VeloRaptors Support BORP Revolution Ride!

For several years the VeloRaptors have supported BORP, an organization which provides sports, recreation and fitness programming for children, youth and adults with physical disabililities and visual impairments. On Saturday, May 13, BORP held its 21st annual Ride, Roll and Stroll in Santa Rosa. We are proud to say that 11 VeloRaptors participated and collectively raised $23,600, smashing our goal of $15,000. The ride this year was a memorial tribute for former team member Dennis Cathey. The team, headed up by team captain Randy Mellin, had several prodigious fundraisers on it, including one of the top 5, Steven Goldenberg. Altogether the team inspired 103 contributions to BORP.

VeloRaptors Ready to Ride!

You can learn more about the BORP organization at their website:

Pothole Reporting

Joan Gallagher here (I’m a relatively new VR member and know many of you from the Wednesday rides). I’m writing to give you information about the Bike East Bay Hazard Reporting service. Sally Goodman asked that I serve as a liaison between the VeloRaptors and Bike East Bay to improve our ability to get our road hazards fixed. I will work with Tom Willging who is on the Bike East Bay board and who is the official VeloRaptor liaison to Bike East Bay.

I realize that many of you are already familiar with Bike East Bay, but may not be familiar with the hazard reporting process. For those of you who aren’t, please review the information below:

Bike East Bay volunteers report road hazards to the responsible jurisdictions in Alameda & Contra Costa Counties, including any hazards reported via  They also liaise with local cycling groups – Grizzly Peak Cyclists, Oakland Yellow Jackets, Bike Walnut Creek, Albany Strollers & Rollers, Cherry City Cyclists etc–and now the VeloRaptors–as they often have local contact knowledge that helps them gain access to the right Public Works or city staff. 

In the case of Oakland, a monthly report of the Top Ten potholes (most hazardous to bicyclists) is submitted.  Several years ago, after lobbying Oakland Public Works for more action resulting from their hazard reports, they were able to get OPW to commit to fixing ten per month.  The volunteers are very vigilant to making sure that OPW follows up on their commitments. They don’t see that many Oakland potholes reported each month on their hazards site, so SeeClickFix (more info below) is checked to fill their allotment. 

Hazards include more than just potholes, though we all probably experience the most frustration from them.  Other hazards include traffic signals that don’t sense bicyclists (older intersections with “loops” are the worst); debris in the bike lane or shoulder (think Grizzly Peak Blvd) overgrowth blocking travel or line of sight (Bay Trail in Albany is a constant problem) and a myriad of other hazards such as regular double-parking, drain grates, poor bike lane striping, hazardous railroad crossings, etc.  

If you see a hazard, please feel free to contact me directly at and I will submit it to the Committee and keep you apprised of its status.  You can also submit your complaint directly to this link:

Other helpful links:    This is the link to the hazard reporting site. The reports that people have filed and are checked daily can be found here: 

For an example, check out that link for the report on Debra Dryden’s South Park crash last September. 

SeeClickFix        This is also a good app for reporting road hazards. The limitation is that it is designed to address a wider range of concerns (including, but not limited to homeless issues, graffiti, etc). Bike-related complaints may not necessarily be their highest priority.

Don’t hesitate to contact me or report something because you think it might have already been reported. And it’s often useful to take a picture to document the exact location.



Oregon Ride Preview

Hello, Raptors!

Last year 5 fellow Veloraptors and I took a week-long cycling trip in Utah with Black Sheep Adventures, a San Leandro-based adventure sport company founded and run by former Backroads guide (and terrific fellow) Fred Ackerman.

The experience was fabulous—wonderful routes, lodging, organization, guides, and at a reasonable price considering all that was included. It felt like a Backroads trip without the high-end accommodations and exorbitant cost.

At my request, Fred has put together a trip for the Veloraptors in central Oregon and the Oregon Coast. The trip would be from October5 -October 10, 2014. There would be 5 riding days plus either a rest or optional ride day, and the distances would be typically 40-60 miles a day with up to 5500′ climb, some with optional longer rides. You would use your own bike, which would be transported by Black Sheep’s trucks from San Leandro. We would carpool to the starting point.

There will be a limit of 16 riders. We need a minimum of 8 riders for the trip to go. First come, first serve.

The cost for the 6 day trip would be $1895 double occupancy; $495 single supplement on each. DEADLINE FOR THE $100 DISCOUNT IS June 6

If you are interested, check out the detailed itineraries. Feel free to contact me for further information, and check out the company’s website:


This could be a really wonderful experience for us all….


Club Ride Reminder – Steve Blair

VeloRaptors Cycling Club – Oakland (Montclair), California – weekly bike rides.

Sundays we meet at Nelly’s Java, 1952 Mountain Blvd, (next to the Post Office) in Montclair. Come early to socialize! Wheels roll at 8:30 am sharp!

We also ride on Wednesdays from Nelly’s, leaving at 8:30. There are occasional outlying rides as well.

