Welcome! The VeloRaptors are a social group of cyclists based out of Montclair, Oakland. We offer regular rides on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday open to many experience levels and make sure to include a coffee/snack stop along the way. The majority of our rides are 30 miles or less, but we also have a group that enjoys planning longer, more challenging rides.
Story found in a local email stream – ——– This is a sad tale. The story has a villain and a victim. I am the villain, and my bike is the victim.
It all began on another perfect bay area biking Saturday. I met a couple of friends at Teatro in Orinda and we had a wonderful ride. When I returned to the car, I put my bicycle on the rack on the back of my car. Then, I must have gotten distracted. How? Did I turn to say goodbye to someone? Maybe. Was I focused on my audible book? Maybe. After all, I was on the last 50 pages of Neal Stephenson’s 3,000+ page Baroque Cycle and I wanted to see how it would end! Is this an example of normal human error and fallibility? Absolutely. At least that’s what I’m telling myself to feel better.
Anyway, there is a small step after putting the bike on the rack that I seem to have overlooked. It involves securing the bike to the rack, and evidently it is an important step. I’ve had this bike rack for years, and I figure I have put my bike on it over a thousand times. If you think about, one error in a thousand isn’t an awful percentage. However, my bike might have a different opinion.
You’re probably wondering how I realized I had skipped this small step. I drove back to Montclair in a wonderful mood after a great ride. I was low on gas so I stopped, and stood by my car as it drank it’s fill. But I didn’t notice anything amiss. After that I stopped at my favorite pizzeria to pick up lunch (one advantage of doing long bike rides is you get to eat pizza). When I pulled over in front of the pizzeria, I looked in my rear view mirror and thought ‘where’s my bike’. My next thought was ‘did I stop home and drop it off?’. My next thought was something along the lines of ‘OH S***’. For a moment I thought it had been stolen. But then I remembered that it had not been out of my sight since I left Orinda. It was at that moment I realized who was the villain in this story.
I was briefly tempted to say “Oh Well”, and just go home. Fortunately, I had enough common sense to not do that. I realized that if the laws of physics were still in force, my bike must be somewhere between the Orinda and Montclair. I contemplated the possibility that the laws of physics had briefly been suspended, as this would be preferable to my own stupidity being responsible for all this. But I knew that the latter reason was probably true, so I retraced my steps.
A friend had bikes drop off his rack with no damage, so I was a little hopeful. In fact I once jumped out of his car to rescue a bike on a busy highway. We expected it to be totaled but it was rideable, and I rode it off the freeway. Certainly my own bike could fare just as well? No such luck.
Like a wounded bird thrown from the nest, it lay by the side of the highway. As might be expected, it was just past the on ramp from Orinda. It’s a place where a car accelerates while going uphill which provides a perfect opportunity for a bike to simultaneously reach escape velocity yet still hit the ground at 40 or 50 miles per hour. In case you’ve been wondering, I have definitively proved that falling on the ground at high speed is not advised for a carbon frame.
The patient was announced DOA at Cycle Sports. Fortunately, the death will not be totally in vain. The components are salvageable, so they can be transplanted to some deserving young frame. Also, Trek has a crash replacement policy that I might be eligible for. I will know on Monday about this, and also how long it will take to Trek to gestate a new frame. It’s possible, because its a crash, that I will be expedited. If not, it could be up to a 3 month wait. I’m glad so many people have discovered the joy of cycling during the pandemic, but I’m wishing there was some way those of us who have kept the bike companies going all these years could get some priority. Evidently, getting a bike is now up there with getting a vaccine, the only difference being that my age doesn’t help. A friend was gracious enough to loan me his spare bike which I rode today.
Are you wondering why I have bothered to tell this tale of woe at such length? I explained all this in detail to some folks this morning and realized that I would have to repeat it many times. I decided that those who are interested can read this email and that way I won’t have to remind myself on multiple occasions just how lame I was. Also, being able to joke about it a bit makes it easier to stomach.
I know you have one more question. Exactly what happened to the bike?! A picture is worth a thousand words. I suspect that when you view the picture below you will agree that it wasn’t a good idea to ride it home. I’m not sure if bike abuse is a crime, but if it is, I’m going to need a lawyer.
KTRSD, but make sure it doesn’t hit the ground at high speed!
WARNING: The Photograph below contains images that may be uncomfortable for some viewers and may induce bike-accident nightmares. Viewer discretion is advised.
One very nice local rides is the Dublin Grade-Foothill-Sunol-Calaveras-Sunol-Palomares route. This ride is especially good in Spring when the hills are green and wild flowers are blooming. Susan T. – one of our members – had not done this ride, and as she is leaving us at the end of the month, it seemed quite appropriate. It evidently was a good choice, as we had 17 riders at the start!
