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  • Sunday, March 08, 2015 8:46 PM | Sheherezade Adams
    Cycle people - I ran across this article which reminded me of valid cycling pointers, some of which we practice and some we often forget.


    I find it useful to remind myself of them so that I stay alert and aware when I am on my bike.

    You might enjoy reading through the list yourself.

    Arlene Morgan is a long time SRCC member and volunteer.

  • Tuesday, February 24, 2015 8:38 PM | Sheherezade Adams

    We thank club member Del Bogart for sharing this observation with us:

    "I have been riding with the club for 13 years and in that time I have been on more than ten club rides where a crash occurred and an ambulance had to be called. Two of these crashes were truly horrific and continue to haunt me. ALL of these crashes, without exception, were on descents. Most were caused by excessive speed and loss of control."

    This got us thinking, are there things we could be doing as a club to reduce the number of crashes on club rides? 

    You can read what some of your fellow club members had to say about this, and we welcome hearing from you. Add your comment by clicking on the comment button at the end of any post. Please keep all comments respectful, we reserve the right to edit or remove comments. We encourage you to sign your posts

    Steve Kreock, lead instructor of the popular group riding and pace line classes, wrote an article giving some tips for descending for experienced riders. You can read that here. Jessie Kroeck, instructor for the popular hill riding clinic will be teaching the clinic on March 29th and again this summer. League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructor Kurt West shares some tips from his experience here.

  • Tuesday, February 24, 2015 8:35 PM | Sheherezade Adams
    Descending in a group is one of the most vulnerable situations we face on SRCC rides. Our members say it best:

    Laurie Buettner recalls her crash on an SRCC ride on Valley Ford Franklin School Road—

    "I simply did not see nor expect a herd of cows to  dash from the hillside into the roadway right in front of me. I suppose it could have been a deer, squirrel, dog or anything. I braked too fast, but I also did not want to run head on into a cow… Never ride faster than your guardian angel can fly, and mine is getting older and has saved me countless times."

    As bicycle riders on roadways we know there are no guarantees, but we can increase our safety and the safety of those around us when descending in groups by practicing some helpful techniques.
    • Reduce speed
    • Single up
    • Increase vigilance
    • Avoid positioning in other rider's blind spots
    • Do not cross center line
    • Position hands on handle bar drops
    • Avoid passing on right
    • Pass only when necessary
    • Announce yourself before passing
    • Increase space between riders
    • Scan far ahead
    • Cross cow grates at 90 degrees, maintain straight line, no braking

    Try sharing your preferences with the group such as: "I am slow on the downhills so I will go last" or "Please let me know if you want to pass me."

    Kurt West is a League Certified Instructor (#4250). He teaches Street Skills classes, Safe Routes to Schools and Family Bike Workshops
  • Tuesday, February 24, 2015 7:48 PM | Steve Kroeck

    Cornering and Descending

    The most difficult part of going downhill fast on a bicycle is overcoming fear.  Fear results in tension, which causes muscles to tighten.  Tight muscles don’t react to change very well.  Besides relaxing, and before going too fast, it’s also important to get up-to-speed about the different ways to corner on a bike.

    There are essentially two techniques for cornering – turning and steering.  The top diagram illustrates the technique for a slow turn where the rider and bike lean as a single unit in the same plane.  It’s ok to pedal through a turn when you aren’t leaned over too far.  When in doubt, coast. 

    The middle diagram shows a rider coasting through a turn at a faster speed.  Notice the bike is leaned over farther than the rider, who stays more upright.  In this situation, the riders elbows are bent, the outside pedal is down, and the inside knee leans into the turn to make room for the top tube.

    For faster speeds, get as low as possible.  Keep your shoulders low, pressure on the outside foot and inside hand, and a balanced for-aft position on the bike with your rear slightly off the seat. 

    In the bottom example, the rider is using a more advanced technique of steering through the turn.  Here the rider leans and the bike is held more upright.  This allows the bike to be pedaled through the turn and is often used during wet conditions when more traction is needed.

    Using this technique, the rider shifts the body forward placingnose over the front brake lever.  Also opposite of the steering technique, hands are used to pull on the inside bar and push down on the outside.   Knees are in to maintain pedaling. 

    Before putting these techniques to work at speed, there are some things you can do to improve your chances of making it to the bottom.  First, be aware.  Pay attention to weather (rain, fog, ice), traffic (cars, pedestrians, animals, other riders), road conditions (gravel, potholes, metal grates/lids, street markings), and tree cover that keeps roads wet for longer periods.

