Monday, October 3, 2011

#seenonmybike - some things I've seen while riding around Sacramento

The #seenonmybike is a derivative of the ahem 'famous' #seenonmyrun tag, and I thought I'd take this moment to share a few sights from my rides around town. I'm not a serious cyclist, I stop, I take pictures, sometimes I will double back when I see things like a giraffe or weird graffiti.
These are things that are interesting to me. Enjoy these images from my world!

This is a homeless camp alongside the Sacramento River.
As the weather gets colder, these tents have become less and less commonplace.


The memorial is heartbreaking but hopeful.


Just a fisherman

Cyclists and vegans take note! You cyclists, they have a pump there and let you bring in your bike!
Useful if you don't have a lock with you! If you are a vegan, they have vegan donuts!.

This is near Miller Park. The sign warns people that killing or injuring cats is a crime.
To the left though you can barely make it out, are ramshackle beds for the strays that live here.
I've often wondered if their namesake, the Sacramento River Cats  help fund spaying  & neutering for these cats.
They are a Sacramento institution!

The fun part of my ride. This is our river walk in West Sacramento. To the left is the bridge leading into Sacramento.
The pyramid building and the new CALSTRS building are on the right.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

#seenonmybike - social media and positivity on the Sacramento Parkway

I had a great ride today and it was made more great by the people and the graffiti I encountered along the Sacramento Parkway. Graffiti? Yes. Graffiti. For though I am not a fan of defacing public or private property, in this case it is a positive thing. Today as I went for a ride and saw a ton of people out on their bikes. Harkening back to my running days (which will return again, I have faith!) I waved at folks and received some back. Every runner I waved to at least waved or smiled, some did both! Waved to a few bigger guys in full on kits and they ignored me. What's up with that? When I came across this spray painted on the road, I stopped, turned around and went back to read it.


#seenonmybike this ode to #4square - I'll tell you the f... on Twitpic 









Yep. It was real alright, and here's when things got really awesome. I stopped to take the photo (and pulled over to the side so as to not block the trail) and not one, not two, but three groups of cyclists tapped their brakes to as ask me "you ok?" warmed my heart! Then an older fellow saw me and this conversation ensued "Yeah, it looks nicer now don't it?"
Err well, I guess? I'd rather no spray paint at all?
"oh, it was uglier before, take a gander at the pedestrian bridge, though some of that's been changed too"
I felt like we weren't really communicating but nodded and looked at the bridge, and then like the sun shining through the clouds it hit me - what was once hateful graffiti was covered over with clever and lighthearted improvisation. I won't even give the hatefulness any more attention, that is what they crave after all, I'll let you dear reader figure out what a square could have been. When I'm on my bike it's a good bet I'm smiling, today I rode home with a permagrin, and am still smiling sharing this with you. Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

California State Fair $100 Challenge

 
$100 dollars to ride a bike a few feet? One try for $3 or three tries for $5? Sounds good to me! I spotted this ride/attraction at the California State Fair on opening day Thursday and wanted to share with my fellow cyclists. Think you can do it? There is a small catch! The handlebars are 'backwards' and work in reverse. If you turn right, the forks turn left, and vice versa. Of course the trained carnie can do it in his sleep, but could you? We've been hardwired from childhood left is left and right is right (well most of us!) Could we unlearn that in a few seconds and walk away with a hundred bucks? Would we need a lot of practice? If you click on the image you'll notice a strange box right above the headset, I suspect it contains a type of differential or gear box.
Could any of you build one of these?
Are you attending the California State Fair in Sacramento?
Let's hear your theories on how you'd win that money!
I'm also going to use this opportunity to shamelessly promote myself on Google Plus ! http://bit.ly/JoseGPlus

Friday, June 24, 2011

First Days Of Bike Commuting!

After commuting via bike,  driving is now a total let down! My inaugural commuting this week was an adventure and I am now hooked! On my first day I saw crop dusters and fields, farms and flattened rabbits, runners and cyclists, angry commuters stuck in traffic and so much more. I experience so much hmm, I want to say more but that's not right either, I experience different things cycling than when driving. While driving I hear music or talk radio, deal with slow drivers, fast drivers, obstacles, brake lights etc. Riding however, I hear the sound of shifting gears, the wind whistling past my ears, the sound of cars speeding past and the sound of train horns startling me. I hear things I'd never hear while ensconced in my truck,  the hum of overhead power lines, generators on the side of a cornfield powering...something? Still not sure what!
Amtrak. Their horns are a terrifying sound if you aren't paying attention.


