Welcome! The VeloRaptors are a social group of cyclists based out of Montclair, Oakland. Our regular rides are: Sunday - 8:45 Meet at Paddington Cafe in Montclair, Wednesday - 9:00 Meet at Starbucks in Montclair, and Saturday - 8:45 Meet at Warehouse 416, 416 26th in Uptown Oakland. Most rides are 30 miles (or less).
We usually stop for coffee/snacks at a cafe along the way.
Tragically, on April 14, 2021, Joe Shami, “The Legend of Mount Diablo”, was struck and killed by a vehicle while riding his bicycle in Lafayette, CA. In honor of Joe’s efforts, spirit, and inspiring demonstration of life fully lived there are now two wonderful remembrances of his life of cycling. The California State Parks Foundation has dedicated the Bike Turnout Project on Mt. Diablo to Joe and a bench has been placed along the Lamorinda trail near his home. In addition, Joe’s passing was also noted in a recent issue of the MIT News which reads as follows:
Although he is not with us today, Joe left a special gift in his will of $123,415.61 to California State Parks Foundation to fund additional Bike Turnouts on Mount Diablo. Read more about Joe and the Bike Turnout Project at this link https://act.calparks.org/a/biketurnout .
Here are pics of both Joe at the top of Mt. Diablo and few VeloRaptors at the bench dedicated to him.
If you find yourself on the LaMorinda trail you will find Joe’s bench near the birdhouse village as shown below.
Saturday – April 23, a pack of VeloRaptors helped R4R get to 98% of its goal of $180,000. Both the fund raising and the the cycling aspects of the ride were a great success. The weather was perfect, rest stops were appropriately spaced and well supplied, and of course the VeloRaptor riders were excellent company. The R4R organizers offered a variety of routes and most of us chose the 68 mile route from Suisan City to Sacramento. Although Paul L. (in bright yellow) started in Oakland, completing over 100 miles.
Some of us stopped for a libation before boarding the train back to Suisan City.
Kevin M. (in street clothes) provided SAG support. I should note that VeloRaptor Tom (below) and his grandson were among the top 10 overall fundraisers!
While we all wish for a bit more rain, VeloRaptors have been out riding in 2022 enjoying the good weather. Here are pics from a few of our riders.
In February a group enjoyed the brilliant displays of wild mustard in the hills north of Livermore.
Then on a windy Saturday in March several hardy VeloRaptors were spotted at the Pt. Reyes Lighthouse.
Pt Reyes Lighthouse
As the members of our club are of a certain demographic, there seem to be a lot of Steves in the mix. Four of them (front row) and friends did an alternative Wednesday ride up a very green Mt. Diablo
You may not know that a new section of the McLaughlin State Seashore recently opened near the Berkeley bike bridge over I-80. This new section of park is named Brickyard Cove and 3 VeloRaptors happened to be the first cyclists into the park on it’s opening day.
On Saturday, Sept 18, 10 VeloRaptors pedaled in support of BORP. Despite COVID interrupting the normal event for the second year, the group was able to raise over $12,000. These dollars go a long way in providing sports, recreation and fitness programs to people with physical disabilities, reaching over 1,000 folks in the Bay Area and beyond.
It was a beautiful day for the ride, with cool temperatures and the group completed a metric century. Their route circled the East Bay in a counter clockwise direction, starting in Moraga, riding down Redwood Road to Castro Valley, over the Dublin Grade to Pleasanton, up to San Ramon, Danville, Alamo and Walnut Creek, before working our way back to our starting point via Lafayette and Orinda. Post ride libations were enjoyed at the Canyon Brewery in Moraga. To make the day truly special, the rain gods blessed them with a very tiny shower during the night. The effort was led by co-captains Steve Goldenberg and Randy Mellin. Othe particpants were: Steve Blair, Tom Willging, Pauline Fox, Chris Scrivani, Howard Neal, Kathy Tate, Kevin McTighe, Robin Brumell, and our beloved SAG driver Dennis Cathey.
Here we are at the Valley Java Cafe in Castro Valley.
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.