    There are some general rules, too, for fast descending, some of which are specific to groups.  Be predictable; obey all rules of the road; avoid passing on the right; announce your presence; allow space between yourself and other riders; don’t cross the centerline; cross cow grates upright and at 90 degrees; scan far ahead; reduce speed whenever hazardous conditions previously mentioned warrant or sight distance is limited. 

    When the road tips downward, it’s best to relax as much as possible and lower your center of gravity.  Put your hands in deep part of the drops, elbows bent.  On straightaways, keep the cranks horizontal and most of your weight on your feet.  With your back horizontal, grip the sides of the saddle with your thighs.  Are your still hands relaxed?   A tight grip will transmit road shock through your shoulders and head.  Now your ready for the turn…

    If you need to slow down, now is the time.  Before entering the turn, feather both brakes until you reach a manageable speed.  You can also slow yourself by sitting up and using air resistance.  Now comes the important part: keeping your head up and eyes forward, maintain focus ahead on where you want to be.  Use your peripheral vision to observe what’s directly around you (including hazards).

    Using the turning or steering techniques described earlier, flatten the curve by staying as wide within the lane(near the center or edge line) as you can, then cut across the apex, and exit the corner wide again.  Correct your line by using your hips to shift body weight and/or bike lean.  Stay off the brakes while in the turn.  Applying brakes will increase momentum upward and outward.  Are you still looking ahead?  Hands relaxed?  Good, you made it.

    Now get ready for the next turn!

  • Tuesday, September 30, 2014 7:29 PM | Sheherezade Adams

    On September 20th, the club held a medical clinic for club members. A huge thank you to Don Graham for doing all of the work to make this happen and to Eric Peterson for teaching the class. Here's Don's report back on how the class went:

    "In Sonoma County most of the time it will be 15 minutes before emergency medical help will be able to get to an accident scene. After this intensive 6 hour class, some of our club members are better prepared to help care for a fellow rider with an urgent medical situation, including what is involved in managing a scene and caring for the affected person.


    This is the third first Aid class I have organized for the club it was by far the best as far as content and reception by participants.  The two previous classes were held on a weekday evening for about three hours. Club member Eric Peterson, who has taught these classes, suggested we expand this year to a 6 hour format, to cover the subject in more depth.


    While the class went from 8am to 3pm, Eric is such an engaging presenter the time went by quickly.  After spending the morning in the classroom, in the afternoon we broke up into small groups and acted out injury scenes that Eric had written out. After the lecture we thought we knew the material, but the hands-on practice helped us to see where we might forget important steps. The hands-on enactment really drills it home but it does take more time, and the longer time commitment of the class may explain why we had fewer participants than in years past.


    Participants, including two medical doctors, were extremely happy with the content."

    And here's some feedback we heard from a participant:

    "My husband and I attended Eric's training on Saturday and have not stopped talking about the experience. We have made up situations or relived actual events and then asked "what would you do?" I found this training invaluable and very pertinent to our daily lives. Eric expertly took the class through real life emergency situations and taught us how to react and how to potentially save a life. I really liked that he geared his presentation towards 'gear heads' and shared with us events that we all could identify with. I would strongly recommend this training to everyone in the club as one never knows what will happen when and what to do when it does happen! Eric's class was fun, highly informative and suitable for everyone in and out of the biking community."

  • Sunday, September 14, 2014 8:10 PM | Sheherezade Adams

    On Sunday September 14th the club held a ride followed by a fix-a-flat clinic.

    A big thanks to Bridgette DeShields and Liz Sinna for taking the initiative to organize it. Bridgette was the one who took the time to gather needed supplies, communicate with folks signed up for the class, plan the route and buy the tasty snacks. Thank you Bridgette for your crucial behind the scenes role. Liz led the ride, helped plan and recruit helpers and took many photos of it all; watch our facebook page for those.

    Several people took time out of their Sunday to make this event a success. This class went well because we had a great ratio during the crucial hands on portion of the class. A big thanks to these folks for coming out and helping: Janice and Mike Eunice, Bob Puckett, Devon of Uberbike, Tom, and Gordon Stewart.

    And of course thanks to the participants, for your awesome attitude and interest in being more self sufficient out on the road.

  • Wednesday, August 13, 2014 3:21 PM | Gordon Stewart (Administrator)

                   May SRCC Survey Results

    In May, the club conducted an online survey to determine the experience and educational interests of its membership.  About 10% (179 members) of the club responded to 20 questions.  A summary of the questions and responses can be found below.  The results are being used to formalize a club education program.

    Any time a survey is conducted, there’s room for interpretation and everybody is encouraged to have their own and join the conversation.  Variety is what makes this club great.  With that in mind, these results are simply one person’s general observations.

