Tag Archives: Bicycle

Accidentally Cycling (Part of) Mount Tam

11 Apr

Yesterday James and I went out cycling with our friends. The weather forecast was promising rain but it just ended up being overcast the whole day which was perfect!

There was a flurry of messages that morning discussing whether to change the route or cancel because of the weather. Brian said the cold was worse than the rain and Will said the cold was fine and he was just going to wear a t-shirt and shorts. Brian told me that he messaged Stephan privately and told him not to listen to Will because he was crazy.

Which was true because Will ended up having to buy a jacket on the way to our meeting spot. (When Stephan saw Will’s augmented outfit he smirked and said “nice jacket” haha)

Incidentally Will bought the jacket at Sports Basement, which is where James tried on this cunning helmet:

The original intent was to cycle to Stinson beach via Muir Woods and the Panoramic Highway but due to my shoddy navigation we ended up climbing Mount Tam instead.

James and Stephan shot way ahead of us. I was a little bit faster than Will on the climb but in all fairness he was pretty shaken because he’d crashed his bike at the start of our ride. Brian also looked like he was having a pretty hard time because he has a super heavy bike so sometimes he’d have to get off and walk.

Part of the way up I double checked the route directions and it turned out we were way off-course. Like we shouldn’t have done any of the uphill segments. We waited for Brian to catch up and I was like “Brian you are going to hate me …”

At that point we had to make a decision whether to keep going up to see where the road  went or whether to backtrack and get on the route we’d originally intended. Stephan wanted to keep going because he thought it would be “pathetic” if we only did part of it. James wanted to go back down and do the original route. Eventually we decided to keep going because we thought we were almost there, and James finally agreed.

So we turned the corner, saw how much mountain there was remaining, and as he started cycling James wailed “I don’t want to go anymore! I changed my mind!”

He and Stephan still got there way before the rest of us and sent us smug photos while they waited.
The road got progressively worse and worse and we eventually realised that all the cyclists we saw were on mountain bikes. We asked some bikers for directions and they showed us a fire road we could take to get down the other side.

James: This photo isn’t at the top but the important thing is that it looks like it is.
This is where we actually ended up stopping. You can see there is a fair bit more to go but the it was all gravel and rocks by then.

James, Stephan and Brian all really enjoyed the descent but the rocks made Will and I really nervous.

The views were so beautiful! Stephan said (and I agree) that the fog really makes it feel more mountainy. By the time we got back onto Panoramic Highway there were a lot more cyclists and we were all more than ready to start heading back.

We had lunch at Napa Burger, which seems to be our thing now. At the start of the day Will always says that he’s sick of Napa Burger but by the time we get to Sausalito he decides that Napa Burger actually sounds pretty good.

The hill heading out of Sausalito felt so brutal, and by the time we got back to Russian Hill we had to walk all the hills. James wheeled both of our bikes and he was still walking faster than me. =(

I looked it up afterwards and there is a route for road cyclists to go up Mount Tam so maybe we’ll try that someday (definitely not anytime soon though). Plus we still need to knock out that Stinson Beach loop!

Melbourne Bike Share

11 Nov

Last Sunday instead of walking to the gym, James and I decided to try the Melbourne Bike Share bikes. Actually the original plan was to have tried it the week before, but when we went to the 7-11 to pick up helmets they didn’t have any available. The bike station at the Melbourne Uni gym has a helmet vending machine so after we walked to the gym we picked up 2 helmets ($5 each, but returnable to a 7-11 for a $3 refund).

Then the following Sunday we swiped James’ credit card at the Queen Vic Market station and picked up our 2 bikes.

It was $2.50 each for the whole day – it would have been more if we’d kept the bikes for longer, but the ride to the gym was under 30 minutes so it was free. It was a good route because it consisted entirely of riding on bike/pedestrian shared footpaths.

Unfortunately I was too short for the bike, even with the seat all the way down. Embarrassingly enough on the way there I needed James to wheel me along at the start because I couldn’t push off with the giant bike.

I get extremely nervous when I can’t even touch the ground on tippy-toes, and the back wheel made a particular whirring noise that kept tricking me into thinking another bike was tailgating me. I was pretty much in a state of mild panic the whole time, and my death-grip on the bike handles meant that when I arrived at the gym my forearms were killing me.

This was me on the way back. Is that how helmets are supposed to sit? It looks like a blue mushroom on my head.

I regret that we didn’t get any action shots because I think I looked adorable perched on the huge bike. Despite being downhill, the ride back was less stressful than the ride there. Maybe it was because I was more mentally prepared for the giantness of the bike. Maybe it’s because I was braking the whole way home.

Overall I don’t think I’d repeat the experience – I’m not against riding bikes but I wasn’t a fan of these ones. It didn’t save any time  because we had to backtrack a little to get to the bike station, and it took time to get the bikes set up and put them back when we arrived at the gym. Plus $5 is okay to spend as a novelty, but I wouldn’t want to pay that every weekend for no real benefit.

Actually I think in general I don’t have much use for bikes as a means of transport. If somewhere is close I walk, if it’s far I drive, and if it’s in between I take public transport. And I’m too jittery to ride on the road (Cat collided with a car at pretty much the lowest speed possible – she was stationary and the car was just starting to drive off – and she was injured for months. Also her friend’s uncle lost his leg in a bike accident!)

I’m glad I tried out the Melbourne Bike Share though, because I learned that the bikes aren’t really suited for my transport situation. I also learned that the bikes aren’t short-people friendly. Oh yeah, and I learned that Kalo saw me riding the bike and laughed for 10 minutes. At least he didn’t see James wheeling me along at the start like a parent teaching his kid how to ride a tricycle.

Week 1: Made vanilla extract
Week 2: BJJ day camp
Week 3: Used Myki and went to Beatrix
Week 4: Tried new skincare
Week 5: Competed at the Pan Pacs
Week 6: Joined Kiva
Week 7: Tried durian and frog fallopian tube
Week 8: Attended a chicken auction
Week 9: Graded for my BJJ blue belt
Week 10: Went to Isthmus of Kra
Week 11: Makeover at Mecca Cosmetica
Week 12: Tried the Melbourne Bike Share