Bike Items for Sale - Here's a photo journal of bike parts that I'm trying to clear out of my workshop.
Shipping is $10 or (actual shipping charges + (optional) insurance charges + delivery confirmation fee), whichever is greater. I will try to find cheapest shipping option (e.g. USPS for US Domestic delivery) or will ship according to your carrier of preference.
Some of the parts are new, some are used. If you think my item pricing is off or you're buying multiple items, please make me an offer.
I am selling everything "as is". But, if you buy an item that is dead on arrival, damaged in shipment, or you believe you got a raw deal, please contact me as soon as possible so we can work out a solution. Given the time involved in selling these items I am not making a profit on this and am more interested in seeing components and parts I no longer use but that have remaining useful life to find a home with other bicycle enthusiasts, where they will be used instead of collecting dust in my workshop.
Contact me at the following . It will help if you include the links to photos of the items that interest you. All prices are in US Dollars.
Entire Blog - Display the entire Blog for all years. This is a large file!
|Bike Ridden:||Power Pursuit F2|
|Cumulative climbing:||8040 feet|
|Avg. Speed (moving):||16.0 mph|
|Max. Speed:||23.5 mph|
|Nominal System Voltage:||48|
|Battery energy available:||1525 wh|
|Battery energy consumed:||1726† wh|
|Battery Amps-Hour Used:||34.1|
|Regen Amps-Hour Recovered:||8.0|
|Peak Forward Current:||22.5 Amps|
|Peak Regen Current:||18.4 Amps|
Mount Umunhum, September 21, 2017 - I planned my ride to the newly-opened summit as part of a longer loop ride around the south bay area. I had intended to visit the summit only long enough to take photos, then continue with the rest of my ride. I ended up spending almost two hours at the summit in part because I ran into people I knew who were also visiting the summit, so I cut my loop shorter, arriving home just after 1800.
Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD) took 31 years to open the summit of Mount Umunhum to the public. While the restoration of the summit was nicely done and much appreciated by visitors including this one, it should have been completed many years ago. Many older members of the public who worked to preserve the summit, advocated for public access and to surrounding lands, and who in their younger days wish they could have visited, have since died or grown too old to enjoy the long-delayed access.
Much of the delay was due to MROSD needing additional funds to prepare the summit area for public visitation and to take full public input regarding the restoration plans. But, delay was also due to adjacent landowners who were not supportive of public access to the area.
The adjacent landowners had enjoyed during the intervening years what was essentially a "private" taxpayer-funded security force to keep the public out of the area and off "their" roads. The Air Force kept the curious public out. When the Air Force vacated the summit, many landowners claimed ownership of the access roads, most of which pre-existed the Air Force base and had been used regularly by the public, pressing MROSD's thinly-stretched ranger force into service as a private security force to accomplish the same.
Even late in the restoration process MROSD flush with Measure AA monies chose to undertake eminent domain proceedings to acquire easement rights to the right-of-way of the newly-resurfaced Mount Umunhum Road at a cost of about half a million taxpayer dollars paid to the obstinate landowners rather than to undertake legal proceedings to achieve a court declaration of public access rights based on evidence of prior use (pre-Air Force days), such as had been done for a nearby segment of Summit Road in the late 1990s.
Although MROSD is publicly-funded, it functions legally as a private entity, its decisions only indirectly under public control, so one may understand that MROSD would prefer a legal decision that concludes unambiguously with their sole control of access rights to the roads that cross preserve land rather than one that reverts the roads' status to that of pre-1957, that of a public right-of-way by prescriptive easement, even if the former result is not entirely in the public's interest.
Even today Loma Ridge Road toward Loma Prieta and Santa Cruz County to the southeast and Soda Springs Road to the west are closed off to the public by landowners who have claimed a public resource constructed at taxpayer expense for themselves and by MROSD policy based on the same rationale. The window on taking legal action to declare these roads public based on prior use is closing as witnesses who may have used these roads prior to the Air Force years are now old and many have already died.
During the years MROSD took public input on the summit restoration plans, controversy hinged on what to do with the "Cube" (the bunker that housed the radar equipment and upon which a rotating antenna had been installed). I preferred a choice not under consideration: to refurbish the bunker as a public viewing platform on its roof similar to the museum atop Mount Diablo or the tiny viewing platforms atop Diamondhead on Oahu. I suspect the cost of such refurbishment was too great for the available budget, but I think it can still be done should funds become available.
On the other hand, the Bunker is an ugly box of cracked concrete and rusty metal doors, hastily erected without aesthetic consideration, typical of military construction of the 1950s, that offers nostalgia only for those who worked there or lived and grew up in its shadow. I would not have objected to its being razed.
After I visited the summit I descended, taking time to enjoy the sweeping view of Monterey Bay from along the road before crossing the ridge and starting the main descent to Hicks Road. I was glad to have a regenerative brake to hold my descending speed to a constant 20 mph. At Hicks I turned right and descended Jacques Gulch to Los Alamitos Road. I continued through New Almaden and then south on McKean Road where traffic was annoyingly heavy. I turned left on Bailey Road and crossed the valley floor. While crossing US101 I understood why southbound traffic on McKean Road may have been heavy at 1500 as US101 southbound was already bumper-to-bumper.
I took Malech Road to Metcalf, climbed to the off-road vehicle park, then continued around the backside to San Felipe Road. Then I rode north through east San Jose before my last detour up Marten and Clayton Roads, and down Mount Hamilton Road.
Instead of taking my usual route across northern San Jose I continued north into Milpitas, then picked up the bike path route parallel to CA237 to head back into Sunnyvale.
†Net consumption was (90.6 miles) * (14.6 wh/mi) = 1323 wh.
|Bike Ridden:||Power Gold Rush|
|Cumulative climbing:||5230 feet|
|Avg. Speed (moving):||16.1 mph|
|Max. Speed:||47.4 mph|
|Nominal System Voltage:||48|
|Battery energy available:||2400 wh|
|Battery energy consumed:||1212 wh|
|Net battery energy consumed:||1004|
|Battery Amps-Hour Used:||23.7|
|Regen Amps-Hour Recovered:||4.1|
|Peak Forward Current:||24.3 Amps|
|Peak Regen Current:||41.5 Amps|
Long Valley Tour, September 12, 2017 - After our adventure on Valentine Peak the day before we were ready for a change of pace.
Ron and Alice, who were staying at the McGee Creek RV Park, had set aside some time for us to get together. We decided that a relaxing bike ride was the sort of recovery activity we needed.
I would ride from the townhouse down to McGee Creek. A half-hour later Frank and Stella would drive with the bikes down to Crowley Lake Drive and US-395 and meet me and Ron (and Alice). Then all five of us would ride out and back on Benton Crossing Road, around the back-side of Crowley Lake.
I started down the town bike path to CA203, then down to US-395 and on to McGee Creek. I met Ron at his campsite, but Alice had already started out on her bike ride. She would meet us as she returned.
As soon as Ron was ready to go we rode west on Crowley Lake Drive and met Frank and Stella setting up their bikes. Then all four of us headed up US-395 to Benton Crossing Road, then we rode east toward Benton.
Several miles from US-395 we encountered Alice returning. We stopped to convene a brief meeting. It was then that Ron decided his heart was acting up too much to continue—he couldn't get his heart rate to climb into the exercise zone. (We both suspected that his Afib was acting up.) So he returned to camp with Alice while Frank, Stella, and I continued east on Benton Crossing Road.
Several miles later Stella decided she had ridden far enough for a recovery ride, so she turned back and returned to the car while Frank and I continued to Waterson Summit.
Feeling like riding a bit more, I rode back toward town, taking the out-and-back to Convict Lake, then continued to Mammoth Scenic Loop (escape route, in case of eruption), climbed the Scenic Loop road, then climbed to Minaret Vista to take in the view of the usual afternoon clouds forming, then descended back into town.
I was going to head straight back to the townhouse for a good soak in the spa when I got a call from Ron Bobb that it was raining "bullfrogs" at McGee Creek. I then returned to the viewspot along the town bike path to see a small but impressive raincloud hanging over McGee Creek to the southeast.
I then returned to the townhouse, soaked my still sore muscles in the spa, then dressed for dinner at the Good Life Cafe, where all five of us would meet.
On our way to dinner I managed to photograph a beautiful double rainbow over the meadow near the townhouse, a fitting end to the day's activity. During dinner rain fell hard outside.
|Bike Ridden:||Power Gold Rush|
|Cumulative climbing:||16900 feet|
|Avg. Speed (moving):||16.7 mph|
|Max. Speed:||22.5 mph|
|Nominal System Voltage:||48|
|Battery energy available:||2400 wh|
|Battery energy consumed:||3211 wh|
|Net battery energy consumed:||1925 wh|
|Battery Amps-Hour Used:||61.9|
|Regen Amps-Hour Recovered:||24.9|
|Peak Forward Current:||26.4 Amps|
|Peak Regen Current:||19.9 Amps|
Lee Vining to Columbia, July 20, 2017 - On the third and final day of my three-day tour of the Sierras I had planned the longest and most difficult segment. I managed to start off around 0700 as a smoky sunrise gradually lit the sleepy town of Lee Vining.
My planned distance was about 148 miles, but I could shorten that to 115 miles if personal or battery energy were not up to completing the planned route.
Fortunately, the smoke cleared as I started up the climb to Tioga Pass. By the time I reached the 8000-foot marker skies above were bright blue.
