Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ines Brunn postering and Missing the Birds 3-31-09

Went on a 17  mile late afternoon/early evening ride today to get a few more posters circulated for the Ines event this Saturday. Having headed south, it is always refreshing for me to move along the  Mountain View (MTV) streets where the novelty of HiWheel cycling has not worn off. And yet there again, I have to ask myself if  it was ever appreciated as much in Palo Alto. 

The girls shrieking and the kids calling out to me as I go by are coupled with innumerable  "Nice bike"  and "Thank You" compliments from people my own age and older in many different locations in Mountain View. Or is it just that MTV has a younger, less conservative population?  Intellectual sophistication, where people more educated tend to have had a broader range of life experience and exposure to a wider array of possibilities,  is likely  not a factor. While  MTV does not have Stanford, it  is the home of Google and great number of high tech firms that employ quite a few members of the local citizenry

To further illustrate the kind of reception I get in Mountain View, as I was looking for a bike shop I had remembered seeing on Castro Street, I asked a kid in his late teens if knew where there was a bike shop. He exclaimed, "Why would you need one? That is such an awesome bike!"

If you want to get a better feel for what the roads were like that I traveled on, scroll down. I copied the ride notes that I load with the maps  that I plot for each of the rides I do (I exhort you to load your own routes. You don't need fancy hardware or special skills. It  is easy to figure out and there is even an instructional video there that U can use to learn how to create your own  maps. The way it looks now, I will be loading my entire San Francisco to Boston route on to the maps you can access below and at bikeroute.com). So, in future blogs, when I cite the Route, you can always get more detail about my ride at our maps.

You can even see, at my maps, where I am jumping curbs and where many of the local bike path secrets can be found. You won't see me discussing many of my impressions there though. You will have to come here to learn how riding through spring makes me feel. And indeed, it is a delight to see all the white  blossoms that sometimes sprinkle the road and sidewalks. This as their smell often treats my nose brain to a feeling of wonder.

Can't hear the birds though. If they are there, their sound is drowned out by the roar of distant freeways and trains, airports and just people  making things and on the move. The soothing nature of bird song will have to wait until I can ride early AMs on weekends and again during the week once my ride begins in May!!

      THX 4 all of U!!   

Start 0ft
1 1.93mi Go off curb with Eagle here giving me straight shot to
Latham. Closest curb cut was another 150 feet away forcing a back track to Latham (the DMV is located at the opposite corner and it is where truck licensing appears to be done now)
2 4.46mi Was Looking for bike shop that I had once seem on this street lined on both sides with businesses
3 5.99mi Because U never know on a bike, I thought there might be a bike path along 85 here
4 6.43mi Enter El
Camino Real. Horrible at 5 PM when I rode it. No bike lane. Even rode some side walk. Thought I had seen a bike shop on this stretch when I rode it a few weeks ago on an early and quiet Sunday AM
5 7.76mi Relief!! Begin Bernardo, a true joy to ride with wide bike lanes, few stops and slow cars!!
6 9.27mi Before Fremont St becomes pleasant and tree canopied, one has to deal with this ugly intersection for a couple of blocks
7 10.89mi Leave two Ines
Flyers with Scott at Bicycle Outfitter
8 14.81mi Whole Foods pit stop
9 15.23mi U turn c.o some kind of police action ahead with lots of squad cars

Note: This ride is not about me but it is a celebration of all the people who have helped me get back to wholeness physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. This as I stand on the shoulders of giants to enjoy the privilege of riding this bike, the only Eagle in active use in all of the Western Hemisphere ...

Monday, March 30, 2009

22 "Errand" Miles & PA Weekly on lines me with *Video*!

Got almost 22  miles today, half of which was just doing errands for the Ines Brunn performance this Saturday 4/4.  You  can see who I visited at today's Route. And as I rolled all about Palo Alto, just like yesterday when Faye, Alison and I were out, I heard, "Good luck on your trip". Though there were less people out today, I heard it more times than on Sunday! 

Seems more people are reading about my trip now because a photo of me is what opens  the PA Weekly on line edition! They even embellished the original story with two photos, one of which you see at the right! There is also a cool little video!!  WoW!! 

On my trip today which traveled from Menlo Park to Los Altos and Mountain View, I enjoyed a warm late afternoon ride. On my way out of town I saw something new for me. There were kids on the football field doing wind sprints as they towed a small parachute. What a great idea!!

I also am now finding myself looking for higher and higher curbs to roll down. Fun. Who knows, would that not be a gas if I was able to do stairs? And to top  it off get an opportunity to ride down the DC Capitol steps when I get there on July 21 !! 

And as my confidence soars and I keep dreaming about the privilege I have of riding this bike, would it no be insane if I were to become the first person to actually pedal (and not walk) a HiWheel both up as well as down the Rockies?? I know the old guys could not have done it, because roads did not exist for them to have done so until the 1920's at the earliest. And by that time, HiWheel bikes had long been replaced by the diamond frame upright safety that we know today, not to mention cars.... And the only Eagle coast to coast crossings (one for sure) were done well before the turn of the last century....

I realized today when I was out riding that an easy way to describe how this bike rides differently from the Ordinary HiWheel that most people know is just to say that a face plants is  impossible from the seat of an Eagle HiWheel!! 

THX 4 all of U!! 

Note: This ride is not about me but it is a celebration of all the people who have helped me get back to wholeness physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. This as I stand on the shoulders of giants to enjoy the privilege of riding this bike, the only Eagle in active use in all of the Western Hemisphere ...

Video of Me Eagling Hanover (aka Hillview)

Here I am climbing and then descending the respected Hanover (aka Hillview) hill. It was filmed by Faye Saunders with support from Alison Chaiken, PhD.  I went up down this hill four times to get this footage. It was part of a ride the three of us did to introduce Alison to recumbent cycling.

