Friday, September 22, 2017

Five Things the Bay Area Should Know for the Weekend

5) Mt. Umunhum is Bike

Sept. 21, 2017. Rode Bike Friday (w/ Cranksgiving San Jose trailer in tow) 5.5 miles up to Mt. Umunhum where I listened to Eminem and ate M&Ms. Really.
I took the day off yesterday and rode my Bike Friday up Mt. Umunhum, which just opened a few days back. I would have ridden straight from my house but I opted instead to park my car at Almaden Quicksilver County Park across the road (side note: the Santa Clara County Parks annual parking pass is the best value in the Bay Area) and ride about 5.3 miles. Up.

Five years ago I swapped out a triple chainring on the Bike Friday for a larger double and I remember wondering if I'd regret it later. Half a mile in, I did. 

Still it is a beautiful ride up Mt. Umunhum Road, and when you get to the top you can skip the parking lot on the left and turn right to pedal further to the old radar installation - also know as the rectangular thingy in the Santa Cruz Mountains visible from most highways.

Here at the top there is handicapped car and van parking available BUT there is a bike rack. The views are every bit as great as you'd expect and it is satisfying to get there by bike. 

The #ThirteenWords apply big time: If you have a bike and can ride it safely, please ride it. If you must drive to Mt. Umunhum to see it please fill your car with people, drive slowly both up and down, and give cyclists three feet of space when you pass. I had a few cars cross the line between "annoyingly close" and "dangerously close." 

Be courteous AND thankful, motorists. Because of me, you get an extra parking spot to choose from when you get to the top. And we all get a buffer between now and the inevitable news story from motorists wrongly complaining that there isn't enough parking there. Cars: you're already ruining National Parks. Don't ruin Mt. Umunhum too.

4) Suma CM's Sketching Class is Live

Artist Suma CM, sketching Viva Calle SJ 2017 from a Box Bike by DIYBIKING.COM
Suma CM - a Bay Area artist who sketched at the Bay Area Proud blood drive the other day, rode in a Box Bike by DIYBIKING.COM for Viva CalleSJ 2017 so she could sketch while I pedaled. It's always fascinating that one doesn't realize how much space is given to cars until that space is given to people.

It's also fun to ride a cargo bike and look down to see Suma's hat.

Having her sketch in the bike was cool - but what is even more cool is that she is now teaching a sketching class on Craftsy called Urban Sketching in 15 Minutes a Day. So if you have ever wanted to learn how to draw or learn how to improve your drawing technique you should take her class.

3) Yoga Teacher Training in San Jose

Yoga instructor Sima Chomicz Velez at St. James Park just after teaching a class.

All of the yoga teachers at Be The Change Yoga & Wellness are amazing people but the instructor I've known the longest is going to start yoga teacher training in a couple weeks. If you live in San Jose (or anywhere in the Bay Area, for that matter) and want to be a yoga instructor visit to learn more about this 200 hour class. 

As most of you know I've been a big fan of yoga for years and am convinced yoga has made me a better cyclist - and some days I am convinced I'd be in Nerf Hilton without it. 

You can sign up for classes at BTC on their site and if you want to be the person in the front of the class with the calm expression and the soothing voice, now is your chance: visit and sign up. 

2) Cranksgiving San Jose is Coming!

Another reason to love Be the Change Yoga & Wellness is they are one of the sponsors of Cranksgiving San Jose this year. Speaking of Cranksgiving...

By now you have probably seen the NBC Bay Area news story on Cranksgiving San Jose last year so you know what it is about. It is coming back on Nov. 18 this year, and we want to get even more riders together and collect even more food for Second Harvest Food Bank. Remember: If you can ride a bike and can feed yourself, you can ride a bike and feed others in need. Please like Cranksgiving San Jose on Facebook and help spread the word in the South Bay!

1) Speak Out Against Banning Cell Phones While Walking
I recently wrote about how terrible it is that Honolulu and my original home city of Stamford, Connecticut are seriously thinking of passing ordinances so pedestrians can't use cell phones while crossing the street.   can absorb more blame when they are hit by cars.

Mr. Roadshow (Gary Richards) of the San Jose Mercury News has taken a letter or two from entitled motorists who are annoyed pedestrians don't stop what they are doing to worship at the alter of Tesla and GMC when crossing the street. In this column, Mr. Roadshow has opened the conversation about banning cell phone use while walking giving motorists an extra tool in the blame-assignment utility belt so please let him know if you don't support a ban on texting and walking. His contact information is at the bottom of his column and, as always when I ask you to do this: no foul language and stay polite. 

That's all I got for now (not that this is of interest in the Bay Area but David Martin's Cycling With Candidates ride in Stamford was postponed this week because of the rain - more on the new time/date later).

Today is the day summer spills into fall (apparently this is happening at exactly 1:02 pm) so make it count. Thanks for reading and thanks for riding.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Cycling With Candidates update - Stamford: Thanks, Barry Michelson!

