Sunday, June 16, 2019

See my newer cycling blog at
I don't write often, but if I've written recently, it will be at that new location.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

April is RACE MONTH!

With world champion Peter Sagan bouncing his way over the cobbles to an amazing Paris Roubaix victory, April is off to a roaring start. The roaring in France was so vicious enough it sent 23-year-old pro racer Michael Goolaerts to the after-world with a cardiac arrest. So sad! I've known two young men who died of heart issues and my wife has a heart implant to help keep her alive since it was discovered she suffers from ARVD (which Michael and the other young gentlemen may have had) . Needless to say, we no longer race our tandem.

Back on home turf, we have two exciting races. I'll be riding (NOT racing) in the Belgian Waffle Ride "Wafer" on Sunday April 15th, and I'll be photographing racers at SDBC's Barrio Logan Grand Prix on Saturday April 28th.

See you out on the road!
Showing off doughnut belly bulge & Bahati Foundation jersey.


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Exciting, upcoming cycling events make me want to brag, blast & blog about them even if nobody reads my blog. On the off chance you are breathing and reading this, AWESOME! The upcoming event is the 21st annual Barrio Logan Grand Prix in San Diego on Saturday May 6, 2017. Get more info here:
I photograph all the races and give prizes to the Juniors race winners every year. You should go because there's great food, beer and bike racing all day, from 7am to 5pm. See you there!
KUSI News interviews Jim Ring of SDBC

Friday, January 27, 2017

Want to see Donald Trump on a bicycle? Me, too. But that's not going to happen. Amazingly enough, he was a bike race supporter and said his "Tour de Trump" was going to one day be bigger than the Tour de France. He may have been a reality TV star, but he has great difficulty staying in touch with reality. Are you too young to remember the cycling and political aspects of the Tour de Trump? Here's a refresher:

George W. Bush was a horrible president and Donald Trump is most certainly going to be worse.

Donny is rapidly working to accelerate man's destruction of our environment. I don't wish him good health, but it would be cool if he lived long enough to watch his Mar-a-Lago home/club be submerged in the ocean by his own pen stroke.

Good luck, America.

Monday, October 31, 2016

I'm such a bad "blogger" that I literally forgot about this blog and started another one. I'm not riding or writing as much as I used to, but there are definitely more recent posts at "Father Dan's Church of Cycling" here:
If I have things set up properly, will also forward to that page.

Our "big" cycling trip this year was to go to the third of the big three grand tours, La Vuelta de España, which we saw part of in the Costa Brava region of Spain. We got to ride on the time trial course while the pros were warming up on it. See photos here:

See you on the road. Keep the rubber side down.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Whoa. Almost 2 years and no blog entries. OK, I'm not a blogger. I'm not dead, either, so I'm doing a quick entry to brighten the tone after my last grumpy entry.

True, I lost my cycling mojo. My mileage went way down. But I still love cycling. I tackled 2 more cycling-related bucket list items:

  1. Climb Mt. Evans in Colorado (highest paved road in North America) with friends. 
  2. Do a "century" on the local velodrome with nobody. (Because nobody but me is crazy enough to do something so monotonous and call it "fun.")
So much has happened in the cycling world since my last entry, too. Lance finally confessed. I never thought he'd confess, but I'm glad he did. I think we have Greg Lemond, Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton to thank for helping to tip the scales. Tyler's book is quite good. It will be interesting for me and another buddy to share an RV with Tyler as we do RAGRBRAI in July, a mere 29 years after I did my last one at age 26. 

Thanks to George Hincapie for inviting me to a local ride recently, where he and Christian Van de Velde-Velde (and some cycling fans who paid a lot of $$ to ride with them) tooled around the local rolling hills. I'm glad to see guys like Big George still enjoying the bicycle long after the ups and downs of the "Lance Era." 

After a long absence, I'm trying to do the SDBC club ride every weekend. The A-ride shows me how far I have to go to get back in shape (and also clarifies that this doesn't get easier with age).

I wish you all a million miles of safe, happy riding. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Saving My Cycling Mojo & The Golden Rule

The title of this blog was originally “Cycling Dicks,” but I thought I’d keep the lewd words out of the title to paint my latest literary wreck in a slightly more positive tone. In keeping with the blog theme (“An old cyclist’s rants and raves...”), I got some motivation to blog again during a club ride several weeks ago. I’m one of the weaker riders in our club’s “A” ride and I was having a less-than-fantastic morning trying to hang with the guys hammering down Highway 1. A regular fellow rider (we’ll just refer to him as “Ron”) didn’t like something about my riding. I’m not sure what his gripe was. I’m pretty careful about trying to avoid quick lateral moves that might sweep somebody’s front wheel. (I wish everyone in the group was.) I don’t like seeing anybody hit the deck. 

