bravely pulled us to the Marshall store — famous for its chowder — and we were happy to hustle into the crowded store packed with cyclists to get our cards stamped.
But 10 miles of headwinds meant 10 miles of glorious tailwinds on our way to Nicasio Reservoir, and Ami put it best when he shouted, “I love bikes again!” And Brian joked, “Look, everyone’s back to being happy, chatting and all cheerful.” Never underestimate the restorative powers of a tailwind.
After a quick pit stop in the town of Nicasio, where we were greeted by the most adorable pair of Golden Retrievers poking their heads out of their owners’ jeep, we continued our journey around the Reservoir.
After surviving the climbs to the Lighthouse and the day’s fierce headwinds, climbing White’s Hill, Camino Alto and the slog back up to the Golden Gate Bridge felt surprisingly easy. We made it back just after sunset after being out on the road for a total time of 11 hours and 34 minutes.
A big thanks goes out to the Homespun Heartthrobs for providing me with drafts off their wheels, snacks, mechanical support and great company along the way. I hope to ride with them again soon! And my legs feel surprisingly good today. I made sure to eat and drink plenty of food and water during the ride, which I think helped with energy levels and recovery. And all of the training from the past month and a half paid off as well. The 200k was my longest ride within a 24-hour period to date, and I’ll do one more next month (2 Rock/Valley Ford) before tackling the Russian River 300k in March.
*Visit this website to learn about this type of cycling event.
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Today we rode our mountain bikes in the glorious winter sunshine up to Hill 88. It’s an annual tradition for local cyclists to work off their hangovers by making an afternoon pilgrimage to the old military radar site that’s located high up in the Marin Headlands. Folks congregate at the abandoned structures to drink more beer and eat a buffet of snacks brought up by backpacks, baskets and even a cargo bike (Cameron Falconer, a Bay Area framebuilder, slogged up the climbs to bring his custom creation to the spot.)
Afterwards, The Bearded One, Amos and I kept riding onwards to Coastal Trail and Dias Ridge — a great way to ring in the New Year.
Cracking Down On Cycling Crime: The San Francisco Police Department’s Bicycle Theft Prevention Workshop
The San Francisco Police Department hosted a bicycle theft prevention workshop at Google’s San Francisco offices tonight. Only 20 people came to their first workshop last year, but due to popular demand, they had a nearly full house in attendance for this evening’s session. Marc Caswell, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s Program Manager, led the proceedings and asked, “How many of you have had a bicycle stolen?” Nearly everyone in the crowd raised their hand. “How many of you have gotten it back?” Sadly, only one or two folks raised their hands in response.
SFPD’s Inspector Steven Pomatto (steven.pomatto at sfgov dot org) oversees many of the stolen bike theft cases that are reported to Mission Station despite the fact he’s not a cyclist. “I don’t even really like riding bicycles,” he jokingly admitted to the group. But he’s still dedicated to rooting out cycling-related crime in the Mission, which has a rampant bike theft problem.
After his first successful case — reuniting a stolen bike recovered in the Mission with its owner in Lake Tahoe (for which he was sent a cake as a thank-you gift) — he’s developed a passion for recovering bikes through the years. Unfortunately, while there have been some happy recovery stories, the overall success rate is low: it’s usually between 5-10%.
On Average, 720 Bicycles Are Stolen From The Mission Every Year
Over 60 stolen bicycles are reported stolen in the Mission every month, and it’s more than the neighborhood police department can handle on an ongoing basis. Insp. Pomatto gave a run-down on how they prioritize the flood of cases that land on their desks:
- If there’s a known suspect.
- If there was a burglary (break-in at a private residence, etc.)
- While Insp. Pomatto didn’t have time to go into detail on when a crime registers as a misdemeanor or a felony, he stated that $1000 “was the magic number”; bicycles with that value or greater would be actively sought out. Bicycles worth less than $1000 would probably not merit a investigation. There was some debate on how to prove the value of a bicycle, e.g. if it’s used, vintage, etc. Victims should assume that the SFPD has no insider knowledge of a bicycle’s worth, so they should compile some research or paperwork that shows its market value.
- If a victim reports his/her stolen bicycle directly to Mission Station by walking in and filling out the paperwork, chances are the case will be assigned within 1-2 days to an officer. (However, photos, the bicycle’s serial number and other pertinent identifying information should be included in the report to expedite the case. Not having this information means it will likely end up nowhere.) If a theft is reported by phone or online, it will delay the process by up to 10 days.
