Posted by Ty on November 12, 2012
Posted by Ty on November 9, 2012
So last Sunday 10/28/12, I went to Three Bees Coffee in downtown San Mateo, CA. I found this in my search of coffee houses on google. It had the top ranking in San per Yelp in San Mateo so it looked like a good choice. Not sure why I didn’t see it last week. Maybe the rankings changed?
This was all part of the coffeeneuring challenge that I am in the middle of attempting. I have to go to 7 coffee shops by mid-November. The distance each way has to be at least three miles. I can’t do two trips in one day. It must be on the weekend. I can combine the trip with a trip to the store, or other errand, but it can’t be combined with a sanctioned randonneur brevet.
It is about the same distance (3.5 miles each way) as one of my previous stops, Bean St. Coffee. In fact, they are about one week apart. As I reported in my earlier post, my first trip to Bean Street Coffee ended up being my last as they closed that weekend. When I rode by it, I saw workmen inside moving equipment out of the store. Very sad indeed, but were it not for coffeeneuring, I never would have gone.
I went inside of Three Bean Coffee and thought the place looked very nice indeed.
To either side, there was some very interesting artwork.
Clearly this was in honor of Halloween, which was in the next few days.
I had a gingerbread latte and a piece of their coffee cake. The latte was quite nice, and she even put a little smily face in the foam! Excellent touch.
I had heard about this sort of thing of course, but had never had it myself.
I finished my latte and coffee cake and rode home. All in all, a very nice outing.
Next week I plan on completing two more, one will be part of a 60 mile ride to Mt. Hamilton in Jose. Probably 6-7,000 feet of elevation. This will be the first real test for my hand. My max distance since the accident in July is 30 miles, and that had much less elevation.
I hope I can handle it. More importantly, I sure hope there is coffee out there!
Posted by Ty on November 1, 2012
On the train in the bike car. Heading home. Cold, frosty Anchor Steam. Listening to my local guys call the first game of the World Series. Ahh…
Posted by Ty on October 24, 2012
So this weekend I went for coffeeneuring control #2 and #3 as part of the Second Annual Coffeeneuring Challenge.
I was in a bit of a dilemma. Evidently, I am a creature of habit as I was at a loss trying to decide where to go for my second trip. You see, I pretty much always go to Peet’s coffee. Ok , not pretty much, let’s just say always.
My solution was to use Google. I just typed in “Coffee Shops San Mateo, CA,” and would see what I got. Well, the first one was Bean Street Coffee. It sounded familiar, and I realized that I had ridden by it hundreds of times on my way home from the train station, thinking ” I should go there sometime” and then never did.
So I set out last Saturday 10/20/12 to check it out. I had to ride through a pretty fierce headwind to get there, but it was only 2.5 miles, so I managed.
I got there, parked my bike in front, and went inside.
It’s a very small shop, barely room enough to stand in front of the counter and order. It has a very nice atmosphere to it, with a very friendly vibe. I ordered a cup of coffee and a piece of coffee cake and sat at one of the three small tables at the front of the store.
The coffee was very good and the pastry quite delicious. I thought to myself, “Must come back here again.” It was then that I glanced up at the wall and saw this sign announcing their closure. Last day 10/21/12.:
I felt it was somewhat bittersweet. I discovered a great new coffee shop, only to find it was closing its doors. However, if it weren’t for the coffeeneuring challenge, I never would have gone there. Thanks Coffeenuring Challenge!
The next day, I went on a short 20 mile ride with a friend. I used my Salsa Casseroll for this ride, and went to the Mini Coffee shop in downtown San Mateo on the way back for Control #3. Polar opposite of Bean Street Cafe. Nothing wrong with it, but nothing special either.
The coffee was ok, and the shop owner did heat up my muffin, and that was a nice touch, but not enough to get me to come back.
I’m going to expand my choices for next weekend and look for something new and different. Perhaps… gasp! A different town?!
Posted by Ty on October 23, 2012
I am in the progress of turning my old Specialized mountain/ commuter bike, ”Big Blue,” into a cargo bike.