At any rate, when the pace slowed down a bit, I joked to Ron about how pathetic I felt trying to hang on. Ron, in keeping with my previous encounters with him where he takes on the air of a self-appointed supreme ride leader, found no humor in my comments and said that if I did that (whatever “that” was) again in the future he would run me off the road. FYI, this is not a good thing to say to me, whether it’s about running me off the road or running another cyclist off the road. Given how often a cyclist’s safety is intentionally and unintentionally threatened out on the road, I would never expect a fellow cyclist to make such a threat. When I’m not following my Two Commandments (see below), I think the appropriate response to such a threat is a swift 2x4 to the face. However, in the interest of packing light for the club ride, I didn’t have a single piece of lumber with me. So instead of the Pine Therapy approach, I loudly shared my observation by saying, “What a dick!” It’s not creative, but I thought it accurately branded his behavior. 

This encounter is one of many that has opened my eyes to a sad reality. Some cyclists are real dicks. As much as I love cycling, and as much as I generally love all cyclists, some cyclists—just like regular people—can be real dicks. 

I tried to brush off this unpleasant encounter before enjoying the traditional coffee stop on that ride. (Forgive and forget, right?) Unfortunately, the conversation at the table I sat down at only rubbed salt in the wound. Another cyclist (we’ll just call him “Fred”) was complaining about how some slow riders come to the front of the pack at stop lights. Fred said he told one such rider that he should go on the “B” ride instead of aspiring to hang with the “A” ride. This commentary was especially disappointing to me because I really like Fred and would like to think he’s friendlier than this. I didn’t say anything, but my thought was, “Why not use their recurring presence at the front as practice?” Racing in a crit involves a lot of getting around and ahead of other racers, so let them come to the front and let’s practice safely getting around them again. While I was thinking these thoughts, another rider at the table joked about how the riders that bunch at the front at stop lights probably learned about it as a ride strategy in Bicycling Magazine. 

Boom. It was at this moment that I experienced a subtle but significant epiphany:
     I’m surrounded by what can fairly be referred to as "cycling dicks."
These are the guys you might read about in blogs or publications targeted to not-so-overly-serious cyclists who are out there to have fun and stay healthy. The cycling dicks tell you to go on another ride rather than welcome you on their ride. They are less likely to give you a nod or wave in response to a friendly greeting. And God forbid if you’re wearing a t-shirt or a souvenir Tour de France yellow jersey or a kit that doesn’t match, because that makes you unworthy of riding anywhere near them. 

I was pretty bummed after that ride. This revelation even put a damper on my overall enthusiasm for cycling for a short while. (The weeks of coastal clouds hasn’t helped...I clearly prefer sunny rides.) Fortunately, I know now that this damper was temporary. Despite my age-induced back aches, slower riding and general deterioration, I know I still love cycling. All I need to do is stay clear of those who can’t ride for the sheer joy of riding, whether it’s competitive or easygoing. 

I haven’t been back to the club ride since then, partly because of conflicting weekend activities and partly because I’m less excited about that particular group ride. I was going to give it a try tomorrow, but I just got a call from a friend who invited me to join him and a couple other guys to do a solid, hill-climbing ride the same day out in East County. Of course I’ll do the “friends” ride because I know they’re doing it for fun and fitness. I’m sure it will have some competitive moments, but all in good fun. I think I can also count on sunny skies that far from the coast. And, in a sick way, I sort of miss Kitchen Creek Road. 

Nobody actually reads this blog, but if you’ve just found you’re an exception to this rule I’ll leave you with my new, simplified set of  TWO COMMANDMENTS to live by. (You’ll be disappointed with these if you were hoping I wasn’t going to use the slang term “dick” again, but hang in there...we’re almost done.) 

  1. Remember—and live by—the “Golden Rule.” Treat others the way you’d like to be treated.
  2. Try not to be a dick. This one helps me be a better person because I know I’ve exhibited dickish behavior when I’ve lost my temper (usually when someone else forgets the Golden Rule or just does something incredibly stupid). In a way, this is a reminder to follow the first commandment above, but there’s something gentle and encouraging about this phraseology that I like. “Try.” The assumption is that if you’re being a dick, you’re probably not of a mindset that is very good at taking commands from anyone. So it’s set in a softer, more pleading tone. Just try.
So, please...give it a try. Smile. Say hello. Be friendly. Be welcoming. Stop for stop signs and red lights. (This one might confuse drivers who are accustomed to cycling dicks flying through stop signs, but let’s give it a try.) Clear the right turn lane at a stop light if you can stay out of the way (you’ll be thanked by some of the drivers). And never, ever threaten to run me or any other cyclist off the road. I don’t want to break commandments or noses, and I definitely don’t want to bring any lumber on my next club ride.