The Tioga Pass Resort that is a year-round hub of activity east of Yosemite appeared to be closed due to damage to its main building.
I rode with maximum power on the climb and speed limit at 20 mph, although only the power limit was binding over most of the climb. Traffic on CA120 was light, and the Yosemite entrance station at the summit arrived quickly.
In planning my trip I was a little bit worried that my unusual-looking bike might be denied entry into the park on account of not falling neatly into one of the anticipated modes of transportation by a bureaucracy inclined toward a "banned by default unless allowed by specific regulation" mode of thinking. And, when the ranger in the booth appeared to have some difficulty settling on the amount to ring up—"Is that a motorized bike?"—that worry was momentarily revived. But after I volunteered that it was an electric bike, he settled on the bicycle entry fee of $15 instead of the motorcycle entry fee of $30.
On the climb I wore long uppers but shorts below the waist. This was comfortable on the climb, but when I started to descend through Yosemite my body cooled off—the high country temperature was a chilly 10C (50F)—and I started to feel chilled. While I stopped to don my longs mosquitos found me. I managed to get moving just as they were ready to dig in, and hoped I wouldn't have to stop and fix a flat anytime soon. Not expecting to spend much time in mosquito country I hadn't packed repellent for the trip.
I continued through Yosemite, stopping only to snap photos or to take a nature break, all while maintaining my 20mph maximum speed. Traffic was light on Tioga Road, and I noticed that few services were open along the way. The lodge was quiet, the pack station empty of mules and horses, the campground was closed as was the store, and the gas station had been shut down permanently a few years ago. Most activity could be found at the popular Cathedral, and further down the road, Sunrise Trailheads and at Olmstead Point. It felt like early season on Tioga Road, yet it was the middle of July.
Tuolumne Meadows and other spots along the road showed greenery I had not seen in recent dought years. Although I was tempted to stop and admire the lush vegetation, I knew that what made the meadow green also made mosquitos mean, and I did not wish to become a meal.
New asphalt and light traffic on Tioga Road made for a pleasant ride, and I relaxed and enjoyed the trip across the park.
I stopped and got out of the bike at the Big Oak Flat information center, where I topped off my water and ate a small lunch. It was here that I decided I had more than enough battery energy and human energy to complete the longer route option past Cherry Lake. All of the descending through Yosemite had given me a bonus of regenerated energy.
After exiting the park I descended a short distance then turned right on Evergreen Road and descended for another short distance before leveling off in rolling terrain near Ackerson Meadow. The road continued to run in and out of the Rim Fire zone, parts of the land looking particularly desolate and hardly "evergreen". Then I passed a couple of campgrounds before arriving at Evergreen Lodge where the day's activities were well underway with guests milling about, two semi trucks off-loading supplies, and a number of cars parked beside the road.
I continued a short distance beneath the Camp Mather arch and arrived at a T-junction. To the right the road continued to Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, and to the left Mather Road headed west. I turned left.
I had up to this point enjoyed smoke-free passage through Yosemite and beyond, but as I turned left onto Mather Road I entered the smoke zone again. But because the temperature had warmed, most of the smoke had risen or dispersed, it's main effect being to obscure the view and scenery.
Mather Road runs atop the ridge that forms the southern wall of the Tuolumne River Canyon, and in several spots I could see the river running 1500 feet below.
At Cherry Lake Road I turned right and began a steep descent to the North Fork Tuolumne River. On my way down I stopped to chat with a Hetch Hetchy road crew who informed me there were four more spots where the road was under repair and had a gravel surface.
At the bridge over the Tuolumne River the bottom of the canyon was hot, over 35C. I paused only long enough to snap a photo of the substantial volume of water flowing beneath the bridge before continuing up the other side. But the road does not begin its climb in earnest until after it crosses Cherry Creek in a side canyon. Then the road begins a relentless and shade-less climb through a zone charred in the Rim Fire that shows little life four years later. The area appears to be turning into a desert.
The climb tops out as it enters unburned forest, then descends gradually for a few miles before arriving at a T-intersection with Cottonwood Road. To my dismay I noticed that the sign indicating the mileage to Tuolumne had been covered by an ad-hoc sign attached with duct tape, indicating that the road was closed five miles from that point.
I had a decision to make. If I pressed on I might be able to get through on a road that is impassable to auto and truck traffic, as is often the case. Or, I might find that the road is completely washed away at a point that backtracking costs me too much in time, energy, or water. I had no idea why the road was closed. In the end I decided to return to CA120 the way I had come for the following reasons: (1) I was riding alone, and if something happened on the closed section where cell coverage is poor, rescue might be difficult, (2) I had enough provision to make the return trip that would lengthen my ride by about 20 miles and 3000 feet of climbing, and (3) I had no additional information about why the road was closed and whether that suggested foot or bicycle passage might still be physically possible.
After I arrived home, I discovered that a closure 7-miles long had been ordered by the National Forest Service due to last winter's storm damage to the road. Photos on the relevant web site suggested that foot or bicycle passage through the closed area might have been possible, assuming I could get my bike past the gates likely to be locked closed at either end of the closure. I was not happy that notice of the closure had only been posted after committing myself to a lengthy out-and-back and not earlier on my route where I could have been spared the extra distance and climbing.
In any case I decided to descend to the Cherry Dam itself and snap a photo to document my arrival before returning the way I had come. Cottonwood Road would have to wait for another year.
The descent to North Fork Tuolumne River went smoothly, but the climb up the southern wall of the canyon was steeper than the climb up the northern wall. The temperature was about 36C, and my motor temperature shot up into the "red zone" about half-way up the climb, reducing my available power to about 50% and reducing my climbing speed to roughly that of a fit cyclist climbing without assistance and with my level of human effort to match.
At Mather Road I continued west along the ridge for some distance before descending to the south to rejoin CA120 near the bridge over the South Fork Tuolumne River. I continued on CA120 into Buck Meadows, then stopped at the General Store to enjoy a snack break in the shade and to refill my water bladder with some cool water.
After my break I continued west on CA120 toward Groveland, but at the last moment decided to explore Ferretti Road to get off the main highway.
Ferretti Road starts through open forest then as it approaches Groveland it enters an area that might be described as the "suburbs" of Groveland, mostly ranchettes and other rural properties situated on 1 acre or more of land and serves as an access road to the residential development surrounding Pine Mountain Lake. The road eventually returns to CA120 near the center of Groveland.
I turned right, rode through downtown Groveland, then turned right again on Deer Flat Road.
Deer Flat Road was never flat. It first climbed to a summit then descended to a junction with Wards Ferry Road. I turned right and continued down the increasingly narrow road to its heavily-graffitied bridge over a narrow arm of a full Don Pedro Reservoir.
On the climb up the north wall of the canyon my motor again went into the red zone and allowed me only half power on the upper half of the climb.
Although I felt I had reached the northern rim, the road continued to climb relentlessly on crappy patchwork asphalt. I turned left on Old Wards Ferry Road that took me directly into Sonora, but Old Wards Ferry Road had even crappier asphalt. I am pleased to report that nothing broke or came detached from my bike during the abuse.
My arrival into Sonora was abrupt as the road condition suddenly improved where I passed the county jail at the edge of town, crossed CA108, and then passed by a Walmart center. I continued on Mono Way then stopped for dinner at a Subway shop before continuing the final leg through downtown Sonora and up the hill to Columbia and Marble Quarry RV Park.
In spite of my rough experience on Old Wards Ferry Road I continued on the back roads to avoid the main highway as much as possible as the sun was in my eyes and those of overtaking motorists, finishing on Sawmill Flat and Yankee Hill Roads. I was happy to arrive at my waiting van before sundown.
After unpacking and storing my bike, I put down a hot Mountain Dew I had stored in the van to enable a wakeful drive home and arrived there shortly before 2300, a long day complete.
|Bike Ridden:||Power Gold Rush|
|Cumulative climbing:||8220 feet|
|Avg. Speed (moving):||18.6 mph|
|Max. Speed:||25.9 mph|
|Nominal System Voltage:||48|
|Battery energy available:||2400 wh|
|Battery energy consumed:||1678† wh|
|Battery Amps-Hour Used:||31.7|
|Regen Amps-Hour Recovered:||8.1|
|Peak Forward Current:||23.0 Amps|
|Peak Regen Current:||19.8 Amps|
Markleeville to Lee Vining, July 19, 2017 - With only slightly more climbing than descending and the shortest distance of the three days, the second day was to be the easy day, a day I could ride slowly or start late. I chose to do both and add some bonus miles.
I found excuses to delay my start as long as I could, until about 0900. Starting late gave the smoke that had settled into town with the cooler nighttime temperatures a chance to lift with the heating of the day, making for easier breathing.
As I rode south on CA89 and began the climb up Monitor Pass, I rose above whatever smoke remained in the canyons. On the climb up to Monitor Pass I passed a few other bike tourists, an older guy riding from Seattle to San Diego who had also lodged at the Creekside the night before, and a couple of bike tourists laden with camping gear.
As I arrived at the summit I realized I would get to Lee Vining well before the normal check-in time if I continued at my current pace. So, I lingered at the summit listening to the birds and the bees and enjoyed the smoke-free air. I also half-hoped the bike tourists I had passed on the climb would arrive, and I could ask them about their trips.
But after 40 minutes I decided to wait no longer. Besides that, an idea popped into my head to add a few extra miles by riding north on US395 to the Nevada state line, just to do it. In combination with my 40-minute pause on Monitor Pass I would now arrive at a more reasonable time in Lee Vining.