Here is the fun 15 mile ROUTE we enjoyed yesterday. 

THX 4 all of U!!  

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Eagle Portola Loop - 31 miles - longest to date 3-28-09

In the picture at left, I want to call attention to the shadow in the foreground. That is me. On the Eagle!!  I took it as I photographed a small cluster of cyclists in the parking lot across  the street from the Woodside Store .

I got out and on the street  this morning at 6:45.  What an absolutely glorious time to be on the road!  Everything is crisp, fresh and alive. The air is filled with bird song!  Every inhalation is filled with the aroma of flowers. WoW!

This is how I want to see America. And this can be be the US of A I bear witness to if I am on the road at daybreak. I want to know this land of ours as filled with possibilities; one that is crisp, fresh and alive. And yet this can change to  a view that reflects back a hot, tired, ragged and worn country if I take my time getting out and into it.

This is one of the reasons why I am trying to get myself  used to not splashing cold water on my face when I take    off in the AM. And there is another  price I must be  willing to pay to be able to move at sun up. I must be willing to tone down my previous evening's activity. While I did what amounted to almost 40 miles  today, on less than six hours sleep, I was able to do so because I did not have a 50 or 60 mile day filled with unknowns. 

In terms of what it cost me last night, I missed spending more time at what looked a great get together filled with networking possibilities. My neighbor Amacker Bullwikle threw a party for her house mate whose birthday it was. And there were many brilliant people from some of the more well known local high tech firms. I did stay half an  hour to honor  Amcker, the creative genius who drew up the mock for the cover of my book, “How America can Bike and Grow Rich, The National Bicycle Greenway Manifesto”. In fact it might have been more fun to stick around longer so I could parlay how Amacker was introducing me to her friends. She said I am a  local hero........ 

Well I rolled across a still sleeping Palo Alto to  Sand Hill Road which I climbed all the way to the freeway without getting out of the saddle.   I need to build strength in my legs for this kind of pedaling because I am not going to be able to ride the long mountain passes ahead by standing up the whole time.  I may need to stand  to rest my crotch from time to time, but I know I cannot climb for miles and miles in a manner such as this,

I talked yesterday about the importance of doing my  training rides with myself so I can really listen to my bike and the needs I have as the two of us dance   together. Well today, I became aware of the slight burn I am starting to feel just above my knees on the outside of my legs. Having learned how to listen to my body from all my years in the gym, I know that In order   to build that part of my lower extremities, I have to strategically  rest them. And one of the ways I can do  that is by standing out of the seat judiciously.

So when I was climbing the steeper part of Sand Hill on the other side of the freeway, I stayed seated for maybe 2/3 of it. This was so until knowing rest was required, I also got tired of watching a jogger who wasn't moving all that fast widen the distance between us. By standing into  the pedal strokes, I almost caught him at the top.

From there I pedaled up Whiskey Hill from bottom to top while still seated on my way to the Woodside Store (aka Roberts Market). Manzanita Road was next.  It branched off of Mt Home Road and let me see some of the affluent Woodside homes that few car drivers see. The road narrowed and the homes became large estates. Trees formed a canopy over the road.

All of this beauty led me back to a right turn on Sand Hill Rd that was instant climbing.  Nor could I let my guard down for what was a mild surprise given how Manzanita had lulled me into easy coasting mode.  Upon cresting the hill  I entered the bicycle heaven of the Portola Valley. There were less bikes out than either of the two previous Saturdays but they were there and I was on this road the earliest I have been on it yet.

Continuing on to Arastradero, I barrelled up the small hill with gusto. And while seated in the saddle. The downhill I fully let loose on. Placing my trust in God and letting Him send a charge through my body to keep all  my welds and bolts and wires tight and right,  I was moving over 30 mph! 

A short ways from where it ended at Page Mill at mile 20, I chose to do the climb over Page Mill instead of taking Old Page Mill Road which is more rural and has almost no cars. And I stayed in saddle for the whole way!

As a reward, I let myself have my first drink  of water from my water bottle. Six miles later I let myself eat the energy bar I'd been saving in my buttpak for emergencies. Happy with myself for the previous pretty focused 26 miles I also drank my water bottle all the way down at the quaint little shopping village at Foothill Expwy and Magdalena. 

By the time I got home five miles later, I had one the biggest rides  the Eagle and I have done to date. 31 miles! Add the almost 7 Faye Saunders and I did later in the day when we went out and got flyers for the Ines Brunn show next Saturday posted and I ended up with a 38 mile day on the Eagle. To see who we visited, who we met along the way and the raffle prizes we accumulated almost by default go to the second route link below

THX 4 all of U!!  
Ines Brunn Flyer Distribution Route 

Note: This ride is not about me but it is a celebration of all the people who have helped me get back to wholeness physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. This as I stand on the shoulders of giants to enjoy the privilege of riding this bike, the only Eagle in active use west of the Mississippi ... 

Friday, March 27, 2009

Ellen Fletcher and Out of the Saddle or no 3-28-09

Pretty close to where I started my ride, I saw one of America's first and easily one of its most powerful bike activists  out for a ride herself  today. On this perfect day for cycling, not too hot or not too cool, Ellen Fletcher (here is the Podcast she ands I did together in '05) was out biking on one of the many roads she helped to make friendly for cyclists, Back when Ellen was placing fire at the heels of local decision makers, green was not a popular way to be and people thought you were odd if you did not drive a car. As recent as 20 years ago, a great preponderance of people thought of the bicycle as no more than a toy. children used until they were enough to drive,   In the 70's when Ellen  first started campaigning  for safer streets for bicycles, the needs of the motorist far outweighed any other user of the road.

