Archive for October, 2007

Coastal Classic

| October 24, 2007 11:38 pm

It is Wednesday and that means another Hills R Us ride. This weekly ride is co-listed by both ACTC and Western Wheelers bicycle clubs. Today the route is what we call the Coastal Classic, one of the more popular of the routes. It starts in Los Altos and includes 57 miles, considerable climbing, and some beautiful vistas. We first head out through the valley to Portola road. It was a slight downhill so Ann and I were blazing down on the tandem and a few of the 15 or so riders were able to catch a ride before the train left the station. At Old La Honda we made a left turn for our first real climb up to Skyline.

Western Wheelers uses Old La Honda as a benchmark climb so I did a time check of our climb and we did it in 28 minutes, faste enough to be a “D” rider. Unlike school, a “F” is the best grade and an “A” rider is the slowest so this time getting a “D” was pretty good, especially considering we were climbing on a tandem.

After making the climb we went down the other side of Old Lahonda to highway 84, were we headed for a gradual but fast descent to San Gregorio for a stop. Ann enjoyed their date bars and Franz one of their chocolate chip cookies. From there we made a climb up Stage Road up to Highway 1. Ann grabbed the camera and took these photos from the back of the tandem of some of the riders.

Michael K., the ride leader.


Rick M. the head of the Winter Series with the San Jose Bicycle Club

Rick M.

Bill K., a member of ACTC who does several bike tours each year.

Bill K.

Once we reach the coastal highway, we headed down a nice descent and reached a speed in excess of 35 miles per hour. Ann must be feeling much safer on the back of the tandem because while we were moving so fast she took the camera out and took this picture of the Pacific Ocean. Gee riding without holding on the handlebars at that speed!

Pacific Ocean

We on Highway 1 for only a short while before we turned to head up Tunitas Creek, the most difficult climb of the ride. Near the bottom we saw this pumpkin farm.

Pumpking Farm

It was then a 7 mile climb, going from sea level to 2,o00 feet.

Tunitas Creek

We kept up the pace until we reach Skyline for a regroup to wait for the rest of the riders. Then it was down Kings Mountain, through the town of Woodside, then back to the start. The weather was fantastic, even over by the ocean. It was a great ride.

Mercy, Mercy

| October 20, 2007 10:24 pm

You can tell that fall is in the air. Not the real cool temperatures as some parts of the country, but much still cooler than the long and warm summer we have enjoyed. We decided to go on one of the club rides on our tandem that started in Paicines, about a 25 mile drive from our home. The route took us on a beautiful Panoche road with very little traffic. Panoche Rd. was originally a stage coach route used by many of the early California pioneers in particular those people that were doing business with the nearby, New Idria (Quicksilver) mine.

Jime and Eric take off but we are able to hange with them on the tandem for awhile.


The first 10 miles is mostly flat, with some rollers, then there is about 7 miles of climbing, nothing real steep but it all adds up. Then it is down to the valley and a strong tail wind that took us at speeds in excess of 30 mph to the Panoche Inn. This Inn is about the only thing out in this area. No fall colors to see, unless the sagebrush can be counted.

A check of the flag at the Inn showed the strong tail wind we had enjoyed so far.

Panoche Inn

With 27 miles already in, we had the option to ride out to New Idria or Mercey Hot Springs. I rode the New Idria route in August and the road is real rough. The group we were with decided on the later option so we headed out the 8 miles to Mercey Hot Springs. The Hot Springs was known about by native Indians and was shown to a man “John N. Merci” who acquired the land for the purpose of raising sheep. Merci, who had his name changed to “Mercy” to be more Americanized, sold the property in 1912 to Frederick Bourn, a San Francisco based real estate developer who is responsible for the construction of many of the building still existing today and now being renovated by the current owners.

Ann and Franz at Mercey Hot Springs

Some of the guys from the south county that I ride with for both road and mountain bikes were with us so Ann took this photo of our group.  Where is Chuck?

Jim, Kley, Franz, Doug and Eric at Mercey Hot Springs

Paul, my team mate for the Furance Creek 508 was also there.

Franz and Paul

We then headed back to the Panoche Inn were be bought lunch.

Panoche Inn

It is an interesting Inn inside. There must be about a thousand one dollar bills that people have signed and pinned to the wall and ceiling.

Inside Panoche Inn

The strong tailwind we had enjoyed on the way out meant a strong headwind returning. Going into a headwind on the tandem is not quite as hard as on a single bike because you have the power of two to fight against the wind but the wind drag of only one person.

We ended up with 71 miles by the time we finished. It was a very nice ride.

Sting Like a Bee

| October 2, 2007 11:47 pm

Yesterday Ann and I went on a long tandem ride. It was the last chance Ann would have to ride before leaving this morning for Sara’s house for a visit. We decided to first head up Croy. I wanted a long down hill so I could check out the new drag brake we had installed on our tandem.

Drag Brake

Ann was so happy to be out riding the bike that she could not resist giving me a kiss.

Okay, so the picture was posed, as was this one that we took in front of a tree that was starting to show it’s fall colors.

As we went back down the canyon, I tried out the new drag brake. It has a bar end shifter that you can click through several settings, each adding more drag. I must say that I put it on maximum drag and still had to brake, and Croy is not that steep. But I guess it is worth having.

We then headed out to Bailey, then back toward Morgan Hill. We went up Willow Springs, along Oak Glen and then back over Llagas. Aw we were descending down I was suddenly stung by a bee, right above the left eye. I had to stop right away. Ann could not see the stinger to pull it out. With nothing to do but go on, we biked to Erik’s Deli in Morgan Hill to eat lunch. Then it was back home for a total of 56 miles. A very good ride, not counting the bee sting.

When I got up this morning, my eye was all swollen. I didn’t expect to have that much of a reaction. I could still see well enough to drive Ann to the airport and later to do a bike ride. But the swelling is quite visible. I hope it gets better real quick since I have a major bike event this weekend, that I have to ride, rain or shine.