As I started down the east side of Monitor Pass I could see that I would be entering a dense pocket of smoke hanging in Antelope Valley. Unfortunately, the smoke neither lifted nor dispersed until I exited the south end of Walker River Canyon some time later. Although this was the worst smoke I experienced on my trip, I did not feel that it affected my breathing too much.
I turned around at the north end of Topaz, a small community at the north end of Topaz Lake. Having crossed into Nevada I would have to cross back into California to continue my trip. That meant passing through an agricultural inspection station where there appeared to be no expectation of travel on foot or by bike.
South of the junction with CA89 near Coleville I encountered a long queue of autos and trucks at a one-way control. As I reached the front of the queue, traffic began to move in my direction. New asphalt on US395 was welcome and as traffic that had been queued behind me eventually caught up to and passed me, I had the road to myself on most of the climb up the Walker River Canyon, a benefit that cannot be underestimated in the narrow canyon with narrow or no shoulder and frequent truck traffic.
As I neared the southern, upper end of Walker River Canyon, the heavy pall of gray smoke suddenly lifted. It was as if someone turned up the color saturation on my vision. Check out these "before" and "after" photos. Air was crystal clear at Sonora Junction, the nearby mountain peaks and their snowfields gleaming brightly against a dark blue sky.
On this section of US395 the shoulder disappears in a number of places. In combination with truck traffic, this makes for a somewhat stressful ride. But, visibility on the road was good.
I continued to benefit from the one-lane control near Coleville creating large gaps in traffic, and all of the truckers who passed me did so by moving fully into the opposite lane, creating little wake in their passage. Camper and RV drivers were less considerate, especially those towing trailers, perhaps forgetting that their trailer width was greater than the width of their pickup truck.
Bridgeport Valley was lush and green. Water stood in many places in its fields. Cattle grazed or lay in contentedly in the grass, having eaten their fill.
In contrast the town of Bridgeport, Mono County seat, holds little charm or character. Maybe it's because I've always just driven through and never spent any time there. Gas prices here always give me sticker shock, with prices 33% higher than elsewhere. Today, I had planned to stop at the visitor center indicated a half-mile ahead on the left to refill my water, but I could neither find the place nor any further sign directing me to its location.
As I passed the southern end of town I came upon another one-lane control. This time the entire road was being resurfaced one-half at a time. The southbound lane had been laid, but on the northbound the old asphalt had been grooved and a layer of wet tar sprayed down. I saw the Forest Service ranger station on the left side, but I did not want to ride my bike across wet tar to get there. So I pressed on and hoped I had enough water to get me to Lee Vining. I did.
After the current platoon of traffic had passed me I again had a brand new road to myself for the next 20 minutes—the most recent one-lane control was especially long. The bulk of the next platoon passed me near Bodie Road, just as US395 tilted up toward Conway Summit and gained an extra lane.
At Conway Summit I stopped to snap a photo, then started the long scenic descent to Mono Lake. The high wind warning sock was hanging limp, and near the shore of Mono Lake the road shoulder disappears altogether near an old slide.
I arrived in Lee Vining early in spite of my delays and detours, so I stopped first at the grocery store for some fruit, then at Latte Da Cafe for a blueberry-mango fruit smoothie, an ideal refreshment after a ride through a desert in the mid-day summer sun.
When I arrived at Murphey's the woman behind the counter sighed with relief after I informed her I had a reservation, telling me she had just rented her last room for the night to the prior couple at the counter. She put me in one of the refurbished rooms at the rear of the motel. The room turned out to be ideal as it left plenty of space for my bike. The only thing missing was a microwave oven. But, one was available for guest use in the community ice room on the other side of the parking lot.
For dinner I had planned to visit Nicely's, but decided to try the Epic Cafe at the other end of town adjacent to the Lakeside Lodge and some lovely gardens where guests dined. My main course was tasty but too small to satisfy, so I ordered a slice of seasonal fruit pie with whipped cream. What arrived at my table was the largest slice of pie I can recall ever being served. Unfortunately, I didn't think to take a photo of it. I also liked that it was not over-sweetened.
After dinner I walked back to my room and tried to use the wifi, but there must have been too many guests attempting to do the same thing. I managed to read my email, check a few other services that were not data-intensive, and play a few boards of bridge with the BBO robots, but even that became too slow to be practical. Besides I was getting sleepy, and I had a big day tomorrow. I turned off my light at 2100 and slept fitfully until 0500 the next morning.
†Net consumption was (97.1 miles) * (12.8 wh/mi) = 1243 wh.
|Bike Ridden:||Power Gold Rush|
|Cumulative climbing:||10790 feet|
|Avg. Speed (moving):||18.2 mph|
|Max. Speed:||28.4 mph|
|Nominal System Voltage:||48|
|Battery energy available:||2400 wh|
|Battery energy consumed:||1957† wh|
|Battery Amps-Hour Used:||38.0|
|Regen Amps-Hour Recovered:||8.8|
|Peak Forward Current:||23.1 Amps|
|Peak Regen Current:||24.5 Amps|
Columbia to Markleeville, July 18, 2017 - I had initially planned to embark on this tour a week earlier, but sore muscles and feet due to starting my hiking season the prior weekend counseled waiting a week for the soreness to subside.
In exchange for waiting a week I got to enjoy smoke from the Detwiler Fire burning near Mariposa. Although the smoke was a factor every day of the tour, making for poor scenery photos and occasionally thick smoke, I was able to avoid being on the road during the worst conditions.
For this tour I took not only my two large battery bags that were half-filled with heavy batteries carried below the seat, I took an extra pannier that I hung left side behind the seat (but still forward of the rear axle) to carry bulkier items such as a rain shell that I never needed, street pants for restaurant dinners, and lunch food for the three days. I didn't weigh the bike, but I estimate that fully-laden it was around 60kg (132 lbs). Combined with my body weight, the total tipped the scale at over 145kg (320 lbs). I tried to cram everything into the two battery bags as I had done last year for my two-day tour, but I couldn't quite make it work without bursting the zippers on the packs. Fortunately, my lycra sock was old and stretched and could wrap up the bulkier bike for good aerodynamics.
When I called to reserve a parking spot at Marble Quarry RV Park, Joan told me, "We don't do that." When I added that I had parked there last year, and asked if the policy had changed, she allowed the reservation. But, it appears that the parking is intended but seldom used for the storage of extra cars by folks staying at the campground in one of the camp sites. I have only ever seen my own van parked behind their office.
By the time I got on the road the time was already 1030. I knew from last year that I could make the trip to Markleeville and arrive before dinnertime without having to start at the crack of dawn, so I allowed myself some extra sleep that morning. The downside was the higher temperature on the lower parts of the climb.
I could see while I crossed the Parrotts Ferry bridge that New Melones Reservoir was nearly full this year. As I began the climb out of the canyon the air temperature had already crept above 32C. I climbed using maximum power (1000 watts input), and that kept a decent breeze flowing past me most of the time even with the light tailwind present on most of the climb.
For most of the climb I set power to the maximum and limited speed to 20 mph. On uphills speed was limited by power or to 20 mph, and on downhills and flats speed was limited to 20 mph. This allowed me to make good progress, prevented me from wasting energy fighting wind, allowed me to recover a significant portion of my potential energy on the downhills, and gave me the opportunity to lift my gaze from the road to sight-see or snap photos on the downhills.
At several places along the climb up CA4 Caltrans had in place a one-lane control where road repairs were underway. Although the delay at these controls was a nuisance, I realized a benefit beyond the control as auto traffic passed in tightly-bunched platoons at roughly 5-10 minute intervals, leaving me to enjoy the road in solutide during the interludes. That in combination with the already light weekday traffic made for a pleasant climb over the Sierras.
I could see a smoke plume from the Detwiler Fire to the east over much of the climb. By the time I reached Tamarack and Bear Valley, I was squarely beneath but not within the plume. The warmer air of mid-day had the effect of keeping the smoke off the ground, allowing for easier breathing. I could smell smoke, so it wasn't completely absent, but the smoke's presence did not make the climb difficult. As I traveled beyond Lake Alpine I got beyond the main plume where the air was clearer.
Lake Alpine itself looked bland under the smoky skies, but as I climbed past Cape Horn and Pacific Grade Summit, the sky became bluer. Markleeville itself was relatively smoke-free, but I could see beyond that smoke lay in the valleys to the east.
I stopped by the water spigot at the eastern end of Lake Alpine, but what had been shut off yet dripping sufficiently for me to take on water last year, the faucet this year had been completely sealed off. It appears that this is no longer a reliable location to get water. Fortunately, I had enough to get me to Markleeville.
I arrived in Markleeville shortly before 1600. That gave me plenty of time to check into the Creekside Lodge, shower, wash my biking clothes, and relax a bit before heading next door to Wolf Creek Bar and Grill for dinner, where I was pleased to discover that the wifi signal from the adjacent Creekside Lodge managed to find its way through the walls and into the restaurant.
After dinner I visited the general store across the street to buy breakfast fruit for the next day. Then I returned to my room to unwind by watching a movie on Netflix through the good wifi connection.
