Archive for category local

in the saddle…

I’ve set out in the rain and come home dry, or mostly dry.

I’ve sat comfortably behind big men, the ones that are as wide as Volkswagen Beetle.

I’ve dropped those same men.

I’ve been dropped by women.

And old men.

I’ve set out in the sunshine and come home wet.

I’ve stopped, not because I needed to rest but because I wanted a moment to take it in.

I’ve sat up when the gap was too big.

I’ve had road rash.

I’ve run red lights.

I’ve been defeated by headwinds.

And Coleman Valley Road.

I’ve stopped for wildlife.

I’ve been honked at.

And yelled at.

And waved at.

And smiled at.

I’ve slowed down to chat with strangers.

I’ve taken turns at the front.

I’ve been stopped by the police.

I’ve underdressed.

And overdressed.

I’ve suffered.

But mostly, I’ve had fun.


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US Bicycling Hall of Fame launches gran fondo in Davis

Sacramento-area cyclists seeking long group rides should note that the city of Davis will host a new event on May 6th, the Legends Gran Fondo, which is organized by the US Bicycling Hall of Fame. The charity ride, which is open to the public, will raise money to support the USBHoF, a non-profit which recognizes the achievements of American cyclists.

The Legends Gran Fondo will start and finish in downtown Davis, at Central Park on 3rd and C Street. Participants will be given the option of riding the full gran fondo, a 90-mile round trip, or the Medio, a 65-mile route equivalent to a metric century.

Riders on the two routes will have access to high-quality rest-stop nourishment, SAG support and the opportunity to ride alongside some notable names in American cycling, says Blair Robertson in the Sacramento Bee. The most recognizable name, perhaps, is that of Greg LeMond, who won the Tour de France three times before creating his own line of road bikes.

‘Gran fondo’-style events have grown in popularity over the past decade, perhaps because they offer amateur riders the illusion of a pro-tour atmosphere, a contrast to the low-key club rides usually available to them. The bigger gran fondos – most notably Levi’s King Ridge Gran Fondo in Sonoma are spectacular events, featuring very large entry pools, lavish rest-stops, celebrity-participation and a festival atmosphere. In comparison, many charity century rides are dour, poorly organized and exclude riders who are unable to raise sufficient funds.

The Legends Gran Fondo features attractions like starting line call-ups, escorted rolling-enclosure starts, police and medical support, technical assistance, and an official timing-system which gives participants the chance to log their overall speed and progress. The routes are limited to 1,000 riders for this inaugural year, and they take riders out towards Winters, then south for a wide loop. Gran-route riders will do a second loop to make up the additional miles.

Registration fees are $95 for either route, which entitles participants to all the benefits of a fully-supported ride, plus a commemorative t-shirt, or $135, which includes a limited-edition USBHoF jersey. For more information, visit the USBHoF website.

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I’m going to let the majority of this post be about the pictures.  I am an artist and a cyclist and this show may replace that special place in my heart that Interbike has held for several years now.  What can I say, I’m non-committal.  It was absolute sensory overload (just like Interbike is) but with the added atmosphere that an upscale art gallery has.  I was, to put it simply, in bike art heaven.  I had promised that I would help out Dean Alleger at his booth for the Sacramento Valley Velodrome so I attempted to see as many booths as I could in 20 minutes flat.  I think I was actually gone 30 minutes.  At any rate, please enjoy the following bikeprOn:

Read the rest of this entry »

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NAHBS this weekend

Friday, March 2nd is the first day of the annual North American Handmade Bike Show, which is being held in Sacramento for the first time this year. The exhibition brings cycling manufacturers and enthusiasts together for three days of events showcasing the finest handmade bicycles in the world.

Every year since 2005, NAHBS has assembled industry pioneers and innovators in a succession of cycling-friendly cities for the event, which has grown in attendance by 10% each year. This year, 172 individual exhibitors will spread out across the Convention Center in anticipation of several thousand attendees. Last year, the show attracted more than 7,300 industry enthusiasts.

In addition to the vendors’ booths, the show features seminars on a range of topics from framebuilding and engineering, innovation in bike frame materials, custom design and the business of marketing small-production high-end frames.

NAHBS predicts new trends in bike building for 2012, including a surge in the use of modern stainless steel, which is gaining popularity as a lightweight and strong alternative to traditional steel frames. Also, after several years of high-profile road-bikes dominating the national consciousness, mountain-bikes and city-bikes will this year form the majority of the total bike categories represented.

Running concurrently with NAHBS is the local ArtBike! community arts initiative, which will be promoting cycling-related film and culture in Sacramento. Hosts include the ever-reliable midtown restaurant Hot Italian (creators of the Savage Sprints), and a tie-in with Sacramento Beer Week, which is currently in progress.

