Saddle Challenge Spoken Here!

February 19th, 2018 by tony

Every March Different Spokes hosts the Saddle Challenge. Originally a not-so-serious intraclub competition to see who could rack up the most miles in March, it evolved into a fundraiser for Project Inform. I believe Saddle Challenge started in 2002 but I’m not sure who the originator was. It very well may have been Chris Laroussell, who was President at the time. The Ron Wilmot Ride for Project Inform started in the ’90s after Bike-A-Thon folded and it was still held when Saddle Challenge started even though Ron had passed on years beforehand. But like many fundraisers that lose their moving force, the RWRFPI disappeared around 2007, and at that time Saddle Challenge adopted it and added the fundraising component that it has to date.

In any case the goal of Saddle Challenge remains the same: ride as many miles as possible in March in order to kickstart your riding season. We also raise money from self-pledging or by persuading friends, family, or acquaintances to chip in, in order to donate much needed funds to Project Inform. How you pledge is up to you. You can do it per mile, lump sum, or any formula you choose. To participate in Saddle Challenge you do not have to donate to Project Inform, but you do need to register so that we can see all those miles you’re riding! And you’ll be able to see how many miles everyone else is riding too at the DSSF website. Yeah, it seems really dated how this is done—it was designed for the world before Strava became a thing. Wouldn’t it be nice if Strava or some other platform could host little mini-competititions like this!

To spur you on we have a robust calendar of club rides during March. Originally the plan was to have a club ride for every Saturday and Sunday in March so that you all could ride with other Spokers. But it hasn’t quite worked out (yet) since Sunday March 18 still doesn’t have a ride even though the day before has two. And it may work out yet! To be continued…

This year we are making our friendly competition a bit more interesting by offering prizes for members who do the most miles on our club rides and for those who donate the most money. Keep in mind you must be a member to be eligible to win a prize. We’ll be giving away a Spurcycle bell, a Bontrager Flare R taillight, a Bontrager Ion 100 R headlight, and the book Road To Valor: A True Story of WWII italy, the Nazis, and the Cyclist Who Inspired a Nation. And maybe some other mysterious goodies will appear before the end of March—you never know!

The number of miles you ride is counted on the honor system. But for the most miles ridden on club rides in March you will need to make sure you sign the ride waiver at each ride in order to get credit. The miles you earn on those rides is based on the ride listing mileage or its RWGPS route. If you ride extra miles before or after the club ride, they don’t count, alas. However if the club ride goes rogue and officially does extra miles (like the ride leader getting everybody hopelessly lost), they do count as long as the ride leader can confirm what happened.

To register go to the DSSF webpage  and hit the link ‘Saddle Challenge’ on the sidebar and fill in the details.

At the end of March when Saddle Challenge closes, send a check for your donation and/or collected pledges to the Ride Coordinator who will forward them all to Project Inform. Checks should be made out to Project Inform.

Finally, if you have other ideas to make Saddle Challenge even more interesting, share them with me.

Tubeless Update

February 5th, 2018 by tony

I wrote about my early experience with tubeless road tires last year; you can find that article here. Since last August I’ve put another 700 miles on those wheels and I experienced my third puncture a few days ago. As I mentioned before, one of the downsides of running sealant in tires (tubeless or otherwise) is that if you do get a puncture it often will not seal immediately especially if it’s more than a pinhole. In the meantime as your wheel is spinning around it’s ejecting sealant in every direction. Since it’s winter the bike now has fenders, so I didn’t notice I had a puncture until I got home and saw the Orange Seal sealant on the mudflap and on the inside of the fender. Upon inspection the 2 mm puncture was completely sealed. The astonishing discovery was that the tire had lost less than 10 lbs. of pressure; in other words, even though it looked like the contents of the tire had been massively spewed out, it must have sealed very quickly, so quickly that I didn’t notice the loss of air pressure. I was impressed—I was able to continue riding as if nothing had happened! Of course if there hadn’t been a fender in place I would instead likely be trying to launder dried latex sealant out of my bike clothes. Although it wasn’t raining when I got the puncture, you can imagine how miserable it would have been to replace an inner tube while getting drenched. I can see the advantage of running tubeless tires with sealant during our rainy season. So far, so good…

