ALC Training ride from Tanforan to Stanford University and Back

Before I get into the heart of this post, I want to ask a leading question:

It only takes about forty minutes for me to commute to work in the morning.  Not a huge amount of time, right?  Certainly not compared to the whole rest of the day.  But one of the reasons that I take that specific route to work is that there are several places where I can stop to pee.

I’m sure it has something to do with the time.  That’s when the morning’s first cup of coffee has finished the processing cycle.  Or who knows.  All I know is, it’s a good thing that the route is mostly urban and not rural.

Which brings up another question:  If you’re just running in to use the facilities, do you take the time to lock up your bike and take the day pack with you?  You’ll easily spend twice as much time dealing with the bicycle than you will taking care of business.  Or do you trust that nobody will steal it in the two minutes it takes to run in and run out?

Which is all merely an awkward lead in into the story of last weekend’s ALC training ride.  We were supposed to meet in Menlo Park at 9:30, but I wanted to leave early just in case.  Jumped into the car at 8:30 and …

click click click click click click click…

No battery.  Damn.  Not gunna make it.

I know what you’re thinking.  A real cyclist would have abandoned the car and pedaled her way to Menlo Park.  First off: Never claimed to be a real cyclist.  Second: Didn’t matter, because it would still take longer than 90 minutes to get there.

After dealing with the battery, I was still itching to ride.

I fired up Google Maps and said, “Google, I need a bicycle route from the Tanforan Mall in San Bruno to Stanford University in Palo Alto.”

I’m impressed that Google did its algorithmic best to keep me off of large, busy streets.  But I found that this also slowed me down in the long run, mostly from having to stop every block at every suburban stop sign.  I spent more time shifting than pedaling.  I took a more direct route back, mostly along Highway 82, which is often the main boulevard through many of the towns along the way, and found that most of the cities along that route have added sharrows and even bicycle sensors for the signal lights.  There weren’t even any rude motorists to complain about.  Total distance for the day was just under 50 miles (49.75).

Here’s the kicker:  Many of the ALC training rides are a combination of cycling environments, including rural.  For some reason, my kidneys were working overtime.  Couldn’t blame it on the coffee.  This would have made the training ride embarrassing to say the least.

“Go ahead, guys!  I’ll catch up with you in a bit as soon as I’m finished with this bush.”

And looking at the 2012 route for the ALC, maybe I should be concerned.

Anybody else want to chime in on this?


Training for ALC-12 / Trejnado por ALC-12

In preparation for ALC-12


I have discovered that there is quite a sizable culture that has built up around the AIDS/LifeCycle ride.  Or ALC as the aficionados appear to prefer.

An invitation to participate in a training ride was posted to the Different Spokes – San Francisco message board by Terri Meier.  A 26-mile course of gentle terrain on a warm fall day on the San Francisco peninsula with a total climb of about 820 feet. I thought this would be a great way to meet some people. And I did get some training in how to ride with a group of ALC riders.

You can go to this page and see that there are training rides scheduled frequently, sorted by either the San Francisco area or the Los Angeles area. There are also training workshops. It’s obvious that the huge amount of planning which goes into this ride extends throughout the year, and is not simply concentrated in May and June.  The organization wants to make sure that not only do I get to L.A., but that I get there healthy and happy.

Upon arriving at the start of the October 28th training ride, introductions were made. Here I was introduced not only to the ride leaders, but also the veterans of the ALC who have made several trips.  Apparently, this event is addicting.

Nor was this a group of twenty-something, lean, overly adrenalinized athletic types.  Well, a few were.  Aside from all the Lycra, it looked like a group of people one might encounter on a random BART train.  All were friendly and welcoming to the noobs.

It needs to be mentioned that not a one of them pointed at my ‘bent and said, “Hey! It’s a lawn chair with wheels!”

Preparante por ALC-12


Eltrovis mi ke estas iome granda kulturo kiu kreskiĝis ĉirkaŭ la AIDS/Lifecycle rajdado. Aŭ ALC, kiel la amantaro ŝajne preferas.

Invito partopreni trejn-rajdadon, skribita de de Terri Meier, aperis ĉe  al Different Spokes – San Francisco afiŝejo. Ĝi estis 26 mejla vojo laŭ milda tereno dum varmeta aŭtuna tago ĉe la San Francisco duoninsulo kun totala grimpado de proksimume 250 metrojn. Kredis mi ke ĉi tio estus bonega metodo por renkonti aliajn rajdantojn.  Kaj mi akiris iom da trejnado en la maniero por rajdi kun grupo de ALC rajdantoj.

Vi povas iri al ĉi tiu paĝo kaj vidi ke estas trejn-rajdadoj ofte enhorarigitaj, ordigite laŭ la San Franciska aŭ la LosAnĝelesa lokoj. Ankaŭ estas trejnadaj studgrupoj. Estas evidenta ke la granda kvanto da planado por ĉi tiu rajdadp etendas tutjare, kaj ne simple estas koncentrita maje kaj junie. La organizaĵo volas certigi ke mi ne nur atingos la urbon L.A., sed ke mi alvenos sane kaj feliĉe.

Alveninte la komencon de la Oktobro 28a trejn-rajdado, enkondukoj estis farita. Tie ĉi mi estis enkondukita ne nur al la rajdgvidantoj, sed ankaŭ al la veteranoj de la ALC kiuj jam faris kelkajn vojojn. Ŝajne, ĉi tiu evento estas dependiga.

Ankaŭ ĉi tio ne estis grupo de dudekulaj, maldikaj, troadrenalinigitaj atletaj specoj.  Nu, kelkaj estis.  Krom la abondo da lycra, ĝi similis grupon ke oni povus renkonti sur hazarda BART-trajno. Ĉiuj estis amikemaj kaj bonvenigantaj al la novuloj.

Ĝi devas esti mencii ke ne unu el ili indikis mian kuŝbiciklon kaj diris, “Hej! Rigardu la gazonoseĝon kun radoj!”