†Net consumption was (86.7 miles) * (17.3 wh/mi) = 1500 wh.
|Bike Ridden:||Power Pursuit F3|
|Cumulative climbing:||18030 feet|
|Avg. Speed (moving):||16.7 mph|
|Max. Speed:||40.3 mph|
|Nominal System Voltage:||48|
|Battery energy available:||3124 wh|
|Battery energy consumed:||3925† wh|
|Battery Amps-Hour Used:||75.8|
|Regen Amps-Hour Recovered:||20.2|
|Peak Forward Current:||22.6 Amps|
|Peak Regen Current:||21.6 Amps|
Terrible Two, June 17, 2017 - I had reserved a nice Airbnb studio in Sebastopol to rent for the weekend. But, as the event date approached and weather forecasts were predicting temperatures over 38C I was leaning toward canceling as I hadn'tyet had the chance to ride all day in hot weather this season. The first hot weather ride of the season often has me feeling a bit off balance, and I didn't like the idea of attempting what promised to be my most physically-demanding ride of the season on the hottest day of the season.
As the deadline for a full-refund Airbnb cancellation arrived the weather forecast remained stubbornly hot. I canceled my Airbnb.
A couple of days later I rode over to Big Basin on a warm/hot day and afterward I felt in better shape than I'd been in a long time. I regretted that I had canceled my Airbnb. A couple of days later I decided to give the Terrible Two a go, and I submitted my late entry.
My rationale was that I had already set aside the date for this event, I was in good physical condition and apparently well-acclimated to heat. Since I wasn't spending another $270 on the Airbnb I might not feel as much pressure to "get my money's worth" by forcing myself to soldier on to the finish if I wasn't having a good day. The downside was that my Saturday, "pillow to pillow", would run for 24 hours as I would be driving from home to Sebastopol early in the morning and returning home afterward.
I arrived with barely enough time to prepare myself and the bike then roll to the starting area where I could hear but not see Bill Oetinger deliver his starting line speech. I cought something about enforcing stop sign behavior at a couple of spots in Napa County.
"...if we catch you blowing through, you're out!"
He had mentioned to me earlier that he would inform the other riders in the event that I would be on the course, was not competing for Triple Crown or Stage Race credit, and that riders in the event should not draft me, but I missed that part. Later at the lunch stop he told me he forgot to add that to his speech.
Then at exactly 0530 and without further ado, we were off, paced by a car with flashing lights as we traversed the first few miles west of Santa Rosa. I started at the rear of the bunch, then worked my way forward until I was just behind the largest clump of riders as we passed through the center of the city. Then after getting caught by a red light (and recalling Bill's threat of expulsion from the ride for violating traffic signals) I lost the group and found myself riding alone until I started up the climb on Bennett Valley Road.
As has been typical of these mass-start rides, I found myself passing riders on the climbs, then being passed on the descent. On the first descent off the east side of Bennett Valley Road, the downgrade was steep enough that the controller could not recapture all the energy without overcharging my battery. My downhill speed could not be held at 20 mph, creeping up to over 38mph, my highest for the day.
Again on Trinity Road I passed many riders on the climb, and the descent to Dry Creek Road was steep and twisty. This time I could not get enough regenerative braking to negotiate the sharp turns on this rough road, so I used my friction brakes liberally. More energy lost!
The climb on Oakville Grade Road from Dry Creek Road to its summit was short and its descent into Napa Valley steep and broad. Again I set my speed to 25 or 27.5 mph, but the downgrade was steep enough and my battery still at a high state of charge that my regenerative brake again ran out of headroom. But, since the road was safe at higher speed I let my speed drift higher and enjoyed the descent.
In both of these cases I was unable to recover as much energy as I might have had my batteries been at a lower state of charge. Fortunately, this was the last time I ran out of regenerative braking headroom due to high battery state of charge.
The T-intersection of Oakville Grade Road and CA29 was staffed by a course marshall who told me that Napa County required them to make everyone stop at that stop sign as a condition of their permit. This intersection and one later at Silverado Trail were apparently the two stop signs Bill Oetinger had warned riders about during his starting line speech.
I turned left and began a short stretch of CA29. The shoulder was rough and scattered with debris. I weaved a bit to avoid the worst of roughness or debris.
As I was cruising at a moderate 20 mph to conserve energy use I discovered others had caught up to me and followed me for a bit, but my erratic riding to avoid shoulder debris must have discouraged them from drafting.
As a loose bunch we turned right on Rutherford Cross Road. Then after completely stopping at the Silverado Trail stop sign we turned left and began the long trek northward toward Calistoga on the road's clean and ample shoulder.
The other cyclists followed me initially, but as soon as the road dipped downward for a short distance, they passed me while I pushed electrons back into my battery while holding a steady 20 mph.
I stopped at the Calistoga rest stop only long enough to give them my number. My plan was to refill water at the top of Geyser Road so I wouldn't have to carry a full water bladder up the hill. Even though I'm riding an e-bike, I notice the extra weight.
By the time I got to the bottom of the Geyser Road climb the temperature felt hot. I passed many on the climb, and I even saw a few riders descending as I started up the final pitch to the summit. I wasn't too far behind the leaders, but I didn't expect to catch them on this day. With the steep climbing and descending on the course and the heat, I was riding to conserve energy as much as I could. My goal was to finish in daylight and to enjoy the ride.
At the Geyser Road rest stop I got out of the bike for the first time to refill my water bladder and to chat with the volunteers who appeared to outnumber the riders by a substantial ratio.
The descent went without incident, although I had to take care on the two short sections of washboard gravel road that took me by surprise while I was climbing. I also paused to snap some photos at a couple of view spots (one, two).
From the bottom of Geysers Road the course followed CA128 into Geyserville, then north on Geyserville Avenue and Asti Road toward Cloverdale into an oven-hot headwind. I reduced my cruising speed to 17.5 mph and soft-pedaled, letting the motor do most of the work. This kept me from having to breathe hard and become dehydrated.
The left turn onto Theresa Drive and then onto Dutcher Creek Road and away from the headwind didn't come soon enough. After a short climb up Dutcher Creek Road I enjoyed the mild descent to Dry Creek Road, then the short ride up to the lunch stop at a picnic area near the Lake Sonoma Fish Hatchery.
I had up to this point used about half of my battery capacity. Finishing the course would be a challenge using only the energy that remained in the battery. I decided that if I could not charge during lunch I would have to skip Fort Ross Road and take the route through Jenner into Monte Rio. I asked a volunteer about an electrical outlet, but there was none at the picnic site, nor were they running a generator with an available outlet. Someone suggested I try the fish hatchery visitor center not far away.
I rode the short distance to the visitor center and found an outdoor outlet next to the door. After I inquired within whether it would be alright to recharge my bike, I received permission, but the volunteer at the front desk was upset that I hadn't brought a cable and lock.
"Just last week we had a bike stolen."
I tried to reassure her that the typical thief would not likely be interested in my bike, but I sensed that her main concern was that she didn't want to be responsible for watching my bike that would have been parked just outside the main door within easy view of her desk.
After consulting with someone else in a back office, she suggested I wheel my bike into their conference room where it was less-likely to be disturbed.
I thanked her, wheeled my bike inside, plugged in the charger, then walked the short distance across a grassy meadow to the picnic area hosting the ride's lunch stop.
I lingered at lunch for almost 45 minutes so that I'd get enough supplementary charge to feel comfortable finishing the entire course. Altogether, including my search for an electrical outlet, I was stopped for about an hour, and I managed to push exactly six amps-hour into the battery, or about 324 watts-hour.
Upon leaving the visitor center I immediately started up Skaggs Springs Road. The first climb from Lake Sonoma is the most exposed but not the steepest. Unlike most of the roads in Sonoma County, Skaggs Springs Road (later Stewarts Point-Skaggs Springs Road) is in relatively good condition, smooth without potholes or patchwork, and with only occasional motor traffic.
Although the grade was not the steepest on the course, it was steep enough to slow me down to under 10 mph where the motor begins to operate more like a heater and less like a motor. I had to pedal hard to keep my speed high enough to keep from losing too much energy to heat.
The climb up Skaggs Springs Road was not a constant grade. I'd see a steep pitch, followed by a less steep section. The motor's internal temperature would climb into the current rollback zone as I neared the top of each pitch. On a less steep section the motor was able to shed enough heat to cool off enough to do it all over again. But on these steep climbs and descents my motor temperature varied between 85C and 125C.
I paused at the Skaggs Springs water stop near the top of the first climb, but I only chatted briefly with the volunteers before starting down the intermediate descent to the high bridge over Warm Springs Creek. The climb up the western side was a steep pitch that had me slowing to under 6 mph. This time the motor went into temperature rollback that stabilized at about 113C, allowing me about 350 watts of at-the-wheel power.
After struggling to the top of the second climb I arrived at the Las Lomas water stop. Again I stopped only long enough to chat briefly with the volunteers and Eric House before pressing on.
Not far beyond the water stop I felt my front tire go soft. I stopped to replace the tube and discovered that a patch had failed. Later I discovered that the patch had not been centered over what was a rather large tear in the tube. The patch had lifted near its center, the air bubble working its way over course of a year to the periphery of the patch where the patch material was weaker, eventually blowing out.
With a new tube in my front wheel I got back on the road and descended the Wolf Creek drainage to the Wheatfield Fork of the Gualala River. The road followed the river for several more miles. I stopped in a patch of shade at Annapolis Road to take a nature break and eat a snack. A short distance beyond I stopped to snap a photo of the old truss bridge over Haupt Creek. Having ridden this section of Stewarts Point-Skaggs Springs Road in 2009, I knew what lay ahead.
