cyclofiend.com - peripheral thoughts & notes

June 2024
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Ride Interludes
Filed under: general, rides, people
Posted by: The Cyclofiend @ 11:45 pm

Thinking again to last weekend’s ride. As with all fine outings, there were a couple of specific moments that stick in my mind.  The ride report I posted on Sunday seemed to have a little more emphasis on the framework of the day, and I wanted to jot down these before I forgot about them.

Spinning my way down White’s Hill towards the end of the day.  I was somewhere in the low 30’s, pedalling quickly but not insanely so.  Near the bottom, JimG shot past on my left. He took one hand off the bars as he went by and his bike shuddered with a bit of a speed wobble.  When he brought his hand back, it stopped immediately.  Then I could see him shift his weight somehow and it began resonating again. It was pretty freaky to watch that happening 10-15 yards out.  Just as quickly, it ceased.

When I caught back up to him, he said that while he had never been able to eliminate the incidence of wobble entirely, he now had a very good sense of when it was going to happen. He had actually intentionally caused the second instance.  Jim’s been working to dial in that bike for a while, his engineer’s sensibilities picking things apart and reassembling them.  Shorter stem, thinner tires, different rack setups, saddle heights and more.  But now it seems like it’s becoming much more his bike.  Watching him go in and out of the wobble made me realize he knows that bike now.

Stopped on the side of the road in Mill Valley, near the base of the Camino Alto climb. Esteban had set Aaron up with a tube and we were waiting while he swapped it out.  It was misting lightly, that fine, foggy, SF Bay Area weather.  I pulled out a saddle cover and nibbled on some dates. Of the five people who were not working on a flat tube, I don’t think any more than any combination of two of them had ridden together before.  But, we were just hanging out, happily chatting about all sorts of things (well, certainly about bike gear…) as though we’d known one another for years.

In one sense we have - reading one another’s ride reports, seeing bikey photos and trading the odd email now and again. Sometimes, when a flat happens in a group, you can feel the tension increase palpably.  Here, it was an opportunity to relax and enjoy each other’s company in real time.  We hung out, the mist built up on our outer layers.  The “go with the
flow” vibe seemed to infect us all.

Hanging out at the Strauss statue before the ride and realizing that I’d never ridden with another orange Quickbeam. It’s interesting how the same bicycle model can be set up so differently. I have this feeling that we need to call an Entmoot before too long and see how many of these step out of the forest.

The Cross Marin Path is one of the true jewels in the many ways of getting around marin county.  That was made abundantly clear when riding with a group.  You get to spread out a bit as you ride, enjoying one another’s company without feeling like you need to keep a weather eye out for impending auto traffic.  The fact that it eases through a beautiful valley and is just another plus.  Like most interesting routes, it manages to go through many microzones - the redwoods of Samuel P. Taylor State Park, the meandering course of Lagunitas creek, the damp and wooded stretches,
the open grassy sections - all in the course of just a few miles. 

2 Responses to “Ride Interludes”

  1. Jim G Says:
    Yep. And this is why I’ve hung onto that bike, even back when I was frustrated and sore at it, with most folks advising me to “dump it”. Old proverb: “Bird in hand, worth two in bush!” I’ve got too much mental energy invested in the bike, it’s just not worth starting from zero all over again.
  2. The Cyclofiend Says:
    I don’t think you ever really start from zero. It seems that each bicycle helps to refine what things you do and don’t like about a bike. If you ever end up talking to a builder, you’ve got some stronger opinions now.