Thursday, July 31, 2008


I am currently riding a Cannondale F5 hardtail mountain bike. I used to ride my bike a lot while I grew up in San Francisco. I didn't drive until I was 18 so I was pretty much on my bike, taking the bus, or sometimes on a Razor scooter to get around. I started out riding an old school BMX bike with the black checkered design, then graduated to an old schwinn bike. During my highschool days I rode my cousin's BMX bike as well as my mountain bike. I took the mountain bike with me to Irvine, where I went to college but it was sometime stolen and I never got back into biking. When I moved to Orange, near Peter's Canyon, Irvine Park, and Santiago Creek I saw a lot of people biking and running the trails and it inspired me to get back into biking. When REI had its annual sale with bikes at 20%, I had to get a bike. The bike wasn't too expensive but had some features I was looking for: disc brakes, a hard tail, and decent front suspension. I don't have any upgraded components, the bike is pretty much stock. I don't have any fancy computers or clipless pedals (I ride with my old New Balance 991s). I'm not riding on 29s or 69s, but dangit this bike is pretty. Its matte black all around and just a sweet looking bike. For now, I am sticking with my mountain bike, with a personal goal of taking it out from Orange County to San Diego (a century ride down PCH) but if I ever move, I'm pretty sure I'll get a road bike.

Here is a small picture of bike in action

SF to Sausalito Ride

One of the cool thing’s about Helen’s job, besides the loads of free salami and cheese is that she gets to travel to some pretty cool local places, such as Las Vegas, Santa Barbara, SD, and SF. When she’s about to go to SF, my ears perk up because it gives me a chance to come out to the Bay. This time around I scheduled a bike ride with Martin and Peony. Since I was getting into biking, I was able to convince my brother Curtis to get a bike. He was able to get an old used bike from one our aunt’s friends. So when I go to SF, I have a bike to ride. The bike is an old, old clunker: a Schwinn High Plains mountain bike. The bike is heavy, the gears are off, the brakes squeak, but it feels indestructible and its equipped with Forte Slick City MTB tires so its commuter friendly. These shiny tires make me feel like I’m riding on oil there so smooth, but I probably wouldn’t trust them on a wet surface. So we met in the Sunset and decided to take a trip out across the Golden Gate Bridge. Even though I was born and raised in the city, for some reason I’ve never walked or biked across the bridge (only driven) so it was a pretty exciting ride.

We first went through Sea Cliff and battled the hill there. After that we entered the Presidio crossing through the Legion of Honor. Most of the roads in the Presidio lead to the Golden Gate Bridge if you have just a little sense of direction. We finally made it to the Bridge after a few hills and crossed it. The weather was really typical SF weather: cold and foggy. It was so foggy that we couldn’t see the ocean. As soon as we crossed the bridge, the sun was out (typical weather in the Marin). We decided to go out further to Sausalito and went pretty far. As soon as we all got pretty tired, we turned around back to the bridge. We also copped out and walked up the hills toward the Bridge. On our way back to the Sunset we stopped by The Sports Basement. This was my first time out here. I really wish they had one of these in Orange County. Its huge and the prices are really good and the people were pretty nice.

Here are some notes:

  1. It was a pretty good ride. In total we were out for about 5 hours and rode about 30 miles taking a lot of breaks and a long stop at The Sports Basement.
  2. The Sports Basement is pretty awesome.
  3. The last time I went for a long ride, I noticed my left ring finger and my pinky getting numb. This was probably from gripping too hard. I was wearing gloves this time, but the numbness still came. Fortunately it went away a lot faster this time. This reminds me of something I read on the Bike Noob, where his toe got numb. I’ve only been riding for a few months, so I’m hoping my body gets used to it.
  4. San Francisco is known for its hills. This bit of fame never really meant anything to me until the ride. I now bow down to the many hills of SF.
  5. Really like riding on slicks.

Here was the route we took:

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Orange to Dana Point Ride

Finally decided to test my legs and my mtn bike with an extended ride. The original plan was to commute from my place in Orange to San Clemente and camp with my church friends at San Clemente State Beach.

Things started off great in the morale department. I had gotten less than 6 hours of sleep that night and worked a full day, but I was pretty excited about the trip. As soon as I got home, I put all of my gear together and started riding in the 85 degree weather. Although it was hot, the ride was pretty smooth. I decided to take a route through the Aliso Creek Trail, just to check it out. On the way to the trail, I stopped at Lake Forest to get two churros for a dollar and fill up on water. This trail took me out to Alicia Parkway, where I sort of got lost because the trail wasn’t on my map. Fortunately I found two other people bicycling and asked them for directions toward PCH. They told me to take Alicia Pkwy. From there I got onto La Paz and made a turn on to Crown Valley Pkwy, which took me to Dana Point. I road down PCH for a little bit, knowing I had about 7-10 more miles to go. At that point it was 8pm, getting dark, and I was pretty exhausted. In the end I sucked up my pride, made a call and got picked up from Dana Point. All in all, it was a pretty memorable ride — I had never ridden 30 miles on my own. I had averaged about 10 mph through this hilly route for a good three hours. Here are a few good things I learned:

  1. It is probably not a good idea to commute or do a long ride with knobby mountain bike tires. I could tell that I was losing a lot of speed because of these tires.
  2. Don’t ride too late: I left my place at 5pm thinking I’d get there by 7 something. I actually got to my 3 quarter point by 8pm.
  3. Don’t fill up on too much ice. Although the ice in my hydration pack was pretty money, a good chunk of it never melted. When I was at El Pollo Loco, I went pretty loco on the ice.
  4. Starbucks is a good place to stop at, especially if you need someone to pick you up.
  5. Taking the Aliso Creek Trail was cool, but I didn’t have adequate maps for that route, so it was easy for me to get lost and lose more time.

Here is a map of the route I took:

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