16 August 2016

Dana Hobart's Boondoggle

Here's the latest package of lies from Dana. Perhaps it has already been published in the Desert Sun or another newspaper?

His "misrepresentations" begin with: 
1. The CV-Link funding is included in the Transportation Prioritization Plan Study (TPPS) as an "under-the-radar scheme." 

2. An implied assertion that alternative transportation cannot be funded from Measure A regional budgeting is false.
  • The TPPS (pp. s-1 to s-2) of 25 June 2016 addresses the legal standing to use Measure A funds for "all or a portion of the cost of public facilities" [to include] "transportation purposes including … the construction ... maintenance and operation of streets, roads, highways …” [ellipses in the report].
  • The TPPS also cites CVAG Executive Committee authorization as of 2000 to use regional transportation funds to reimburse costs associated with locating bicycle lanes in the street travel way and with right of way and construction costs incurred to provide a paved bicycle lane adjacent to the motor vehicle travel way.
  • In regard to the Regional Transportation Plan, the TPPS cites state guidelines in preparing the RTP to integrate multimodal transportation network policies into transportation plans and consider accelerating programming for projects that retrofit existing roads to provide safe and convenient travel by all users. The TPPS further cites Assembly Bill 1358 (California Complete Streets Act), Senate Bill 99 (Chapter 359, Statutes of 2013), and Assembly Bill 101 (Chapter 354, Statutes of 2013) to include active modes of transportation, such as biking and walking.

3. Hobart implies as well that the two negative votes (Indian Wells and Rancho Mirage) over the TPPS approval must win, while eleven votes in favor must lose.
  • How is it that 2 out of 13 votes is a majority? I hear echoes of Donald J. Trump, speaking long in advance of his election: "We was robbed!"
  • What is it about Indian Wells and Rancho Mirage that positions these cities as the strongest voices? I believe the two cities exhibit a sense of privilege that is based on richness—and I don't mean a richness of culture.
  • Since this vote was to approve the entire TPPS, were the voters representing Indian Wells and Rancho Mirage truly serving the interests of their communities? For if a majority of representatives had voted not to accept the TPPS, the report would have to be rewritten. Would the winning TPPS then have slashed all budgets for transportation projects? Would Indian Wells and Rancho Mirage vote in favor of only the TPPS that sends most construction to their cities?

4. Hobart attempts to imply that the Measure A funds are the sole means of funding the CV-Link, and perhaps also the sole funding source for all transportation spending in the region.
  • The TPPS states clearly, "CVAG has assembled more than $75 million to pay for CV Link, with much of the funding coming from outside of the Coachella Valley. The diverse funding sources reflect the air quality, public health and transportation benefits of the project."

5. Hobart implies that the current mish-mash of Class II bikeways (a completely separated right of way for the exclusive use of bicycles and pedestrians with crossflow by motorists minimized), Class III bikeways (shared use with pedestrian or motor vehicle traffic), and bike use of unmarked streets, feeders, arterials, and major throughfares is NOT deserving of a ranking "in order of greatest public danger."
  • 32 in Cathedral City,
  • 8 in Coachella,
  • 14 in Desert Hot Springs,
  • 3 in Indian Wells,
  • 33 in Indio,
  • 4 in La Quinta,
  • 30 in Palm Desert,
  • 34 in Palm Springs,
  • 7 in Rancho Mirage.
  • Total: 165 pedestrians and cyclists in 2013 deaths or injuries.
  • A cross-valley dedicated (Class I) path for pedestrians, cyclists, and NEVs could vastly improve the odds of surviving a trip using alternative transportation.
  • Ameliorating the deaths and injuries of 165 pedestrians and cyclists should be higher priority than "dangerous roads and unfilled potholes" that Hobart prefers.
  • Apparently the legal system agrees that the cities in the Coachella Valley are responsible for pedestrian and cyclist safety, and one can cite the judgment against Indian Wells for $5.8M in the death of cyclist Dr. Gerald Brett Weiss. Although the judgment may have been paid from a liability pool, in which numerous California cities lump their finances together to protect each other from costly lawsuits, Indian Wells will be responsible for re-paying the pool over time.

