Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Pismo - Fun in the Sand

We went to the Pismo area last weekend with my brother-in-law, Chris, and his family in order to play in the nearby dunes with my truck (they ended up renting a 4-person dunebuggy).  We stayed at an amazing house in Arroyo Grande.  Anyway, here's how the time at the Dunes went down, with photos below...

When I went to air down my tires, I realized that my tire pressure gauge only goes as low as 20psi.  Doh.  I guessed at 10... and ended up taking more air out after the sandy road to get to the dunes - at the first bathrooms.

4-hi was too fast for the most part, so I was in 4-lo at 3rd or 4th gear most of the time.

When we left those first bathrooms, we didn't really know where we were... so we immediately found ourselves in the middle of the extreme area (where Chris got his dunebuggy stuck).  I was able to cruise around the ridges with careful planning.  That was fun, but stressful.

Then we figured out how to get to the sand highway and cruised further down where it was less crowded... but I also found that the "highway" still has quite a few drop-offs.  Don't assume it's just clear sailing!  And it's so hard to tell if you're coming up on a drop-off.

By the time we got a good ways down the sand highway, we had to turn back for sake of time.

Back nearer the entrance there was a big hill.  I thought I'd give it a go to try and get up that, and then have fun coming back down.  I came pretty close to getting to the top, but not quite.  I couldn't even get up enough speed (should have shifted to 4-hi probably).  About 10-feet short, the wheels just started to dig down.  I had to reverse the whole way back down.  I didn't try again, because, as much as it probably looked to the gazillion people around that I was an idiot, it would have looked even worse if I tried again and didn't make it!

I can't believe the people who got their infinity sedan out there, or were driving their Acura MDX's around, etc.  crazy people.

It's the wild west out there - no rules, tons of vehicles everywhere.... crazy stuff!

I beat my shocks to hell... it may be time to pick up an Icon package from my buddy, Dylan.  Besides, the stocks are 11 years and 67,000 miles old now.  And I've done some heavy loads in the truck bed.  I could definitely see the advantage of having a little better travel, slightly bigger tires, and way better shocks... bouncy, bouncy!

I would definitely go back... even stock.  It would be fun to have someone drive who knows the dunes and the capability of the truck.  Then I know what I can or can't do.


Friday, May 23, 2014

Lance Armstrong's drugs

Is everyone taking Lance's drugs?  I think it's starting to effect their brains.

Riding to work the other day, Mr. Spandex pulls up next to me at a traffic signal.
"hey man, I saw that - it was really close - damn drivers, what a jerk"

I knew he was talking about the truck with trailer that seemed to have cut me off a block or two earlier as he made a right turn across my path.  But I realized, there was a reason it was close and not an accident - I saw it coming.  Why?  I figured it out - I was in the wrong, not the driver.  I was passing the slow moving vehicle on the right.  Don't pass a vehicle on the right and you won't get the "right hook".

How many bicyclist accidents are caused by a "right hook"?  I'm sure it's a good percentage, and I bet a good portion are due to bicyclists not following the rules of the road.  I couldn't find the statistics, but I did find this pretty good website that had this discussion, as well as some other great tips for "How not to get hit by cars".

His next unsolicited comment, "dude, you really should wear a helmet, it's the law".

Really?  I thought that was just for kids... I had to check when I got to the office.  Sure enough, helmets are only required for bicyclists under 18.
I also recall my trip to Amsterdam and Paris - lots of cyclists, none with helmets.  Google this, and you'll find all sorts of pages about anti-helmet laws.  Here's one, for example.

I came to the conclusion that if you follow the rules of the road, and ride safe, you don't need a helmet for bicycling any more than you need one for walking, driving, etc.  I don't want to crash to where I would need one.  And, I imagine, there is a small "window" of accidents where you need a helmet and where it is moot whether you have one on or not.

How does this relate to Mr. Spandex and Lance Armstrong?  Maybe he wasn't doping like Lance, but clearly he is not educated.  He may know the best carbon fiber frame to buy and what spandex colors don't clash with his bike, but he is uneducated about everyday bicycling.  How much of the rest of the public is that uneducated?  How do we educate them?  How do we alleviate the fear, so they feel comfortable biking in the neighborhood?  There is certainly a lot of good info out there, easily accessible, if you want it.  There are safe biking workshops in my community, maybe there is one in yours?