The weather was quite cooperative with temperatures in the
low 50’s at the start. This route begins
with a climb over the Dublin Grade from Eden Canyon Rd. and the mild
temperature made the climb quite comfortable, and we enjoyed cruising the
rollers as we headed south along Foothill Rd, enjoying views of Pleasanton
Further south we passed the lush golf courses on our left
and the posh homes in the hills on our right. Rolling into Sunol we noticed the
contrast in cultural and affluence.
From Sunol we headed south on Calaveras Rd toward Sunol
Regional Park and the Calaveras Reservior and just before the side road to the
park we stopped for a minute at the bridge over what must be part of Calaveras
Just beyond the bridge is where Calaveras road begins a long
winding climb through the trees and grassy hillside until you reach an overlook
to the reservoir.
After 25 miles we stopped for a pic and turned around to head back to Sunol.
We stopped at the local general (liquor) store for a snack
break. While most of us were scarfing
down chips and packaged cookies, Susan and Manali were approached by a guy
passing out 20oz bottle of beer. Not just any beer, but Buxom Blonde Ale!
A few of us shared the contents, momentarily disregarding our Corona Virus hygiene training.
Our trip down Niles Canyon Rd (Hwy 84) to Palomares Rd was
somewhat less terrifying than expected, as the Wednesday mid-day traffic was
light. Our rides on this route have often
been on weekend days, and with heavier traffic, this road is terrifying on a
bike – as it is two lane with stretches of no shoulder, and steep drop offs
into Alameda Creek.
The last leg of this route is Palomares Road which climbs through a steep canyon for 5 miles before descending for another 5 miles to the start. The guard rail at the top provided a pleasant respite before the descent.
A few weeks ago 8 VeloRaptors cycled and hiked the deserts of Southern California, including Death Valley, Joshua Tree, and Anza-Borrego. The trip was arranged through Black Sheep Adventures with guides Fred and Dave. You can view a short video from our adventure by clicking this link, or visit the Bay-Bikes-Bakery-Blog at this link https://biketobakery.blogspot.com/
The VeloRaptors Annual Marin Headlands ride on was on Sunday – January 12. 30+ Raptors cycled from the Embarcadero to the top of the Headlands. One of the highlights this year was the ability to cycle back to the East Bay via the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, and a lots of riders took this option.
Double click the image for a better look!
Additional Photos from Paul L. can be found under the Gallery Tab – 2020 Photos
Congratulations to VeloRaptor Joe Shami for completing his 600th consecutive weekly climb up Mt. Diablo. Moreover, Tom Steinstra – Outdoor Writer for the SF Chronicle – has inducted Joe into his 1% Club!
Joe’s picture and a brief description of his feat were published in Steinstra’s Outdoor column, in the Sporting Green section of the SF Chronicle on Sunday, December 29, 2019
The ride on Saturday, Nov 9, was a little different. The ride was a combined VeloRaptor/Rotary ride to Treasure Island. The start time was set for 10 am, hoping the fog would be burned off by then, but no such luck. The temperature wasn’t bad (52 deg), but the fog was thick enough that we couldn’t see the bay. Dennis showed up with his 89 Toyota 4Runner, and was impressed that Mark had a 92 version. Dennis didn’t ride, but decided to meet us at the restaurant on TI.
Seven of us pedaled out into the gloom from the Brickyard pavilion and stopped to give our respects to the Bridge Troll along the way.
I got a call from Dennis just as we reached the end of the bridge path. He wanted to let me know that the power was out everywhere on Treasure Island. While I was taking the call, the others passed me and headed up the Yerba Buena Island hill. Dennis decided to hang around the closed Mersea restaurant for a few minutes until we arrived.
We rendezvoused with Dennis at the restaurant, but realsized that one rider (Mark from Rotary) wasn’t with us. I called him and learned that he was at the nearby Aracely café where Carla (another Rotarian) was waiting to meet us. We cycled the short distance over to Aracely and found that it was open, albeit without power. As we rode up a group of firemen were leaving with what turnd out to be the last few cups of coffee. Fortunately, Aracely still had pastries and hot water for tea. We had had nice snack break and somehow Carla ended up volunteering to SAG for one of our rides!
The return ride was uneventful and several of us stopped for coffee at the Blue Bottle on Broadway. Herb brought Kate along on the ride and I learned that she teaches 6th grade math. I asked was subjects she covered during the year and our discussion led to me volunteering to come to her class and do a brief show and tell about my career. Basically, these kids have little exposure to career opportunities beyond service industries, etc. I think my 3 minute Rotary self-introduction can be expanded to 10-15 minutes and expose them to career paths in science.