6. Hobart cites two proposed amounts for the CV-Link. One is true: $99.4M: One is false: $193.5M.

CV-Link estimated cost is $99.4M.
  • The TPPS estimates $99.4M for building the 50-mile route from Desert Hot Springs to Mecca and the Salton Sea. This amount is less than 3% of the total budge of $3.433B for all transportation improvements planned for the next 5 to 10 years.
  • The estimated cost for CV-Link is $1.98M per mile. Let's compare this estimate to building city streets. Smart Growth America estimates the cost of implementing Complete Streets to be "as little as $6 million per mile or double that" [page 13], while "new arterials can cost the city $5 million per mile or up to twice that amount." Though his figures are presented in cost per foot, Andrew Alexander Price cites an equivalent cost of $5M per mile. The American Road & Transportation Builders Association agrees with these estimates generally. Their FAQ says, to construct a "new 2-lane undivided road [costs] about $2 million to $3 million per mile in rural areas, about $3 million to $5 million in urban areas."
  • It's more difficult to find similar information for building multiuse paths similar to CV-Link. The City of Detroit planned to spend a total of about $35.4M to build a 25-mile path ($1.41M per mile). Jefferson County WI planned to spend $5.1M to build 10.76 miles of multiuse trail ($0.47M per mile). Los Angeles plans to develop a 51-mile multiuse path in the Los Angeles River, and is beginning feasibility and design (no cost estimate published).
Regional Active Transportation Projects estimated cost is $193.6M.
  • The Regional Active Transportation Projects identified in the TPPS are not part of the CV-Link. The estimated cost of these projects is indeed a total of $193.6M.
  • The Active Transportation program was established by the state legislature through the Complete Streets Act. The program "plan for a balanced, multimodal transportation network that meets the needs of all users of streets, roads, and highways, defined to include motorists,
    pedestrians, bicyclists, children, persons with disabilities, seniors, movers of commercial goods, and users of public transportation, in a manner that is suitable to the rural, suburban, or urban context of the general plan."
  • The TPPS lists 384 projects that meet the requirements of the Complete Streets Act. None of these projects are part of the CV-Link route. Instead, the projects are improvements to existing streets that promote pedestrian, NEV, and cyclist safety on the city streets.
Topics for more rebuttal:
7. Citing that "only 286" NEVs are registered, and that golf carts will be disallowed from using CV-Link. (Hobart once again objects to state and federal mandates that transportation planning should include alternative transportation, including cyclists and pedestrians.)
8. Rehash of questioning the validity of an 11-2 vote and use of Measure A funds as the sole source of transportation spending.
9. Citing Quintanilla against use of Measure A funds. (Citing an attorney's reading, not a court ruling, has no sway.)
10. Threat of legal action in Superior Court or suggesting a valley-wide vote. (A judicial decision would, I believe, strengthen the case for CV-Link. A county-wide vote could also favor CV-Link, especially if its future is to join the Coachella Valley to Banning Pass and the Riverside superpolis.)

14 August 2016

Rebuilding the Heart

Saturday, 13 August 2016

After a week of lazing about, it was time to get some heart pumping. So I took El Cielo Road, the East Palm Canyon bikeway, and streets through the Backstreet Arts district to Ridgecrest Plaza and the entrance to the Goat Trails.

My passage on The Ramp was a bit less than optimal, but I didn't stop until I was on the low part of the second climb. I was really winded on that climb and hike-biked several parts. Just below the top, I took off on a side trail to check out another trail alternative that I hadn't noticed before. (It turned out to be much less used, blocked by several large stones.)

Back on the doubletrack, I took the northwest half of the Merry-Go-Round and headed up Gene Autrey Hook to Lone Heart Overlook. Recent rework of the doubletrack trail by heavy equipment had obliterated this landmark, and I took about half an hour to re-establish the outline of the heart marker. I repositioned it to be a bit more off the trail, so emergency vehicles could still pass easily onto the next stretch of doubletrack.

I headed up the trail again, and took the sixth right-hand singletrack back to the Merry-Go-Round and then down the doubletrack to Ridgecrest Plaza and home.