Republican Candidate for mayor of Stamford, Barry Michelson, Sept. 14, 2017. Photo by Ronald Morse

Note: I am typing all of this with a big grin on my face

I need to give a big thanks to Ronald Morse of Speakerbike for leading the first #CyclingWithCandidates ride with Republican Barry Michelson - and of course thank Barry for taking part in the ride (and a shout-out to Pacific Cycling & Triathlon on High Ridge Road in Stamford for outfitting Barry with a Specialized bike).

I knew the ride was taking place at 8:00 this morning at the Bedford Street Diner in Stamford. 2,983 miles away, at 5:00 in the morning At precisely the same moment, I was sitting outside my home in San Jose, in the dark, waiting for sunrise, sipping coffee and listening for screech owls* while wondering what was going on. 

As it turned out the ride took place as it was scheduled and photojournalist Michael Cummo of the Stamford Advocate was also there and took some great photographs - please check out Michael's photos - plus one from Ronald's iPhone! - and share the Stamford Advocate story below:

There will be more to come on this - and David Martin's ride will be coming up soon so keep watching this space. Remember that #CyclingWithCandidates can be done in your home city and that no one (it helps to say this in Bryan Cranston intonation) should run for mayor anywhere without addressing cyclists or cycling issues. 

Thanks for reading and thanks for riding.

*My morning routine has changed since moving to California.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Cycling With Candidates - the 2017 Mayor Election in Stamford

I promised not too long ago I'd have something to say about Cycling with Candidates - a campaign I started in 2013 to go biking with mayoral candidates in the city Stamford. 

I live in San Jose, California now but what goes on in Stamford matters a great deal to me. I still have friends I love and business I adore out there and even though I haven't ridden a bicycle in Stamford since May 1, 2015 I'm not ruling out a return someday.

So I decided to hand off the Stamford edition of Cycling with Candidates to Ron Morse - you may know him from his excellent cycling creation Speakerbike and from the Bike Party Stamford rides - and by the way, if you live in Stamford there is a Bike Party Stamford Ride tonight and you should bring a bike and go. 

That's my whole message at the moment: Ron is doing Cycling With Candidates and the two candidates for mayor (incumbent David Martin and challenger Barry Michelson) have already agreed to do the rides. As I write this they are coordinating schedules with Ron to do them. If you are a member of the press and want to know when the rides will be please let Ron know.

Rather than explain things further I'll share with you the email I sent to both the David Martin and Barry Michelson campaigns the other day. If anyone out there also believes that no one should run for mayor in your town without speaking about bike and complete streets issues, please crib whatever you want and start #CyclingWithCandidates in your town - and watch this site as I'll publish a Cycling With Candidates Tool Kit soon. 

Thanks for reading and thanks for riding.


Dear (campaign contact),

(this very same message has been sent or will be sent within a minute of this one to your candidate's opponent)

Thank you and thank (David Martin/Barry Michelson) for agreeing to do a Cycling for Candidates ride! A good friend of mine, Ron Morse, who lives and works in Stamford, is cc'd on this message and he will be your contact for scheduling your ride, which, like last time, will start at the Bedford Street Diner and go right on Bedford, left on Oak, left on Summer, right on Broad and a left on Washington to end at the government center. 

Ron will be writing about the ride for DIYBIKING.COM. Before or after the ride Ron may ask about any plans or issues you may have in regards to bike/transportation issues in the city and your record on this, if applicable. He also has a spare bicycle handy if you need one (let him know beforehand if it is necessary) but I do ask that you bring your own properly fitted helmet and understand you are riding at your own risk. 

Please feel free to have any of your own campaign staff on hand for your own photos/social media fodder if you wish but I do ask that you do not have any volunteers or staffers ride with the candidate and Ron - but please feel free to have anyone along the route or at the government center to take your own pictures if you like. 

An announcement will be made on DIYBIKING.COM Tuesday, Sept. 5 that Cycling with Candidates is back in Stamford. The intent is not to announce when the rides are taking place at that point in case you need more time to schedule one, but I will link to you and your opponent's literature about bike and transit issues if you have pertinent pieces on your web site. If you have published material on this subject on your campaign site by noon on Tuesday, Sept. 4, please send the links my way and I'll be happy to put them up.

This probably goes without saying but the rides will not be scheduled for the same day at the same time (the morning rush is best) and just like last time if anything physically embarrassing happens it will not be covered by DIYBIKING.COM. You will also not be judged on the kind of equipment you ride or the attire you choose to wear. 

I've let a few folks in media know about the rides - you can call them too if you like/when you schedule your ride. 

I would like to thank you personally, regardless of the election outcome, for taking part in Cycling with Candidates. The link to the first one done in Stamford in 2013 is below and some of that years' press coverage is on the Press page of my site. It is not along the route but please have an alfajore cookie for me at Lorca on 125 Bedford.

Sincerely yours,



Link to first Cycling with Candidates Ride: