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MONTHLY MEMBER NEWSLETTER – 9/1/2022
A. J. Reid, you are awesome!! You are a Southern Sierra Cyclist!
The next SSC Monthly Members meeting is in Exeter at VIP Pizza!!
For details read all the way to the bottom of this newsletter! (And don’t skip the articles this time!)
For some, we are approaching the time of year when touring is on our minds. Janet Lynch got a jump on the season! I guarantee she’ll have you wanting to enjoy a grand tour by bike.
Michigan Islands, Trails, and Dunes Bike Tour
By Janet Lynch
In my quest to cycle in every state, I recently rode the 6-day Michigan Islands, Trails, and Dunes Bike Tour presented by Wilderness Voyageurs. This company offers tours of varying difficulty, numbered from one to five, and Michigan is a relaxing three, covering 20 to 55 miles per day. Rather than ship my own road bike, I opted to rent from the company a Kona Rove hybrid with SRAM shifting and disc brakes, using my own pedals and seat. This proved to be a fortunate decision since I somehow missed the memo that the ride was all-terrain, including crushed limestone, gravel, sand, and packed dirt as well as paved byways. This was my first extended off-road biking experience, and I enjoyed the adventure. The weather was cool throughout the trip, in the 60s and 70s. My traveling companions included two guides, one driving the van and the other cycling, and eleven clients consisting of four couples, with one pair on ebikes, and three solo women, including myself. The base cost of the trip is $2,450, including lodging, some meals, and support.
Our adventure began in Traverse City, Michigan. After fitting and loading the bikes, we were shuttled to Indian River, and the beginning the day’s 35-mile trek to Mackinaw City, mostly on a crushed limestone trail, with stunning views of Lake Huron and a picnic lunch midday. After a brief exploration of Mackinaw City, we boarded a ferry for a two-night stay on Mackinac Island, the jewel of the tour. No motorized vehicles are allowed on the island, which means horse-drawn buggies and wagons and all kinds and sizes of bikes with whole families of inexperienced riders. Part of the island holds a quaint town, including the Grand Hotel, made famous by the Christopher Reeves movie Somewhere in Time. The rest of the island features numerous trails of various surfaces, one that circumvents the island, and many that traverse up and over it. We stayed at the beautiful Mission Point Resort, where we riders bonded over a group dinner. I had the Lake Superior Whitefish with California (of course) Chardonnay.
The day dawned with a promise of rain, and I was out on a solitary 6-mile hike, reveling in the sunrise across Lake Huron, climbing the multiple staircases to Arch Rock, Sugar Loaf, and historic Fort Holmes occupied by the British in the War of 1812. Many of the trails accommodate bikes and horses, but Tranquil Bluff is for feet alone and one of the most gratifying aspects of my hike. I wasn’t completely alone; there were a few other early risers and my husband Tim, tracking me on Strava. As I was strolling through a neighborhood of gorgeous homes with lush flowered landscapes, including the governor’s summer residence, Tim called me to ask if I was lost. Nope, just wandering around looking at stuff, and I am wont to do. He was following my itinerary from home and was worried I would miss my scheduled ride, which he didn’t realize had
been postponed to the afternoon due to weather. I appreciated his concern and interest as an armchair traveler. By noon the showers subsided, leaving behind wet surfaces, resulting in messy bikes and clothes. Our group rode the 20-mile circumference of the island.
The following morning, after a pancake breakfast in town, we ferried back to Mackinaw City, and began a 55-mile ride to Petosky, traveling along the shoreline of Lake Michigan on quiet country roads and paved bike trails. By then, we cyclists had bonded as an affable, considerate group, riding in small groups, talking and laughing, and occasionally pausing to wait for any stragglers. Most of the cyclists were around my age. The fastest woman with the most-shapely legs was 75 and a fierce competitor at the National Senior Games.
Sturgeon Bay was our first stop, with a table full of goodies awaiting us. Really? More food? I was still full from breakfast. A solo cyclist rolled up and stated that he had departed from Chicago nine days previously, with the goal of biking the circumference of Lake Michigan back to Chicago, a total of 1,100 miles. Wow, I had no idea! I thought Lake Tahoe is a big. Back on our bikes, we entered the Tunnel of Trees along scenic Highway 119.
We ate lunch at a working farm, Pond Hill. There were cherries in my chicken wrap and cherries in my coleslaw. In Michigan, cherries are in everything, including pancake syrup and beer, and best of all—pie! After lunch we climbed a few rollers on full stomachs. We cruised through ritzy Harbor Springs, with gleaming white mansions to our left and ostentatious yachts to the right, proving that no matter where you go in this country, there’s bound to be at least some people with money. Petoskey is a sleepy summer resort on Lake Michigan, and we stayed at historic Perry Hotel. Hemingway wrote some of his early Nick Adams stories in a nearby bar, the Annex, renamed City Park Grill; a statue of a young Hemingway is erected in a city park.