Ride conditions
Temperature: 111°F at 17:15
Precipitation: none
Winds: calm to 10 mph from the north
Clothing: Two-piece MTB shorts, shortsleeve teeshirt, ankle socks, quilted full-finger gloves
Bike: Trek Fuel/EX mountain bike
Time: 51:55 for 7.96 miles
Heart rate: 128 bpm HRave, 156 bpm HRmax
Other users: no cyclists, 3 pedestrians on the trails
Playback of the ride

09 August 2016

Warmup and gym

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Just a quick ride to warm up before a gym workout. I would like to develop a few 30-minute and 45-minute routes for this purpose.

This route takes Baristo Road west to Avenida Caballeros, then north to Tahquitz Canyon Road and through the airport access roads. Generally a pretty good route that is mostly flat.

Ride conditions
Temperature: 102°F at 16:04
Precipitation: none
Winds: calm 
Clothing: Teeshirt, gym shorts, ankle socks, open-finger gloves
Bike: Serotta Colorado fixed 48x15
Time: 24:24 for 7.24 miles
Heart rate: 103 bpm HRave, 153 bpm HRmax
Bikeway users: uncounted
Playback of the ride

05 August 2016

Drugs and gym

Friday, 5 August 2016

Not all my route was recorded well by the Garmin. From home, I ran an errand at the Walgreens pharmacy on East Palm Canyon, then headed to the gym for weight training. Afterward, I rode through Little Beverly Hills to check whether some construction work was happening with heavy equipment I saw being trucked in the evening before. (None in evidence.)

Ride conditions
Temperature: 106°F at 14:26
Precipitation: none
Winds: not recorded
Clothing: Teeshirt, ankle socks, double shorts, quilted full-finger gloves
Bike: Trek Fuel/EX mountain bike 
Time: 21:27 for 5.74 miles
Heart rate: 141 bpm HRave, "208" bpm HRmax
Bikeway users: not recorded
Playback of the ride

04 August 2016

Up to the Stone Man, now destroyed

Thursday, 4 August 2016

In more temperate locations, I typically rode a "birthday ride" today. That meant a mile for each year of my age. But 65 miles isn't something I'm ready for today, even at 90°F this morning. So I'm expecting that ride to take place six months from now, in February. Today I took a morning ride into the Goat Trails, and I started at 8 a.m. to the trail head through the golf course up to Gene Autrey Trail, then south to Rimrock Plaza.

This ride had a sense of exploration, a chance to see how much additional trail had been attacked by heavy equipment. I hoped that the Lone Heart and Stone Man monuments were unaffected, but my hopes were undone. The grading has obliterated both monuments and smoothed out some of the climbs as well as leaving a dirt layer on most of the trail. I only looked up the doubletrack east and west of the Stone Man, and even those sections may have been graded, though more lightly. It seems to me that the doubletrack is now less fun uphll and more treacherous downhill.

I hope to organize a maintenance group from the regular riders of these trails, and I'll begin to gather their names from the Strava.com statistics of the trails.

My way back on the Goat Trails stayed on the doubletrack until I got to the Merry-Go-Round. From its southeast corner, I took off on a short singletrack that drops to a mid-point of the Second Climb. After reaching the roads, I followed the bikeway that parallels East Palm Canyon to El Cielo Road.

Ride conditions
Temperature: 90°F at 8:28
Precipitation: none
Winds: not recorded
Clothing: Teeshirt, ankle socks, double shorts, quilted full-finger gloves
Bike: Trek Fuel/EX mountain bike 
Time: 1:02:04 for 9.61 miles
Heart rate: 129 bpm HRave, 154 bpm HRmax
Bikeway users: not recorded
Playback of the ride

30 April 2016

New tire setup for Fury

Saturday, 30 April 2016

I finally converted my Trek Fuel/EX mountain bike to tubeless tires. I chose two different tires for their response: a Continental Trail King on the front, a Maxxis Minion DHF on the rear. I bought both from Competitive Cyclist, and I called Mike Dartt at http://mikesbiketruck.com/ for his at-your-door service to do the conversion. (Supposedly the conversion can be pretty easy to do, but my arthritic wrists say otherwise, even for getting a well-stretched tire onto my rims.)

For the front tire, I expect confident cornering grip and enough stability to track the riding line correctly. A reinforced sidewall can improve support for riding on rocky terrain, although too stiff a sidewall can lessen feel and suppleness from the ride. The correct tire pressure and suspension set-up play their parts in the front-end performance as speed increases on rougher, drier tracks. Finally, well-balanced weight distribution and correctly-tuned bar height aid the grip. Reviews lead me to believe that the Continental Trail King meets these needs.

