July 28, 2003

Heat Killed Skot, Cars Kill another Relay Leg :(

Another NBG rider was moved by the heat today. Skot Paschal, made it to the delicious coolness of the coast! On his way back from Arcata to Santa Cruz , he offers some Pocket Mall poetry that I know you will absolutely love and Andrew Morton explains what possessed him to rude the dangerous Arcata to Chico stretch that Skot wisely chose not to try.

We also lost another relay leg. We had to pull the Santa Rosa to Napa leg as Bill Haluzak of Bicycles by Haluzak, could not find anyone brave (or suicidal) enough to undertake that 42 mile connection.

Do not all of these aborted relay legs make the case for the need for a National Bicycle Greenway? While recreational routes are important, we desperately need to get population centers connected. As the cars grow larger and larger and more and more of them enter the road ways fueled by cheap gas prices, the once quiet roads we used to be able to bike without fear for our lives are now all about danger. Back in the early 90's when we did the research for our last Cycle America wine country cycling guide, I biked Santa Rosa to Napa more then once. And tho there were a few tight spots, they were not so heavily traveled that I felt like I was placing myself in jeopardy. And yet here inside of a decade later the Car has become the undisputed King of an area that once used to be one of the best places to cycle in the entire SF Bay Area. So sad :(

Subject: Hot Hot Hot

Hello All You Cool Folks:


And before I give U Skot, here is Andrew Morton. the man who survived Arcata to Chico last year:

Hey Skot, just wanted to drop you a note on the Arcata to Chico route. You really did make the right call on that. I'm probably the one to blame for setting that crazy schedule. I rode the Eugene to Sacramento leg last year and had something like a week to do it.

Instead of just shooting down I-5, I decided I'd make a detour down the coast hoping for better weather and traffic conditions. Unfortunately I didn't look ahead at the riding I'd have to do between the coast and the Central Valley. I ended up 300 miles from Sacto with 3 days to do it and three 2500 ft passes. If I hadn't put myself into that position there's no way I would have signed on to do it. The Arcata Mayor's comments about a support vehicle with water were spot on. I ran out of water twice, once bumming some off a fire crew, the second time from some people at a campground. Those three days were probably the hardest of the entire trip (Portland->Sacramento->Santa Cruz).

You can read all about it on my website:
Arcata, CA -> Burnt Ranch, CA
Burnt Ranch, CA -> Anderson, CA


And finally here is Skot Paschal, a man who handled this aborted journey with so much class that he created a new fan, Arcata Mayor Bob Ornelas. Also the Bill Ferry he talks about below is the man who gave him a car boost so he could keep on schedule after Skot's train arrived five hours late. THX Bill :

Subject Last Spin for NBG

There are more stories
this week than most have in alot.
Eugene of the late train
Towards the beach with
tunnels of fun.
Wind: It blew my butt off.
Hill after view...always somethin'
Fun to do.
sure there is pain
more than every other day
I wouldn't trade it for a
Klondike bar or a day beside the pool.
People are the NBG
Bill Ferry and Mayor BobbieO and all the smiles and Howdo's.
That's the power of the American Way.
The only ones that get to feel
the love that's every-danged-where
have turned of the cursed TV and gone for a ride today.

In a peldaling state of mind,

Subject: Garberville Biker Bar

So I figured I'd hide in this bar, throw down a Sierra Nevada or two and wait out the heat.
In walks this "red" head and we begin to chat. "I need to get to Chico by noon tomorrow", says me. "I'll be your love slave, go to the market, cook, clean and walk your Yappie dog, just get me to the courthouse on time."

"It's a deal," says the lady fair,"but you must give up this crazy ridin'".

So me, I sez, "Another pint here bartender, it don't look like this relationship is gonna work."

(Sung to any country tune)

Man, it's a hundred here and the coast ain't far. I would have had a memorial plaque in Chico had I tried.

Nowhere in particular.
In a pedaling state of mind,

Subject: Not to Bragg (A town located near him on the CA coast)

The high today was 65; 50 deg. short of the Chico zone. That is unthinkable.
The coast is so beautiful here. It's up and down and tough and fun. My next step in unclear. I am supposed to meet a friend (in Sacto) for the Sierra Wednesday. How is a mystery, but that's part of the magic.

In a peldaling state of mind,

Posted by mkrieg at 11:34 PM | Comments (1)

July 27, 2003

Skot Cancels his ride to Chico - Arcata Mayor agrees

In a judgement call that communicates much about the need for a safe interconnected two wheel America, Skot Paschal is not riding from Arcata to Chico. Why Not? We had him on a suicide mission. Last spring when we saw that there were only two highways that connected these two population centers, we just assumed that the local cyclists up that way would know another way. Surely there were tiny mountain roads with so many switchbacks that cars avoided them.

