Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year 2013!

Apologies for being such a negligent blogger of late! The cooler weather means much more pleasant riding condition in the mountains east of San Diego. I've been spending much of my free time stalking hawks and other cool wild animals out of the city... and when I get back to town I'm too wasted to sit down and write a proper blog entry.
Getting a bicycle was really the best thing I did for myself in 2012. I picked up a used mountain bike from a pawn shop nearby in February, mostly for transportation purpose. It was a Giant mountain bike with front suspension. Had to put two new (and well slimed) tires in along with new brake pads. The rear cassette's small cogs were rather worn, so I couldn't use the speedier gears, but I wasn't bent on going fast anyhow, so that stayed in (I just needed the low climbing gears to get myself up the city's many mesas). It was fun discovering bike-friendly routes to get to familiar places around the city, and even making forays to farther away places like La Jolla or Torrey Pines or even Mission Trails on occasions on that heavy steel bike.
My old Giant Yukon mtn bike on OB bike path near Hotel Circle
I went from just walking around my immediate neighborhood and catching the buses/trolley to other cooler places once or twice a month, fitting as many destinations and chores in as possible to the bus/trolley travel days... to regularly making the 20 miles round trips to Ocean Beach or Cabrillo Monument to sight see, and being able to spread out my grocery shopping, post office, library, and other chore runs on different days rather than having to jam them all in on the few days that I buy the bus/trolley day pass on. Then I upgraded to a light aluminum road bike in May...
The new Giant Defy road bike at Torrey Pines Gliderport
That was when my world sort of exploded... in a very good way! With the road bike I could range all the way to Escondido or even Oceanside and back in a day. An 80 mile bike ride isn't all that unusual now, and after 7 months I'm still having a blast discovering more awesome cycling routes around San Diego County (county rather than city!). I even survived a brutally long, hilly and hot organized high speed group ride, the Giro di San Diego Gran Fondo from Solana Beach to Palomar Mtn in September. Alas, I didn't quite survive an even higher speed group ride just a week later when one of the tracksters I was pace-lining with went down on the descent from Cabrillo and ignited a chain reaction group crash. Luckily everyone escaped without serious injury (and so did all the bicycles)... Yours truly now sports an inch long scar on the mug, however. A good reminder to listen to my misgivings next time around and drop out when a group I ride with starts to push for too much speed on too narrow a road.

Anyhow! It's been a great year on the bike. I made a lot of cool new friends and learned a lot of things about myself... and this amazingly beautiful and varied city I live in. Here's a compilation video of a few of my favorite cycling hang outs in San Diego County so far. Looking forward to discovering more new haunts next year.

Wishing you all a very healthy and happy 2013! Ride safe (for both you and others) and have a blast!

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Thanks for stopping by. Be safe on the roads!