Author Archive

What’s My Pace?

| February 18, 2010 7:31 am

by Don Axtell

Almaden Cycle Touring Club lists ride pace as part of the description for each ride listing. These are average speeds, assuming the ride is all on flat ground with no wind.

SL Slow Leisurely below 10 mph
L Leisurely 10 to 12 mph
LM Easy Moderate 12 to 14 mph
M Moderate 14 to 16 mph
MB Hard Moderate 16 to 18 mph
B Brisk 18 to 20 mph
S Strenuous faster than 20 mph

Q: How can I find out my own pace level?
A: This is easy, with the new Ride Pace Calculator. There is a link to it from the Stats page. It is at Let’s say you are doing a hilly ride and average 13.5 mph.  Because of the climbing you can not use the simple definition to estimate your pace.  However with this new calculator, you can use the amount of climbing to estimate your pace.


Here’s how :

  • Just ride your bike, and keep track of the total miles, average riding speed, and a good guess at the total feet of climbing for that ride.
  • Using this calculator, enter the distance, climbing and speed.  In the above example, it would be a 30 mile ride, with 1,500 feet of climbing and an average of 13.5 mph.  That would mean a “M” pace.
  • If you also enter your total time, then this calculator can also calculate the riding factor.
  • Go to this webpage, then the 1st page is these instructions and a 2nd page is a graph and table for keeping track of your own rides.
  • After entering a few rides, then it should become very clear what pace you are riding.

Annual ACTC Party

| December 28, 2009 7:16 am

The annual ACTC Black and Blue Ball will be held on February 6th, 2010. It will again be at Michaels at Shoreline and will offer a buffet dinner. ACTC members can find more information and buy tickets online here.

Russian River Rally 2009

| July 14, 2009 9:29 am


Welcome to the Russian River country. The river is named for the Russians who settled the area in 1812 as traders and sea otter hunters. They decimated the otters and withdrew in 1841. During the next 60 years the river and terrain kept the area isolated. The stage coach road, Fort Ross Road, from Healdsburg to Fort Ross, was routinely washed out by 120″ rains during the winter, and the Russian River flooded regularly. It still does despite modern dams.

At the turn of the century, the redwoods brought railroads. The railroads in turn brought tourists. By the mid 1920’s, San Francisco’s resort of choice was the Russian River area. After the depression, wealthier San Franciscans went to Tahoe, and by the mid 1970s, the Russian River was in a deep depression. Most resorts were dilapidated. the 1980’s the gay population of San Francisco found the Russian River area and revitalized it. This brought challenges and changes to the area. In the 90’s, diverse accommodations at a variety of prices and varied segments of the population are the norm. Cycling enthusiasts should be able to find everything they want here.


The Pacific Ocean dominates the climate of the Russian River area, and it is easy to pick the weather you want by moving up and down the river. Generally, the coast is foggy and cool in the mornings and late afternoon. Healdsburg, a major inland city, is usually fog free and 20 degrees warmer. If you want to sunbathe at 10AM, you need to head inland towards Healdsburg. If you’d like to swim at 4 PM, it may be a little too cool at Duncan Mills, but 5 miles to the east, in Guerneville, you can still get a sunburn. The coast also affects the winds. In the morning, the winds come in from the coast. By l0AM they’ve usually died down. By 2PM they have started up again. Plan your riding around the wind. Winds are the strongest in the afternoon where the sun is still strong with no fog. They’re less powerful after the fog has rolled in. So, if you’re pooped, stop and shop in a little town and wait for the wisps of fog, and then start riding. You’ll encounter less wind.


Because camping space is limited, you need to be on the confirmed list of members to camp in the ACTC camping area.  The campsites available this year for camping are 109,109B and 110. This is only for use with tents.  If you have a RV you need to make your own arrangements for a site.  If there is not enough room in these areas, any overflow will need to camp in the overflow area behind the store. These are different sites than last year, click this link for the campground map Campground Map or please see map at One thing we ask in regards to camping is that; No one parks their car in the middle of the campsites. This will leave more area for tent set up. The new management of Casini Family Ranch requires that each car check in at the gate and provide names of all people in the party and the vehicle license number. Once checked in you will receive a parking pass that must be displayed in the vehicle while parked at the campsite. This will prevent cars from being towed.