On the back tire, some riders advise a slightly narrower tire with a lower profile center tread or a closely spaced tread pattern. These attributes should result in a faster rolling wheel on dry and rocky ground. Since I'm still new at riding the hills, I chose a wider tire (2.4 inches) and a fairly open tread pattern, to help slow the roll. Cornering tread is still important, and I want plenty of traction in the turns. So I followed reviews to choose the Maxxis Minion DHF that is 0.1 inch wider than my front tire.


Dry trail riding advice.
Different needs for front and rear tires.
Continental Trail King.
Maxxis Minion DHF.
Competitive Cyclist.

This morning I took Fury out for some trial on the roads, going to the Farmers' Market and on a ride with Chuck over his favorite route. The front tire had lost some pressure overnight, and it had a lot of rolling resistance for the ride to the market. I pumped it up to 35 pounds before I rode with Chuck, and it rode really well at that pressure. I might reduce the pressure to 25 pounds when I hit the trails.

Ride conditions
Temperature: 75°F at 08:30,  79°F at 12:40
Precipitation: none
Winds: calm to 5 early, then about 15 mph with gusts from the north and west
Clothing: Casual MTB shorts, shortsleeve tee, open-finger gloves
Bike: Trek Fuel/EX mountain bike
Time: 23:12 for 4.0 miles, 1:08:12 for 8.7 miles
Heart rate: 111 and 89 bpm HRave, 140 and 128 bpm HRmax Playbacks of the rides: Farmers' Market, With Chuck

03 March 2016

Biking in Joshua Tree National Park

The Joshua Tree
I've ridden the roads of Joshua Tree National Park twice so far. My first visit to the park was several years ago with Chuck and a couple friends from Vancouver to view the wildflowers in late March. We entered the park from the southeast at the Cottonwood Springs/Box Canyon exit of Interstate 10. Our route took us gradually up from the Sonoran Desert (1700 ft above sea level) to the Mojave Desert (at 3650 ft), along which you can perceive several micro-climates that encourage varying groups of cactus and agave. This drive can take about six hours, and it is only in the last half of the drive that you begin to see the piles of weather-rounded boulders that are popular with rock climbers.

During that drive, I had begun to think of the national park as a destination for a cycling excursion, although the route we took promised several hours of unrelenting climbing. My next trip to the park was with a friend who is an avid hiker. We drove 20 minutes from the northwest park entrance on relatively flatter roads to hike up Ryan Mountain. My appetite for cycling in the park was tantalized with this closer access and less challenging climbs.

Getting there

We drove 45 minutes north from Palm Springs and entered the park at its northwest gate.
North from Palm Springs
North and east on Highway 62
  1. North from Palm Springs on North Indian Canyon Drive.
  2. Indian Canyon Drive crosses Interstate 10 and continues along the west side of Desert Hot Springs. 
  3. North Indian Canyon Drive curves west and ends at an intersection with Highway 62 (also signed as 29 Palms Highway).
  4. Turn right onto Highway 62, on which you continue north and northeast through a pass to the community Morongo Valley.

  5. Stay on Highway 62 through the communities of Palm Wells, Little Morongo Heights, and up a long pass to the town of Joshua Tree.
  6. Turn right at Park Road, for which there is one brown national parks sign on the right. 
  7. You can buy a Senior Pass at the Visitor Center, which is on the right about a block after your turn.
  8. Continue on Park Boulevard as its name changes to Quail Springs Road.
  9. After about 4 miles, stop at the Gatehouse to pay entrance or show your Senior Pass.
  10. The first opportunity for parking and unloading bikes is a gravel turnout, about 1.5 miles from the Gatehouse, on the left side of the road.
 From Los Angeles or other desert cities, use the Highway 62 exit from Interstate 10 to replace steps 1 through 4.

8 March 2015

My first return to the park for cycling was with a group of visiting cyclists from New York's OutCycling (Wallace, Graham, Conrad, and Mike). We each rode at our own pace and distance, and I was plagued with three flats. So I was on my own, riding Deep Forest, my Serotta Colorado 48x15 fixie.