My morning commute are calming and energizing, and I'm not enough of a wordsmith to convey the feeling. To use a drug addict term and runner vernacular, the 'high' from cycling is a more subdued strain of stoked. It's not the pounding in your chest, sweat flailing, 'chasing the puke' high that you get from running a 5k or longer distance road race. Speaking of sweat, I wasn't as sweaty as I thought I'd be! It's a very mellow workout, I mean, obviously there's exertion but it's not the same as running. I don't mean that in a diss to cyclists, it's just...running miles mean more to me than cycling miles. No way could I run 13-14 miles and sit down to work without needing to shower! Whereas yesterday I was able to clean up just fine at work and changed into my work clothes.
A farm on my way to work. Something about the sun's rays at this time of day make everything glow.
My evening commutes are a different animal, I'm able to sweat it up, BUT I'm also more weary. As an aside, the first day I rode to work, it was the first day of summer and that afternoon the temp rocketed up to 100 degrees, it made for an interesting ride home involving 3 water bottle refills a slower pace, and a post commute jump into the kiddie pool in my back yard. Yesterday's ride home was tough, not as hot, but it was really hard to get motivated and a few times I told myself  "Just take the bus" but am glad that I pushed on. It reminds me of marathon training long runs, that initial feeling of indecision "can I really do this?" eventually being replaced with "Yes! I totally did it!" Comment if you know how this feels, come on! You know you do! A crossover from running - I've been waving to everyone I come in contact with, said hello to some runners yesterday and if I see that someone is cycling towards me, I at least lift up a hand or give a nod. I'm finding that runners are more friendly but this is just a very unscientific observation. I've only commuted twice this week and run into less than a couple dozen riders.
This random haven for skateboarders is awesome.
I love the contrast of concrete and corn
If you are considering bicycle commuting, don't think about it - do it! I'm doing this for many reasons, to heal my knee, to run again, to get some mileage in, and of course to just expend calories, but at the end of the day, I just feel more alive. I hope no matter what you do, whether it's walking, riding or running, you feel the same. Thanks for reading! Now go take on the day!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Odds and Ends

Cycling Update - Hi friends, another cycling update! I'm learning the ins and outs slowly but surely. Shifting isn't as easy as it sounds! Well hitting the lever is easy, but riding so that shifting happens smoothly and effortlessly is another deal. I've been practicing this every time I'm on my bike and at a stop light. If I have advance notice I can slow down ahead of time and shift to an easier gear, so starting up again is quick and easy. If I am not paying attention - then I'm forced to start out in a tough gear which means I'll be standing up on the pedals and grunting it up. These are things that just take practice so I'm glad I'm out there doing it.
Other things I'm practicing and learning include merging with traffic to make turns (terrifying), stopping at stop lights (I hear that the rules of the road apply to cyclists as well),  and yielding to pedestrians. When I was a BMX hellraiser me and my buddies paid no heed to any of these rules and I'm looking back in alarm at how reckless we were. Flying down sidewalks, doing footplants off of cars, bunnyhopping in front of startled pedestrians, darting in and out of traffic, ahh youth. A small part of that "go for it" spirit is still inside of me, but it's tempered now with the fact that I am a father raising children and a husband not wanting to leave behind a widow.  Also, though I'm a snarky, sarcastic, joke making guy, I'm really a fan of polite and civilized behavior so I'm learning how to ride as I'd like others to ride. The golden rule of cycling? Is there a thing? I have no idea.

Somewhat related some friends on a forum I frequent posted these videos, they made me laugh because 1) they are SO New York and 2) the use of the word jerk just cracks me up no matter the context.








Kinesiology/Injury Update  - I met a kinesiologist the other night at a party, she gave me some great tips for knee/quad recovery so I thought I'd post em here:
  • Walk/run backwards up hills. Apparently this helps the muscle development in those hard to reach areas. Who knew?
  • The last 15 degrees of movement are the ones that matter when developing the quads to help pull the knee inline. So even doing small workouts benefit.
  • Swimming helps, as does cycling. (Yes!)
  • She recommended MSM and Glucosamine. I haven't been taking mine - ran out months ago, will try this again.
Right now my right quads are still smaller than my left, there are no shortcuts, this is boring, this is hell, but I must do this in order to return to running.
Hope your week is great folks! Get out there and enjoy spring wherever the heck you are .
Also - here's something going on right now:
http://mayisbikemonth.com - they are also on Facebook!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Riding On The West Sacramento Promenade Trail

West Sacramento River Walk Trail
Hope all of you had a joyous Easter ! After a Sunday of church, food, family and fun, I decided to burn off the excess calories and get out for a ride. A few days earlier we saw a sign announcing the new West Sacramento Promenade Trail so I decided to pedal over and check it out.

The River Walk is on the right hand side of this (now outdated) satellite photo.
The trail begins near River Cats stadium, on the south side of the bridge. There's construction going on right now at River Cats stadium so to get to it from Sacramento you'll have to cross over on the left hand side and from the Davis, West Sac side, you'll have to loop around the front of the stadium (Ball Park Drive) as the old 3rd street underpass has been crushed to make way for a hyperspace bypass.

The River Walk Trail as seen from the West Sac side.
On this trail I saw no less than four rabbits, ears perked as they hopped away from me and my bike. I also saw folks fishing, hostile geese (are there any other kind?!) and a homeless guy reading a library book. It's only a short distance but once completed will be a beautiful way for folks in South West Sac (ie Southport etc) to get downtown and vice versa.  I was lucky to see orange flowers along the side of the trail but you can't really see them in these shots.

facing north on the trail
This is the end of the trail near the freeway overpass. Eventually it will connect to paved roads.
There's also another river walk on the other side of the river, I took the bridge over and ventured down that one.That river walk also connects to a bike trail hitherto unknown to me which leads all the way down to Miller Park. Both of these trails are great for cycling or running, though there isn't very much shade on the West Sac side. The ride took me about  50 minutes and was a little over 8 miles. Not bad for a n00b! I'm hoping to ramp that mileage up as I get closer to commuting to work. In the meantime I am just thankful that I have another avenue to get my endorphin fix and another way of being outdoors and active. Thanks for reading and have a good week folks!
Confusing ideologies and lack of manners.
PS The only eyesore I encountered was this confusing piece of  'street art' from a Crowley fan with anti-Juggalo national socialist tendencies, or a drywall installer from Rio Linda. Perhaps, perhaps one and the same?