Ride Recap: Social A Ride—Brunch at Hideout Kitchen

February 4th, 2018 by tony

Continuing our strange waterless winter we had another stellar warm and sunny day, perfect for a comfortable Contra Costa ramble and a killer brunch. Temps in the mid-seventies in February? Not unheard of but truly unusual especially when it’s not just a single day but a week of it! Six of us rolled out of Orinda BART heading to Moraga to take the Lafayette-Moraga Regional Trail to Walnut Creek. We met Derek at the edge of Rossmoor and rolled through the back neighborhoods of Alamo and Walnut Creek. The only untoward incident of the day was the explosive flat Peter had just before the second rest stop. I was impressed with how his eensy-weensy Lezyne pump managed to get his tire pumped up hard without a jillion strokes.

Well, the point of the day was to get to Hideout Kitchen for a delicious Sunday brunch. It’s always hard to estimate when the group will get to the lunch stop so I didn’t make a reservation. Unfortunately Hideout Kitchen is now a popular spot and we ended up having to wait over a half-hour for a free table. Comfortably ensconced in their outside patio we passed the time in idle chitchat. After a multi-year absence Ryan returned to Different Spokes and hopes to start riding more regularly again; Peter had ventured all the way up from San Jose for our little ride. Soon we were seated and service at Hideout was quick and thorough. Roger and I had omelots; Derek, Ryan, and Stephen various kinds of panini; Peter, a very healthy looking Cobb salad. Only Greg went for the speciality of the house, a waffle sandwich (!)

With brunch dispatched it was a short hop back to Orinda BART. Next month: Ryer Island for some very flat levee roads and hopefully spring blossoms!

Ride Recap: Four Bears & A Happy Pig

January 29th, 2018 by tony

In two words: [x] building, where x = {character, muscles, VO2, confidence, ego, delusion}

It was really the wrong time of year to lead a ride like this; it was short and sweet but long on the climbing. RideWithGPS said over 4k of vertical but when the day was done it was “only” about 3,700 in under 35 miles. How did we do that? By climbing the Three Bears, Pig Farm, Reliez, Deer Hill, Happy Valley, and then Papa Bear. It wasn’t the total vertical that made the ride challenging; it was the steepness of the grades. They are all short but they are all double digit (well, not Baby and Mama Bear perhaps). The worst was Deer Hill, where Garmin said it was 15% (and I believe it!) But all the others were well north of 10% too.

Roger surprised me by saying he was game to do the ride after we had ridden a 40-miler the day before. The only other person mad enough to do this ride was Dylan, a former Spoker, who was awesomely enthusiastic about doing such a tough ride. We kept it at a B-pace and ended the day with an average of 11.5 mph, which is right on the spot. We survived those climbs by doing them all at a reasonable pace and not gunning it. We also rested at the top of each and every climb, taking plenty of time to imbibe and chat. Dylan hadn’t done most of these climbs before so I inflicted the full history lecture on him. Maybe that increases the TSS?

We lucked out with a cold but very sunny day with calm air, perfect for all those hills. We got back to Orinda and Dylan had to run. But Roger and I got lunch at one of our local and favorite eateries, Geppetto’s, which has delicious sandwiches and soup.

My legs were very tired afterwards!

Ride Recap: Social Ride Treasure Island to Assemble

January 21st, 2018 by tony

Treasure Island Tourists!