    • Most have riding experience, but not necessarily organized riding.
    • Most joined the SRCC less than ten years ago, and more than half less than five.
    • 75% are in the A/B to B/C tempo range.
    • Three of four respondents ride solo or in small groups-only.  One in four also ride in larger groups of people they may not know.
    • Two-thirds ride 2500-7500 miles per year (50-150 per week).
    • A majority of respondents join a club ride one time (or less) per month. 
    • 70% have not led a club ride.  Of those who have, 69% led fewer than ten.
    • Most club members are least comfortable riding on busy streets and with faster and/or “erratic” riders. 

    Here’s a good place to pause.  The survey results and conversations within the club peloton indicate a large contingent that wishes our club to be more cooperative and aware of others (including motorists) during club rides.  Ride leaders and clinics can really help with that worthy goal.  More on that later… The good news is:

    • Almost half of the club has taught or taken a bike-related class.
    • Three quarters of the respondents want a more formalized/organized club education program and 90% would take a class depending on the topic.
    • The class topics most desired by respondents (in priority order) are: mechanical, group riding, basic bike handling, and training/racing/nutrition.
    • Most want instruction while riding in groups.

    A special shout-out for the education-related efforts currently underway:

    Janice and Mike Eunice offer regular Welcome Wagon rides for new riders.  These rides, and mentoring new riders in general, is something they have been doing for many years.  Their next ride is on the club calendar and occurs August 17th.

    The folks at Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition taught a class for club members in June focusing on traffic rules and defensive riding.  We teamed up with Tina Panza, their Education Director, and class instructors Erik West and Michelle Nicolayew. 

    The coalition has an extensive line-up, including regular 4-hour classroom classes on rules of the road and safe riding, 4-hour on-bike classes, and free family biking workshops.  More information can be found at: http://www.bikesonoma.org/education/

    Community Bikes held an open shop time for SRCC in late May of this year. It was partly to thank the club for the year-end donation, plus a chance to introduce SRCC members to the shop.  Their regular shop hours are Saturday and Sunday 1-5pm.  For $10, people can use tools and get expert advice on fixing their bike.

    We've got quite a few classes coming up, some of which are or will be posted soon on the website and calendar:

    • Cycling (Pace Line) Skills Class - B Riders, Sunday, August 31, 9:00-12 noon.  Sign up here.
    • A medical clinic will be held on a Saturday September 20 at the Finley Center.  It will consist of three hours (8-11am) of class room and then three hours of outdoor instruction.  The fee for participants will be partially subsidized by the club.  More details will soon be available on the club website.
    • There will be a series of mechanical classes (each between 1 and 2 hours) taught by the folks at Echelon on weekday evenings.  Each will focus on a particular area of bicycle repair.  They will be hands-on with a small class size.  Again, the fee will be partially subsidized by the club.  More details to follow on the website.

    In addition to those who were mentioned above, thanks to the many club members who have stepped up to be a part of the education team. 

    Club Survey: Sherry Adams, Craig Gaevert, Steve Kroeck
    SRCC Skills Clinics: Richard Anderson, Tom Helm, Darrin Jenkins, Steve & Jessie Kroeck 
    Medical clinic: Don Graham, Eric Peterson. 
    Mechanic classes: Mike Adams and the folks at Echelon Cycle and Multisport.  

    The detailed results of the survey are available here in pdf form.

    In addition to the education program, there is a Ride Leader Development group headed by Bob Owen that has been working to create support and mentoring for ride leaders and set standards for club rides.   

    We've been slow migrating to the on-line newsletter, but plan to use the Education Section of the website “News” tab to post information about upcoming classes, along with articles and information that you might find helpful and interesting.  We also intend to solicit questions and topics of interest on our web page, maybe using the existing feedback form. 

    Stay tuned.

  • Wednesday, May 28, 2014 11:00 AM | Gordon Stewart (Administrator)
    Shortly after it was elected, the new board formed a group with the goal of providing educational opportunities for the membership. In an attempt to fashion the most relevant program, the education team would like to know a little about how and when you ride. Please take a few minutes to complete the short survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SRCCed and provide the group with some guidance.
    We've already scheduled the first skills class, which will take place on June 28th from 9am to noon. The target group is A and A/B riders, but all are welcome. It will include classroom instruction, parking lot drills, and a short bike ride. You can learn more and sign up here [link to calendar posting]

    We’ve got some other ideas we are working on, like a first aid clinic in the fall (thank you Don Graham for taking the lead on that). We could still use some help with some behind the scenes organizing, if you are interested please contact Sherry_N_Adams(at)yahoo.com.

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