Ellen was courageous then. And she is courageous now.  I didn't stop and talk with her because I know how hard it is   for her to get enough wind to speak, let  alone ride a bike! Just a few short months ago, she had a large portion of her lung removed and yet that is a fact that few people even know. If Ellen wants to talk about anything, it's about biking and what we can do to make it safer! And all this from an 80 year old woman!!

Today I rode to the southern edge of Mountain View and back through Palo Alto to the edge of Menlo Park on the rollers at the base of the Coast Range. Most of the 21 miles I got today were pretty focused. What I mean by that is that I  drove it pretty hard  and kept a pretty steady cadence until I got to downtown Palo Alto. The roads I chose for this effort helped a lot. Miramonte Road from El Camino west across the valley was fast for bike travel with hardly any stop signs or lights and its wide bike lanes and soothing fresh blacktop. Nor do the cars travel fast on it. This as Foothill Expwy that it connects to is always an excellent place to roll some strong miles!  

I was also a lot more attentive to how  the bike and I related to each other. This was so because when there are lot of cars around, and less of the right of way  to work with, I have to be mindful of the interplay that is taking place when we share the road together. This is also true when I ride with other cyclists or there are a lot of people asking me questions. Instead of thinking about what the bike and I need from each other, I am trying to be  engaged in the needs of those with whom I am sharing my travels.

For example I made  it up a very steep hill in the homes behind Stanford, If I would have been riding with others I may have made it up for bragging rights or so as not to compromise my pride and never really known exactly why. Well today I made the  grade and I know why. I threw my upper body in front of the handelebars as far as I could. So much so, in fact. I felt like I was pedaling backwards. Whoaaa..

And yet as I go within as I ride, I now realize that unless the hill is really a steep one, I have got to stay in the saddle. This is so because I need to strengthen my legs for the new pedaling position the Eagle puts me in.  I also know that as my legs get stronger and stronger, the only time I will need to get up and off of the seat is when I need to rest my crotch or the ascent itself is a genuinely steep one. 

Because what goes up must come down, the hill on the other side of the short steep one I was proud to have climbed was probably twice as long and much steeper as well. Like a San Francisco  hill, it easily approaches a 20% grade. I still don't know how but I have climbed up it very slowly, inch by inch, and pedal stroke by pedal stroke with all my might on an Ordinary HiWheel. And yet today I almost didn't even go down it because I was remotely afraid that my brakes would not do the job. To help them, I backpedaled the whole painful way down. I felt so relieved to be safely at the bottom. 

Gotta wrap up today because in seven hours, I want to be on the road enjoying the hills with all the other Palo Alto and peninsula cyclists that I know will be out there!!

      THX 4 all of U!!  

Note: This ride is not about me but it is a celebration of all the people who have helped me get back to wholeness physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. This as I stand on the shoulders of giants to enjoy the privilege of riding this bike, the only Eagle in active use west of the Mississippi ...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Eagle Curb Taming 3-26-09

Today's ride was an easy 15 miles and as I looked ahead to the Coast Range that separates the San Francisco Bay Area from the Pacific Ocean, I thought about how, soon I would be disappearing for many days at a time into lands far more remote than how our local mountains appear. At least now, my rides are short and I always have a refrigerator, shower and a bathroom I can return to. In the pretty near future, I am going to have to prepare my mind for the nomad like existence that I will be forced to adopt.

I will also have to prepare my mind for the slow down in time where clocks and calendars will often be hard to locate. Nor will water, mirrors and my favorite foods be things I can expect to be readily accessible. Many of the things we take for granted for a productive life, such as electricity, and signals for telephone and internet access will also often not exist. This as the monotony of miles that I can look forward to pedaling is going to require I have something to keep my mind occupied. Soon, I will have to start thinking about new thoughts I can play with or cogitate upon for the desolate circumstance I know is before me.

Now that I am feeling a lot more solid on the Eagle and have been turning my attention to the Ines Brunn show on 4/4 (SOON!), we now even have an event poster we can begin circulating. Soon I will have it at the WEB we have created for this amazing performance so you can run your own copies and circulate accordingly. THX to Faye Saunders (pictured above), for not only creating the handsome poster but for taking over the management of the Ines event so I can more fully tame this Eagle.

As you can see from my route noted below, I did a light dose of hills, they are actually becoming fun, before I returned to town to run a few errands. I stopped in at the Palo Alto Weekly's downtown offices, but Jay Thorwaldson, their managing editor, was not there. Jay appreciates what I have before me, because he too lives a life of adventure. He commutes to work on a beautiful and huge motorcycle complete with fairing and floorboards. Every weekend he runs off to the Sierras on it so he can spend time with his girlfriend who lives there. Some of the escapades he has shared with me over the years remind me of the journeys I used to do all over the western US and Canada back when I was in college using motors instead of my legs to get places.

Since Jay wasn't there, I used that time to call upon Marisella at my favorite Mexican restaurant in all of the San Francisco peninsula, La Morenita. Located across from the Palo Alto Whole Foods at Homer and Emerson, it not only offers a wonderful ambiance, but the food there is great. Many a business deal has been conducted over the meals that Marisella and her aunt and sometimes her uncle can often be found serving.

A beautiful woman, like her mother who owns the restaurant, Marisella is driven to succeed and also has a sharp business mind. So much so that her mother entrusts a lot of the local promotion efforts to Marisella. Toward that end, when I asked her to support my ride and the Ines Event with a donation for our raffle, she almost immediately produced a gift certificate for $45 worth of dining at her eatery.

And all of you just might get to meet Marisella. I am trying to get her and her boyfriend to ride up with us to San Francisco City Hall when the ex mayor of Palo Alto, Yoriko Kishimoto, helps me kick my ride off on May 3 as per this
INVITATION that I am extending to all of you as well.