Camping for ACTC will be available on Friday at 12 noon. Anyone planning on arriving before this time must make his or her own camping arrangements. You need to be out of the camping area by noon on Sunday.

Cell phone coverage is very limited in the campground.  For some carriers you will not get coverage.  There is free WiFi in some areas of the campground but may not be where ACTC is camping.


Many people will arrive on Friday evening. This year we will be having a group dinner.   However, we encourage you to bring a cooler with your beverages of choice, an appetizer for before the dinner and any other snacks and drinks you will need for the weekend. ACTC coolers will not be available for personal use.

Saturday morning a continental breakfast will be served. There will be items if you wish to pack a lunch to carry on your ride. Saturday night we have a potluck BBQ in camp. Please bring meat to grill, and a nice dish to share with all. Charcoal will be provided by ACTC.

Sunday morning, everyone is on their own for breakfast. Many people ride into Occidental or Duncan Mills before packing up to go home. The campsites need to be cleared by noon.

We ask that all campers be prepared to lend a hand with the housekeeping and cooking as needed. It means a lot to have everyone pitch in!


The Russian River area offers a mixed bag of terrain. The area to the south generally has rolling coast ranges. Higher ridges are shaded with redwoods while the lower ones are grasslands. To the north, redwoods dominate and the hills are steeper. To the east, a large valley stretches from Healdsburg to Santa Rosa. There you will find rolling hills, apple orchards, and vineyards.


You can do your own ride, or join others for a ride, or choose to not ride at all. For 2009, John Blaine has posted a ride that leaves each day at 8:00 am after breakfast. If you do your own ride, please turn your statistics into Brian Chun, the event chair.

This link is to a file of all the routes created by Don Axtel: RRR-routes . Please print out which routes you might be interested in and bring to the rally. To see the individual routes click here.  For a list of the current ACTC billy goats in the area, click here.

Some club members will be riding to and from the Russian River Rally. Please contact them directly if you are interested in joining.

The Story of the Rally

Howard and Bev Saling founded the rally in 1978. The first site was at a campground near the Korbel Winery. The following year it moved to Monte Rio. The year after that, it moved to Duncan Mills. The campground eventually became private, and the rally was moved to Casini Ranch until 1998 when it moved to the Faerie Ring Campground, and returned to Casini Ranch in 1999, its current home. In 1985, the first ACTC tour book was produced. Now days we put the information on the website instead of printing a tour book.

Print This Post Print This Post

BBC Committee

| June 1, 2009 7:08 pm

Q: What is the BBC Committee?
A: The objective is not to be the Best Bike Club or even the Biggest Bike Club but to become a Better Bike Club.

Q: Why did it get started?
A: Late last year it was discussed at the ACTC General Meeting the need to finds ways to make ACTC a better club. Organizations that are not trying to always improve often end up shrinking or even disappearing.

Q: Who started the BBC?
A: The ACTC Board decided to form the committee, to be chaired by the ACTC Communications Coordinator?

Q: Why was I not invited to join?
A: Participating was open to the club membership. It was communicated via the club’s elist system. Several members offered to participate. They are who constitute the committee.

Q: Does the BBC have the power to make changes?
A: No, the output of the BBC is to make recommendations to the Board and to the general membership.

Q: What is the BBC going to look at?
A: The BBC will look both internally within ACTC to see what is working and what is not, as well as to look outside to other bicycle clubs to see what works well for them. Input from the membership may be obtained via surveys.

Q: Who is on the BBC?
A: The committee has four individuals who have served on the ACTC Board, one who served as a Ride Coordinator, two as Vice President, one as Publisher, one as Webmaster and one as Statistician. Some of the members lead many rides for the club. They represent many different facets of ACTC. The current membership is:
Richard Hermerding – Chair
Don Axtell
Marie Becker
Jon Graff
Linda Kahn
Franz Kelsch
Sandy Lorber
John Mazzella

Q: When will I hear more?
A: Updates have been provided at the ACTC General Meeting.  Other communications will follow.