It was a classic “you couldn’t ask for better weather” ride yesterday. After a night of mild rain we were greeted by clear skies and bright sunshine. As well as chilly temperatures. But the wind was calm and the Bay was classic flat water. The January Social Ride went to Treasure Island by the eastern span of the new Bay Bridge, explored the island, returned, and then went up to Assemble in Richmond on the water. Derek was the only casualty of the day when his e-bike battery mysteriously gave up the ghost not long after the start. By trading batteries and head units we were able to pin the problem down to his battery, which oddly enough indicated it had a full charge yet would not provide any power. So he had to return to MacArthur BART while the four of us—Roger, Jim, Roger Sayre, and I—proceeded on. It was Roger Sayre’s first time on the Alex Zuckerman path and he proceeded to take photographs liberally. With the old span completely gone, the view to the South Bay is unobstructed and marvelous now. There still isn’t much to see on Treasure Island except for the exceptional views of both SF and the East Bay from the shoreline. Afterwards we went back to the East Bay and headed up the Bay Trail to Assemble. Because we had dawdled we got there pretty late—2 p.m.—but there was still a hefty lunch crowd. Needless to say the food was pretty damn good. I had a bowl of homemade clam chowder, the others had omelets or other breakfasty food. Roger complained that his house fried potatoes were not fully cooked—an unusual error at Assemble. On the other hand I had to have a plate of fries and they were perfect. Back to MacArthur BART after a pleasant jaunt along the bayshore!

2018 Fast ‘N Fabulous Kit!

January 8th, 2018 by tony

2018 Fast ‘n Fab kit


FastnFab, our sister club in NYC, has a new kit coming out this June. This year’s iteration features a very New York graffiti design. The kit is made by Verge and you can see sizing here. Bob Nelson at FastnFab wants to have all orders no later than January 31 and delivery will be June 1. Cost is $80 for the jersey and $86 for the bib shorts. There are upgrades available too—contact Bob for more information:

On the right side of the pic Bob is modeling the full kit.


Fast ‘n Fab Jersey 2018

2018: Welcome to the Pleasuredome

January 3rd, 2018 by tony

Good riddance to 2017! Last year started with a whimper: after a nice New Year up Mt. Diablo we got tons of incessant rain. In contrast we seem to be heading into a dry winter—bad news for long showers and green gardens but great news for cyclists! Last year was also a quiet year for Different Spokes. Whether it was due simply to constant bad weather in the first third of the year who knows. In any case we have some great changes in store for 2018.

First, we are soon going to able to offer official club dirt rides again. Our insurance has not covered off-road riding but that will change by the beginning of February. After that expect to see mountain bike and mixed terrain rides appear on the ride calendar. Of course those of us who are non-asphalt inclined have been riding where we please. But now we’ll be able to do it officially rather than on the down low. If you’re a mountain biker or just like to ride on unpaved surfaces, you’ll have even more reasons to ride with Different Spokes.

For those of you who like to ride less quickly you’ll be happy to know that Roger and I have a full schedule of Social A rides for 2018, at least one ride a month. We will be taking in some new routes, sights, and naturally fab eating places such as Treasure Island, Angel Island, and dining at Gaumenkitzel (yum!) as well as old favs such as the American River Bike Trail, the Arastradero Preserve, and eating at Sogno di Dolci in St. Helena and Assemble.

Saddle Challenge is coming in March. Need some incentive to get in the miles? You can look forward to Saddle Challenge Mile Eater rides to get you to your mileage goal for the month and kickstart your season. Will they be the usual boring routes like Mt. Tam or Tiburon loop? Well, maybe a couple will be but you also can look forward to some unusual rides such as out to the Spirit Ship on Mare Island and riding on Delta islands! Why ride the same roads over and over?

Last but not least we might actually see the return of the Lake Tahoe Spectacular Weekend this summer. I’ve been receiving moderate interest. If I can get at least ten firm confirmations, then I think it will be a go. Stay tuned.

