Thursday, March 30, 2006

The ACTC Podcast

I have a bicycling podcast
This is a lot of fun for me. I really enjoy doing this. It is a great way to showcase a passion of mine, my great friends, and a great solution to some vexing problems our society has. Anything that helps resolve the energy, fitness and the obesity problems we have is a great thing to be involved with

My Bicycle Club podcast:

Oh yea, it is also on iTunes!

Los Gatos Creek Trail Closures

San Jose Water Company is planning to replace 2,000 feet of water mains located on and crossing Main Street in downtown Los Gatos.  The existing mains are almost 70 years old and their replacement is necessary in order to improve the reliability and performance of the water system.

The new mains will be located on the Los Gatos Creek Trail from the Forbes Mill Museum parking lot southward towards the company's Maple Lane Station.  The project is anticipated to begin on April 24, 2006 and must be completed prior to the start of the Town of Los Gatos street resurfacing project (anticipated start date July 5, 2006).

During construction, the Los Gatos Creek Trail will be closed to public access in order to ensure the safety of the trail users and that of the workers.  To minimize the impact of the trail closure, the project will be divided into three phases:

  1. Phase I will involve the northern limits starting from the Museum southward to the Main Street trail access road.  Trail users heading north from Lexington will be diverted up the Main Street access road and can regain access to the trail at Church Street.  Users heading south from points north of the Museum will be diverted onto Church Street and can regain access with the trail via Main Street.  This portion of the trail is anticipated to be closed for three weeks starting April 24 through May 12, 2006.
  2. Phase II will involve the southern limits starting from the Main Street access road south approximately 600 feet.  The trail will be closed from the access road to Lexington Reservoir since no alternate routes exist to divert users through the construction area.  Trail users at Alma Bridge Road will be diverted onto the Jones Trail to Jones Road and College Avenue where they can regain access to the trail at Main Street.  Users heading south will be diverted at Main Street and directed to the Jones Trail via College Avenue.  This portion of the trail is anticipated to be closed for three weeks starting May 15 through June 9, 2006.
  3. The final phase involves the installation of pipe on the trail access road adjacent to Main Street.  Users wishing access to the trail at Main Street will be detoured onto Church Street.  With the exception of the access road, the trail will be opened during this phase of work.  The access road is anticipated to be closed for two weeks starting June 12 through June 23, 2006.  Signs will be posted at the trail entrances to inform users of the trail closure and detours.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

ROMP Swap Meet April 30

Cupertino Bike Shop and ROMP (Responsible Organized Mountain Pedalers) present our annual bicycle swap meet. Sunday, April 30, back parking lot of the bike shop. 10:00 AM till about 4:00 PM. Located at 10493 S. DeAnza Blvd in Cupertino, CA (approx. 2 miles up from Steven Creek Blvd).

We ask you park at the Longs/Albertsons shopping center; staying OFF the streets in respect of the neighbors/neighborhood. Parking is free in the lot and plenty of food locally for snacks, lunch, etc. ATMS at the stores.

This is THE largest bicycle swap meet in the San Jose area, with over 50 vendors selling road, mountain (and now cruiser) bikes, parts, tools, clothing, etc. We've been told by many, we have the best bike swap meet in the Bay Area. Swap opens at 10:00 AM sharp (no early birds), and the line starts forming at 9:00. $2.00 admission. Spaces are still available and we often sell out, so reserve you space NOW if you wish to sell.

NEW PROCEDURE: This year there will be a LIMITED AMOUNT of wristbands given to vendors who pay for spaces. This is discourage 'early shopping' by non-vendors and give sellers time to set up their spaces. You will be given more info by the shop, but please note this new procedure and don't take it out on the staff/volunteers.

Space proceeds go directly to ROMP and our on-going advocacy aimed at working with local park staff and helping to keep off-road mountain bike trails open to cyclists.

Call the shop at: 408 255-2217 for info and to reserve your space in advance. Don't wait until the last minute. We will be charging an additional $20.00 'late fee' if you arrive 'day of' for a space. Notice:  All email and instant messages (including attachments) sent to or from Franklin Templeton Investments (FTI) personnel may be retained, monitored and/or reviewed by FTI and its agents, or authorized law enforcement personnel, without further notice or consent.

2006 STBikes Cat's Hill Classic Criterium

Something old and something new for 2006 STBikes Cat’s Hill Classic Criterium this year on Saturday, May 13, 2006. This annual cycling criterium in Los Gatos, California, is legendary for the merciless, leg-punishing climb on Nicholson Avenue. The short, but brutal, 23% grade of Cat’s Hill is daunting to elite riders as well as amateurs. How many laps can burning legs and lungs last?