Inspector Pomatto also described what happens to a stolen bicycle once it’s been taken from its owner: it’s usually sold elsewhere like a flea market in Oakland, Danville, Roseville, Sebastopol and American Canyon. Or it could be sold on Craigslist or eBay.
He also asked victims to please file a police report even if it’s not eventually used to recover stolen property. The reports help to create a statistical picture of where and how often thefts occur for the SFPD. They share this info with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and assist with their efforts to spread awareness about thefts.
Crimes of Opportunity
Insp. Pomatto recited a list of current hot spots for theft around the city: the Mission, the Japanese tea gardens in Golden Gate Park, the 16 and 24th Street BART stations, the Haight and the area around City Hall. Other tips he offered for securing bicycles included:
- Don’t lock bicycles within a big group. He warned that a thief could act as if he/she were unlocking a bicycle, but in reality could be cutting the lock and be obscured from view by the surrounding cluster of bicycles.
- Don’t lock up bicycles outside overnight.
- Don’t ever walk away from a bicycle without keeping an eye on it at all times, not even for a second. It only takes a moment for a thief to swoop in when an individual has ducked into a store or is using a public bathroom at a park. Bike thefts are a “crime of opportunity.” Don’t give them one.
Another speaker, Furlishous Wyatt of SF SAFE, talked specifically about preventing bike thefts in multiple-dwelling buildings such as condos and apartments:
- Make sure that the garage doors are completely closed before anyone leaves, as thieves can slip in during that 20-30 second gap it takes for some of them to fully lock down.
- Don’t prop open common entrances or exits unless they’re actively being used (moving items, etc.) Thieves can also slip in if doors are kept open for too long.
- Try not to store bicycles near sliding glass doors or areas that give away their presence to thieves.
The SFBC is also in the process of creating better documentation for landlords and building managers to better secure their properties on behalf of their residents.
“A Thief’s Worst Enemies Are Time, Light and Noise”
Paulie from Valencia Cyclery demonstrated one method of securing a bicycle to a parking meter or pole with a U-lock and cable. (His demo bike was a stolen Cannondale that the SFPD had recovered from a thief; is anyone missing it? They’ve been trying to find the owner for months.) He locked a small U-lock around the parking meter to the rear wheel of the bike. “If you have more room, secure the frame as well,” Paulie advised. But he recommended securing the back wheel instead of the front wheel with the lock, since it’s typically the most expensive part of the bicycle (be sure to lock within the parameters of the bicycle’s rear triangle). Then he looped a cable through the front wheel and U-lock. He also suggested using pitlocks for added security, as well as seat leashes for saddles. Insp. Pomatto remarked that Brooks saddles are one of the most commonly stolen items that are reported, but nearly impossible to track down.
Other locking tips:
- Padlocks are the most vulnerable. Don’t use them.
- While no lock can offer 100% security, employ a good locking strategy that has “layers of security”. Thieves will try to steal the bike that offers the least resistance and attracts minimal attention in the process. So if there’s a U-lock, pitlocks, a cable and saddle leash — he/she will probably go after the bicycle that is poorly secured by comparison.
- Leave as little room as possible between the U-lock and whatever it’s locked to so that the thief has less potential to use leverage to pop it open.
- Bicycles purchased from bike shops often come with a store brand sticker, e.g. “Valencia Cyclery”. These help SFPD or other law enforcement officers return stolen bicycles to their owners. After the big bike theft bust by the Ingleside PD, 5 bicycles were reunited with their owners via their bike shop stickers.
Mission, Park and Ingleside Police Stations are all actively working to crack down on bike theft. They’ve set up stings to catch Craigslist thieves in the past, planted a GPS-enabled “bait bike” in from of the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park (which seemingly helped to deter some bike thieves due to the subsequent publicity) and have prosecuted thieves who have confessed to their crimes. SF SAFE is in the process of getting a city-wide bicycle registration program implemented based on Ingleside’s successful model. (Morgan St. Clair can be contacted at morgan at sfsafe dot org by anyone interested in helping out with its development or would like to implement a neighborhood watch.) In the meantime, SFPD recommends registering bicycles with the National Bike Registry. (And use the excellent free online resource Stolen Bicycle Registry if you are a victim of a theft).
Towards the end of the workshop, I asked whether the SFBC or the SFPD had ever asked Craigslist or eBay whether they’d consider selling only bicycles listed with serial numbers. Officer Matt Freedman of Mission Station replied that he had made this suggestion to these companies and had also asked them and flea markets to stop selling bicycles altogether. He said his queries fell on deaf ears. “Just one guy can’t make a difference.”
I’m hoping with the combined efforts of the SFPD, SFBC and SF SAFE — along with input and involvement from the Bay Area community – we can continue to chip away at the bike theft problem.