The climb to Stewarts Point Rancheria was the hardest single climb of the day with a sustained grade over 10%, peaking over 20%. I pedaled hard to keep the bike from stalling. My short rest and snack at the bottom of the climb helped get me to the top.
At the Rancheria rest stop I parked the bike, refilled water, and chatted for 20 minutes with some of the volunteers. The rest stop appeared to be ready for a host of cyclists, but only a few were present when I arrived.
Stewarts Point-Skaggs Springs Road wasn't through yet. First came a short steep descent to the Clipper Mill Bridge over the South Fork of the Gualala River (and the San Andreas Rift Zone), then a short climb and descent into Stewarts Point where I was quickly made aware of the ocean's influence on local weather. The cool damp air was refreshing, but the contrast with the hot dry air inland almost hurt. After snapping this photo I put on my long sleeves and headed south along the coast on CA1.
I set my speed at 20 mph and cruised comfortably down the coast past Salt Point State Park, Ocean Cove, Timber Cove, and Fort Ross. Seeing whitecaps on the ocean almost made me feel cold.
At Fort Ross Road I left the coast and started up. The Fort Ross rest stop was a short distance up from CA1. I stopped to graze the snack buffet while chatting with the volunteers. I also removed my long sleeves that suddenly felt too hot. The ocean's influence on the weather was local indeed. Only within a half-mile of the water and a few hundred feet of sea level was the cooling present.
Fort Ross Road is narrow, rough, and steep with sustained grade over 10%. Fortunately it is mostly in the shade. I climbed as quickly as I could. Then after a short traverse atop the ridge the road descends to the South Fork of the Gualala River before a final climb up Turner Canyon where the entrance to Black Mountain Conservation Camp marks the climb's summit. Then the road then descends mostly on rough asphalt into Cazadero.
"Cazadero Highway" gives Sonoma County road maintenance department too much credit, but it is apparently the fastest way by land to get to CA116 and Monte Rio, where I found the last rest stop.
I exited the bike, walked around a bit, grazed the snack bar, chatted with the volunteers and other riders, and put down a Mountain Dew.
After getting back in the bike again, I climbed quickly up Main Street and then Bohemian Highway past Camp Meeker and into Occidental. At Graton Road I turned left and climbed a short distance before enjoying the last longish descent of the day alongside Purrington Creek. As I arrived at the bottom of the descent, the sun was getting ready to set, shining its orange glow on the fields ahead.
I pressed on to the finish on Occidental Road with it's intermittent bike lane, arriving just before sunset to enthusiastic cheers and applause to which I didn't quite feel entitled.
After parking the bike I enjoyed a moderate-sized dinner of lasagna, polenta, and salad. I would have gone back for seconds if I hadn't been planning to drive home that night. A full tummy would have made me too sleepy.
Unfortunately, there was no Mountain Dew at the finish, but I had stashed a can, hot from sitting all day in the van, just in case. That probably kept me awake long enough to arrive home a few minutes before midnight.
Overall the bike behaved well on a hot day over an extremely tough course. The motor only hit the red zone (>120C) once on a steep descent on Stewarts Point-Skaggs Springs Road, and it cooled quickly on the following climb. It did enter the yellow zone several times, but it always found a stable operating point at a lower power level that allowed me to keep moving.
In spite of the bike's good behavior I can see now that I lost a fair bit of energy because the grades were steep. A crank-drive system would generate less heat on the climbs, but the friction brakes would then be taxed to the point of dangerous overheating on the descents. Perhaps a hybrid system, crank drive on the steep climbs, direct-drive hub motor everywhere else, would work best. But, that would add more weight to my machine.
†Net consumption was (199.9 miles) * (14.4 wh/mi) = 2879 wh. Without taking on my supplementary charge at lunch I would not have had enough battery energy to see me to the finish had I remained on the official course. Had I not charged at lunch the battery would have been depleted somewhere on Bohemian Highway.
|Bike Ridden:||Power Pursuit F3|
|Cumulative climbing:||14800 feet|
|Avg. Speed (moving):||17.4 mph|
|Max. Speed:||42.8 mph|
|Nominal System Voltage:||48|
|Battery energy capacity:||2800 wh|
|Battery energy consumed:||3170† wh|
|Battery Amps-Hour Used:||59.3|
|Regen Amps-Hour Recovered:||15.2|
|Peak Forward Current:||XX.X Amps|
|Peak Regen Current:||21.8 Amps|
Around the Bay with Tam and Diablo, May 28, 2017 - With the long days and moderate weather forecast for the day, I chose to ride my fourth annual ride around the bay. This time to add some challenge I threw in a climb up Mount Tamalpais in Marin County and Mount Diablo in Contra Costa County, since my loop passes near these peaks.
I briefly entertained the idea that I might include the more distant Mount Hamilton as the third peak, but I ruled that out as the extra 50 miles and 6000 feet of climbing would require a larger battery or a mid-ride charge in excess of an hour and a half. My goal on these rides is not to be riding at night, and as one could argue that I rode the last half-hour "at night", I would definitely not be able to complete the larger loop without several hours of remote mountain road riding under only my own headlight. Then add in a couple of hours of charging during a very leisurely dinner at The Junction, and I'd be arriving home in the wee hours of the following morning.
Marin County is pretty, but its roads have become congested with heavy traffic. Many have fallen into disrepair with potholes and rough asphalt, the recent winter's storms not having helped matters in that regard. Even if I had more battery capacity to waste on hard accelerations and higher "between frequent stop sign" cruising speeds, road conditions made for slow going. I spent almost half the day in Marin County on this ride.
I was ready to go at 0530 but in the fog even the faint glow of sunrise was not yet apparent. I waited until 0600 to get underway.
Skies were overcast and cool, although the sun poked through the clouds in a few spots. As I rode north the fog density increased, reaching its most dense at CA35 and CA1, a freeway-style interchange where visibility is critical for safe passage.
To avoid Bay to Breakers I joined through auto traffic on Crossover Road at Martin Luther King Drive, the only bridge over the race course.
Bicycle traffic near and upon the Golden Gate Bridge was heavy with most cyclists riding the narrow sidewalk as fast as they dared.
I remained on the usual bike route through southern Marin (County) as far as Mill Valley, where I rode up Miller Ave. to the center of town, then up Molino, Birch, Edgewood, and Sequoia Valley to Panoramic Highway. A nearly continuous stream of auto traffic climbed alongside me. Although I climbed quickly, my speed did not satisfy most motorists who found it difficult to pass me on the winding mountain road. More than once I pulled off to let 10-15 cars pass.
When I got to Ridgecrest Boulevard, I saw the reason for the heavy traffic. An event at the Mountain Theater was preparing to get underway. Volunteer parking staff and shuttlebuses were busy collecting people for the event. Once I got past the uppermost parking area near the West Peak, the road was again quiet for the remaining mile to the Mount Tamalpais parking lot.
By the time I descended the production must have gotten underway, and traffic was lighter.
I continued straight down West Ridgecrest Boulevard, stopping several times to snap photos as the road rolled over the browning knobs of grass that lie atop this ridge.
At Fairfax-Bolinas Road I descended to the east. On the descent I found 15 mph to be a comfortable descending speed given the poor condition of the road.
At the bottom of the descent at Alpine Lake I observed my current draw jump to over 250 Amps. Worried that I might have a short circuit somewhere I killed system power, then felt the critical components for evidence of heating. Everything was cool to barely warm. Even the motor itself, subject to the most heating, was within normal temperature range following the long regenerative braking descent.
I re-powered the controller, and everything proceeded normally, although my energy use statistics were corrupted. (The stats above are estimates based on battery charging statistics following the ride.) I had recently updated the computer with an experimental firmware version designed to filter noise from one part of the system, and I assumed that this firmware had introduced a side effect.
My route took me through the town of Fairfax, then up Butterfield Road and Fawn Drive to Mission Pass, crossing into Terra Linda and the Marin bike route that heads north to Novato.
In Novato I found the partially-overgrown CA37 path and started east on CA37.
Several miles west of US-101, traffic thickened and began to slow. A CHP cruiser swerved in front of me and roared ahead up the shoulder. Clearly there was an incident up the road that required urgency.
As I approached the location I could see a car parked on the shoulder, and traffic was moving at a crawl. Most of the autos that had passed me earlier I was now passing on the shoulder.
When I approached the CHP cruiser parked in the shoulder the officer was returning to his vehicle. Before getting into his cruiser he beckoned for traffic to pause, then he drove in front of the stopped traffic to the left lane where two autos ahead were blocking the left lane. They had been in a rear-end collision. Debris was scattered across the road.
As the cruiser, its light-bar off, made its way to the left lane, I started in the shoulder. Suddenly, the cruiser cut unexpectedly back toward the shoulder as I pulled abreast. We both stopped, and the officer gestured angrily at me. I gestured that I didn't understand what he was doing.
As I continued in the shoulder, he barked at me over his loudspeaker, "Pay attention!".
Fortunately, he had bigger fish to fry dealing with the accident blocking half the road.
East of the accident scene traffic was for a time non-existent, then after a while came by in waves. Although I cruised in relative peace, I still watched the road for sharp debris in the shoulder and to avoid the rumble strip. The wind had shifted from a quartering tailwind to a quartering headwind. To save energy I slowed to 22.5 then 20 mph.
Then after touching the rumble strip I suddenly felt a loss of power. Glancing at my instruments I saw it reading 3400 watts. But, by this time I was wise to the problem.
I stopped the bike then killed the power again. Before re-powering I ate a snack and enjoyed one of the traffic-free interludes along the busy road.