For thirty-two years, contestants have valiantly challenged this formidable and intimidating race course. The Men’s Pro/1/2/Espoir category will race on the demanding one-mile course for an hour and a half, climbing the merciless Cat’s Hill  about forty times. The Women’s 1/2/3 category will challenge the Cat’s Hill for an hour of lung-searing laps.

The Los Gatos Bicycle Racing Club, recently named the number one amateur cycling club in the USA, has presented the Cat's Hill Classic Bicycle Race continuously since 1974. The Cat's Hill Criterium, totally a volunteer project of the Los Gatos Bicycle Racing Club, is one of the oldest grass roots cycling races in the US. The list of famous riders participating in this races reads like a Who’s-Who in the history of the cycling world.

Los Gatos cycling fans proudly saw local talent on the podium in 2005. Los Gatos resident Jackson Stewart of Kodak Gallery/Sierra Nevada won the Men’s Pro/1/2 Espoir, with Zach Walker of McGuire/Langdale Pro Cycling standing in the second spot. Zach Walker lives on the race course, and knows the Cat's Hill hurt very well.

New for 2006 STBikes Cat’s Hill Classic will be cycling action for very young cyclists. With their on-going commitment to promote cycling for Juniors, the Los Gatos Bicycle Racing Club is adding a Kid’s Race for the 5-9 age group. This is a fun ride with medals for all the kids who enter the 0.2 mile event, which starts at 12.30 pm. Two wheels or three wheels, helmets are required, and parents must sign a liability waiver before the ride begins.

Another new feature this year will encourage folks to ride their bikes to the race. The Cat’s Hill Classic committee has arranged for the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition to provide free, secure bicycle parking during the event.  The SVBC provides secure bike parking for many local events in the South Bay Area.

The Los Gatos Bicycle Racing Club has selected the new and local, non-profit Cycle ReCyclery program as the designated charity for 2006. Cycle ReCyclery is a non-profit bicycle repair and donation service founded by Derek Beck, a senior at Bellarmine College Preparatory. Cycle ReCyclery accepts donations of quality bicycles that are in need of reconditioning, restores the bicycles at the Cycle ReCyclery shop in downtown Los Gatos and donates them to local non-profit groups or individuals who qualify based on a needs assessment.

More than 700 amateur and professional riders are expected to compete on the demanding one-mile course that starts at the corner of Tait and Nicholson Avenues in Los Gatos. The route is a clockwise loop that includes the incredibly steep 23% Cat’s Hill climb, plus six brutal 90-degree turns along the race course. Race lengths range from three to forty laps, depending on age and ability classifications. For more information, go to the website

The Cat's Hill Classic is held under USA Cycling (USAC) permit and is part of both the prestigious Lance Armstrong Junior Olympic Race Series (LAJORS) and the Northern California Nevada Cycling Association (NCNCA) Premier Series.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Saturday ride to Croy

Croy waterfall

Saturday I led a bike club ride
Really it was kind of a mistake because I did not intend to list a ride during a production weekend. But, I did. It ended up being a really good ride. We rode to Croy Park. I rode 48 miles. There is a canyon there with about seven waterfalls. With all the rain there is water everywhere. It was sunny and clear, if a bit cold. It turned out to be a great day for a bike ride and I still got the newsletter done.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

April 2006 Bicycle Club Newsletter Here

The final version of the Almaden Cycle Touring Club's April newsletter. the Black and Blue Bottom, is posted here [Link]. This is as I sent it to the printer. I had no time for editing or Alpha or Beta versions this month.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

The American Hand Made Bicycle

Kellogg Spectrum Bicycle

A matter of craft
I think the difference between a custom hand made bike frame and an off-the-rack frame is like the difference between an off-the-rack suit and a tailored suit. Not only can a frame builder take into account your height, but also your proportions, inseam, weight, build and how you ride. Plus, of course, what you wish to spend is a major factor. We are all built different but off-the-rack bikes often offer generic off-the-rack sizings.

Plus, there is the art of it. With a custom bike you are riding a living, moving piece of hand crafted art. You are supporting real artisans. The personality of the builder is in the bike. He/she hopefully has expressed that. How he/she thinks you will use the bike is reflected in everything from the length of the tubes to the types of materials and the construction methods used in the bike.

Joe Starack built my first custom bicycle, a Rivendell, and Joe Bell painted it. Local builder Dale Saso built my other custom bike. That bike was the result of visits to Dale’s shop, of long conversations about types of tubes, materials and riding styles. I remember holding and looking at bare steel tubes and going through boxes of fork crowns and being able to specify the most small of details on that bike. It was a collaboration effort. I saw the bike evolve from metal. My Saso bike is the result of the many conversations Dale and I had. Does that make me faster? No. Does that enhance my own personal riding experience? Yes, very much.