On my way back home I spotted a woman hauling a trailer ahead of me on Park Ave. And I raced to catch her because the pace she was keeping looked like a familiar one. She seemed to be comfortably moving along at about the same speed I did when I crossed America in 1986 on what amounted to a 13 foot long rig. By the time I caught her, I knew I had come a long way on the HiWheel bike.

When I first started riding Penny Farthings in 2001, the only people I passed were pedestrians on the sidewalk. Even the slowest jogger was hard for me to keep up with. I kept riding and over the years I keep getting stronger and stronger. And now, if I make my mind up, I can actually catch a slow moving cyclist once in a while, like I just did. And Wow, what a confidence builder to know I can move as fast as I did in 1986 because after I caught this young mother and rode with her for another half of a mile, hers was an easy pace for me to keep!!

At right is a photo of a small curb that feeds an alley way here in Palo Alto. I show
it because I rode down it on today's ride. Painlessly! And in fact, I look forward to bigger curbs to go down (and, in time, up them) because neither I nor the bike seemed to feel it very much at all. How different this was for me!

On the Ordinary Hiwheel, the way to go safely down any size curb is to place great strain on the pedals to do so. On the Eagle the opposite is true. The Eagle center of gravity is so rearward oriented that if I were to pedal hard while going down a large ledge it might just pull the front wheel off the ground after the jump was complete. Nor was I willing to find out. By keeping a light amount of pressure on the pedals, I executed the maneuver just fine!! WoW!!

So much Yahoo!!

THX 4 all of U!!

Note: This ride is not about me but it is a celebration of all the people who have helped me get back to wholeness physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. This as I stand on the shoulders of giants to enjoy the privilege of riding this bike, the only Eagle (backwards HiWheel) in active use in all the world...

Anatomy of a Media Firestorm 3-25-09

Yesterday (I am writing this on 3/26) was more about ride administration than rolling the miles on the Eagle. And yet I did collect some sobering insight about the amazing machine I am riding. So please bear with me, as before I got to my bike and riding it, I had other fires to stoke. With my '86 ride as a blueprint, I am assigning attention to those parts of my ride that I feel will bear the most fruit to make it the media sensation I know it can become.

I found Ines Brunn and Rebecca Wallace in my inbox when the day began. Rebecca was trying to get a feature together about the Ines Brunn SHOW (link) in time for her Arts and Entertainment part of this Friday's (tomorrow!) Palo Alto Weekly. A very popular and widely read newspaper, it has a very big on line and print presence up and down the San Francisco peninsula here. And since what they write in any of their sections often finds its way into  papers throughout the Bay Area, I knew that what she was trying to do was huge.

So I contracted Ines, who drives for bicycles very hard over there in China. She was still up and I got her and Rebecca in dialogue. No easy feat when you consider that Ines is 13 hours ahead of us. And within the context of their exchange, some of which I was cc'd, I acquired a fairly complete bio for Ines that she doesn't much circulate. I rewrote it for our show. See it HERE

The postscript to that effort was that Rebecca got all the camera ready (and not lower resoluton web ready) photos she needed and even has an on line interview scheduled for the two of them today!!

I then went about the work of getting the bio I rewrote for Ines out to my mail lists and on to Facebook and Twitter before I then tried to adjust my brakes which have gotten loose with all the downhills I've been doing. What Jeff and I had thought would be a simple fix with a washer ended up being a non fix because I ran out of time. Casey Scheid and Whitney Dafoe from the Palo Alto Weekly arrived before I could attempt a work around to the fact that I could not just insert a washer because there would be no way for me to hold a needed cotter pin in place.....

Nor was this like any of the hundreds of interviews I have ever done. I was on film the whole time! That's right, as Casey asked me questions, he also had a small video capturing device trained on me as I answered him. This as Whitney was busy taking photo after photo of me and all that which I am surrounded by out here in the garage. In and amongst all the bikes and tools and nuts and bolts, computers, hard drives and scanners, etc, his viewers will have a lot to look at! 

Of note is the fact that Whitney got here on an old beater Peugeot, the kind of bike I told Casey it makes me happy me to see people on. When Casey asked me who inspired me, I told him it was not racers but the guy who uses his bike for transportation, many of whom are unsung heroes who travel sometimes great distances to heal the planet, and their own bodes, minds and spirits

Next we went out to the street where there was more video and tons more pictures taken as I showed them what it was like to mount, ride and dismount the amazing Eagle! When we were all done, it was time for me to finally get some riding in!! And some dancing.

In Rewood City, ten miles away, starting at 7 PM, there is a weekly blues jam that I try to get to so I can squeeze in some jump swing to live music. The ten miles there were flat but I rode them hard. In doing so, I finally understood what Jacques Graber meant when he said that his 56" G&J Ordinary HiWheel was faster than the Eagle that he handed over to me for my ride. As hard as I pushed in getting to the dance club, I didn't arrive any sooner than when I was on my regular HiWheel. On the one hand, I felt a small measure of disappointment, while on the other I knew the amount of flat riding like what I had just ridden was not commonplace in a bike trek across America. On a cross country cycle journey there is a ton of up and down pedaling to be done. And I want to ride that stuff and not walk it.....

Home at 10:30, there was a lot of email to address and just before I was getting ready to do the yoga that keeps me from being an invalid from riding these HiWheel bikes, I got a email from Jay Thorwaldson, the editor of the Palo Alto Weekly. He knew I stayed up late and got up early. He asked me in his email if I could flesh out the interview I had done with Casey with about a dozen questions he had. I climbed into my sleeping bag at 2:30 AM instead of 12:30 or 1..........