NAHBS kicks-off on Friday with an industry-exclusive morning, followed by regular admission until 6pm. Awards take place on Sunday at 3pm at the stage area of Hall B & C. Pre-registration is available from the website, and tickets will also be available onsite.

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In the news | Sacramento Bike Commuting

Her midtown apartment is about two miles from her office downtown. She soon figured that paying to park didn’t add up. Then there are the intangibles, like encountering friends, seeing – and smelling – the city in a more intimate way, and the camaraderie she feels with others on bikes. They wave, nod or say hello. When was the last time a motorist on Highway 50 did something like that?

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from the O’Conner Family

Sam has previously written about the hit-and-run death of 27-year-old, Patrick O’Conner. As cycling advocates and citizens of Northern California, stories like this one hit close to home.

This morning we received this press release from the family of Patrick O’Connor. The O’Connor Family is reaching out to the community for letters that might be used by the judge as he determines sentencing for Vanessa Carrillo.

I don’t want to comment on the character of Ms. Carrillo nor do I offer judgment on the O’Connor Family’s claim that Ms. Carrillo’s relationship with law enforcement has had significant impact to the handling of the case. Instead, I want to reiterate my opinion that negligent, illegal behavior that results in the death of a cyclist, pedestrian or other motorist should be treated seriously by law enforcement. As a cyclist, I do not see a significant difference between a death caused by a drunk driver and death caused by driving over the speed limit while using a cell phone. It is my hope that the judge considers how Vanessa Carrillo’s illegal driving behavior and her flight from the scene contributed to the death of this cyclist and sentences accordingly.

Press Release:

November 6, 2011

PLEASE write a letter to the Judge for Patrick O’Connor!
Stanislaus Superior Court
Judge Thomas D. Zeff, Court #5
Case # 1426693
800 11th Street
Modesto, California 95354

On November 1, 2011, the Stanislaus District Attorney decided to Plea Bargain this case instead of going to trial. As a major part of this process, the DA recommendation to the Stanislaus County Probation Dept. is to file a Pre-Probation report. This report will be submitted to the Judge Thomas D. Zeff, Stanislaus County Superior Court with a recommendation for sentencing. The Probation Department has requested we send the letters within the week so as to collect and file them in the court documents, to ultimately be read and reviewed by the Judge. If you send your letter to the judge, please email me a copy at this address ( that we may ensure your letter reaches the probation department.

We as victims of this tragedy have an opportunity to express how you feel about the Death of Patrick O’Connor. How has it affected your personal life, your family, your friends, either emotionally, mentally, physically in any way or aspect or outlook of you or your family’s lives. The tragedy in the lost of Patrick cannot ever be justified in our court system; however, this is our opportunity to tell the judge and make an impact on the legal process.

You may feel free to express your thoughts about this 22-year-old woman, Vanessa Carrillo, who hit, killed Patrick, and left the scene leaving him to die in the middle of the road. She has four prior “at Fault” vehicles accidents, four major traffic violations, two for high speeding. She was on her phone while traveling over 65 mph and had just sent a text message prior to killing Patrick, then fleeing the scene. Her phone behavior is an openly defiant choice she made knowing, it took Patrick’s life. She has a very cavalier attitude and feels that she is not responsible for this murderous act! Additionally, she has lied and given false information to the police as a means to prolong and avoid the repercussions of her actions. In the past several years Vanessa Carrillo has built up a relationship with local, law enforcement officers, specifically an intimate relationship with a deputy sergeant of the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Dept. She has been on numerous all night ride-alongs with this local law enforcement department. This has been verified by the elected Stanislaus County Sheriff who openly admitted that his officers have “manipulated and interfered” with this case.

This is our chance to be heard and have an impact on this case. This is our opportunity to persuade our justice system to strike forth with the fullest extent against Vanessa Carrillo, whose incompetence and malicious behavior has cost us someone very dear to our hearts. She must be held accountable for her actions. We appeal to your moral principles of social responsibility, justice, and accountability as we humbly urge you to write a letter to the Judge expressing how you feel about Vanessa’s behavior and how Patrick’s death has affected you.

The DA has accepted a plea bargain in order to avoid a trial.

Please write your letter with a heading to Judge Zeff at the above address ref: case # 1426693 and sign your letter with your job title.

*Please share this with interested friends or loved ones.

With deep appreciation and thanks,
The O’Connor Family

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“Give Me 3” bill vetoed by Governor Brown

In an unexpected last-minute move Friday afternoon, Governor Brown vetoed the popular pro-cycling “Give Me 3” bill which had been making steady progress through congress. Despite overwhelming support from the cycling industry, road safety advocates and cyclists alike, the bill in its current form will not become law.