Del Valle Campout

| March 25, 2009 10:27 pm

By the awesome LDV co-host team

Calling all Del Valle Lakers! It’s a perfect May!  What else can be better! Campout happens every other weekend for May.  Del Valle and Great Western Bike Rally are two weeks apart, and if you were on Lupine Loop, then you got a bonus campout in April.

Lake Del Valle campout is a fabulous campout which happens on the weekend of May 9 – 10th.  Treat Mom to a perfect weekend of, cycling, camping, and numerous outdoors’ activities, and still get home in time for Sunday dinner. A fun Saturday cycling from Milpitas to Lake Del Valle, continue on with swimming, boating, hiking or relaxing and a dinner feast, then campfire with all your friends.  Wake up to breakfast on Sunday and a great ride back.  We’ll be rewarded with sighting of abundant wild flowers, and wild life.  Lake Del Valle activities and mt biking trail map:

Saturday morning ride start and meet at Murphy Park in Milpitas at 7:30AM.  Murphy Park is at 1570 Olympic, Milpitas, CA 95035, on the north side of Yellowstone Avenue, east of S. Park Victoria Drive. Drop off gears with SAG vehicle that will be driven to the campsite.  Many route options from 40-70 miles; choose your route, to make it to camp for dinner.  Return the next day with one of the route options, from 40 to 70; again, choose your route, to make it back for Mother’s Day dinner.

Fee is $25, residual $ will be distributed back on Sunday.  Fee covers camp fees, SAG fuel, Saturday dinner, and Sunday breakfast. Free fun-ness provided by you 🙂

Everone pitches in to work on chores, food prep and clean up.  We’re looking for someone with towing capable vehicle to tow our club Chuck wagon.  Fuel reimbursement and immense gratitude from your fellow Del Valle Lakers.  Will take turn driving or someone can drive to camp early for mt biking, swimming, boating, hiking or just relaxing.

Sign up soon, space is limited.  Please contact Megan Nguyen , Nancy Kenny,  or Brian Chun

Tour of California – Stage 3

| February 18, 2009 1:46 pm

by Franz and Anne Kelsch

To the non cyclists, they might think a Tour of California is something you do in your car. But we are talking about Cycling here and that means the Amgen Tour of California professional bicycle race. Even the non cyclists have probably heard of Lance Armstrong. Today we got to see him race up some of the hills we have often climbed.

Eric and Connie Jorgensen offered their home for a big ACTC party to watch stage 3 of the Tour. They live right on the route, on one of the steeper hills of the whole week. It has been raining every day and the pro cyclists have had to battle the elements in both the Prologue and the first two stages. Today was no exception.

With no parking on the Sierra Road due to the race, we were initially planning on biking from a nearby place but as we were driving up to San Jose it was really pouring. Yesterday we had gone out for a bike ride with all our rain gear on and we were ready to do the same. But we thought maybe we could park off the road if we got there early enough so we headed straight to Sierra Road. We were able to park in the neighbor’s driveway, which was great. The rain had stopped by now so we thought it was a good time to get on the tandem. We made the long climb up Sierra Road, rated as a Category 1 climb for the Tour of California. It was windy and cold at the top but we stopped long enough to take a couple of pictures. I had not brought my big camera up with me on the bike so the iPhone filled in.

Anne at top of Sierra Road

Anne at top of Sierra Road

Franz at the top of Sierra Road

Franz at the top of Sierra Road

It would have been fun to stay at the top to watch the racers come up, but it was very windy so we decided to head back down towards the bottom and join the party. It was a good thing we went back down the hill because it started to rain again just as we arrived. It was not long before the racers came though. I now had my Nikon D300 camera, to capture the lead car.

Unlike last year, Sierra Road was at the beginning of the stage but even so, there was already a break away of 4 riders coming up the hill. You can easily see these guys were having fun!