Sadly this was not the the case. We had Skot in touch with the Chico Velo Cycling club, he asked questions of every cyclist he encountered on the way down from Eugene. He studied maps. Everywhere he went in Arcata, a town filled with cyclists, he inquired about the bike road to Chico.
And wherever he turned, all he heard was **No Way**. Not 213 miles in two days on roads with no shoulders filled with motorhomes and cars towing boats and camper trailers and all the other forms of weekend traffic that would be out there.

So after Arcata had rolled the red carpet out for him with interviews, and gift baskets and the ceremony we will soon be documenting, the reality of what lay ahead began to sink in for Skot. And when later that evening as he soaked away all his pedaling aches with avid Arcata cyclist and Mayor, Bob Ornleas, in a hot tub as they nursed a few cold ones from the brewery Bob owns, the fact that he would not be able to fulfill his mission turned Skot's world upside down. If he wanted to make Chico on time and he wanted to do so alive, he would have to hitch a ride. And I can appreciate the depression he must have felt. In 1979 when I did my first bike ride across America, I had to stick out my thumb to get a ride in to the Capitol. Back then there was no other way because, like a moat, it was surrounded by freeways. While it has been activism that has changed that condition for most bike riders living outside of the Beltway that encircles the center of this Nation's government, we've still got a long way to go in getting population centers connected to one another throughout most of the rest of America. In fact it was that experience that placed me on the NBG warpath down which I still march today.

And as an exercise in further humiliation, truck after truck passed Skot as he baked in the sun for several hours with his thumb out. Feeling defeated as you will see below, he got on his bike and headed south toward his home here in Santa Cruz. When I caught him at a campground pay phone outside of Weott (he had called and left a message without a number that I was able to track down to Silver Springs Campground where one of the campers then found him for me) , I asked him to try instead to make the 250 miles to Wednesday's Sacramento reception. He told me if the roads are sane, he'll give it a shot. Before I give you Skot, here is what the Arcata Mayor had to say:

[..] For Skot to get to Chico he would need a support vehicle full of water and Mojo bars and tons of real food. Highway 299 has 5,000 feet of climbing in the first 30 miles. And Highway 36 is worse! And both continue at nearly the same theme for another hundred miles just to reach Interstate 5 along CA's central furnace.

So next time you see Skot, give him a big hug, a huge personal thanks, a big meal, lots of beers,....and an apology. Not that you did anything real bad, but because he really anguished over trying to reach the goals that were set and they were arguably impossible to achieve (as a mortal).

With that said, I have to tell you that riding those twenty miles into Arcata with him was an honor and a blast. Skot's a great person. He spoke very highly of Martin and the goals of NBG. The bike folks around here would have loved to have hosted him for a week. He only got a glimpse of our hospitality and showed a lot of class. It was fun to escort him to Eureka.

We are looking forward to taking a role in future NBG events and would love to have a more advanced notice so that we can be better prepared and offer you and your folks a higher degree of success and exposure within ours and the greater cycling community.

Personally, it would be super to join y'all in Santa Cruz next month for the bikefest. Regardless, thank you so much for making Arcata part of your wonderful event.

(Mayor-bicycler - or is it the other way around?) Bob Ornelas

And talk about anguish, here is Skot, a man who truly gave it his all:

I'm at the last chance to Chico and it seems improbable Just tell them I'm a wimp. I spent the night in Mayor Bob's house. We left this morning together with Melanie, a serious local cyclist who just did the Markleville Death ride. On the way here radio station 94.1 had a great story about me and the NBG. This by far the most bike friendly of places. The front page of the Times-Standard has a great picture and article. Last night the local T.V. also had a story and excellent footage of Mayor Bob, some great kids from town, Bill Burton and local great guy from the Bicycle Library and place where locals can check out a bike, and Officer Nick Selders the bike cop in town.
Right now, in Fortuna there is a car show on Business 101.
About my future. It looks like I'll be off the grid...this is just not doable in 2 days by 50 something little ol' me.
Retreat gracefully,
It was worth it for all that Arcata brought to NBG.
I will write this p.m. to tell what happened.

After many ideas..here in Weott.

In a peldaling state of mind,

Somewhere south of Weott

It Pasta Roni and Coors tonight
Man do I need help
Veering away from Chicoville
Everyone said "No way, Dude."
Instead you'll find me where the
Greenway should be
The Avenue of the Giants"
This is the only way to go.
$2 to camp amongst the redwoods
$.50 for a long hot one (shower of course).
This is the best for bikes
with a quiet road where the cars
are almost too considerate
the quiet is sacred
the trees legendary
and plenty of trippy stuff:
trees to walk through
history galore.
It's best to follow the flow
and dance another day.

In a peldaling state of mind,

Local access to PocketMail mobile
e-mail now available in Europe, North
America & Australia http://www.pocketmail.com

Skot Paschal http://www.skot.web-page.net
Skot can be reached on the road at: skot@pocketmail.com

Posted by mkrieg at 12:35 PM | Comments (11)