Santa Cruz ride awash in sunshine

March 18, 2016

Molino Creek just past the Smith Creek drainage.

Molino Creek just past the Smith Creek drainage.


I had never ridden to Santa Cruz on a Thursday, so I gave it a try, this being the nicest day of the week.

I was not disappointed with the weather. It was short-sleeve jersey all the way from Page Mill Road home. It even got warm riding through Scotts Valley.

It’s hard not to notice all the rain that has fallen in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Tributaries are gushing, swelling the big creeks, like Pescadero.

Across from Sam McDonald County Park on Pescadero Road, the remains of a tree that fell last week were being cleared from the house it fell into.

As I headed south on Cloverdale Road I was struck by the lack of any noise, including the wind. It stayed that way heading down the coast until Davenport. The new pavement helped reduce car-tire noise.

After Davenport the tailwind picked up to 10-15 mph, enough to make the ride go easier. I checked out West Cliff Drive, where all was quiet for a Thursday. Same for the Boardwalk.

On Mountain Charlie Road I saw only three vehicles, about average even for a Sunday. Things changed once I got to Los Gatos as the rush hour was well underway at 4:30 p.m. That’s the only drawback to riding long on a weekday.

Pescadero Creek a mile past Loma Mar. Lots of water.

Pescadero Creek a mile past Loma Mar. Lots of water.

Continental Grand Sport Race rolls for 7,500 miles!

March 10, 2016

A Continental Grand Sport Race lasted 7,500 miles on my rear wheel.

A Continental Grand Sport Race lasted 7,500 miles on my rear wheel.


What’s my favorite tire? After just replacing my Continental Grand Sport Race (700×28 folding) with 7,500 miles, the answer is obvious!

I put this tire on my rear wheel in November 2014. It stayed there all that time. I’ve gotten 5,400 miles from a Continental GatorSkin.

During that time I had about two flats. This tire is built to last, made in China.

The tire sells for about $35. That works out to about $1 every 214 miles. That means a century ride costs me $1 in total tire wear.

Cyclist enters the fray with new clothing line

March 9, 2016

Loma Prieta Road at the water fountain, March 1984. Ray Hosler, Dave McLaughlin, Sterling McBride, Tom Ritchey, Jobst Brandt. One of our favorite rides. (Photo by Keith Vierra)

Loma Prieta Road at the water fountain, March 1984. Ray Hosler, Dave McLaughlin, Sterling McBride, Tom Ritchey, Jobst Brandt. One of our favorite rides. (Photo by Keith Vierra)


Dave McLaughlin is a natural when it comes to dressing fashionably. He was usually the best dressed on Jobst Rides. Now you can own a jacket or vest designed by Dave, thanks to his Kickstarter project.

His first in a line of clothing is casual jacket wear, a wool/synthetic blend, probably best suited for the post-ride or ski excursion.

When he isn’t designing clothing, Dave manages the LUNA women’s racing team.

Back in the day when I had a column in the San Francisco Chronicle, I wrote about Bellwether, at the time the largest U.S. bicycle clothing manufacturer, based in San Francisco. I had the rare opportunity to see their manufacturing facility.

I also wrote about Diana Muzzy and Vigorelli, a fledgling bicycle clothing designer back in 1988. The one item I liked by Vigorelli was a synthetic t-shirt that I’ve worn for nearly 30 years! It’s comfortable and, obviously, was made to last.

More rain brings out the fenders

March 6, 2016

Muddy Llagas Creek flows into Chesbro Reservoir.

Muddy Llagas Creek flows into Chesbro Reservoir.


I figured I’d get wet today, so I dragged out the fender bike. It came in handy on Watsonville Road.

The rain is nice, and the local reservoirs have plenty of capacity for more.

Remember Alpine Road!

March 4, 2016

Alpine Road from Portola Valley to Skyline used to be a nice ride. I'll never forget.

Alpine Road from Portola Valley to Skyline used to be a nice ride. I’ll never forget.


