Sunday, October 15, 2017


The seven bikes I moved, in Texas, just before the movers put them in their van. In the back, from left to right, is a small Diamondback bike that my granddaughter should be able to ride in a few years, my son's large Centurion, my late wife Agi's 1970's Gitane (almost completely hidden), and her Public bike she used as a commuter. In the front, left to right, are my trusty Surly Cross Check, my 1960 Bianchi Specialissima, and Agi's road bike, another Surly Cross Check. Two other bikes, my red three speed and my sons' black Giant, I considered not worth moving and donated to Ghost Bikes to be painted white and used as markers for cyclists who died in traffic accidents. See the bottom of this post for links to the posts where these bicycles are described.

The same seven bikes in their new home in California. It would be weeks before I rode any of them. So far, I have ridden Agi's commuter (which fits me fine) and my Surly.

My last post was almost two months ago. A week after that post, Hurricane Harvey hit, flooding the house I had just sold. Would the sale hold? (So far, it has, but it is still a few weeks to the closing.) So, there I was, preparing best I could for the hurricane, then cleaning up the mess from the hurricane, all on top of my already-ambitious moving schedule.

The good news is that the move happened and me and my bikes are now in residence in the fair city of San Carlos, CA. The bad news is that it took every bit of strength I had to accomplish that, and my cycling and blogging suffered. In that post of two months ago, I promised the following:
" current plan is to do one more post from Houston, tying up a few loose ends before leaving, and then the one after that to be the first of what I hope are a long series about cycling in California. Stay tuned to see if I follow that plan."
This did not, in fact, happen. So, this post will keep that promise in an abbreviated form.

Loose Ends from Houston

  • After a much longer struggle and with many more twists and turns than originally anticipated, the Houston Bike Plan passed. This now provides a framework to help the City of Houston continue building its cycling infrastructure.
  • Mysteriously one day, Bike Houston announced that their office was moving. Did they lose their lease on their old property? Fortunately, the disruption of that move seems to not have been too harmful, they seem to be chugging along as before.
  • I never got to know the people at Bike Houston all that well, but from the little I knew them, I liked them a lot! I particularly liked Mary Blitzer. Sadly, it was the point in Mary's career for her to move on and so she has left Bike Houston. Jessica Wiggins stepped up to fill her shoes, and I am sure everything will go on as before.
  • The Braes Bayou trail continues to grow on both ends. I had hoped to explore this trail and perhaps even take some pictures, but alas, that was not to be.

Cycling in California

It's too soon to say what my cycling in California will be like. So far, I have only done four rides, and the first two were shakedown rides of a few miles around my new neighborhood. I thought I had some idea what my riding might look like from the rides I did during my extended stay with my son, who lives just a few miles up the road. However, despite that proximity, it turns out access to desirable cycling is significantly more difficult from my house than it was from his. Perhaps I will just have to suck it up and learn to live with an unpleasant several minutes at the start of every ride, or perhaps I will find some side streets that are more pleasant than the main roads. How this will impact my cycling is the question.

As regular readers of this blog know, I love to track my riding. I have gotten some criticism in the past for being overly concerned with tracking, a criticism with which I disagree. I wonder if my critics understand why I track my rides? I do it because it's fun, it's motivating, and because it helps me avoid overdoing my riding, a real concern at my age. Because the kinds of rides I can do in California are very different than the kinds of rides I could do in Houston, I have already made some changes in my tracking, and expect that my tracking will continue to evolve as I gain more experience riding here in California. For example, because hills drastically affect the speed of a ride, and thus the number of miles that can be covered for a fixed effort, I am now tracking rides by minutes rather than miles. Once I have this all figured out, I may do a blog post on it.

One piece of good news is that I have a goal; to ride in the Eroica California next April. At least one of my Modesto Roadmen buddies plans to attend, which, along with my ownership of a 1960 Bianchi Specialissima, inspired my interest in this ride. (Eroica is a celebration of classic (pre-1988) bikes, and only these are permitted.) There are rides varying in length between 40 and 127 miles, all of which include at least some unpaved sections. The challenge of this ride consists in equal parts of getting in shape for even the shortest ride and restoring my bianchi to both rideable and original condition, somewhat conflicting requirements.

Blog Posts about the Bikes Pictured Above

1) My Bikes: In my fourth post on this blog, I discussed every bicycle I had owned. I have not purchased any additional bicycles for myself since then, so this remains a pretty comprehensive list.
2) Old Bikes, Part Deux: Early on, I did a post on some old bicycles I saw on Martha's Vineyard, while vacationing in Massachusetts. The post linked to here was an extension, looking at old bicycles that were in my garage. Between this and the previous post, only one of my bikes was missed..
3) An Unfortunate 3-Speed: The picture and history of this sad bicycle are stuck in the middle of an unrelated post.
4) Bianchi v. Surly: Another view of some of my bikes, focusing on my Bianchi Specialissima and my Surly Crosscheck.
5) Sad News: My late wife Agi commuted to work by bicycle, and for years, we had planned to buy her a dedicated commuter. When we finally did, I was so consumed with caring for her in her last months that I never blogged about it. Only in the blog post where I announced her death did I discuss that bike.