PS: No offense is intended to anyone named “Dick.” Two of my three friends named Dick have resorted to using “Richard,” and I applaud the brave one who still uses his old nickname despite the popularity of this slang term. (Lots of people named “John” never stopped using their names just because of the “bathroom” or “toilet” connotation.) I’ve tried to think of another word that carries the subtle connotation that “dick” does and haven’t found it yet. Our language is rich in hues but unfortunately no other derogatory term I’ve thought of seems to have the right balance between usability on a public blog and a term just slightly more crass than “prick.”

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Big Helmets for Cyclists With Huge Heads

How’s that for an exciting blog title? I stopped blogging for almost a year and this is my big reentry? If you had as much difficulty finding hats and helmets that fit your head as I do, you would understand what’s going on here. If you don’t know anybody who rides their bike and has a big head, then this blog is not for you. Have a nice day. On the other hand, if you—or someone you know—has a very large head and has difficulty finding bike helmets that fit, I have really good news for you. I found the helmet!

As I was leaving the vendor area at the Sea Otter Classic bike festival this past weekend I stopped by a small dealer’s booth because they had some helmets stacked on a table. I’m always trying on different brands of helmets because I have never found one that fits my huge melon. Some of the brands I’ve tried sit on the top of my head like a beanie. Usually the sales rep looks at me in amazement because he or she has never seen the helmet look so small. 

But lo and behold, when I put the Kali Chakra Plus (M/L size) on my head, I finally found a helmet that “fits like a glove.” With the twist-tighten control, there’s plenty of room (in case my head decides to grow some more). They were selling them for only $40 at Laguna Seca, and the regular price is only $50. This is half what many helmets go for. I bought two (one white, one black) because I couldn’t believe I found something that fit after years of searching. 

How big is my head? I don’t know, but I know that size 8 hats are barely big enough. As you know, a hat or helmet that is tight when you try it on will cause headaches. Previously, the only helmet that I found that was reasonably comfortable was the Bell Triton. My head is not terribly wide, but has a long front-to-back dimension. The Bell Triton is wide so it’s a good choice if you have a big round head. But if you’re like me and have difficulty with the front-to-back fit, you have to try the Kali Chakra Plus on. The styling is XC/MTB, but I’ve used it on the road and it works just great. 

Here’s a link directly to the helmet on the manufacturer’s site:
They have a dealer locator on that page. They’re not in every shop, but hopefully you can find a dealer nearby to try one on. Good luck, and happy new year. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Your CRACK is Showing!

There are plenty of expressions familiar to the experienced cyclist. For example, you know to say “on your LEFT” when you’re forced to pass someone in close proximity on their left so they don’t walk or ride into your path. (You also know to expect the newbie or drunkard to get confused and drift to the left rather than move right or stay steady.)

Other handy expressions, which should always be shared loudly enough to be clearly heard over the wind and traffic noise, include:

  •  “Runner up!” when a runner is approaching your fast-moving peloton in the bike lane. Smart riders gently drift left a bit to help avoid a collision.
  • “Hole!” when a pothole or crack large enough to cause trouble is looming ahead. The riders who want to keep their collar bones intact make sure they have both hands on the bars when this is heard and prepare to “bunny-hop” the obstacle. The new rider who doesn’t care if all the riders behind him spend the night in the hospital will prepare to swerve wildly to avoid the obstacle, sweeping at least one rider’s front wheel with his back wheel in the process.
  • “Your crack is showing!” when the spandex on the back of a cyclist’s shorts has worn thin enough to reveal the rider’s butt crack while riding. The smart rider will quickly look away from the wardrobe malfunction to avoid nausea and vomiting in the peloton.
Once upon a time I thought that last expression might be inappropriate, and it may not be familiar to every cyclist. I became more comfortable using this expression after my wife subtly mentioned that my SDBC team shorts were wearing a bit thin. I looked in a full-length mirror at my derriere while crunched in a riding-like position, then fell into shock. “That’s my ASS!” came out of my mouth loudly and involuntarily. I felt like writing a formal apology to my fellow club riders and a formal complaint to Pactimo (our clothing provider). After one short year, one panel of these shorts essentially became transparent. I wish someone had mentioned this to me earlier, but I understand. I once noticed some guy in our club who apparently wanted to hang onto an old version of our club’s logo shorts even if they were barely hanging onto him. His hairy butt showed through so clearly that nobody could ride right behind him. It was a sickening sight but nobody was brave (or nice?) enough to kindly suggest he check out the transparency level on his shorts when he got home...or at the next bike shop we passed.

Now I’ve been on both ends of that equation. I’ve checked all my shorts and from now on if you hear someone yell “Crack!” get some clarification. Cracks in the road can be called out as “Hole!” and if your hole is nearly showing then “Your crack is showing!” is perfectly acceptable.