Just a friendly reminder, this is how Alpine Road looked in 1990. Fabulous!

It was the best way to Skyline Boulevard.

Marine vinyl saddle cover going strong

March 1, 2016

A year later my marine vinyl saddle cover is holding up great.

A year later my marine vinyl saddle cover is holding up great.


That marine vinyl seat cover I installed one year ago on my old Avocet Gelflex saddle is holding up great.

I added a touch of Super glue to the cover edges where it was a bit loose and that seemed to help.

The vinyl conformed to the Gelflex by developing tiny indentations. It looks neat.

The vinyl looks like new.

About this time I also developed a creak where the seat rails go into the saddle. I drilled a small hole into the plastic anchor where the rails insert and added some Super glue to quiet the creak. It stayed silent for almost a year. Now the creak is back. I added some more Super glue, but this time it’s still creaking a bit.

I’ll have to think of other ways to quell the creak so I can continue riding my 30-year-old saddle, the most comfortable saddle I’ve ridden.

Follow up (March 2): As it turns out, the seatpost needed more grease. The issue was with the seatpost, not the saddle. So the saddle remains quiet, thanks to Super glue.

Eddy Merckx bike on display in Los Altos bike shop

February 29, 2016

A bike owned and ridden by Eddy Merckx is on display at the Bicycle Outfitter.

A bike owned and ridden by Eddy Merckx is on display at the Bicycle Outfitter.


Imagine my surprise when I was shown a genuine Eddy Merckx bike on display in Bicycle Outfitter.

It was given to owner Bud Hoffacker in exchange for some print/catalog work requested by Eddy back in 1970.

I don’t know if it was raced on. About half of the equipment is vintage and the frame is Swiss, by Allegro.

Eddy won the Tour de France in 1970.

Eureka Canyon Road and Highland Way endure the rainy season

February 28, 2016

Eureka Canyon Road near the summit. Could this be the most patched road in Santa Cruz County?

Eureka Canyon Road near the summit. Could this be the most patched road in Santa Cruz County?


If there’s one route in the Santa Cruz Mountains that consistently has issues in the winter it’s Highland Way/Eureka Canyon Road.

The narrow, bumpy road routinely experiences landslides, but this year, so far, no slides. (Eureka Canyon Road becomes Highland Way at the top of the climb, Ormsby Cutoff intersection.)

Back in 2000 a huge slide closed the road. We walked our bikes across, carefully. The county eventually fixed the road, but there was another big slide a few years later.

Cyclists who explore the Demonstration Forest on Highland Way drive these roads all the time.

Big Basin rainfall at 37 inches so far

February 26, 2016

From this vantage point on Hwy 236, Eagle Rock, 2,488 feet, stands tall.

From this vantage point on Hwy 236, Eagle Rock, 2,488 feet, stands tall.


While you’d think 37 inches is a lot of rain for Big Basin State Park so far, maybe. The rainy season isn’t over. The average is 48 inches. In 1993 they had 59 inches.

I’m seeing a lot more Sunday traffic on Hwy 236 than in the old days. Yes, times have changed.

How long will it be before the paved North Escape Road into Big Basin State Park becomes a trail? Eventually. It gets worse every year.

Tantau Avenue bike trauma continues…

February 21, 2016

Heed this warning. They're not kidding.

Heed this warning. They’re not kidding.


Today I noticed some signs on Tantau Avenue alerting cyclists to the inherent danger of riding here when the road is wet.

Gary Richards, Roadshow columnist, adds two victims to the growing list (6) in his Monday column, Feb. 22.

While a different street sweeper that will fix the problem is supposed to be in use, I saw lots of dust. I’m not convinced.

Avoid Tantau Avenue between Homestead Road and Stevens Creek Boulevard at all times during construction hours, and don’t even think about taking it when the road is wet, at any hour.

It’s going to take a long time before all the dust is washed out of the pavement.