One of the things I needed to do was stabilize the front wheel. I noticed that when I had the bike on its dual kickstand, and there was weight in the panniers, that the front wheel would flop over and face the rear of the bike. Very annoying, as it would slam over very fast.
I had seen a wheel stabilizer at VeloOrange and thought it looked pretty good. However, when I tried it, the down tube of Big Blue was too large. It wouldn’t fit. Otherwise, I think it would have worked great. What to do…
In the spirit of redneck tech, two thoughts came to mind: Bungee cords, and duct tape. How to meld those tried-and-true methods into something that would work?
I had gotten a set of bungee cords some time ago in random sizes. I found a couple that were seven to eight inches long and started playing around to find a good way to employ them.
Quickly, I found that if I hooked one end around the brake mount, looped around the down tube, and then back again, it just might work. Turns out it did, but then I was concerned that the metal ends of the bungee would end up scratching my new Surly rigid fork, so I put a small bit of used inner tube around each end, and used some gaffer’s (sorry, not duct) tape around them to give the fork some protection.
The system works very well. Not as quick of a pull-back as the VeloOrange wheel stabilizer, but I actually like it. It is more of a gentle pull, but it does keep the wheel straight when on the duel-leg kickstand. The other added benefit is that I can ride no-hands a LOT easier than I could before. It really enhances the bike’s natural tendency to go forward.
Next step is to install a similar system on my rando bike. I think I will go the VeloOrange route for that, purely for aesthetic reasons. But it really needs it too. When I have my handlebar bag full, I cannot take my hands off at all. It would be really nice to be able to access my bag and take my hands off, at least for a little bit, when I am able to ride a brevet again.
Still waiting on the hand to heal a bit more for that, but that is another story…
Posted by Ty on October 20, 2012
I’ve been recovering from a bike accident last July, and only recently got back on the bike. I can’t handle any long distance yet, but am managing to commute at least, and am doing light shopping trips.
I knew it would be a lot of fun, and I thought this would be a great way to get back, in spirit at least, to the concept of randonneuring.
The concept is simple: Go to seven different coffee shops by the middle of November, document your trip, and show proof you were there. It has to be on the weekend, and the minimum distance is two miles roundtrip.
For my first adventure, I went to my local Peet’s, the Bay Meadows location in San Mateo, CA. last Sunday 10/14/12, a good two miles round trip, just at the mileage minimum. That distance would be easy enough on my hand. In the spirit of the season, I had a pumpkin latte. Unbelievably delicious!
After finishing my drink, I headed over to Whole Foods and did a little shopping, then headed home. This was a great way to start a Sunday. Can’t wait for next weekend!( I wonder, do I have to send in a signed receipt with my coffeeneuring brevet card?)
Posted by Ty on October 18, 2012
Ellen and I came up with the DateTrike concept after our experience with our Burning Man quadricycle demonstrated the pleasure of side-by-side tandem traveling. What was missing from the quad, cobbled together from a pair of mountain bikes, was performance. The quad was a lot of fun, but it was hokey even before we put the Hokey Spoke lights on the wheels.
Posted by Ty on June 18, 2012
I ‘ve been debating some time about clipless vs. platform peddles. I’ve always used platforms, and have just resisted the whole idea of being “locked in.” However, after jumping into randonneuring last September, I noticed that nearly everyone who was into long-distance cycling was using them in one fashion or another.
I do fine on most of my brevets, not remotely fast, but I keep going steadily along. However, I do seem to lag on the hills. Part of this is probably training, but I am gathering that I am missing a significant advantage by not being able to pull up when locked into clipless peddles. Plus, I hear of other advantages too, such as not having to spend energy keeping feet on the peddles, being secure over bumps, not having feet slip off peddles in the rain, etc.
I asked the San Francisco Randonneurs Google Group for their recommendations and advice regarding the whole subject. The SF Randos are a great group of people, so I was not surprised by huge outpouring of emails. One member, Gintautas, offered to loan me his Shimano SHM021 shoes and SPD 520 clipless peddles.