What else can we look forward to in 2018? Last summer after several months delay we saw the opening of the SMART commuter train in Marin that now allows for extended riding in Marin and Sonoma without getting in a car. BART managed to open the Warm Springs extension in Fremont after an even longer delay. Hopefully that won’t happen again with BART’s Milpitas and Berryessa stations, which are scheduled to open this June. At last we might actually be able to do our Mt. Hamiton in the Fall ride without using a car to get to the start at Berryessa Creek Park! The SF-to-SJ ride has always ended at the Diridon Caltrain station. But for those of us who live in the East Bay and don’t want to take the Caltrain back to SF, the lessened mileage to Berryessa will be much better than to Fremont or Warm Springs. But wait there’s more: BART’s Antioch extension will open this May. Getting to Black Diamond Mines Regional Park for righteous fire road rambling will be easier. Getting to the Delta to enjoy levee roads will be easier too but it will require you to ride your bike over the Antioch Bridge, which is indeed open to bicyclists and even pedestrians. Brannan Island State Park is just across the bridge as well as Rio Vista and beautiful rides such as Ryer Island. Getting across the Antioch is a bit hairy: there is a shoulder but the traffic (including semis) ostensibly is going 55 mph. There is often a numbing crosswind or headwind off the Delta. Nevertheless it is possible to bike it and it’ll be a lot closer than starting from Bay Point.

Finally, the last of the roads closed by 2017’s storms will open. Calaveras will reopen to weekend use in the near future (before the Primavera Century in April) and by October should be open daily. Skyline Boulevard (Hwy 35) just south of Castle Rock State Park should also reopen this spring. Further south Caltrans hopes to have Highway 1 at Mud Creek open by late summer, which will finally allow David Gaus’s long-delayed Big Sur Adventure to be held.

The Return of the Lake Tahoe Spectacular Weekend?

December 22nd, 2017 by tony

Long time members will recall that one of the annual events that the club put on was the Lake Tahoe Spectacular Weekend. This two-day event took place during the summer allowing for warm, sunny weather not only to enjoy cycling but also the lake itself. Members drove up Friday or early Saturday and spent two days of cycling in the Lake Tahoe area. We rented an odd house, “the Octagon” and cooked a group dinner Saturday evening.

The earliest versions of the weekend had riders drive half-way around the lake, park the cars, and then cycle back to the rental house; the second day we rode to the cars and then drove back, about 35 miles each way. This quickly evolved to riding around the lake in one day—70 miles—and then doing something else on Sunday, usually riding up Brockway Summit to Truckee and then back on Highway 89. Later when mountain biking became popular, some would instead do the Flume Trail.

The last time this trip was offered was around 2006. What killed the trip was the loss of “the Octagon”: it was taken off the rental market and there was now no easy way to house a large group inexpensively. The Octagon was an otherwise semi-decrepit ski house but it had one exemplary trait: it had a crapload of beds making a weekend at Lake Tahoe immensely affordable. There were four bedrooms that could sleep two couples each, a couple of bunk rooms that could accommodate four or so each, a hallway area with two beds (!), and then an upper seating area where at least a couple of folks could crash. It wasn’t uncommon to have more than 15 people attend; I recall at least one occasion when there were well more than 20.

A few years ago I attempted to rent the Octagon but was unable to get a response from the previous agent. About three years ago I accidently ran across it listed on VRBO. It had changed hands, had undergone a serious remodel and update, and of course was now a lot more expensive! But in its new incarnation it can still handle 12-16 people.

I ran the Tahoe Weekend at least once (and had even written a ‘how to’ document on how to organize the Weekend) but I no longer recall how much it cost back then. I think it was something on the order of $50-$75 per person for the entire weekend. That included two nights at the Octagon, breakfast Saturday and Sunday, a big Saturday dinner, and plenty of snacks.

To rent the Octagon for a weekend in August will now cost about $1,400 rather than $700 (= 2006 cost). On the immediate plus side is the much nicer digs as well as we no longer have to clean the place before we leave (we instead pay a cleaning fee). With a rough estimate of $35 per person for food and 14 participants, the average cost would be about $135 per person for the weekend. A quick perusal of motel costs in the Tahoe City area shows that one night alone would cost about that amount and of course no food would be included.