Day 4 began under cloudy skies, but few raindrops fell during our 42-mile trek to Glen Arbor. In Charlevoix, we got a glimpse of architect Earl Young’s mushroom houses and enjoyed a picnic lunch in Sutton’s Bay. I bought my only souvenir of the trip, a small stone called a Petoskey Rock, which is 350 million-year-old fossilized coral, dating from a time when Michigan was under the sea. Rain clouds continued to threaten us throughout the afternoon, but with only a few sprinkles, we rolled into the lovely Sylvan B&B for a two-night stay and much needed laundry service! I unpacked and relaxed in my upstairs room with its own back porch.
The next morning we explored the meandering trails of the 35-mile long Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, including some short, very steep climbs. The main attraction is the Sleeping Bear Dunes itself, whose namesake image has been all but eroded away. The 450-foot drop on the massive sand bank is so steep that you can’t see the Lake Michigan shoreline from the top. Many climbers are forced to take parts of the dune on all fours with a backslide of a half step for every step forward. Most intimidating is the looming sign that states a rescue will cost $3,000 if you can’t make it up the dunes on your own power. Rumor is that the climb can take as long as four hours, but I overheard some teens boasting that they made it in fifteen minutes. I really wanted to do it, but there were no other takers in my group, and I felt it would be inconsiderate to my guides if I asked to return to the site to give it a try on my own. I had to settle for an optional ride around Glen Lake that afternoon, while others kayaked or sun-bathed on the beach.
On our last day, we headed out of the Glen Arbor area via the Sleeping Bear trails and made a brief stop at the Point Betsie Lighthouse. We completed our 45-mile ride to Beulah on the leisurely Betsie Valley Bike Trail along the shore of Crystal Lake. After lunch in the park, we shuttled in the van back to Traverse City. Concluding the 233-mile bike tour made me feel celebratory that I had made it without any misfortune of illness or injury, but I was also truly sorry to say good-bye to my gracious traveling companions.
I highly recommend Wilderness Voyageurs to anyone who would like to try an organized tour. This company’s catalog features numerous itineraries throughout the U.S., Canada, and Cuba. For next year, I already have my eye on the Shenandoah Ride on the central eastern coast, which journeys through four states and five national parks.
Find a bike party near you!
Yes! A bike party! The idea can include anything from a quiet stroll with friends along a river with a picnic stop at the park to a wild and crazy loud music celebration of our freedom to ride a bike. You can even hire a 10-person Tiki bikefor your very own private party (it is e-powered so cycling is optional and while they serve non-alcoholic drinks, they do allow you to BYOB). I’ll bet you didn’t know there were so many opportunities to party on your bike! But just take a look at some of these events and ideas.
Remember that big 200+ bike ride sponsored by the Boling Barber Shop in Visalia? It happens twice a year and we are trying to find out the next date, so if you hear of it please email me! I want to go!
Did you know there are monthly themed rides on the 3rd Friday of every month if Fresno? Judging from the videos, they seem even more party-oriented than the famous Critical Mass Rides in the LAarea. Here is a review of the LA ride left on Trip Advisor:
Amazing night-time bike ride around Los Angeles
If you enjoy bike riding and seeing off-the-beaten-path areas of Los Angeles, then this ride is for you! The Los Angeles Critical Mass ride takes place on the last Friday of every month. It leaves from Wilshire and Western at 7:30 PM, so a good part of the ride is in the evening - which gives the city a completely different "look" than it has during the day. I've ridden the ride five times in the last year and it's been a fantastic experience every time; it's a unique way to see the city and meet a lot of great people. Keep in mind - this isn't a traditional "bike tour", it is an informal gathering of bicycle enthusiasts who enjoy seeing the undiscovered parts of the city. Oh, and it's free - they pass around a bucket for donations at the pit stops, but there's no obligation whatsoever. I recommend this ride for anyone who likes biking and quirky adventures!
And while we are in LA, LA County has been hosting the CicLAvia! events. Various streets in Los Angeles County area are blocked off so that you can ride, skate, or walk any way you like! These are not typically point-to-point or loop routes and not a race or anything like that. It’s a great chance to explore some interesting areas from a completely new perspective. There are just two more events scheduled for this year and it looks like a cool fun time so check it out here.
In case you didn’t know, Critical Mass rides are a worldwide thing. They all take different forms but have a common idea behind them (from Wikipedia):
Critical Mass is a form of direct action in which people meet at a set location and time and travel as a group through their neighborhoods on bikes. The idea is for people to group together to make it safe for each other to ride bicycles through their streets, based on the old adage: there's safety in numbers.