Upon powering up the controller, the problem persisted. With over 3000 watts showing on my computer, my power and current limits would be exceeded, and I could get no power from the motor. Uh oh.
I powered down the controller again, then considered that maybe the sense leads on the controller's shunt (where the computer senses current going into the controller) were intermittent. Perhaps the contacts at the connector were not solid. I unplugged and re-plugged the connector closest to the controller, then powered up the controller. Everything operated normally again.
I continued on wondering if I should shorten my ride in case this intermittent problem became a constant problem. I left the question unanswered as I proceeded through Vallejo, across the Zampa bridge, and over the hill on Crockett Boulevard, Cummings Skyway, and Franklin Canyon Road.
From Martinez I continued into Pleasant Hill where I stopped at Togo's in Crescent Plaza for a late lunch. I was ready to rehydrate and to eat some real food.
After lunch I felt good and decided to continue on my planned route at least as far as The Junction halfway up Mount Diablo.
At The Junction I decided to continue to the summit. The earlier problems reading the shunt current caused my calculated energy use to be way off the mark, but fortunately, the computer's battery gauge was voltage-based, and the figure it presented was reasonable and ample: I had plenty of battery energy to complete the climb and to get home before full dark. Yet, time would be tight; any significant delay at this point would push my finishing time firmly into the night.
I got to the summit without incident, but as I parked the bike the computer again read over 3200 watts consumption. I killed the power and exercised the computer's connection to the controller. It was clear that killing power and/or unplugging the shunt from the computer cleared the problem, at least for a while. It was also becoming clear that power consumption or regeneration, especially in combination with vibration, elicited the problem.
I started down from the summit, holding 20 mph most of the way. Then as I proceeded through Danville, San Ramon, and Pleasanton, I rode more quickly. I wanted to get through Niles Canyon before dark. After Niles Canyon the remainder of the route proceeded on decreasingly traveled roads and bike paths that I did not mind riding in the dark, should it come to that.
As I rode the final mile into Sunnyvale's Baylands Park, gnats were thick over the bike trail. I took refuge behind the fairing, but I could hear them striking the top of my helmet.
When I finally rolled up my driveway 20 minutes later I was happy to be home.
The next day I attempted to observe the aforementioned electrical problem on the bench by placing a dummy load of 8 Amps through the shunt and then wiggling/squeezing the wiring to the computer and its connectors. The high amperage reading presented itself when I manipulated the connector closest to the computer (of 2 such connectors) that I had not exercised during the prior day's ride. I unplugged that connector, then re-plugged it, and I was not able again to elicit the spurious current reading. So, I think the main problem was an intermittent connection, but I remain suspicious that the new firmware may render the computer more sensitive to noise on the shunt leads. I will continue to watch for a reappearance of the bug.
†Net consumption was (214.7 miles) * (11.0 wh/mi) = 2362 wh.
|Bike Ridden:||Power Pursuit F3|
|Cumulative climbing:||14460 feet|
|Avg. Speed (moving):||19.0 mph|
|Max. Speed:||41.3 mph|
|Nominal System Voltage:||48|
|Battery energy capacity:||2800 wh|
|Battery energy consumed:||3452† wh|
|Battery Amps-Hour Used:||66.4|
|Regen Amps-Hour Recovered:||13.4|
|Range extension due to regeneration:||25.1%|
|Peak Forward Current:||30.9 Amps|
|Peak Regen Current:||27.3 Amps|
Central Coast Double, May 13, 2017 - Since April 2000 when I rode for some distance with Brian Stark on the Tierra Bella Century, during which he invited me to ride the Central Coast Double that he organized, I had wanted to take him up on his offer. But a variety of obstacles stood in the way every year until this year.
This year I had no good reason not to give this Double a try. Weather was forecast to be moderate, I had a free weekend, and I and my bike were both up to the task.
Over the weekend I experienced only two unpleasant surprises, both of which were ancillary to the ride itself: (1) Friday afternoon traffic heading south on US101 from San Jose was stop and go all the way to Salinas. How do people put up with that commute every day?! The drive to Paso Robles that should have taken me about three hours took me four and a half. (2) When I arrived at my motel, the Inn on Spring, at about 8:00 P.M. in Paso Robles, the proprietor informed me that my reservation had been canceled because my credit card* had been denied and that my room had already been rented to someone else. He had tried to call me, but got only my voicemail. (Although I heard the phone ring, I didn't recognize the number, and I don't answer the phone while I'm driving.)
I managed to contain my anger as I was unsure whether it should be directed toward the proprietor, my credit card company, or hotels.com. I had no reason to suspect the hotel owner was lying to me. He seemed surprised to see me and apologized profusely, explaining that they frequently have people hold rooms with invalid credit card numbers then never show up. He offered to call his friend who owns another motel in town, to see if they could put me up for the weekend. I expected to take a reaming on price as most hotels/motels in Paso Robles rent for over $200/night. Even the Motel 6 would have run $300 for two nights. Fortunately, they had a room available. Better was that I saved $60 on the exchange.
My new motel, Wine Country Inn, was a modest establishment in the motel style and was located at the far north end of town, about two miles from the ride start location. When I arrived its proprietor showed me my room. It had a narrow door and hallway, and I'd have to sleep in a Queen-sized bed instead of a King-sized bed, but it had a refrigerator and microwave. Although it faced the main street, it had a private entrance behind the office and the owner's living quarters. The room was clean, although the brown carpet showed a few spots and probably hid a number of others. But, when I checked the bottoms of my white-socked feet I saw no darkening, a sign of having walked a dirty carpet. I suspected this unit was the last one they rented as it adjoined the owner's personal living space, and so it didn't get as much use as the other rooms. I was able to roll my bike backward through the door and into my room where I could prepare it for the next day's ride.
That night I slept fitfully as I often do before a big ride with an early start. I got maybe three hours of good sleep.
The next morning my alarm went off at 3:00 A.M. I put it to snooze a couple of times and briefly considered sleeping in and starting late, but I finally got up at 3:15 A.M. I had two hours to eat breakfast, do whatever exercises I could manage in the small room, make final bike preparations, then roll the two miles down to the starting area at the Downtown City Park, where we were due by 5:30 A.M.
When I rolled the bike out of my room I noticed the wind was blowing strongly enough at this early hour to unfurl the large American flag in front of the hotel. As I rolled down Spring Street, a couple of cyclists turned onto Spring in front of me off 24th Street, where most of the chain hotels are located. Cyclists with headlights and flashing taillights were gathering under the gazebo near the park's center. I rolled up and gave the volunteers my number. Then we all waited for another 15 minutes in the cold air before Brian made his speech and got us started.
We rolled up Vine Street to 24th Street, then headed west on Nacimiento Lake Drive. At first I hung back, but as the road went up, I gradually passed most of the other cyclists and soon found myself riding alone in the morning light.
For the next few hours I rode through the undulating terrain in the hills west of Paso Robles, through Adelaida, Chimney Rock, and Lake Nacimiento. Although I wore all of my clothes, I was still slightly chilled, especially at the bottoms of the valleys where the air was undisturbed by the breezes at higher elevations.
The first rest stop along Interlake Road was located at a turn-out that enjoyed both the morning sun and a view of Lake Nacimiento. It was the first time I felt merely cold and not chilled.
I continued on Interlake Road, down a steep hill past Bee Rock and then into Monterey County toward Lockwood, where I passed the leader on the course, Justin Too. I turned left on Jolon Road and continued into a mild headwind at 20 mph to the rest stop at St. Luke's Church in Jolon. It was here that I felt warm enough to remove my windbreaker, yet I continued to wear my long sleeves and pants.
After Jolon I continued into Fort Hunter-Liggett past an empty guard-house and then onto Nacimiento-Fergusson Road. I had last ridden this road in the other direction eight years ago with Ron Bobb when we did our Big Sur/Indians two-day tour.
Nacimiento-Fergusson Road climbs gradually through broad meadows studded with impressive valley oaks before leaving the base and entering Los Padres National Forest where it climbs through twists and turns along the north bank of the Nacimiento River. Then the road crosses the river and begins the main climb to its summit about 900 feet higher.
At the 2700-foot summit I paused to check in with the volunteers and to inquire about weather at the coast, wondering if I should put on my shell for the descent. I didn't.
After a couple of minutes I began my descent. Brian had lectured us not to take risks on the descent due to traffic, gravel, and off-camber corners. He was right. I initially tried to set a speed, but I found that even 17 mph was too fast for many of the sharp corners. Fortunately, traffic was not yet heavy. With CA1 closed both north and south of Nacimiento Road, the only way to get to this part of the coast is on Nacimiento Road.
I stopped a few times to take photos on the descent, and about 1200 feet above the ocean I enjoyed a longer stop to eat a sandwich I had packed and to enjoy the view north along the Big Sur coast.
At the bottom I turned left and found the rest stop with its cheerful volunteers at the next highway turnout. I nibbled on some snacks but decided not to take on any water as the extra weight would only require more energy to haul back up the hill.
The coast was clear and bright, the sun warm, and the wind mild. I wanted to stay longer, but I had a date with a long climb that I wanted to get over. With some reluctance I pressed back the way I had come and began the climb up from the coast.