The room arrangement of the Octagon is such that filling every bed requires that we have exactly the right number of “couples” and singles. If not enough couples, then two people who don’t mind sharing a bed; if too many couples, then some who don’t mind sleeping separately for two nights. If there is ample interest, then we may be able to squeeze more people in to lower the cost but it will involve sleeping in the common areas (either the TV sitting area above the living room) or on the sofas in the living room. If there aren’t enough couples and someone doesn’t want a bedmate, a single supplement would be charged proportional to the house rental.

I would like to see the Lake Tahoe Weekend Spectacular done again and would like to get some feedback on the interest level and cost from members.

Here is my proposal:

Lake Tahoe Weekend Spectacular

August 17-19, 2018


  • Drive up Friday. For those who arrive early enough, go out to a group dinner near Tahoe City.
  • Saturday: ride around Lake Tahoe (70 miles), group dinner at the Octagon. Hang out at the Octagon; those inclined may go gambling, bar hopping, etc. in the evening
  • Sunday: ride to Truckee and return by Highway 89 (35 miles?? I can’t remember). Depart sometime in the afternoon.

Includes food for Saturday and Sunday breakfast, Saturday group dinner, and snacks.

Cost will depend on number of participants. If 10 people, then about $175 per person; if 14, then about $135; if more, then even lower.

If you want to view the Octagon, you can see it here.

I would like to get a reading on the interest for this trip. Would you be interested in participating under the conditions of this proposal? If not, what modifications would better fit your needs? Do you consider the price reasonable and affordable? Is this a good time for you to participate or would a different weekend be better?

Keep in mind that this is a general proposal and it can be modified. If you are interested in helping organize the weekend, let me know. Post your feedback either to the DSSF Yahoo! Group listserv or email me directly at

2018 is Just Around the Corner! Start Planning Your Centuries

December 15th, 2017 by tony

At the Crater Lake Century


Was 2017 a bit of a bust for you because of the incredible amount of rain we got last winter and spring? The club ride calendar really suffered—not many were willing to proffer a ride with the likelihood of yet another weekend rained out and those that were offered were either cancelled or repeatedly postponed. It’s looking to be a drier winter and now is the time to mull over the Big Rides you want to do in 2018. Below is a select list of local and not-so-local centuries that Spokers love and cherish. Keep in mind that many of these rides have rider caps and do fill up. As we get closer to the dates we will be trying to organize Spokers who would like to ride together on a century.


1 Monday. Resolution Ride. Yes, it’s back thanks to David Sexton and Gordon Dinsdale, who seem to think climbing Diablo should be done weekly, not just once a year! Join Different Spokes as we join the crowd clawing our way up Mt. Diablo along with Diablo Cyclists, Grizzly Peak Cyclists, and the Valley Spokespeople—it’s a regular party on two wheels. Free! It’s not a century but it’s a way to kickstart your century accomplishments in 2018.


10 Saturday. Tour de Palm Springs. $80. Registration is open. It’s in the South land so it’s warmer, maybe, and probably drier,maybe, but there is usually a crew of Spokers who head down. Options for 10, 25, 50, or 10 miles.

11 Sunday. Velo Love Ride. $50. Registration is open. This used to be called the Rice Valley Tandem Ride and it’s usually on or close to Valentine’s Day, hence the name. A low-key event with a flattish ride around the Sutter Buttes outside of Chico. Starts in Gridley, just north of Yuba City—a bit of a schlep but a great ride. The meal at the end is worth it. Has a real “locals” feel rather than the usual mass-event mosh pit vibe. Sponsored by Chico Velo, the same fine folks who put on the Chico Wildflower.

24 Saturday. Pedaling Paths to Independence. $45. Registration is open. 65 or 25 mile routes. This is a pretty easy metric in the Valley that is a benefit for the Community Center for the Blind. It’s cheap too. Mostly flat so it’s not too demanding (unless the wind is blowing.) A good early season ride. Starts in Linden, east of Stockton.


