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The River Walk is on the right hand side of this (now outdated) satellite photo.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?

Monday, April 11, 2011

I Am Now A Road Bike Owner!

Welcome home!
So Friday night I went and met a man off of craigslist (sounds so sleazy!) and came home with a 2010 Trek 1.5 in excellent condition! I'm  excited to take a step forward in my journey back to running. Also, with gas currently at over $4.00 a gallon it's nice to know that eventually my commutes will be less expensive ! Sunday I rode 4 miles, it was fun but terrifying. Bike likely needs a small tuneup, brakes need to be tightened up and bike needs to 'fitted' for me.
Jr. tries to climb on board. Just a few more years son!
I haggled my guy down and got my bike for less than I would a new Trek 1.1 with better components!
You can do this too, but first I recommend learning everything you can about bikes so you aren't a total ignoramus like I was, and a great start for me was this awesome blog post entitled "how to buy a bike" from http://www.healthytippingpoint.com Here's some things I would add:

You can find a good deal on Craigslist, but it does involve some work. I used the site http://www.searchtempest.com and checked it every day with different search terms. In my case I used different combinations of 54, road bike, drop down bars, etc. I also tried the app "Craigspro" on my iphone but it only gave me a headache. As time went by and I learned more about components I put those terms in as well. As a newbie, I wanted an aluminum frame + carbon forks, and my shifting goals changed from "don't care" to "would prefer not to have thumb shifters". In the HTP blog and in your journeys, you will hear people discuss better components and think "what's exactly does better mean?"
Here's the run down! With road bikes, it all depends on what you are going to do. If you are just starting out racing or commuting a tiny bit of weight isn't a big deal. You don't need a 100% carbon frame and fork.
Most manufacturers (Trek, Specialized, Raleigh etc) all have aluminum frames and carbon forks. Some have fancier types of aluminum tubing, but by and large the sub 1000 dollar bikes are about the same.
Shifting systems/derailleurs etc go from worst to best in this order 2300, Sora, Tiagra, 105, Ultegra and Dura-Ace.  There are levels above that even but again if you are starting out they don't matter! For me, Tiagra was a great choice - it works as well as the 105 (I can shift from in the drops or on top) and still is better than the 2300 (baseline) components or Sora thumb shifters. If you really want to nerd out on shifters, here's a link to the wikipedia on Shimano. Other than that, haggling wise my best advice is to set limits for yourself on how much you are willing to spend before you go to meet your (potential) new bike and old owner.

Score! Looks like I saved more money than this guy.

Not sure how much your used bike from a year or two or three is worth? Try checking craigslist listings in other cities to find a general idea of how much my bike was going for. You can also check Ebay's ended auctions. Most good road bikes are like Hondas and retain their value after a year or two. That said, don't forget that you can always haggle down!
Yay! I paid less than this one as well!
My next goal is to sell a used bike, so if anyone wants to buy a PRISTINE Mosh Worm BMX bike, let me know! Good luck if you are also looking for a used road bike, comment and I'll be glad to share whatever I've learned with you. Don't give up! Your bargain is out there. Speaking of - the final tally on my bike? He was asking $750 - bargained down to $675 - the most expensive bike I've purchased, but I'm ok with this!

PS I'd also like to thank my man Patrick Piccolo. He not only got me the 'road bike bug' but also invited me down to ride some bikes and patiently explained a lot to me. Thanks again !

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Test Riding Road Bikes - Specialized, Raleigh, Masi

I rode three bikes this weekend and had a blast doing so, a Specialized Allez, a Raleigh Revenio 2.0 and a Masi. Each rode a bit differently, and even though I am a 100% n00b when it comes to these bikes, I'm excited that I'm actually getting to spot differences in the way they ride! I've been experimenting with shifting, speeding up, slowing down, riding in the drops, etc. I've noticed that riding in the drops is a great way to tell if a bike is ok, or really comfortable. I've also noticed that every bike shop, EVERY bike shop tells me that it's
"it's cheaper to buy upgraded components on the bikes than to upgrade later" - and I think they are correct. On to the bikes!


The specialized Allez is gorgeous! This one is a 54 and fit me just right. Though I felt a TINY bit stretched out when I got into the drops. It has 105s and was dialed in perfectly. I rode this and the Raleigh at a shop in a part of Sacramento that is a bit sketchy. How sketchy? I saw an impala jam packed with guys all wearing sunglasses and blue ball caps (and no, they weren't baseball fans) then a few minutes later a guy calling his associate and loudly proclaiming his displeasure at a financial transaction involving a medically legal plant here in California. Visions of me being mugged for a bike I don't even own and getting stuck with the tab played out in my head as I pedaled around the shopping center and out onto a bike trail.

This bike, the Raleigh Revenio wasn't as dialed in as the Specialized, thumb shifters were a bit lacking and the pedals had me paranoid, but the way this bike felt was AWESOME. Next to the Trek 1.1 - this bike rocketed to my top 3 bikes. It felt so nice in the drops, and the prices on these are not bad! $819 for an aluminum frame and carbon fork. If only it had nicer shifters/cassette etc. I'm a fan of these bikes. If any Raleigh folks are reading this and want to give me a coupon for a few hundred dollars off? I will represent your bikes to the fullest on my humble blog!

This Masi was the most solid, dialed in machine I've ever ridden on. Not a single thing was loose, everything was set up great, this felt a lot like the Specialized in the drops - very 'racy' and I felt like I was stretching a bit but goodness was this thing fast. I zipped up and down a street and got up close to catching up with cars. So much fun!  This one was a bit pricier (I think in the $800 range) but I can see why.

So there you have it, aside from these bikes I've also ridden a few more Trek's and Canondales but those bikes I almost want to ride again because it's only till now that I feel like I understand really what I am looking for. Every step, err pedal I take gets me one step closer to running again and gets me my much needed endorphin fix! I'm also having a hard time figuring out how much to offer or look for in used bikes. There's so much more risk, potential broken stuff, fixing up, adjusting etc. with a used bike.
Thanks for reading! Also, if you are into cycling at all and are on twitter - check out the hashtag #bikeschool, lots of cycling talk!