On the way up I had been warned about a motorhome descending the narrow road. Occasional auto traffic and more cyclists were also descending, but they weren't so dense that extreme caution was indicated. The motorhome was stopped when I encountered it, and Brian's warning of "heavy traffic" on Nacimiento Road seemed overly cautious to me as traffic was lighter than the typical weekend traffic on most mountain roads in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Justin Too visited the Jolon rest stop only long enough to give his number and so he was ahead of me all the way to the coast and almost back to the summit again where I passed him about a mile from the top on my eastward return.
I slowed at the summit only long enough to give the volunteers my number before commencing the eastern descent to Nacimiento River. After I crossed the bridge at the bottom of the descent and began the long winding course alongside the river I began to see more frequent traffic passing opposite, including one caravan of teenagers, half of whom were hanging out the windows. I was happy to have enjoyed this part of the course relatively traffic-free.
Back at St. Lukes in Jolon the lunch stop had been set up behind the church. Justin rolled in a few minutes behind me, but he didn't linger. I rolled my bike to the outdoor kitchen where I had been told there were electric outlets for me to take on a boost charge. I calculated I would be very close to running out of juice on the Highland Route if I did not get a boost charge at lunch, so I decided to try to get a charge. If I couldn't, then I'd return on the Lowland Route that was 15 miles shorter and had 1500 feet less climbing. Aside from not wishing to risk running flat before the finish, my battery would be happier not to be discharged to within an inch of its life.
The lunch stop captain had roped off the BBQ area and initially wasn't keen on my using an electric outlet.
"If they see you charging, they'll all want to be plugging in their cellphones. We need room to work!"
But, when he understood I was looking to charge my e-bike battery, he went behind the building and found an unused outlet next to the outdoor refrigerator at the edge of their work area that he said I could use if my cord was long enough to reach. It was. I thanked him for letting me charge.
After getting my bike parked and plugged in, I enjoyed a nice sit-down sandwich lunch. As I had been fighting drowsiness all morning, I drank a Mountain Dew with lunch.
It was nice to get off the bike for a while, to reset my body for the second half of the day. The break also gave me an opportunity to chat with some of the cyclists near the front whom I had been leap-frogging all day.
I was able to take on about six amps-hour during the hour-long lunch, or just over 300 watt-hours. This would give me a comfortable margin for me to take the Highland Route on the return.
Upon leaving St. Lukes I turned left onto Jolon Road and started up the broad valley toward the pass leading to King City. The Mountain Dew I drank at lunch had successfully banished my sleepy eyes. After crossing the pass Jolon Road starts down a long grade. I set my speed to 25mph and enjoyed the scenery while I pushed 1000 watts back into the battery.
At the bottom of the hill I turned right onto San Lucas Road, climbed over a low pass, then descended into the upper reach of the Salinas Valley near San Lucas. I saw few cars as I continued on Oasis Road and then up Lockwood-San Lucas Road. Most of the agriculture in the area appears to be for human-consumed food: vineyards and salad baby lettuces especially.
I hadn't ridden far up Lockwood-San Lucas Road when I saw a large gopher snake trying to cross the road in front of me. I avoided running over it, but I stopped and pushed myself backward, then tried to discourage it from the road. The snake was undeterred by my bike and frame pump brushing against its head. It pressed on, then slithered under my seat and out across the rest of the road. I could not dissuade it from crossing to the other side. Fortunately, no auto traffic came by, except for one SAG driver from the opposite direction who probably was concerned about my stopping on the road at a somewhat blind corner while I tried to manage the recalcitrant creature.
The road steepened as I pressed up Espinosa Canyon, but the summit came soon enough, and then I enjoyed the descent down San Lucas Canyon into Lockwood. A rest stop had been set up at Harden Square at Lockwood-Jolon Rd. I enjoyed a cold popsicle before moving on.
At Jolon Road I continued straight onto Interlake Road that I had ridden earlier that morning in the other direction. The Lowland Route went left, but the Highland Route continued straight.
For the first five miles on Interlake Road I enjoyed a nice tailwind, and I decided to make the most of it by allowing my ground speed to increase so that my wind speed was about 25 mph.
I could see a rancher on a gas-powered ATV in my rear view mirror, and I wanted to see how long I could hold him off. I managed to keep him behind me until the road tilted upward and the wind slackened.
He gradually pulled alongside saying,
"You sure are fast on that thing!"
He then asked me something, but I couldn't hear well. I smiled and pointed to my ears while shaking my head.
"Where are you headed?", he yelled more loudly.
"Paso Robles," I replied.
"You're taking the back way!"
He smiled, then continued on ahead.
When I returned to the site of the morning's rest stop on Interlake Road, everyone was gone. I checked my route sheet, and indeed there was no planned rest stop here on the return trip. Fortunately, I did not need provisions.
I continued to Nacimiento Lake Drive, then turned left, descending Sulphur Canyon to San Antonio River.
After crossing a metal grate bridge the road unexpectedly leaves the river, climbing briefly then crossing a broad windswept plateau where I battled the fiercest headwinds of the day before rejoining the Lowland Route at Jolon Road.
I turned right then entered US101, riding the shoulder for a mile before exiting at Bradley.
Sam Beal was manning the Bradley Rest Stop. Sam had moved to Paso Robles a few years ago. He said the roads are nice and empty most of the time, but he misses riding with others. I nibbled on some Fig Newtons, but I felt I had enough provision to see me to the end.
I continued south of Bradley, then turned left onto Hare Canyon Road. Hare Canyon Road makes an undulating climb up a shallow grass-covered canyon. I could see no definite watercourse flowing at the bottom of the canyon, the road appearing to be the lowest point between its gentle walls.
Several miles from the mouth of the canyon the road departs from the bottom and climbs briefly over its eastern wall before descending sharply into Indian Canyon.
I stopped at the bridge over Big Sandy Creek to enjoy for a moment the solitude of the spot. The sun was lowering in the sky, and the light shone brightly on the grass-covered hills. Then I turned right on Indian Canyon Road and enjoyed a long undulating descent toward Paso Robles with the aid of a stiff tailwind.
Near the bottom of Indian Valley Road I encountered the last rest stop. I stopped long enough to check in, but I could smell the barn now, so I pressed on without lingering.
The tailwind persisted, and as I saw I'd have plenty of battery energy, I continued on River Road at the maximum safe speed.
A few miles before Union Street I encountered Justin Too again. I slowed so that Justin could draft if he wished. He followed closely for a short while, but then he fell back. I don't offer much of a draft off my tail, so I wasn't surprised he decided to continue to the finish at his own pace.
A block from the finish I stopped and waited for Justin to have the honor of finishing first among those who rode the Highland Route, then followed in after him.
The pasta dinner tasted good, but my body wasn't prepared to eat a big meal quite yet. Long rides suppress my appetite for a while afterward. I ate a small portion, then went back twice more for additional small portions while drinking water and soda, topped off with a scoop of Neapolitan ice cream. These went down well.
After dinner, I began to feel sleepy. The sun was setting, the temperature dropping, and the wind was picking up. I still had to ride two miles back to the motel, and I wanted to do this in the remaining daylight.
As I rode by a temperature sign, it read 57F, and I began to feel chilled again. It felt good to arrive at the motel, get the bike parked inside, and to take a hot shower.
On the Devil Mountain Double two weeks ago I had descended with my speed set to 20 mph or slower. On this ride I descended most hills with my speed at 25 mph where this was safe to do. My informal tests during the intervening two weeks were inconclusive about which speed was more or less efficient.
On a single hill I observed about as much regeneration at the higher speed, which is counter-intuitive. There should be additional loss due to increased air friction at the higher speed and hence less regeneration. But, it is also true that the controller recaptures more energy at higher wheel speed for a given braking force. I know that the sweet spot on most terrain at moderate grades is somewhere around 20-25 mph. A lower speed results in the controller plugging (attempting to drive the motor with a reverse force, consuming battery energy to do so, and heating the motor) part of the time to maintain speed, and a higher speed causes more energy to be lost to air friction.
If I allow my speed to increase on steeper terrain I can maintain highest efficiency. The problem with that strategy is that most hills with steep downgrades are not straight and broad but twisty and technical, like Nacimiento Road, requiring significant slowing to negotiate corners safely.
Unfortunately, the efficient operating envelope for the controller does not always align with road conditions. On a long straight down grade of 5-7% that is safe to travel at 40+ mph I get the most efficient regeneration at 20 mph. On a steep often twisty downgrade of 10+% the controller needs the bike's speed to be held above 25 mph, and this is often not safe to do.
On this ride my range extension was less than I observed on the Devil Mountain Double. This could be due to headwinds present on this ride, my not pedaling quite as hard as I did two weeks ago, or it could be from my descending set speed of 25 mph causing greater aero losses that over a long ride become observable. On the plus side my average speed was slightly higher.
On my next long ride I will try using 22.5 mph as my set speed on downgrades. In the end I may need to vary my set speeds for regeneration depending on road and wind conditions.
*The credit card problem ended up being due to my carelessness. When I made the reservation I had used my computer's auto-fill, accidentally selecting a card that been canceled a year ago but had similar last four numbers as my intended card, a reminder to check carefully the full credit card number when entering it using auto-fill, especially if one frequently opens and closes credit card accounts.