You may be surprised to find the cost is not as high as you fear. Only you can decide what you want. That’s what makes’em so cool.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Advocate for Mountain Bike Trail in Huddart Letter

Dave Holland
Parks and Recreation Director
San Mateo County Parks and Recreation
455 County Center, 4th Floor
Redwood City CA 94063-1646

Dear Mr. Holland,

I attended the Huddart Wunderlich trail policy meeting of January 31. I was only able to audit the meeting by securing a place outside by a window. Most likely well above the safe and legal limit of occupancy, the building was over-crowded and there were many people outside who were unable to participate. I sympathize with the difficult task you had in facilitating this meeting. My letter intends to explain why I support the creation of a bike legal trail south of King Mtn Rd in Huddart Park.

Because of the acrimonious disposition of anti-bicycle people present, a reasonable and objective appraisal of the trail proposal was impossible. I heard too many rude remarks whispered. Even worse, occassional loud boorish jeering obstructed civil conduct. I was appalled by the large number of negative assumptions made. Only a few of the anti-bike folk had a proper understanding of the proposal. I am afraid that more moderate people were silenced by the prevailing bully attitudes. Many of their objections were not applicable. I will list the chief objections of the opponents to the trail in Squealer Gulch (that I heard at the meeting) and to bicyclists in general, explain my position on each one of them below, and also write in support of a multi-use policy on the Bay Area Ridge Trail and a proposed new alignment east of Hwy 35 in the vicinity.

  1. Mountain bikers on trails spook horses and pose an unacceptable risk to equestrians who use those trails.

    Sometimes bikes and riders spook horses, but most of the time they don’t. Sometimes horses and their riders spook hikers and bicyclists as well. The trail proposal does not call for sharing the trail with horses, so for this issue the point is moot. A proper attitude of the horseman combined with the correct training of the horse will minimize danger. Furthermore, combined with proper behavior from the cyclist, incidents of conflict will be rare. Getting all the folks on the trail to improve their habits is always going to be a challenge but it can be done. I volunteer intensely at Henry Coe State Park in Santa Clara County and frequently share trail work, events and the trails with equestrians. We get along well down there. I have friends who ride horses. The situation and attitude in San Mateo County is exceptional and probably has a lot to with the fact that equestrians and their horses are not conditioned to multi-use trails and ethics due to the fact that the County has granted them exclusive access to the trails.

  2. If mountainbikers want to ride up to Skyline they can/should buy cheap bike rack and drive to Alpine or Windy Hill.

    The reason mountain bikers want this trail is because we think it is proper to have access close to where people live to trails that are enjoyable to ride. People in the community deserve to have the option to ride from home on a variety of routes without having to get in the car. Sometimes a major reason for going out on a bike ride is to get away from the car. To avid cyclists the assertion above shows that the opinionator sees automotive transportation as a birthright and not the privelege that it is. Not everyone can simply afford at a whim to jump in a car and drive somewhere to ride, nor do they want to. Indeed the economy of this is changing, probably for the worse, and more people will find the costs of driving to recreational sites less attractive in the future. Perhaps the economic myopia of the affluent Portola Woodside community explains the origin of the comment. For these wealthiest of San Mateo residents $2.50/gallon gas and $300 bike racks may seem cheap, but for most of society these are not trivial expenses.

  3. We do not want mountainbikers in Woodside.

    This comment is outright and shameless segregation and has no bearing on the issue of the trail proposal. Those who do not welcome cyclists, anti-mountainbike equestrians, are elitists and class conscious. They express their values, and interpret their economic privelege, long standing tradition, western heritage, and local influence as entitlements to exclusive access of San Mateo County lands and roads whereas they are in fact a small minority in the county. The vast majority of tax paying San Mateo residents do not ride or own horses, nor could they afford to do so if they so desired. A sober appraisal must determine that many times more tax paying people own and ride bicycles than own and ride horses in San Mateo County. If the governing bodies of San Mateo would accept this comment by the equestrians and appease them they would do a great injustice to their constituents.

  4. Here are some reasons why cyclists (lumping all bike riding types together) are not welcome in Woodside or on the proposed trail in Huddart County Park:
    • Cyclists are rude.
    • Cyclists ride in large groups that impede traffic.
    • Cyclists are a nuisance.
    • Cyclists disobey traffic laws.
    • Cyclists change their clothes in public.
    • Cyclists urinate on private property.