Right on their tail was Mancebo, who was the race leader after the first stage, only to lose the lead yesterday.

Not far behind was the peleton. You can see Lance Armstrong in the middle of the group.

Everyone went by so fast, even though they were climbing. We did not have a chance to take many pictures.

The team cars were then following the riders up the hill.

After watching the racers come by we all went into Jorgensen’s house to watch the tour on theri TV.

It was a wet, but very fun day. Climbing up Sierra Road before the race, made it even more enjoyable. Unlike the riders, we were able to keep dry and get under an umbrella to watch them race up the hill. It looks like the weather will finally be nice tomorrow for Stage 4, something I am sure they will all much appreciate after four miserable days for the racers.

February General Meeting

| January 26, 2009 8:00 am

Did you ever want to Ride Longer, Pedal Stronger?  Then be sure to attend the February General Meeting on February 4th at 7:00 pm.

Santa Clara Cycling Team Coaches Jami North and Al Painter from Integrate Performance Fitness will talk about training in the Zone, breaking through training plateaus and training on and off of the bike.

Turning Wheels for Kids a Sucess

| December 16, 2008 1:02 pm

by Jim Schallau

The 26-member Team ACTC joined with nearly 600 other volunteers for the assembly of 2200 new bicycles on Saturday 12/13 in the South Hall of the San Jose Convention Center.  It was a lot of work but also a lot of fun.  Due to the limited amount of floor space we were allocated, as coordinator of the team, I had to limit the number of helpers.  I will try to get us more area next year.

A total of 34 checks for $2240 were received by Karl Laucher from club members.  With the club donation of $3000, our $5240 was the largest of any team and we became the first recipient of a rather large traveling trophy which I have and will bring to a club meeting.  We have to return it next December.

This has been a great program and kudos go to the club members who have donated their time, talents and treasures to help 2200 children enjoy new bicycles at Christmas.  Maybe one of them will be another Lance Armstrong.

2009 ACTC Board Election

| December 3, 2008 9:21 pm

First of all, our thanks to the 2008 ACTC Board for serving the club.   We held the election tonight for the 2009 Board.  We had a very large turnout with around 120 people voting.   Our thanks for those who were able to come vote.  Here are the results of the voting:

2009 Board Members
President – Penny Carl
Vice President – Sandy Lorber
Secretary – Nancy Kenny
Treasurer – Paul Vlasveld
Ride Coordinator – Patrice Carney
Communication Coordinator – Richard Hermerding
Membership Chair – Lisa Sharp-Piras

Congratulations to the new board members.  My thanks to Joe Farinha and Larry  Brandt for serving on the nominating committee.

Franz Kelsch
2009 Nominating Committee

Biking Capital of the World

| November 16, 2008 4:02 pm

by Franz and Anne Kelsch –

We can’t say we have traveled to all places in the world but we have been to many cities on most of the continents.  We remember visiting Beijing, China and seeing all the bikes there.  We rode bikes in the busy streets of Tokyo, but that may not compare with what we saw in Amsterdam.  This is a city that really does have the infrastructure setup to support biking as a way of getting around.

There were dedicated bike lanes, often separated from the street by more than just a painted line.  At some of the intersections these bike roads had their own traffic signals.  You had to be careful walking in the city to make sure you were on the pedestrian walkway and not in the bike lane.

We saw bikes being ridden by all types of people, kids, the elderly, business men and women, college students. The bikes were quite different than what you see in the US.  These were not bikes made for racing, but more of a utility nature.  They were kind of heavy and clunky, similar to what we used to see when we lived in Japan.  But these bikes were often setup to carry things, including multiple people.  Some had two passenger seats behind the drivers seat.  Or as in this one, a small child up front and another behind.  No one was wearing a helmet, however.  Not sure how safe this type of riding is.

Here is something that we first thought was a bike truck.

But this type of bike was often used to haul kids that were placed upfront.

There are so many bikes in the city that they had this multilevel parking garage at the main train station, just for bikes.

And people were riding the bikes both day and night.   It was truly an amazing bicycle city.