Stolen Bicycles Bay Area Google Group - Spread the word about stolen bicycles or share helpful info
Bicycles at Bay Area Flea Markets – Share photos of bicycles being sold at local flea markets.
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Folks from all corners of the Bay Area turned up today to show their support for Kachusha “Chuey” Munkanta at today’s Soil Saloon cyclocross race. There was racin’, drinkin, slingshootin’, dancin’ and much hootin’ and hollerin’ on his behalf. Everyone who raced got to take a photo with the man himself, who was in good spirits and thanked everyone for their love and support. His healing process has been slow but steady, and he’ll still be laying low for a while as he continues his recovery.
Proceeds from the race will go to Chuey, and you can buy raffle tickets from Market Street Cycles through the week. The raffle will be held on Sunday, December 2nd, and you don’t have to be present to win.
Local photographer Pamela Palma, who helped promote the event along with the dfL crew and Stevil, was on hand to take large format black-and-white portraits to help raise more money for Chuey. Pi Bar recently held a pizza fundraiser as well, and pushbike is selling a special t-shirt that you can buy online or in the shop. The indiegogo campaign is still going strong and may soon hit $12,000 for our beloved friend. We love you Chuey, and we all look forward to seeing you back on the bike in the near future.
Winter finally descended on the Bay Area tonight — despite the fact that we were teased with several 80-degree days earlier in the week — and temperatures dropped to sub-50 degrees this evening. For us soft folks of NorCal, this meant that everyone at the race tonight was drinking heavily and dressed like they were in Portland. (Notice all of the wool hats and hands hiding in pockets in the crowd.)
But there’s no incentive like chilly weather to race as hard as possible in order to warm up quickly, so I was rarin’ to go by the time 6 o’clock rolled around. The Bearded One snapped a photo of me at the start of the Women’s B Race where I’m lined up near my friend Sam “Bangable” Bell of Team Jortz. (She’s the one laughing hysterically in the foreground, a typical state of being for Sam.) With the exception of Sam and my other friends Jenn and Laura, everyone else is wearing their serious race faces. (I’m wearing mine, too; as you know, my happens to be a perma-grin that I can’t seem to get rid of.)
I really love racing at Sierra Point because a) we’re racing at night, which sure beats racing early in the morning (and makes drinking lots of beer more time-appropriate) b) it’s a mostly flat, fast course which means there’s less potential to crash and our suffering is more minimal. This less technical course also tempts lots of roadies in off-season mode to try their hand at this crazy sport. The potential for entertaining heckling is increased exponentially as they tentatively make their way around the dirt. (You can easily spot them by listening for the sound of their canti brakes squealing loudly on the descents.)
Speaking of heckling, we were graced by the presence of the one and only Rand Miller tonight. (You know, the I’m-grabbing-a-dollar-out-of-Jono’s-neon-green-Speedo-guy.) While he may be retired from racing, he was in fine form on Hecklers’ Hill during the Category A Men’s race.
And Team Jortz, who have the classiest asses in the Bay Area, put them to work delivering cash to the Cat A men. Look how patiently Sam waits with the dollar tucked in her Jortz until some guy decides to sacrifice some time to make himself a little richer.
One Rock Lobster scored two dollars in a row from Sam and Liza Rachetto, and even gave Liza a little grateful spank in return:
The guys got in on the ass-action, too:
(Sadly, I wasn’t able to get any money or beers during my race. I did get lots of cheers and heckling about stolen bicycles, though. And I have to say it’s a pretty surreal experience to hear your name yelled over and over again as you’re racing; it’s as if you’re trapped in some bizarre echo chamber.)
And now back to my race report: I came, I raced and I played a fun game of cat-and-mouse on the course with Jenn, Vanessa (my Jortz nemesis) and Laura. I felt fast-ish during the race, but in reality I was 18th overall (the-old-perception-vs.-reality-trick.) I should mention one memorable moment when a woman chopped my wheel rather aggressively right before one of the short climbs and this post came to mind from my new favorite blog, #WhatBikeRacersShouldCallMe, when it happened. I only wish I had said it out loud. Lessons for next time…
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Yesterday was cycling art night in the city. I checked out Bridget’s art opening in the Mission, then headed on down to 111 Minna for this year’s ARTCRANK show.
There were some gorgeous works out on display and I picked up a print by my friend Jeff Hantman, a talented local artist who also works at Clif Bar. He recently helped them to liven up their walls with some fine art. I also snagged the “7 Hills of San Franciso” letterpress print; it made me realize that I haven’t been up all of them!