I met him at the Montgomery Bart station next to my office, and then went to Huckleberry Bikes to get them installed on my Bike Friday Tikit on the way home. Zach, who did my bike fit a few weeks back had urged me then to at least consider them. My thought was I would try them on my commuter bike for a couple of days, then put them on my Salsa Casseroll for a longer test on the weekend.
While there, Keven, ace mechanic and service manager, was kind enough to give me a lesson. It seemed pretty easy, but he did caution me to unclip whenever I came to a stop or light. He said it would eventually become second nature, but be careful and remember to do it, otherwise I might flop over.
Well, it actually came to me pretty easy. I rode through commuter traffic in downtown San Francisco, clipping and un-clipping at lights and stops on the way home. I had no problems at all and felt very smug as I pulled into the Caltrain station and prepared to go to the train to head home.
I pulled in and saw the concession stand and thought to myself, “You deserve a beer! (legal on Caltrain) You did a great job! You are clearly far superior to the rest of the un-coordinated types, who all struggled took a long time to get used to these pedals! Yes, you are awesome! You got it right away!”
So I get close to the beer stand, un-clip my right foot, lean to the left to reach for my wallet and…. slowly… topple over, as my left foot was still clipped in, and I couldn’t remember how to get it loose. I remember thinking, “Oh, f*ck….” , frantically pulling at my left leg, as I fell to the ground in slow motion.
I hit the ground, felt like an idiot, and hoped nobody saw me, when a couple of very nice people came over and asked me if I was ok. I said, “Thank you! I’m fine! Just a little user error!” One, a kindly senior citizen had a perplexed look on her face, clearly not understanding why I would fall over from a dead stop.
So, I got my beer, now not a self-congratulatory beer, but a consolation beer and headed home on the train.
Consensus on the peddles?
So far, I like them! I absolutely can feel a difference when I climb
as well as just trying to crank hard into a headwind. It is a
conscious effort to pull up, when I do I can feel the effect. It
is undeniable, so I don’t understand the view by a minority that it
makes no difference. No question in my mind that they do.
I’m not sure at this point if I want my Tikit to have them all the
time. I use my folding bike for quick trips to the store, and am not
sure that I want to change shoes every time I go for a quick jaunt to the store. But then I worry that I won’t be “used” to them for weekend rides if I don’t use them during the week. Something to consider…
I’ll keep using them for a while for sure. I really haven’t put in nearly enough miles for a full evaluation, but so far, so good!
Posted by Ty on June 15, 2012
I thought I would post this, as I know many randonneurs like to have a front handlebar bag but have been dissuaded from doing so if they had STI shifters. Two reasons. First is that if your handlebars are not wide enough, the shifter levers will hit the side of the bag. The other reason is the STI shifter cables usually poke into the side of the bag, and make opening and closing the lid problematic, as well as accessing the side pockets. In fact, when I was first looking into buying my large Gilles Berthoud bag, a few experts advised me against it.
However, Gabe at BoxDog Bikes pointed out that as long as the levers don’t hit the side of the bag when shifting, I should be ok. Luckily, that was the case, so one hurdle down. He also suggest using a Vbrake noodle to route the cable. I didn’t end up doing that at first, as the setup was functional.
However, it wasn’t aesthetically pleasing as the cables pushed against the side of the bag, and pinched the top, ruining the clean lines. I also had to be very careful when taking the bag on and off. Once the cable got underneath the bag, and had I not noticed it, would have affected steering significantly.
It was just awkward opening the bag while riding, particularly on a long brevet. Closing was also tricky, as I had to push each side down again against the cable to really shut the bag properly.
So after a few months of this, I was in Huckleberry Bikes, which is where I bought my Salsa Casseroll. I mentioned Gabe’s idea to Kevan, their ace mechanic. He was intrigued and said he would like to try it. He took a Vbrake noodle, cut down part of it to make a clean angle, and installed it.
In practice, it works great. I can see no downside to having this setup. I really like my STI shifters, and had come close to getting rid of them and getting down-tube shifters to accommodate my handlebar bag.
Posted by Ty on May 8, 2012