Archives for the month of: June, 2012

Carlos invited Robbins and I out for a ride in the Headlands after work – we met up at the bridge at 730pm


Carlos is happy for the company


Robbins grew up out here and so is dressed appropriately for the chilly 60 degree temperatures


Robbins describes the coyote he just saw – big fangs and claws, or something


Robbins wonders why chert is layered so evenly, Carlos knows without looking ‘God did it that way’. Robbins and I remain unconvinced.


my working class pelican next to Robbin’s fancy pants MAP


fancy pants MAP is quite nice


Guu Watanabe goodness


Mr. Heinie approved brakes


fully equipped MAP fancy pants stem with compass and bell – compass may be an infringement on Mr. Heinie’s trademark


This was bound to happen. Living in SF and riding bicycles someone will eventually suggest an overnight camping trip to the headlands. It is so easy hardly anyone ever does it.

Loading up the crap and mentally psyching myself up for a bit of a tour is a chore nearly as daunting as sweeping the floor or dusting, but when Gino suggested an overnight trip I had to do it. There were several reasons to head out.

One, I have all the gear I need;

Two, excepting for Gino I did not know anyone else in the group of five people;

Three, we were going to share food;

Four, the ride would be under ten miles and with less than 200’ of elevation gain.

Five, I could leave and go home at any time.

I loaded up the bike with a tent, sleeping bag, tarp, food, beer, and a chair. I detoured on the way to the meetup spot to a Russian bakery to eat a snack and enjoy some Kvas. A relaxing ride through the Presidio got me to the bridge and the far side.

There were two of the five campers at the far side. Dustin, who looks familiar to me as if perhaps he worked at Rivendell at some point in his past, and John.

I had met John once before in front of the Happy Doughnut at Kearny and Broadway when he was out at lunch time with Gino. I warned them to purchase an apple fritter soon because unrest in Africa was going to spike sugar prices and then life’s necessities such as apple fritters would be out of the reach of the working class. I think they conservatively bought doughnuts instead.

After a bit Gabe, who was not camping showed up with Alec (Alec from the cover of the American Randonneur) in tow. Gabe stayed with us and Alec headed on to Walnut Creek to the Rivendell standard s24o camp site. I think he did not want to stay with us because Gabe took Alec up railroad grade and down laurel springs and a bit of the ‘rocks of death’ of eldridge grade with Alec on his medium loaded touring bike. From what I heard Alec only crashed once on the rocks of death and now he probably did not believe us when we said it was a short easy ride to the camp spot.

Jim G stopped to chat a bit, and then Gino showed up. After chatting for a half hour or so Perry arrived and we headed off into the headlands.

We did not have to climb all the way to the top of Hawk hill, but two of the group had never gone down the poop your pants hill to the ocean, so we added a bit of climbing and thrills to the trip.

The camp spot was a complete let down. There was no work at all involved in getting to the spot – it was extremely convenient! It was flat! To make things worse, the breeze died down and the fog never showed. I slept well.

To even things out, the ride home the next day was disastrous. One of the corner workers for the escape from Alcatraz triathlon directed me to go on course instead of the way I wanted to go and then a cop went apeshit on me and wanted to billyclub and handcuff me but luckily some other riders who were directed onto the course as well distracted him and I left the scene. After several other detours and misdirections from various law enforcement personnel and corner workers I made it home.

Home, where the elevator to my fifth floor apartment was not working. At least the camping and the company was good. Thank you Gino.


I am not known as a swift descender, and yet I continually encounter and pass cyclists and even randonneurs on descents. If you have found yourself passed or dropped by me on a hill, read the missive below, or take the next handling skills course that SFR offers. Doing both would be best.

Use pavement markings (in their absence, the edge of the road) to indicate how much braking is needed to slow down, if any, to negotiate a turn. On a bicycle this is only useful during a descent, but this same skill can be used while riding a motorcycle or driving a car or truck on a flat and curving road.

When approaching a turn, if the pavement markings turn to the left or right tightly enough it will appear as if the pavement markings are stationary. At the apex (midpoint) of a turn, the pavement markings will appear to straighten and disappear into the horizon or into the next turn.

What you should do is simply this; when entering a turn that has pavement markings stationary, slow down. When the pavement marking appears to move away and straighten through the turn and head for the horizon or next curve, release the brakes and/or start pedaling and chase the pavement marking down the road.

In short, slow to greet a turn that has stationary pavement markings and as soon as the pavement marking runs away, chase it. I understand that perhaps this seems a bit overly simplistic, but once the principles are employed consciously I am certain that smoother technique in turns will be the result.

Reading the pavement markings as a cue for when to release the brakes will allow you to release the brakes earlier and safely carry more speed down the road.  Smoother technique means that greater control of the vehicle is enjoyed which translates to greater safety.