And yet the long day that yesterday was pales in comparison to what some of the dog days of my ride ahead are going to be like. I take inspiration from some of the scouts that went before me in our six previous Mayors' Rides. From Andrew Heckman, who was paralyzed when he was hit by a car while doing a relay leg for us to Andrew Morton who rode the entire west coast in honor of Heckman to all to all the rain that Gil Gilmore and Dave Rabinowitiz suffered through to the courage of Don Loomis, to Skot Paschal, who lived for our annual Mayors' Ride and recently died of cancer to Scott Campbell and Pam Slocum who were such a perfect coast to coast NBG ambassador team to Faye Saunders who gives ad gives to the NBG effort to  Mayor Bob from Arcata who put his city of Arcata on hold to ride for us, the list goes on and on of all the people upon whose shoulders I stand.

What a day! I look forward to the ride I will soon be doing on the Eagle today!!!

THX 4 all of U!!  

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hanover not Hillview & Jeff Kistler to Rescue (3-24-09)

Before I talk about the events of today, I need to correct the name of a road I have been making  such a big deal about. The ascent that makes me so proud of the Eagle and its ability to get me up a pretty challenging climb is not called Hillview after all. While there is one small hill on that road, the road that **used** to scare me is actually called **HANOVER**. 

Nor did I ride up it today. I came up its less steep back side because I chose to ride the Baron Park bike path to the back of Gunn HS and Charleston where I got on Foothill Expwy. Before any of that happened however, I had to make sure that a small two inch piece of metal was properly seated. Because if it was not, besides my crank arm skipping, I would have run  the risk of doing damage to the wheel's axle. And they way this bike was built in 1891, if your axle went bad you couldn't just slip a new one in its place, a whole new hub had to be laced into the wheel.

So Jeff and I discussed all the different approaches we could take to solving the problem and it all came back to fix I had tried yesterday. Only this time, after Jeff cut another strip of shim stock so that it was more square instead of pointed, we ended up piggybacking the two strips together for a winning result!

The delay put me into a 3PM ride start. On my way to Gunn, as I talked about above, I rode for a short ways with a guy who jokingly said I overinflated my tires. He got a good laugh out of me as riding HiWheels for eight years now, I have heard a lot of jokes none as original as his. 

I rode Foothill all the way to Homestead pretty close to where Foothill  ends and took a short break with some snack food at the Trader Joes that was there.  As I rode back, feeling stronger and a lot less bothered in my genitalia because of this new seat, I began to think about the newspaper interview I have tomorrow. On Wednesday, the Palo Alto Weekly  is doing a feature about international bike celebrity, Ines Brunn, who is coming to Palo Alto on April 4th to do the show you see HERE!

I plan to tell the reporter that while there are reports of a successful coast to coast crossing by a backwards HiWheel in the 19th Century, whoever that rider was had to have walked as much as he rode. This is so because roads west of the Mississippi did not exist until well after Carl Fisher drove a car, with much peril, from Indianapolis to San Francisco in 1912. In doing, he was laying out the route for the Lincoln Hwy, America's first coast to coast "highway", HERE is the  story of the Lincoln Hwy  from my book “How America can Bike and Grow Rich, 
The National Bicycle Greenway Manifesto”. It  is also a well known fact that when Thomas Stvens biked across the US in 1884, he walked well over a third of the route because of the absence of roads. 

It is for this reason that I all the more salute Jimmy Spillane for having enough confidence in his engineering abilities to know that the reproduction he has created is up to the task. His work is so exact that any part on the 100 year anniversary edition I am riding can be swapped with that which can be found on an 1891 Original. And this includes one item we now know to build differently. The spoke nipples. They did not accept a standard spoke wrench in 1891 and they don't accept one on the replica I am riding. They can only be tightened or loosened from the tire side of the rim with a 5/16 thin walled socket wrench.........

What Jimmy and his now retired dad created is a machine that is probably the most photographed bicycle in the world and a machine that creates an almost non stop wall of happiness and  smiles!! WoW!!

Note: This ride is not about me but it is a celebration of all the people who have helped me get back to wholeness physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. This as I stand on the shoulders of giants to enjoy the privilege of riding this bike, the only Eagle (backwards HiWheel) in active use in all the world...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Cotter Pin Shim for 23 Mar 23, 09

(at left, Foothill Expwy above Stanford)

My plan to roll across Palo Alto and pick up Portola Rd off of Sand Hill got aborted when the cotter pin Jimmy Spillane had sent me didn't seat properly. When we talked earlier, he had intimated that it might be so far gone,  I might have  to shim it. Well, his hunch was right and yet the thin strip of steel I   had used (no  not aluminum cut from a soda can) to solve this problem was not adequate. Back to the drawing board. I cut a bigger piece, hammered the pin in place and it got me to  the other side of Los Altos Hilld before I had to tighten the screw that held it all in place. 

I ran out of time to beat the school traffic so  that is why I  headed for Los Altos. I am going to have to spend more time with the fix that is needed on my cotter, but I did squeeze 23 miles out of the day.  The more time I can get in the saddle, the more my ride to Boston will be made easier. Hopefully my ride across America will feel like a drill, a day in day out feeling as though I am just doing another day of practice by the time I am done!!

Not much to report today which is probably good. It must mean that I am learning this bike and the roads upon which I am placing   it. Hmmmm, I guess I am getting good enough to take it  over the San Francisco Bay on the very first bridge that crossed it in 1927, the Dumbarton Br.  Though it's been rebuilt and outfitted with a bike path, there is a lot of wind out there.  Do I feel rock solid for such blowing gusts like I do on my other HiWheels? 

And yet like all challenges I've ever faced down, the hardest part was just thinking about it......

THX 4 all of U!!  


Note: This ride is not about me but it is a celebration of all the people who have helped me get back to wholeness physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. This as I stand on the shoulders of giants to enjoy the privilege of riding this bike, the only Eagle (backwards HiWheel) in active use in all the world...

