Bike Camping at Samuel P. Taylor SP

This weekend, my bf and I decided to make the most of the warm weather and try bike camping at Samuel P. Taylor State Park. The trip was 31 miles each way, and we took about 4 hours to get there with some breaks. Though my bike is not a touring bike, I find it very comfortable on long rides and it did have mounting locations to attach a rack. I found a lightweight rack at Sports Basement, but the braze-ons on my bike were in a weird place. The mechanics there recommended a rack-lock seat collar that had the proper attachments. I made it work. For this area, it's really nice to have a mountain bike or cross bike for road and trails, but my mountain bike got stolen so I'm making the best of it. We fully prepped and packed the day before so that on Sunday we could just hop on our bikes and take off.

I made sure to weigh my gear so it wouldn't go over the limit. I had 25 lbs on the back and 5 lbs in my handlebar bag. I had a tent, sleeping bag, hiking clothes and shoes, toiletries, first aid, bike tools and lights, a few eating and kitchen utensils, even a mattress pad and chair! It did feel different at first riding with the extra weight, but wasn't as bad as I thought. The hills were manageable. I had to be careful not to go too fast on the downhills, it can get a little wobbly. At one point I was going to fast, hit a bump and one of my panniers popped off. Now I make sure to secure it better to the rack. I had some eggs in that pannier and they survived because they were in one of those yellow plastic egg carriers. I had brought a small camp stove but didn't make sure it worked before the trip. We didn't really need it though, as they sell firewood at the campground and plenty of food at the Lagunitas store. Bike camping is actually $7 for a 2 day pass. It is a group camp right next to the bathrooms with 2 firepits, picnic table, water, and a food locker. Because it is a group camp, the other cyclists already had a fire going, and we could make hot tea. At the bike camp, we met interesting cyclists doing fun trips. Some women were doing the California Coast, then across the U.S. to the East Coast! I wish I could have stayed up and socialized more but was so exhausted. In the morning, we started another fire from the hot coals to make breakfast and hot coffee after our morning hike up to the ridge.

From the Cross-Marin bike trail, you can access Jewell trail to Bolinas Ridge. It is a nice short hike/mountain bike with view of Bolinas Bay. After a long ride, it's very relaxing to take a nap under a canopy of redwood trees with the sounds of birds chirping next to a babbling creek. Overall, a great way to spend the weekend!


Bike to Work Day, Today and Everyday, Except Weekends when you Bike to Swim, Bike and Run! (and eat)

Had a great time volunteering at the Western Addition Kaiser Energizer Station again for Bike to Work Day, meeting and working with fellow cyclists. We had a steady stream of bike commuters and several new members to join the San Francisco Bike Coalition! Several pedestrians were also curious about it and we "energized" them. The SFBC's Margaret and Bonnie organized and coordinated the members and volunteers and were responsible for setting up all those wonderful energizer stations all over the city. What was impressive is that many people who wanted to join the bike coalition already knew the important work the SFBC does and had their minds set and were eager to do so. Perhaps it was the new designated bike access popping up all over the place, or the smooth pavement, breathing easier with their bike on the BART train, or safer intersections for biking and walking. Maybe it was a free cycling or bike maintenance class they took, or desire to see more traffic safety improvements in their neighborhood. You don't have to be a member to volunteer and can earn a membership through volunteering at bike events. It's fun! I support the bicycle for everyday transportation because it's healthy for me and the planet.

Here are some pics:

SFBC Volunteer Manager Margaret McCarthy

New member Diana

Western Addition Kaiser Energizer Station on Geary

Refreshments for the ride!

Joining the SFBC
Margaret McCarthy and our Energizer Station Captain John Spallone

Kaiser has a great support staff that set up everything and provided snacks.  Our station is in an interesting location because it is on a hill, a busy street and a popular destination (the hospital!) so I was curious to see who commutes along there. Our Energizer Captain John Spallone does, commuting to work at Kaiser every day by bicycle, as well as lots of other doctors that I met. So if you are driving in a car and you see one of those cyclists, be careful because it might be your doctor!

Happy Bike Month!


Swim Week and Alcatraz

After the race and a rest day, I gave the legs a break and did a swimstreak, swimming every day for an hour. I managed to 9 miles in the water last week! This included an incredible Alcatraz swim to support Lisa. It was her second crossing and she made a fabulous video:

Alcatraz II from Lisa Amorao on Vimeo.

This would make my eighth Alcatraz swim with Water World Swim (including Alcatraz to Angel Island) and celebrate my 5th year swimming with them. I jumped into Alcatraz waters a couple weeks ago to assist a youth swimmer, but he couldn't complete their swim due to seasickness because the water was so choppy, so we ended the swim. This was another challenging one as the water was again pretty choppy, and we had to swim directly into wind waves. Lisa did great. The key is to be flexible with stroke and breathing and "dance with the ocean".  It is actually really fun, like swimming on a roller coaster! I'm used to taking a breath every three strokes, but it didn't work on this type of swim because then when I would raise for air the water would splash in my face. So what I did was try to take a breath every stroke or so, that way I feel like I have plenty of air instead of gasping for it. The other challenge we had to overcome was getting out of the current that was pulling us North toward the Golden Gate Bridge. We swam hard in the beginning directly for land. The trick is to get closer to shore but not too close. The rest of the swim went rather quickly as we were riding the ebb. Usually it would take me an hour to do a mile and a half in the pool at a moderate pace, but in an ebb it only took about 40 minutes. If anyone wants to complete the swim it's good to know they can have an experienced swimmer escort them and can get back on the boat if they change their mind. There is a benefit to getting out of your comfort zone and dealing with a challenging situation, and it can ripple over into other aspects of your life.

April Recap

Spring is here! Proceed with caution!  I managed to ramp up my activities, adding in more bike rides and swims, and taking the time to d...