Practice these techniques while driving a car or riding a motorcycle as well with the same effect – swifter and smoother passage with a minimum of attenuation of vehicular speed.  Your passengers will appreciate smooth throttle control and smooth turning.

Develop your skills enough so that they enter the periphery of your consciousness and vision, this allows you to read other cues, hazards and beauties of the road and surroundings and will ultimately result in more fun.

Other cornering techniques that can aid in control are as follows.

Do not start turning until you are in the turn. Turning too early will require corrections to your line and will send you either into oncoming traffic (a left turn) or to the edge of the pavement (a right turn). In inclement weather the edges of the lane and the pavement markings are best avoided as the pavement markings can be slicker than the surrounding pavement.  Conversely, the center of the lane can collect oil dripping from combustion vehicles and can be slippery – be vigilant. This works for cars and motorcycles too.

Relax. A rigid body (a panicked body) will fight the turn and fight bumps in the road, increasing the chances for going straight instead of turning and bouncing and losing traction.

Weight the inside handlebar and steer with your hips. Weighting the inside handlebar will initiate countersteering, and steering with your hips will shift your weight to the inside of the turn. Google countersteering if you are unfamiliar with the term.

Ride in the drops. Your center of gravity is lower, your weight distribution is more even. You have greater control of your bicycle.

Only raise your butt slightly. Raising your keester from the saddle will allow your bike to move and stay in contact with the pavement in the event of hitting an unseen bump. Standing on the pedals raises your center of gravity significantly and reduces your control of the bicycle.

Make target fixation (google this one too) work for you. Look where you want to go. If the pavement is really rough and there is only a smidgen of smooth stuff, look at the smidgen of smooth pavement and you will likely ride over that. Conversely, if there is a pothole or a beer can or bott’s dot, don’t look at it (look where you want to go) and you will likely not hit it.

Brake before the turn, not in it. A leaning and turning bike cannot slow as quickly as an upright bicycle moving straight.

Consider these techniques the next time you negotiate a twisting road (it is fun!) and I am confident that greater control, safety and (safe) speed will be the result.

A tally of my posts to rando lists might suggest that I need to step up my volunteering. ;^)


On Thu, Feb 2, 2012 at 3:24 PM, Janos> wrote:

I propose that for each post a person makes to any of the myriad randonneuring google groups that that person is required to volunteer to provide support for a randonnee. This data should be easy to collect provided someone volunteers to collect it.

Rob was responding to an earlier post of mine that I deleted.

I deleted my post because I was afraid someone might take me seriously and I would find myself wrangled into working a finish control for SFR without salty snacks or chocolate milk, far far away from the safety of a couch, but it was something like this:

In repayment to the respective randonneuring club for each post to a randonneuring google group the poster should be required to volunteer for an event. One post to the google group, work one event.

Data could be collected and tallied and posted to a ‘who has volunteered’ web page on the club website prior to each randonnee, along with an automatic email to each google group poster informing them of the volunteer position they have volunteered for by posting.

I am sure we can get someone to volunteer to create the database and the automatic ‘you have volunteered to volunteer’ email. The assignments could be randomly assigned using an algorithm that automatically determines the appropriate volunteer assignment based on the post content, grammar, spelling, number of additional posts generated by original post, and the use of emoticons.

The results of the volunteer assignments would be posted to the SFR website in addition to the rider results. I am sure someone can volunteer to create this ‘who has volunteered’ web page, the assignment algorithm and tallying the volunteering results. Please post your willingness to help your club help you.

Written from the couch of Janos.

I am sitting on my comfortable couch (sofa) and wondering if I will start having Volunteers coordination nightmares tonight – I will need a super computer database


Speaking of volunteers….Ginger had an entire ice chest of chocolate milk set aside for you at the Napa control Saturday.  I told her you wouldn’t mind if I had just one.  She slapped my hand away….”We must save this chocolate milk for Janos!” she said.  So I got back on my bike and rode as hard as I could to get back to Bear Republic early and drink all the beer.  I did my best.  Then found out you weren’t even there!


Thanks Dean

It is important that sensitivity toward couch disability sufferers be encouraged and I applaud Ginger’s noble effort at compassion and empathy. Please share with Ginger my message of thanks.

Sadly I was nursing a slight concussion from a catastrophic couch failure I experienced while mountain biking and was not able to attend the Santa Rosa 200. Never again will I purchase a used carbon fiber couch no matter how incredible the promised performance advantages might be, or how tempting the low price is.

The failure might be attributed to a serious pile-up I was involved during a stage race two weeks prior. I was pretty confident the carbon couch was fine after flopped down onto it and did some serious napping immediately after the mishap, but in retrospect, I should have checked under the cushions before I used it again.

If only couch data for randonneurs were available, my situation might be different.