Governor Brown, bowing to pressure from automotive groups, the CHP and the Teamsters union, chose to question aspects of the bill which stipulate that drivers unable to afford cyclists three feet of passing space be obligated to slow down to 15mph when passing.

Brown also repeated many of the same concerns which have arisen since the bill was introduced, including issues of traffic build-up where cars are forced to slow for cyclists. Jim Brown, of the California Bicycle Coalition, was swift to characterize such concerns as baseless, citing some 20 states which already have 3-foot passing laws on the books, and which report no problems issuing from the requirements.

“It’s a bill that’s been road-tested in a lot of states…we’re not at the forefront here. The idea that there’s going to be a rash of collisions isn’t supported by other states’s experience.”

A note of disappointment, no doubt echoed by millions of California cyclists, was clear in Jim Brown’s statement,

“We never dreamed that this would be the hardest part of passing the bill – convincing the governor.”

Governor Brown’s rejection of SB910 will not go unnoticed by the ranks of cyclists in California, many of whom have experienced mistreatment on the state’s roads. Passage of a pro-cyclist bill would have gone a long way towards promoting California as a bike-friendly state, instead of a place where cyclists are marginalized.

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What about the brake pedal?

I’ve not been following the story very closesly, but on Sunday a cyclist was killed in Dixon when he was rear-ended by an Hyundai Tiburon. According to the Solano Times-Harold:

Hekker said Boe told investigating officers that a southbound vehicle prohibited him from moving to the left to pass White, who authorities said was riding on the fog line at the right of the lane. However, authorities initially said witnesses saw nothing preventing Boe from driving around the bicyclist or anything that would have caused White to swerve in front of Boe.

Now, I’m not a professional driver or anything, but usually when I’m driving and there’s an obstruction in the road in front of me and something preventing me from moving left to move around it safely, I use the brake pedal. Let’s say, instead of a cyclist, a slow moving Prius was in the road in front of Taylor Boe, whould he have rear-ended that too?

No word on if the driver will face criminal charges but this is one circumstance where I think they should be seriously considered.

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Seattle follows Portland by expanding bike lanes. Can Sacramento follow?

New bicycling initiatives being launched in Seattle echo successful projects in Portland, and could influence similar decisions in Sacramento. The new “greenways” being planned in several Seattle neighborhoods will take cyclists off busy arteries and through re-designed side streets, where speed-bumps, modified sidewalks and curbs, and special stop-signs will give priority to cyclists as well as pedestrians.

The first greenway will run through the Wallingford district of north-central Seattle, and advocates hope to develop further greenways in at least three other neighborhoods. The city takes its cue from it’s southern neighbor, progressively pro-bike Portland, which has more than thirty greenways, and which predicts that 80% of city residents will live within half a mile of a greenway by 2015.

The initiatives in place in Portland and Seattle put to shame the efforts in Sacramento, which claims to be a bike-friendly city but which has pitifully few dedicated bike lanes, no greenways, and an outdated but muscular pro-car bent. The region’s single saving concession – the American River Trail – was established decades ago, and has not been expanded or improved upon since, despite expansion and realignment of the city’s commercial and residential areas.

The Portland greenways cost an estimated $250,000 per mile, an expense which Seattle hopes to recoup through an additional car-tab fee of $60. Over ten years, the tax would raise more than $200 million for additional transportation projects to help promote cycling and walking in the city.

In cash-strapped, pro-car Sacramento, the possibility of introducing a levy on motor-vehicles to pay for bike-lane improvements or greenways seems unlikely. Many of the region’s essential roads are in disrepair and further cuts to the DOT budget are pending.

However, as pro-cycling advocates frequently point out, cycling has cost benefits that reach far beyond the immediate advantages for keen bike-commuters. An active citizenry which solves its own economic and health problems by choosing to commute via bicycle instead of motor-vehicle injects vitality and treasure into the local economy, and may even go so far as to improve the desirability of residential property in the region.

Bike lanes and greenways can’t fix every problem that plagues Sacramento, but the cost-benefit ratio is enormous, and worthy of further consideration.

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Countdown to #LeviGF, 9 Days

It’s starting to look like I’ll log my 3000th mile of the year during Levi’s Gran Fondo – as long as I get out for a ride this weekend, which is sort of required. I put a new chain on Eva the other day. New brake pads too. There’s a cable and housing set on my work bench I meant to install, but now it seems too close to the event to be messing around with my components, especially considering I, mostly, have no idea what I’m doing. Anyway, at least the bike’s ready.


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