Power Failure for 16 3-22-09

Ran 16 miles worth of errands on the Eagle today in three separate trio as per this ROUTE . When it then came time to document the day, the power went out. So that other items could be attended to,  I did not post a report. Only the route above.........

THX for your attention.........

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Eagle Climbs Strong | Running Energy Makes Safe 3-21-09

Rode for 23  miles  on the the Portola Valley loop this morning with a woman who was supposed to  be the ride photographer. Our start was delayed by a cotter pin I had to go back and better secure. And because when I ride with with Faye Saunders, she normally wears flip flops and spends more time braking  than she does pedaling, I assumed I was going to have to work to keep up with  her  when I rode today.

The first sign that this would not be the case was when we did the the very long climb up Sand Hill Road. I was going what has become my normal pace when I got close to the top and she was nowhere in sight. At a driveway entrance to a condominium complex, I must  have made ten or so large circles before she finally got with earshot. At which point she said, "I've been off the bike for months, but you hammered up the hill on that thing".

I told her I wasn't trying to show her  up, that that was  my regular pace when I  said, "you're going to kill me on the downhills any way!"

And sure enough, every time there was a down hill, she blasted by me. However, on today's ride, that was not going to be enough. Every time the road rolled up, I was passing her. Nor was that my intent. I just wanted a workout. 

Well what ended up happening because she could not roll far ahead of me and wait for me to come by was that, even tough she had her top of the line Canon with her, she didn't take one picture today :( 

All of which I guess was good for my confidence. It's been decades since I've been faster than most anyone on an uphill, grade. Just as it's been decades since I've been able to climb out of the saddle for hill work. This is so, because  I used to be more than content to let a fast rider eat me up on an ascent knowing that I would gobble him or her up on the downhill and then the flats on my recumbent.  The  HiWheels which I have been riding since 2001  have made me slow on either side of a summit. So much so, that I just resigned  myself to accepting hills as a places where I would be passed and passed and  passed.

Not today. I even passed  a couple of other cyclists beside Faye. WoW

Another breakthrough today was the welding torch I learned to become. After all my years working with alternative healers in Santa Cruz, I became pretty good  at what is called 'running energy'.  It is here that a person brings an electric charge down through the top of one's head (the crown chakra) and uses his or her breath to send the resulting  energy down the arms, the spinal  cord and the legs and into the planet as a way to flush toxins or other impurities as one way to use this energy. One can also send it to a damaged organ  or appendage, etc and work with it from there.

I've used this power source to heal broken bones and other ailments I have created for myself so I know first hand, it is real. So I figured out a way to make my bike safer to ride. instead of sending these currents  into the earth, I visualized the handlebars I held on to as  though they were electrical clamping posts. I saw them receiving  my energy and sending it out through the frame of the bicycle as though we were one giant arc welder that was held together by a lighting bolt of energy.

My mind's eye sent that bolt through  all the welds on the bike including those that held my brakes together as well as the inner wires that held my tires on to the rims. It fused all of them together as one. It was from then on that I rode knowing as long as I stayed connected  to God's infinite energy that the bike would never fail me.

Such an exciting revelation. If this sounds too far  out there for you, all I can say is that  you have not walked in my shoes. You have not been  dead nor do  you know the energy build  up I had to summon to reverse paralysis . Nor do I want anyone to have to go through any of that. Please let me be your Guinea pig and try to learn from some of what I have earned .

 THX 4 all of U!!  

Note: This ride is not about me but it is a celebration of all the people who have helped me get back to wholeness physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. This as I stand on the shoulders of giants to enjoy the privilege of riding this bike, the only Eagle (backwards HiWheel) in active use in all the world...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Eagle Heads for the Hills - Los Alto Hill that is! 3-19-09

Got out the door today at 2 PM with a  ride through neighborhood streets  to Churchill which led me for a few more blocks to  to the massive Stanford University Campus which sits at the base of the  hills. On today's 21-miler, I did what could be called a loop ride as I went up Alpine to Arastradero and back. However at Purisima Rd, hoping for  some measure of peace and escape, I turned right into Los Altos Hills. And luckily I got it!!

Up until this point, there had been  so many cars on the  "back country" roads that it almost seemed sacrilegious. I mean I got passed by a steady wall of  cars and trucks and buses from the time I got on Alpine Road till I turned left on Arastradero. I was almost wondering why we as a society have never thought  to devise a system that would  charge non resident  drivers for befouling those roads that are not a part of where they live or work. 

And these are cars that are moving pretty quickly. Or is is just such that there are really that many people living in the hills any more? By the time I did hit Arastradero, there was not a procession of cars passing me, But there were still cars. What are they doing out here? And where are they going? Hmmmm.....

Los Altos Hills was a treat! Now that the Eagle is making it possible for me to do hills again, I found great pleasure in riding the up and down, rolling terrain. Filled with beautiful homes and large yards,  many big enough for horses, I started wondering if maybe this is where I could be doing more of my riding. I didn't see many road riders out here probably because there were no straight aways to let it all hang out, Only hills. With the reward for getting to the top not a view of anyting more than more rolling lands.

But that's maybe just what I need for my fitness . Instead of waiting at lights  to get  to worthy riding turf, Los Altos Hills can be accessed from my house with just one signal controlled intersection. And maybe I am on to something. I saw three bike riders. Two of them were John and Ann. 

 I saw them  just as I was leaving Los Altos Hills  behind and entering the business district of Los Altos.  Because John Porcella (sp?) grew up  in Palo Alto he was showing his new wife who he met in Cincinnati while he lived there for a few years, where the good riding turf was. A passenger plane pilot, he and Ann bot had been  members of the Cincinnati Cycle Club (CCC) and knew a lot of the  people  who will be receiving us when we get to that city on 7/6  this summer.