I had a flat in the first mile, and I returned to the car to use a floor pump. I flatted again at about 14 miles, and flatted again shortly after replacing the tube. It was then that I found a cactus needle that had been flexible enough to bend and be undetected with finger movement inside the tire. My frame pump left my tire a bit soft, and I flagged down Mike and others as they passed, who supplied a CO2 cartridge for full pressure.

26-mile out-and-back road ride beyond Ryan Mountain
Although the flats were a letdown, I still rode about 27 miles over fairly flat terrain that included 1200 ft climbing.
Playback of the ride

10 February 2016

More recently I rode with John Sickel, who is living here for the winter. He seems to be game for any new location for a ride, and he's as willing as I to try something new. I rode Blue, my Lotus Legend 48x16 fixie.

We toured most of the turn-offs for attractions in the park, including a long slog uphill to view Keys' Point. But after about 25 miles, John turned back while I explored further toward the 29 Palms gatehouse. I hoped to bike a metric century, and I calculated my turnaround to achieve close to that.

61-mile road ride out-and-back Y
The view from Keys' Point
The leg to Keys' Point was a slight incline for the first few miles, which became gradually steeper and steeper. The leg starts at mile 12.7 : 4251 ft, reaches mile 15.6 : 4466 ft at Lost Horse Mine Road, becomes aggressive at mile 17.1 : 4908 ft, and then finishes with two extreme 16.9% grades at the end, mile 18.6 : 5126 ft. Of course, the descent back made for a quick and exhilarating ride.

John Sickel at the portion of Pleasant Valley
We headed around Ryan Mountain and came to a sand plain filled with Joshua trees of huge size. John decided to turn back, as he neared 27 miles. I continued on, and a couple miles later I turned into the Jumbo Rocks campground, which was packed with RVs and tent campers for its mile length. On returning to the road (mile 30.6 : 4417 ft), I continued ever downhill along Park Boulevard, past the intersection with Pinto Basin Road (mile 35.6 : 3685 ft), and to turn around at a distance that I thought would make for a 100-km ride (mile 37.8 : 3250 ft).

My return was dogged at best, though I arrived at the car only a few minutes after John. But my calculations were off, so I asked John to follow me with the car and to pick me up after surpassing 61 miles of riding. (As it was, my conversion from miles to kilometers was off, and my ride still was 2 km short of a metric century.)
Playback of the ride

24 February 2016

It's now four years later since my last post on this blog. I no longer commute by bike to work. For a while, my work was at home, and I am now retired. So there seemed to be no need for entries about commuting by bike.

I ride my bike now for the enjoyment itself. To enjoy the activity. To enjoy my new hometown, Palm Springs CA. I ride often for errands, and I ride often in the hills to the south of Highway 111.

It's time to rethink what this blog is about. So bear with me as I try new topics, new approaches.

My most recent rides are documented on Strava:
May the wind be at your back, even after the turn-around to go home!

10 February 2014

In Memorium—what cyclists must do

Monday, 10 February 2014

Saturday I took part in the annual Tour de Palm Springs. The event has never had a fatality for its previous 13 years of rides, but this year's ride was tragic for one cyclist's family. The cyclist was identified as La Vonne Koester of Alta Loma. She was an experienced cyclist who devoted a lot of time to longer rides, including the 475-mile RAGBRAI (the DesMoines Register Annual Bicycle Ride Across Iowa). Her husband of 36 years, Ron, found great comfort in Christianity and bicycled with La Vonne on occasion. Ron, however, has been recovering from health issues that began late 2012. Their son Scott is also a cyclist, who has neared or exceeded the avid interest in long-distance rides. La Vonne's other son Shawn does not seem to have strong cycling interests. 

The loss of an active, supportive, and loving woman must be given more than a mere moment of silence.