    These objections are not directly applicable to the trail plan, but they are worth considering. This is because the opponents of cycling in San Mateo County Parks probably believe these negative behaviors will be repeated within County Parks. Furthermore there is an anticipated conflict between equestrians and cyclists as they both simultaneously attempt to access the parks.

    These are all gross generalizations. These complaints are drawn from observations concerning all cyclists, including road cyclists. All of these assertions are plausible and are derived from direct observations which I believe are true. However these displays of bad behavior are not the norm, nor are they condoned by the bicycling community at large. These assertions should be tempered by an analysis of the perspectives from which they may arise.

    Bicycles are vehicles. All vehicles must share the road. Signage has improved greatly over the years to alert both drivers and cyclists of the potential conflicts and rules of the road. However due to the popularity of the area congestion is sometimes a problem. Wherever there is congestion there will also be road rage. The roads are public. Cyclists, tourists, and residents are drawn to the area for the same reasons. It is beautiful in Woodside.

    Cyclists often ride in groups because they find more security and social value as a group. When a cyclist feels physically threatened sometimes the response is unfortunately a rude one. One of the reasons we want a bike path up to Skyline is to provide a car free alternative to access Skyline by bicycle in the area. Signs exist that implore cyclists to ride single-file, but they don’t always do so. Signs exist that post the speed limit, but motorists don’t always heed them. A dedicated bike path or wider street may improve the situation.

    The problems associated with large numbers of cyclists visiting the area do need to be addressed by the governing bodies in the area. While these are not the direct responsibility of the Parks and Recreation Department, it is proper to take these matters into consideration. These problems: scarcity of parking and toilet facilities, lack of respect for traffic laws, and public nudity are correctable by a combination of providing more facilities and code enforcement by the local municipality. Public restrooms should be made available by the city. The cost of these facilities can be offset by the patrona! ge of local businesses. Parking problems should be addressed by a special committee and may be best served by provided sattelite staging areas away from the town center. Perhaps the town is already working on this. Properly signed and citation enforced parking regulations will help.

    The well established system of bridal paths utilizing both public and private easements must probably remain accessible only by equestrians. A study followed by practical recommendations of how bicyclists will access the proposed trail through and from the town without impacting existing equestrian access needs to be further developed. This needs to be done both to assuage the suspicions of those against cyclists and also to provide a practical guide to cyclists. Normally this segregated approach is unneccessary, impractical and improper, however due to the polarized character of the trail community in the neighborhood this is appropriate.

    As for the problems of urination and nudity, these can be mitigated by peer pressure within the cycling community. The cyclists must elevate their standards and respect others. The combination of improved facilities, a conspicuous program of code enforcement, and peer pressure will solve this problem.

  5. Bay Area Ridge Trail.

    I am in support of the gathering interest in developing a new trail corridor for the Bay Area Ridge Trail in the vicinity east of Skyline in the area to bypass the current section alignment in the MROSD Purisima OSP along the Soda Gulch Trail. The current alignment is not practical or in keeping with Ridge Trail norms. This trail has been ruled unsuitable for multi-use by the MROSD in recent meetings. Horses and bicycles are not permitted. An upshot of this evaluation is that the MROSD and the trail community realize an appropriate opportunity exists to create a new alignment through County Park and other lands higher up and to the east of Hwy 35. Access to this reg! ional trail is directly implicated and one of the reasons for the trail proposal being discussed here. The proposed bicycle trail in Huddart Park should be constructed with the publicly disclosed intention of connecting to a possible future multi-use Ridge Trail alignment.

    I understand that there are very significant physical and political obstacles that must be overcome. For example, the summit end of the Squealer Gulch Trail (for a working name) is currently problematic. However, there are practical alternatives, and a soundly engineered trail is possible, no doubt about it. Similarly the political obstacles and the process itself require stamina and patience by advocates of the Ridge Trail. There is a good consortium of respected advocates in favor of the proposed east alignment of the Ridge Trail who will prevail. This eventuality must be anticipated in developing plans for Huddart and Wunderlich Parks and supported by San Mateo.

  6. Conclusion.

    I wish to add that San Mateo County needs to seriously reassess it’s interpretation of who the Department of Parks and Recreation serves. I recognize that there is no legal obligation for the County to observe or respect the philanthropic wishes of James Huddart who desired to serve the youth of San Mateo with the creation of Huddart Park. But if the County desires to honor the legacy of James Huddart they would allow this concession to the youth and young at heart cyclists of San Mateo and future residents and approve the creation of a bike trail, a peaceful alternative to a potentially dangerous road, and a multi-use Ridge Trail alignment, and properly serve the County of San Mateo.

Thank you for your consideration.
Paul Nam