10 Saturday. Solvang Century. $115 mail in; $125 online. Registration is currently open. It’s a long after-work Friday drive down to Solvang but you get to amble back home on Sunday. (But DST does begin that morning.) And be sure to reserve a motel room well in advance. Solvang is a big event but BikeSCOR has scaled it back from megahuge craziness to “just” 3,000 now. That’s still a lot of bikes on the same roads. Personally I’ll probably never do this event again because the cost is high and the rest stop food is Costco-perfunctory. And the after-ride meal isn’t even included. Seriously? But if you haven’t done it before, it’s a nice ride without a lot of elevation gain. (FYI major parts of the route have plenty of places you could stop on your own and get food way better than the mediocrity you find at the rest stops.)


14 Saturday. Cinderella Classic & Challenge. Registration opens 1/10/18. Limited to 2,500 women and girls. 65 or 87 miles. Sponsored by Valley Spokesmen, the very first women/girls only century ride now in its 42nd year. Boys will have to settle for Different Spokes’ very own Evil Stepsisters ride!

14 Saturday. Tierra Bella. $65. Registration is open. Limit of 2,000. A club fav and it’s close by to, in Gilroy. Great roads that are not suburbanized (yet). Post-ride meal is pretty good too. For unknown karmic reasons this ride gets horrendously rained out periodically. Last year it was sunny and great. This year??

15 Sunday. L’Eroica California. $150. Registration is open. 40, 70, 87, and 127 mile routes. The rides are part of the two-day festival of vintage bicycles, held in Paso Robles. You have to have a vintage bike to participate, e.g. no STI-like shifters, no clipless pedals, basically no bikes made before 1987 and the older the better.

21 Saturday. Sierra Century. $60. Registration is open. Limit of 1,200. 41, 65, 102, and 122 mile courses. Stars in Plymouth in the Gold Country, about 2.5 hours from SF by car.

21 Saturday. Sea Otter Classic. $110/$90. Registration is open. Did you know the Sea Otter Classic is more than a glitter show of new bike products and race watching? Yes, it has four rides, and in the spirit of “something for everyone” they offer two road rides (91 or 49 miles), a mountain bike ride (19 miles) , as well as a fad du jour “gravel grinder” (29 miles). But none of them is cheap.

21 Saturday. Bike Around The Buttes. $40/$45/$50. Registration opens 1/1/18. If you can’t make it to Chico Velo’s Velo-Love Ride in February, this ride covers similar roads in the Sutter Buttes area. Choice of 17.5, 40 or 100 mile routes.

22 Sunday. Primavera Century. $70. Registration is open. 100, 85, 63 and 25 mile routes. Last year there was no Primavera because Calaveras Road was closed due to earth movement caused by rain. Calaveras is still closed but is expected to reopen for weekends in early 2018. Starts conveniently in Fremont but too early to get there by BART (except for the 25-mile fun ride).

28 Saturday. Mt. Hamilton Challenge. Last year the Mt.Hamilton Challenge just never happened presumably due to uncertain weather. But this year the Pedalera Bike Club is promising it will take place.

29 Sunday. Chico Wildflower. $45/$75. Registration is open. 12, 30, 60, 65, 100, and 125-mile routes. This year there is also an 80-mile dirt/gravel option but it’s limited to 200 riders. This century is a club favorite. A group of Spokers usually arranges to have dinner together the night before in Chico. Booking lodging requires advance planning, as the Wildflower will fill up all the motel rooms in the area. If you can take Monday off from work, so much the better because you will almost certainly be whipped after the ride and the excellent post-ride dinner; driving back right after is just a chore.


5 Saturday. Wine Country Century. Wow. After losing a warehouse of century equipment and supplies in the Tubbs Fire, the Santa Rosa Cycling Club is still planning to put on the Wine Country Century in 2018. Now, that’s determination! No one would carp if they had decided to call it a year and coast into 2019. No information up on the web yet. This is a beloved century and one of the easier in the area.