They knew the Reser Bros, and Jen Clippard, prez of the CCC as well as a lot of people they thought I should know to make our  reception there a lot more powerful. And since we were dropping names, I came to find out that while John used to race here, he knew Jobst Brandt very well and even used to patch sew up tires with him and all the other Palo Alto riders at Jobst's house every Thursday night. What's more is that John was riding the same bike that another famous cycling local, Tom Ritchey, built for him 30 years ago. And it still looked beautiful! We must have non stop talked for 45 minutes and I even got home to a Facebook friend request from Ann so we can keep in touch.   

Ann remarked that it is really a small world we live in. At which point I noted that that is especially true  for those of us who have been pedaling the miles for many years! WoW!!!

Tomorrow it's the Portola Valley loop early. With Faye Saunders! She wants to do more  picture taking practice with her amazing camera . Yahoo!!

THX 4 all of U!!  

Note: This ride is not about me but it is a celebration of all the people who have helped me get back to wholeness physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. This as I stand on the shoulders of giants to enjoy the privilege of riding this bike, the only Eagle (backwards HiWheel) in active use in all the world...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Eagle beaten twice today :(

Left after an excellent meditation, at a little before 2PM today  in almost perfect t-shirt weather. Gone for 3 hours, I ended up getting 24 miles with a lot of hill work. Also discovering the limits  of this machine as the Eagle got beat in two place by Arastradeo Rd. 

The first steep ascent, right by the freeway, took us out for two reasons. The road really starts climbing at the same time that it curves to the right. Right as this was happening, probably four cars made it imperative that I keep a straight line. I could not. I jumped off. 

We got beat again on a really steep part of the same road between Page Mill and Alpine Roads. Once again the road was curving where I bailed. In both cases, I had Steve Stevens voice in my head. Don't break the bike. 

A game of finesse, I can't just muscle through stuff like I could on my Ordinary (regular HiWheel). In reality, riding this bike is almost like dance where you don't want to  overpower your partner but you must be firm. And yet I am not going to give in on these two ascents because I think there is a proper technique for these two uphill  sections  that I just have yet to learn. I think that if I hit them  just right, the Eagle will cooperate....

At right ,  just above, you can see the twisty, turny stuff of Arastradero where I got beat. Above, at the top, is the second summit of the same road that took me out......

From  here  on out, lots of cars passed me. I took Portola to Sand Hill. From there I went Whiskey Hill to the Woodside store and Woodside Road back down to Redwood City, Menlo Park and Palo Alto. The Woodside Road shoulder was very poor quality and as I rode it with my feet over the steer tube, I chanted harder than normal  for wire and weld strength. I am always praying that the metal that holds my tire on to the rim is strong and tight but today I added some extra fire to that request.

Heard also from Ines Brunn today! And as I think about it, she is really Dr. Ines Brunn, a physicist. WoW !! She got her itinerary  for her time here and I am excited. Nor do you want to miss the exhibition she is doing for our ride to Boston on Sat April 4. 

As I sign off, my next chore is the 40 minutes of yoga I do every night. There is  no way I could ride this bike if that were not a part of my daily regimen. I do mostly floor work as I also study the "Course in Miracles'. And that is what I feel like has just taken place every time  I roll this amazing Eagle safely into its roost.........


Note: This ride is not about me but it is a celebration of all the people who have helped me get back to wholeness physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. This as I stand on the shoulders of giants to enjoy the privilege of riding this bike, the only Eagle (backwards HiWheel) in active use in all the world...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Eagle Easy 16

Rolled only 16 today for three different reasons. First of all, I got a late start as I was working the Ines Brunn exhibition. Second I wanted to use the afternoon sun and warmth to wrench on the Eagle. And third,  I got carried away sending chapter PDFs to those people who are in my book. So by the time I did get  going, it was the warmest the Eagle has ever experienced the local roads here with me to date, and yet there was a different level of traffic I had overlooked. The schools.

One more gotcha. Hmm, I can't leave early to beat traffic because there isn't any light as yet. The morning commute goes until 9 am. My prime time to work the administration of this ride runs from 9-12. Then there is the lunch crowds that occupy the roads from 11:30 to 1:30, So the only window I have to escape the local traffic is between 1:30 and 2:15 or so because it takes me half an hour to get free of the the city. And yet there again, I am not free upon my return because a couple hours worth of riding puts me in the afternoon commute. More hmmm ......

On my way to the foothills, another Eagle advantage came into play. I was able to climb out of the saddle and sprint fast enough to catch the tail end of a green light. I had never been  able to catch the light at Alma after  a train had made it green unless I was pretty close to it. Today, I caught it  from a block and half away no problem. While on a tall HiWheel, many Ordinaries run 54 and 56 inches tall giving the rider a higher speed potential, on the Eagle, mine is only 50 inches, a rider can climb out of  hole and accelerate much quicker. Yahoo!!

I talk about Hillview a lot in here. For me it is the doorway to the foothills and that is why I am so excited I can get up it now so well. Today a bus passed me as I ascended. It was then that I knew I was making genuine progress. Because I am now able to make a beeline straight up the hill, he only gave me a few feet when going by!       

Rode Foothill Expwy until  it changed to Alamdea de las Pulgas, The traffic got thicker and thicker. Once again, I turned  on Atherton Road and took it all the way to El Camino Real. Kind of a boring thoroughfare now that I've been on it a few times, it is still one of  the longest roads anywhere around where there are almost no stoplights or stop signs.  I think there is one for all of the entire two miles it runs . There are no bike lanes but they  don't seem  too crucial as the cars move pretty slow on this road .

I also practiced some no hands riding, a handy skill  to posses if you want to take off a jacket and wrap it around your waist or even  just fasten your helmet buckle. I must admit, I am not making much progress with this as yet, but I will.  I just have to focus on that ability instead of on rolling the miles.