†Net consumption was (211.0 miles) * (13.1 wh/mi) = 2764 wh. So, in theory I had just enough initial battery charge to complete the Highland Route without recharging at lunchtime.
|Bike Ridden:||Power Pursuit F3|
|Cumulative climbing:||15460 feet|
|Avg. Speed (moving):||18.2 mph|
|Max. Speed:||34.3 mph|
|Nominal System Voltage:||48|
|Battery energy capacity:||2800 wh|
|Battery energy consumed:||3347† wh|
|Battery Amps-Hour Used:||64.6|
|Regen Amps-Hour Recovered:||16.8|
|Range extension due to regeneration:||35.1%|
|Peak Forward Current:||24.7 Amps|
|Peak Regen Current:||28.1 Amps|
Devil Mountain Double, April 29, 2017 - After registering, preparing the night before, waking early, and driving to San Ramon, then setting up the bike in a dark parking lot, my Devil Mountain Double almost ended before it started.
As a final check of the drive system at quarter to six I spun up the rear wheel only to see the controller shut down. Uh, oh.
Last weekend I had discovered that I had programmed my upper voltage cutoff slightly too low for a fully-charged battery, low enough that a fully-charged battery would prevent the controller from functioning.
Since charging a Li-Ion battery to its maximum voltage reduces its cycle life, I typically charge to 90-95% of maximum, and so prior to last weekend's test ride I hadn't actually tested my system when starting from the higher battery voltage. But the length of today's ride suggested that starting with a fully-charged battery would be prudent.
Since I was starting from home last weekend, I quickly repaired the problem by reprogramming the controller for a more liberal upper voltage cutoff. I figured that I must not have saved the changes to the controller's flash memory and that it "forgot" its new programming when I turned the power off.
But this morning I was on the road, and I had left my laptop at home. I thought desperately of a way to bleed off the top-charge voltage. I turned on all the lights full-power, but it would take hours to bleed off the top-charge, too late for me to start the course.
Then I considered that the controller may behave differently with an unloaded motor than with a loaded motor. Perhaps the unloaded motor was sending a sharper back-EMF pulse into the controller, temporarily spiking the battery voltage over the limit.
I put my foot against the rear tire to create a load and gently nudged the throttle. It worked! The controller did not shut down. The changes I made last weekend must have been saved after all.
I quickly finished preparing the bike, then rolled over to the start area in time to catch the preliminary speech. A couple of minutes later some 10-12 of us in the six o'clock start group were off.
At the first few intersections George Pinney paced us in his SAG car, corking the intersection against non-existent cross traffic as we continued through as a group.
As we rolled over hills on Crow Canyon Road the group stuck together. Then through Blackhawk the group began to split up. I followed the leaders until we were into Mt. Diablo State Park, then I continued to the summit at my own pace.
The view from South Gate Road as the sun rose over Danville was spectacular. As I reached the upper end of South Gate Road, the wind began to gust. I had to take care not to get blown off the road. Fortunately, the winds did not strengthen as I climbed higher.
I stopped at the summit rest stop long enough for one of the volunteers to snap my photo, then I began my descent. The air was cold, and I was anxious to get down to calmer air.
My objective today was to finish before dark. That meant that I needed to keep moving and to ride efficiently. The latter meant keeping speed between 20 and 25 mph on the flat and downhill sections to capture most of the energy that would otherwise be scrubbed off as air friction and to climb at maximum power, applying power where it does the most to increase my average speed.
Even if I had no desire to regenerate I doubt I would have descended Mt. Diablo much faster due to the gusting wind that threatened at any moment to blow me off the road. Near the bottom of South Gate Road I stopped to snap a photo of a tom displaying his plumage. By the time I reached the bottom I was ready to start pedaling again.
The course returned to Blackhawk then east on Camino Tassajara and Highland Road, zig-zagging through the fields north of Livermore toward Altamont Pass.
On Highland Road I encountered Derek Stedman, the human-powered leader on the course who had passed me sometime earlier on the Mt. Diablo descent. For the first two-thirds of the ride we rode at roughly the same pace but never together. I would pass him on the uphills, and he would pass me on the downhills while I was regenerating. Although I was not racing, it was hard not to speculate about when I might encounter him again on the road. It became a habit for me to check my rear-view mirror toward the bottom of a descent in time for me to leave room in the lane for his passage. I'd like to think I gave him motivation, perhaps his seeing me in my machine alternately as a "rabbit" or "devil", depending on whether I was ahead or behind. The cycle repeated six or seven more times that day until I stopped for lunch at The Junction as I was returning to Livermore. He must have pressed on as I didn't see him again. I rarely encounter human-powered cyclists who can maintain my usual pace over a long distance.
As I started to climb Altamont Pass near Carroll Road I saw other cyclists riding the opposite direction, one of whom looked remarkably like Jason Perez on an upright bike. If it was, he showed no recognition of my bike, and by the time I figured out who it might have been, I was too far past him for me to call out.
I stopped briefly at the Midway Road rest stop to collect a couple of Clif Bars for the road, then pressed on up to Patterson Pass and back down the west side into Livermore Valley.
Although California had had a drenching this winter, the wildflower season in northern California has been a disappointment. A few splashes of color here and there, but nothing like the bloom witnessed in southern California. Even absent wildflowers, the green hills were a nice change from the year-round brown we had become accustomed to for the last several years.
I stopped at the Mines Road rest stop only long enough to give the volunteers my number. I was feeling good, so I pressed on up Arroyo Mocho, passing a rest stop for another organized ride and encountering Bob Walmsley on the road near the top of the second climb before The Junction. He, John Woodfill, and others were riding the Mount Hamilton Loop "backwards". Bob told me it was the first time he had ridden the loop that direction.
At The Junction I stopped to get another snack for the road then continued on to the summit of Mount Hamilton.
On my way through Upper San Antonio Valley I spied a small group of cyclists riding up Upper San Antonio Valley Road toward Henry Coe State Park. Maybe it was Patrick Herlihy's Monstercross ride. I must have missed seeing them on the road by a few minutes.
At the summit I stopped to enjoy the view north for a short time before returning the way I had come. I stopped again at the check point below the summit to speak with the volunteers to make sure they got my number. They had managed to read my number as I rode by on my way to the summit.
On my way down the backside I encountered Derek nearing the top of the climb and further down, Bob Walmsley, John Woodfill, and others in their group who were climbing.
Derek must not have wasted any time at the summit as he passed me near the cattle grate on the descent.
At Isabel Creek I waved at and snapped a photo of the rest stop, crew, and Derek who had stopped to resupply, but I felt I had enough to get to lunch where I would take a longer pause from exercise and to enjoy my "hundred dollar sandwich", so I pressed on.
Alongside Arroyo Bayo I stopped to snap a photo of a goose family waddling down the middle of the road. Although the road is sparsely traveled, the geese were on the wrong side of a blind corner. I did my best to scare them off the road before I continued.
When I got to The Junction, I rolled up the driveway to the cafe and parked next to one of the 120 VAC outlets on the side of the building. To dispel any range anxiety I had planned to charge the battery for 45 to 60 minutes while I rested and ate lunch. As I unpacked the charger and power cable I saw that I had packed an IEC C13/C14 extension cord, not the proper power cable. There would be no charge today!
Fortunately, I tend to be overly conservative with my energy usage. I was fairly certain I could get back to the start without running out, especially if I allowed myself to skip the detour out to Castro Valley and head straight back to San Ramon from Livermore. But, I wanted to complete the entire route, so I rode conservatively after lunch, coasting and regenerating as much as I could.
It is said that bad luck comes in threes: (1) my scare in thinking the controller would not function at the start, and (2) my having forgotten to pack the correct power cord for the charger. The third was an interval of bloating after lunch, brought on by eating too much, the first long ride of the season in warm weather, body chemistry slightly out of whack, or who knows what. Fortunately, I experienced no heart arrhythmia.
Bloating while riding an upright bike can be downright disabling, but while riding a recumbent it is merely uncomfortable. I managed to keep moving through it all, although I drank extra water, dropped a Nuun tablet into my 16oz bottle of water, and put down a couple tablets of the "pink stuff" I carry with me for such occasions.
By the time I reached the Mines Road rest stop I was feeling better, well enough that I resolved to continue along the course. It helped that my net battery energy usage from Eylar Summit to the bottom of Mines Road was about zero, that I regenerated as much on the descent as I had consumed on the various uphill and level sections.
Traffic through Livermore and Pleasanton was unpleasant, accustomed as I was to the quiet back roads. Prom Night was getting under way at Foothill High School as charter buses and auto traffic full of dressed-up teens were heavy along Foothill Road.
In spite of the noise of nearby I-580 it was a relief to climb uninterrupted on Dublin Canyon Road. I paused at the rest stop near the summit of the climb and chatted briefly with the volunteers, but I took on no provisions. The end of the ride was near, and I could smell the barn.
I pressed on into Castro Valley, and as I descended I managed to put down an energy bar with several large gulps of water. The climb up Crow Canyon and Norris Canyon Roads would have been painful but not impossible had I run short of battery by this point. Fortunately, I had energy to spare, enough that I probably could have spared myself the delay from riding in "eco mode" from The Junction to the bottom of Mines Road.
As I pulled into the Marriott parking lot I saw no one checking in riders at the main entrance, so I rode around to my van to change clothes and put the bike away before finding the check-in station and enjoying a small after-ride supper where I chatted with some of the other finishers, including Tom Mac.
Overall I enjoyed the ride, as much as one can enjoy riding one's bike 200 miles over 12 hours. The unpleasant memories will in time be forgotten. If I ride next year when the route returns to its usual with an additional 3000 feet of climbing I will have to ride conservatively the entire time or I will have to be certain that I bring the correct power cord for my charger!
†Net consumption was (198.4 miles) * (12.5 wh/mi) = 2480 wh.
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