6 Sunday. Grizzly Peak Century. Fee not yet announced; registration not yet open. 76, 102 or 110-mile road routes; 78 or 100-mile mixed terrain routes. Capped at 1,000 riders. Starts in Moraga so very easy to get to except not by BART because BART doesn’t open up early enough! The GPC is most definitely not a flat route–it’s a climber’s ride. This one always sells out, so don’t wait too long after registration opens, which I am guessing will be around the New Year. The end-of-ride meal is most definitely homemade and delicious!

19 Saturday. Davis Double. No information yet but the DD always takes place!

20 Sunday. Strawberry Fields Forever. $65. Registration opens in January 2018. 30, 63, and 100 mile routes. A pleasant ride in the Santa Cruz and Watsonville area. Despite the multitude of road closures in the Santa Cruz Mountains this past winter, their routes are intact for this spring.


3 Sunday. Sequoia Century. No information yet but Western Wheelers always puts this century on. 100, 72, and 50 mile routes.

23 Saturday. RBC Gran Fondo Silicon Valley. $700/$260. Registration is open. Yes, your read that right: $700 for a friggin’ 75-mile ride from Palo Alto to the San Mateo coast and back along the roads we ride all the time—Kings Mtn., Tunitas Creek, Stage Road, Pescadero Creek, La Honda Road. For the venture capitalist in your family. Well, you don’t have to drive far to do this one.

30 Sunday. Climb to Kaiser. Registration open on Christmas Day. 95 or 71 mile routes. If you enjoy heat and climbing, this is the ride for you. “Only” 7,500 vertical ascent but you have the pleasure of baking in the Central Valley.

Open & Closed Cases

December 11th, 2017 by tony

Temporary one-way bridge to Canyon

This fall has finally brought a spate of road reopenings. By now you know that Morgan Territory Road has reopened as well as Alhambra Valley Road, which allows a complete circuit of the Three Bears—both were parts of recent Different Spokes rides. What I neglected to mention is that the Canyon bridge in Moraga also reopened about three weeks ago. The original bridge was scheduled to be replaced this year due to age when nature intervened in the form of earth movement, partly due to rain last spring, displacing the support piers and causing an immediate closure for safety reasons. The City of Moraga was finally able to install a temporary one-way bridge controlled by a signal and reopened the bridge on November 22 just before Thanksgiving. It allows the classic Orinda Pool Party route to be used again this summer as long as we don’t suffer another catastrophe this winter. Since we are probably staring at yet another dryish winter, this shouldn’t be a problem. Please note that the temporary bridge is one-way and users have to alternate crossing. Bicyclists may use either the roadway or the pedestrian walkway. But if you use the latter you must walk your bike. Don’t let your impatience get the better of you and ride across the pedestrian walkway even if there aren’t walkers. If you must ride rather than walk your bike, then wait for the green light to cross.

New Alhambra Valley Road

We rode the Three Bears a few days ago to check out the new section of Alhambra Valley Road. Looking down at the tiny creek it is hard to imagine that last winter’s rains were so prolific that it swelled to enormous proportion, enough to completely wash out the previous roadway. The culvert now is larger and should be able to withstand another epic winter should we have one. Alhambra Valley Road informally is the local dump for the local churls. You always saw piles of garbage, furniture, car tires, and garbage bags dumped by the side of the road because cretins didn’t want to take their shit to the county dump. Being completely cut off at both ends by the repair, it got a brief reprieve. But it didin’t take long for the Trash to furtively return: I counted no less than eight piles of dumpster crap along the road. Ah, back to normal!

On the slightly disappointing side, Calaveras Road is going to continue to be shut down to at least the end of September 2018. It is currently completely closed due to earth movement from last year’s rains and was scheduled to reopen in January 2018. But those rains also delayed the work on the dam so the contractors are now way behind schedule. When the new road that bypasses the undermined sections of roadway is finished, Calaveras will reopen to weekend use only. That is supposed to be “sometime in 2018”. Since the Fremont Freewheelers are going to put on the Primavera Century in April and use Calaveras, we hope that it’s sooner rather than later.