On Saturdays there is a ride designed for beginners, which leaves from the Warehouse at 416 26th, Oakland (between Telegraph and Broadway. They meet at 8:45 and leave at 9am. These rides often take the Bay Trail to Richmond, where they stop for coffee and snacks. All riders are welcome!

VeloRaptors Great Rides This Year

Great Rides 2013

Canada to Mexico: A tale of three guys bicycling the Pacific Coast.  This summer, club members Kevin McTighe, Dale Perkins, and a friend, Bob Liles, had a great cycling adventure riding the Canada to Mexico ride from August 31 – September 30.  They were supported by Dale’s wife Jeanne and the family dog Chico.  Check it out here.

Paris To Barcelona: This summer club members Randy Mellin, Robin Brummel, Jeff Jones, Fred Morse and Randy’s nephew, Jeff Mellin, rode from Paris to Barcelona and over the Pyrenees mountains. They were joined by Alyston Short (Fred’s friend) who provided great SAG support.  Check it out at: 

Southern Utah: This summer  club members Sally Goodman, Gail Husson, Bruce Bennett, Barbara and Larry DiCostanzo, and Miss Linda has a great experience cycling around Southern Utah: Check it out here.

Spain, Italy, and France:  The bucket list rides of club member Carl Groch. Check it out at:

The Bakery Blog by Steve Blair

Have you Heard?  Our very own Steve Blair is becoming a super techie.  In his newest tech adventure he has started a blog about bakeries all us bike enthusiasts love to visit. So, check it out at:  ““. 


Cyclist Encounters an Insect

This butterfly, the touch of a cat’s soft paw

Against my chest.  A short moment of vibration.

The soft claw of wing’s edge.   Then air.

                               Lawrence N. DiCostanzo

                              On the Volcano road,

                              May 27, 2007


Bury me in a meadow, some untilled waste,

Next to fields of lettuce or off the highway’s verge.

Let it be my stone, engraved in repeated rotation

Through timeless years.  Where rabbits start in the grass,

Mice rustle, and slender king snake makes his way,

In the warm breezeless understory of bush and weed;

Where song sparrow hangs on sideways to dry stalk,

And kestrel teeters, flaps, teeters, on rigid feathers

Spread out in points.  Here it is dry and quiet.


And, when the Resurrection comes, let the trumpet be

The brassy, tuneless vibration of the bee, against the clacking

Of locust wings.  Let my waking eyes gaze up

On sweet fennel or Queen Anne’s lace in sun.

And, if God should come to look for me, Let Him be

The cyclist, pausing to rest.  Hands light

On handlebars and saddle, He gazes on this modesty.

And let Him say:  This is too good to waste.

                                     Lawrence N. DiCostanzo

                                    June 27 – 28; September 14, 2005

Top of the World: Bicycling Coleman Valley Road  

 I climb above the fog, yet do not know

The reason for this effort. Can it be

The pleasure when I draw up and see

How sunlight blankets rolling grassland with no

Dark tree to stitch it to the blue. I slow

And see the seam of the horizon smooth

Against a bowl of blue, the only truth

And world my distant forebears long ago

Could love. They hoped beyond that line

There await the lovely muscled herds, the streams

Of fish, the comfort of a hunt: in short, the Place

Where limbs feel happy aches. God, rushing by when time

Runs down, should see I have romantic dreams

And fondly scoop me up from this high place —

The cycling dawdler with the dreamy face.

Lawrence N. DiCostanzo

                              July 12 – 15, 2009

President’s Message May 2013

Hello all you Veloraptors:

Let me start by saying I am honored to have been elected as your new President by the Board of Directors, following the May 20th Members meeting held at Sibely Volcanic Park.  Prior to the Board meeting, the members attending the annual membership meeting re-elected Susan Stewart (outgoing president) and Robin Brumell to their second 2-year terms as Directors and Tom Wilging to his first 2-year term as Director. Having been a member of the Board for the past 3 years, I have had the privilege of working with the many committed VeloRaptors who volunteer  so much of their time to our club. It is all the volunteers, along with the full membership, who make our group so much fun. So, thank you Susan for being our President for the past 2 years, and thanks to the many volunteers that plan and lead the Saturday, Wednesday, and special rides. It’s because of all the volunteers’ work that we have many fun rides to participate in each year.  Of course, a special thanks is in order for the volunteers who bring us special events like the Holiday Party, Halloween, and BORP Bike Wash Party, to name just a few.

As President, I look forward to working with the Board, the volunteers and all the special committees, to make the coming year fun and rewarding. And, remember, what makes the VeloRaptors such a fun group is not just our members, but their significant others and guests who make-up the VeloRaptors family.

Let’s have a great year, and I look forward to hearing from all members as to how we can keep improving our club experience.

Randy Mellin

PS: We continue to have  great participation in the Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday rides. So, if you haven’t been riding much, please come out and join the fun.