As you can see from my route noted below, I wrapped up my ride on California Ave where I did a  few errands. And that is where Palo  Alto Eyeworks that opens this blog is located.   An  NBG sponsor,  their two  two principals are what cycling should be all about. They both ride to work on performance road bikes.     Unsung heroes, they, respectively, ride eight and 20 miles to and eight and 20 miles from each and every work day of the week. Rain or shine!! Indeed, if you support cycling and have any eye wear needs, they deserve your support..

Once I got home, I went to tighten spokes that have become loose and found out from Jim Spillane that the nipples do not fit a spoke wrench; that I have to go under the tire and tighten them with a socket wrench. And not just any socket wrench, he told me. It has to be a 5/16 high quality Snap On tool. Well I did, at least, get one of the cotter pins replaced. However, the other side looks about ready to go too. Ugfh.......
Good ride. Only 45 days until our ride Kick OFF - who else is going to join in?

THX 4 all of U!!  


Note: This ride is not about me but it is a celebration of all the people who have helped me get back to wholeness physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. This as I stand on the shoulders of giants to enjoy the privilege of riding this bike, the only Eagle (backwards HiWheel) in active use in all the world...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Eagle Flies Hillview to Homestead

As my 27 mile ride was wrapping up. I saw Lanthony and his massive pit bull, a love bug named Puppy. The picture you see was taken as I rode by. It should give you somewhat of a feel for what my world is like up there.

I took on Hillview again today and the Eagle flew up it! With increased confidence. I can use my arms to jockey the bike back and forth. Yahoo!!

I then rode on the Foothill Epwy to Homestead. The nine miles there were strong. I doubled back and turned right on Grant Rd which runs on a diagonal to make for a short cut back to Mountain View, the next town over from Palo Alto when headed south. Grant is a pleasant road, not as fast as Foothill and more enjoyable with a bike lane. 

Back in the more city like riding of the Silicon Valley, there was more cars and a lot more attention coming my way. One guy for example was clapping his hands and saying 'bravo, bravo' as I rolled by. Then there was a bus full of screaming teenage girls. There was even more than one car load of cheering fans. This bike truly gets the attention.

I also suspect that people like it because I look like I am working to ride it. The forward leaning, almost aggressive pose I strike is a world of difference from the way I look on an Ordinary HiWheel where I almost look like I am floating about. Perhaps as they they struggle with lights and other drivers, they take comfort in the fact that I am someone who  has it worse than they do.

Nor are many of the aware of the fact that I cannot coast. I can never stop pedaling less catastrophe would result. Not to mention the focus and the intensity I must equip myself with at  all times. I can never let my guard down. Should I let my mind wander, God forbid, my front wheel could hit a rock or something else in the road and pop off the ground. Unprepared for such a shock I could easily lose contrail

It  is also not a good idea to try to push through a tired body like you can on a regular bike. I have found that my arms and upper anatomy have to be fresh and  alert especially if I am around cars, people and/or tight maneuvering. This is also why each picture I take is a work of art. Not the picture quality mind you, but the art form of being able to get a picture taken to begin with....

As an  aside, I know I have a healthy respect for this machine because even as I am looking at it right now, sometimes I cannot believe I can even ride it; that man has learned how to tame this amazing piece of engineering excellence. 


    THX 4 all of U!!  

Note: This ride is not about me but it is a celebration of all the people who have helped me get back to wholeness physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. This as I stand on the shoulders of giants to enjoy the privilege of riding this bike, the only Eagle in active use west of the Mississippi ...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Eagle Summits Hillview!!

I got up and over an ascent that I have feared ever since I started learning how to tame this Eagle.  Maybe four years ago, after having muscled through each pedal stroke to get my conventional Hi Wheel bike up to the top, I had felt like I was back to powerlifting. I mean it took so much  out of me, I felt like I was still in the gym doing monster dead lifts. While it did get easier, especially as my bikes improved, it was still a much to be respected uphill climb. Toward that end, I think most any lightweight fixie rider would feel challenged by Hillview, with the view ahead pictured at left and the view from the top at right below.

Well the Eagle went right up Hillview!!  It did quicken my breathing a little but I'd say I got up it three times as fast as when I beat the stuffing out of myself and my HiWheel not so very long ago. How exciting!! Yet another  breakthrough!! As far as hills, I guess the only one that is left to conquer is the Arastradero wall right by the freeway.

As a reward for today's victory, I gave myself an easy day of only 15 miles. From Hillview I crossed over Foothill Epwy and explored the hilly Los Altos neighborhoods between Foothill and I-280. On  my regular HiWheel this would have been a cruel exercise and it is why I have little ventured into this riding turf in the past. Today, I wasn't preparing my mind for either side of a hill, I was enjoying the beautiful homes and yards that make up this not so very far away part of where I live. I guess one could say that this is Breakthrough #2: On the Eagle, I can really explore without the fear of  ascending and descending !!  Yahooo!!

The only draw back for you the reader is the absence of photos. I can't take many when I am doing hill work. Maybe after the Ines Brunn exhibition, on 4/4, I'll have enough for a thin,  lightweight point and shoot camera with a few more mega pixels....

Of note, at least for me, is the fact that I successfully navigated the steep rounded curbs on the Los Alto Trail. I took 'em straight on with a healthy handful of brake! And I was up and down over them with no problem! I had been afraid to tackle them in this way, until today. 

I'm getting more and more ready! SF to Boston - only 47 days! 

btw: The strap holding my shoe together broke when I was putting it on. The fix? Note the toe strap in the photo  at the right!!

THX 4 all of U!!  

Note: This ride is not about me but it is a celebration of all the people who have helped me get back to wholeness physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. This as I stand on the shoulders of giants to enjoy the privilege of riding this bike, the only Eagle in active use west of the Mississippi ...