Please note that there are also Critical Mass rides in Pasadena and Santa Monica for your variety and pleasure.
It is amazing to think of jumping in on one of these in some place like Mozambique, Chile, Thailand, or pretty much anywhere in Europe. Check out this worldwide list of Critical Mass Rides just for fun. I think next time I am traveling I might see if I can jump in on one of these. What a great way to see other parts of the world.
Would you like to be a smarter, stronger, and more confident cyclist?
Come to the monthly club meeting on September 1st to hear a presentation about a way to do just that. The League of American Bicyclists has a program to either just learn or become a certified League Cycling Instructor (LCI). John Liu, whom you have heard of as the head of our regional Cal Trans (Mooney Blvd bike lanes project) is an LCI himself and cycles to work every day. He is willing to come to Visalia to lead the course. Attendees may take the class informally, just to learn, or formally, to become a certified LCI! If you are unable or not interested in this class but still would like to become a more successful cyclist, then continue reading below.
An organization called Love To Ride recently presented how they help you succeed at cycling in a presentation to the Active Transportation Committee of your Tulare County Association of Governments. Their goal is to get more people riding bikes. They accomplish this through a variety of means including rewarding people and organizations for riding their bikes. But what caught my eye is how they approach the problem of helping riders overcome the barriers that keep them from riding. They recognize that barriers for beginning riders are very different from the ones experienced riders face. Take a look at this webpage full of tips for people of all levels of involvement: LoveToRide/Learn
SSC Does a Lot with a Very Meager Budget: Here is the Treasurer’s Report
Beginning balance on August 1, 2022, is $7,231.87, with $309.26 in debts (VIP Kirkman’s Pizza/President printer ink and Wild Apricot) and $141.03, deposits/credits (two memberships, pizza cash donations at the August SSC meeting). SSC ending balance on August 30, 2022, is $7,019.27.
Robert E Paskwietz
August 30, 2022
New SSC Website in the wings waiting to Come On Stage!
If the board decides to go ahead then publish a teaser here.
Here, there and everywhere!
# Speaking of supporting cycling, Visalia Cyclery and Ride Californiaare hosting ride events Including a VC Night Road Ride on September 10th at 7:00 pm and the RideCA Gravel Coastal Adventure aka The Dirty Saint on October 8th! These are both sure to be fun events.
# FYE Sports is hosting a Labor Day ride! Here is the Strava route. If you know Michael this will be a great ride! He is also including a couple of runs at the same time so you can choose: 6 mile run, 12 mile run or 52 mile ride! All three start and finish at FYE Sports.
# Check the SSC calendar for these and other weekly rides:
But be sure to verify before you go. Sometimes the start times get changed last minute. A list of weekly rides currently known and advertised include:
- Monday A-Train at 6 pm from El Diamante HS, a beginning level ride easy A pace
- Taco Tuesday has two speeds: B pace (5:30 PM) and C/D pace (6 PM) starting from the parking lot at Canton’s Restaurant
- Wednesday B-Line is a B-paced (15-17 mph) 20 miler that starts at Mavericks Coffee Shop on Caldwell
- Friday Tour of Visalia (TOV) is a C-paced ride that starts from Mavericks usually midday but check on the Crew app for sure. Not on Crew? Contact Rosie Alavezos.
- Sunday TOV same as the Friday ride but often is a slightly easier pace than Fridays to help riders recover from whatever big adventure they might have gone on Saturday.
# Do you host a weekly or nearly weekly ride? Let us know if you would like it posted on the club calendar. If you need help hosting it or if you would like to help lead rides… please contact us via our FB page.
# “To report debris in the street” open the City of Visalia website, scroll down & pick, Visalia Works, on the request form scroll down to streets & pick an item & complete the form. A City employee will clean or fix the issue.
# Whenever you see a chance to sign one of our club’s waivers please do so. It benefits both you and the club to have those signatures on file. The insurance helps protect both the rider and the club should something happen.
### You are invited to contribute to this newsletter! Please don’t be shy! People love to hear what people are doing! If you are aware of anything fun, interesting, or newsworthy please share it! Anything from ideas, and comments, to complete briefs is greatly appreciated. Send your stuff to Bryan Patterson at firstname.lastname@example.org
The next SSC Monthly Members meeting is happening in Exeter at Kirkman’s VIP Pizza!!
Members and non-members join us in the upstairs meeting room at Kirkman’s VIP Pizza. As usual, we meet on the first Thursday of each month with pizza, drinks, and social time starting at 6:30 PM and the meeting starting at 7 PM. Bring a friend on Thursday, September 1st at 6:30 PM and introduce them to the wonderful world of Southern Sierra Cycling!