And we must understand how such a tragedy can be avoided. Will Fuller, President of the Desert Bicycle Club wrote about the accident:

"Saturday, a fellow bicyclist ...died after a tragic accident at the intersection of Avenue 60th and Harrison in Thermal. ... Fellow DBC member, Dave Hilts was in a peloton of around 60 riders. According to Dave, the front of the peloton stopped at the stop sign, to cross Harrison and continue west on Avenue 60. and then proceeded through. The large peloton continued crossing Harrison [even] when it became unsafe to do so. Dave, who was near the back of the peloton, noticed traffic coming down Harrison at a high rate of speed and realized it had become dangerous. Dave yelled out and came to a stop and the rider in back of him almost crashed into him. According to Dave, the truck with a trailer, who hit La Vonne, had no way to stop.
Intersection of Avenue 60 (horizontal) and Harrison
"The intersection of Avenue 60 and Harrison can be dangerous if not crossed thoughtfully (coming to a stop and looking both ways). It is a two way stop, not four way. Vehicles on Harrison have the right of way and are not required to come to a stop. I believe the speed limit is 55+ on that stretch. (It could be marked otherwise).

"From the facts I currently have, it sounds like this accident never had to happen. Riding in pelotons can be safe and dangerous at the same time. If you don't know the riding styles and habits of those around you, anything is possible. One of the things to be conscious of is a pack mentality. Just because the person in front of you crossed an intersection doesn't mean it's safe for you to proceed. As Dave Cooper reminds us, we are all on the safety committee. We lookout for each other (the peloton, fellow riders) and ourselves all at the same time. On the plus side, riding in a peloton, the likelihood of being seen by traffic is much higher.

"...I share these details to keep you aware of what happened and to remind each of us to remain vigilant for each other and yourself. Even though I did not know La Vonne Koester, my thoughts and prayers go out to her and La Vonne Koester's family and friends. A tragic loss and a sad day for the cycling community during an event special to so many."
Other sources have reported that a vehicle on Harrison from the north had stopped, despite having right-of-way, to allow the peloton to cross without breaking up. The truck also approached the intersection and the stopped car from the north and passed the car in the middle lane, without awareness of the peloton of bicyclists. However, this report does not come from eye witnesses. One Facebook contributor described the accident.
"The incident occurred at a right angled intersection in a very rural area, there were no buildings in the area and the terrain was flat. All roads were one lane in each direction.
Cyclists approaching the intersection had a stop sign, traffic approaching from the left or the right did not have a stop sign. There were trees on the near right side as the cyclists were approaching the intersection obscuring traffic approaching from the right until the riders were very close to the intersection. The trees also obscured the view of the cyclists by automobile traffic. 
"On the road to the right of the cyclists, automobile “A” had stopped to motion the cyclists to go forward through the intersection. As the cyclist who was hit was going through the intersection, automobile “B” passed automobile "A" in the intersection using the lane intended for vehicles going in the opposite direction and struck the cyclist. 
"As a cyclist it is easy to simply follow others through an intersection thinking that it must be safe for you if it is safe for them. It is also easy to just look at the first automobile in the only traffic lane approaching the cyclist, not the cars behind. Vehicles in ‘the wrong lane’ on a 2 lane bidirectional road, that is, a vehicle approaching from the north in a lane intended for traffic going to the north are rare but must be looked for.
"For a cyclist approaching this intersection, it would be very difficult to see and properly interpret this situation unless the cyclist came to a full stop at the stop sign and took the time to assess the circumstances in both directions."

Television report on the accident.En español

The accident occurred perhaps a half hour before I passed through the intersection. Some 30 cyclists were stopped, the intersection was clear of any debris, perhaps the vehicles involved were already removed, and an emergency vehicle was still on the scene—but no ambulance.

Beyond the needless death of a cyclist and the psychological effects on the driver who killed her, it is important that the local law enforcement, event management, and participants learn from this event.
  • Local law enforcement must be present throughout the event to encourage cooperative use of the roads and polite share of the rights of way. 
  • The organizers of the event must redouble their efforts to assure compliance with traffic signals and signage. 
  • Of course, also that each cyclist know that safety is, first and foremost, your primary responsibility. Not speed. Not time. Not the team. Even not the convenience of keeping up your momentum.

Ride conditions
Temperature: 52 to 85°F
Precipitation: none
Winds: 10 to 15 mph from the west
Clothing: Skinsuit, longsleeve undershirt, ankle socks, open-finger gloves
Bike: Serotta Colorado fixed 48x15
Time: 7:18:52 for 109.04 miles
Heart rate: 132 bpm HRave, 155 bpm HRmax
Playback of the ride