a Bakersfield Road Cycling Resource
a compendium of useful cycling information

....Tuesday/Thursday Noon Rides "fine print" 

As a general rule, the Noon Rides typically happen when the daytime high temperatures are in the 80's or lower
Tuesdays, the ride starts at 12:15 pm sharp from the FoodMax Shopping center parking lot at the SE corner of Chester and Columbus. 
The typical route is Panorama/Alfred Harrell Hwy/Hart Park to climb "Rattlesnake" bike path (across from CALM), right on Paladino, continuing on the path behind the homes west of Morning Drive, down Fairfax, up the Bluffs, down Panorama, down Manor back to the bike path.  
Thursdays, the ride starts at 12:15 pm on the Bike Path at the Chester Ave. bridge, just north of Jack-in-the-Box.   
The typical route is out to Poso Creek and back, heading out north Chester Ave.
On both Tuesdays and Thursdays, an "early" group departs the Bike Path at the Chester Ave. bridge at 11:40 and meets up with the 12:15 group.
Tuesday early group goes bike path east past Darrell's Mini storage, past Ethel's "Old Corral" and up Fairfax, turns westbound Panorama to meet the 12:15 group heading east up Panorama at the corner of Panorama and Alta Vista Dr.
Thursday early group goes up No. Chester to Poso Creek and either the Woody "Y" or Rd. Mtn. Rd. before turning back and meeting up with the "late" group at approximately 1:00pm at Poso Creek/Rd. Mtn Rd. intersection.   The ride then returns south on Granite Road, to No. Chester and back to the start point.

Expect a moderate to brisk pace, returning to the shopping center by approximately 1:35 pm.  Ride etiquette has been a topic of discussion in years past, so to rehash just a bit:
    Please remember that the group has some customary regroup spots. Generally, but not always, the Peloton will ease up at various points to allow dropped riders to catch back on. 
This is a mid-week group ride and (kinda) not a race from start to finish.  Generally, all the riders on these rides are strong enough to hang in the draft.  

Peloton Details 
by Joe Awe

Looking for a spirited ride? Training for a race? Raced in the past and want to use those bike handling skills you worked so hard on? This is your group.  

One unique feature of our group is the number of accomplished racers we have on any given day. World champs, a few national and lots of state champions in various disciplines are regulars on these rides. We also have a high number of ultra-distance racers here.  The RAAM 4-man relay record has belonged to Bakersfield between one of two teams for over a decade. 

During the week riders are up against schedules, thus many rides may find you fixing your own flat and riding home alone. These weekday rides roll out easy then the fun begins!  These rides have start times in the morning during the hot summer months, both to beat the heat and because there is light. And 12:15pm start times during the fall and winter. 

To be clear, these are fast rides for strong riders. These riders need to ride hard and fast to get their workout and these are the rides for that. Due to the speed and nature of these rides and their inherent danger, a rider lacking bike-handling skills may be approached and told of his deficits. This is born of self-preservation rather than a we-are-better-than-you attitude. These rides are done at close quarters and unless you are one of the truly strong, you’ll need to pace line to keep up. It is not uncommon to have 20-30 riders riding 20-30mph elbow to elbow.  If you need help….ASK! There will be someone happy to help folks interested in bettering themselves.  

A good rule of thumb for any ride, but especially these, is to talk to folks as the ride is forming up, let them know if you are new, if you have questions, or if you need help with bike handling etc. Each route has regroup points, ask and find out where these are and how long folks will wait.  If you don’t ask, the group will assume you know what you’re doing. This is where most fast groups get the reputation for being elitist snobs, they figure someone riding with them knows the route, the etiquette and has the bike handling skills. If you get dropped and didn’t talk to anyone, the group will think you chose to ride a different route or that you wanted to ride home alone. Speak up, make sure someone knows you may have trouble up a hill or down a hill and that you plan on doing the whole route, as with most things communication is king.

A Touchy Situation

If you ride in groups often enough, big or small, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll touch wheels with another rider. But the conditions under which things “get touchy” (on a hill, riding slowly, on a flat, riding fast, etc.) can play a role in the outcome. As can following proper procedure to extricate yourself from potential danger. But prevention is the best protection of all to avoid a touchy situation of your own. Let’s take a look at a couple of tips on how to avoid rubbing wheels in the first place. Then we’ll talk about how to handle wheel rub if you find yourself getting touchy-feely with the rider in front of you.

Keep Your Focus 
Most crashes happen when a rider momentarily loses focus. A moment is all it takes: you glance down at your computer, look up and realize the wheel in front of you has slowed, and you can’t avoid it; you catch the edge of the road when putting away your bottle and overcorrect as you get back on the road – the possibilities are endless. Keeping your focus will help you avoid the little slip-ups that we all have from time to time, but that can quickly bring us to the ground.

Don’t Play the Accordion 
When riding in big groups, in tight conditions, and in “strategically important” places on a ride – like short hills – the “traffic affect” of riders slowing ahead of you works its way back through the group, causing the entire group to bunch up and slow down, like an accordion being squeezed.  You have to “read the situation,” know where and when this might happen, expect it and be ready for it. Reduce your speed slowly before the group accordions back toward you. This will give you more time and space to maintain a safe separation from the riders around you.
Don’t Ride on the Cutting Edge 
If you’re on a road with two-way traffic, you don’t want to be too far out on either side of the group. Too close to the oncoming traffic lane leaves you no room to maneuver in that direction to avoid potential problems ahead of you.   And too close to the curb or edge of the road likewise leaves you no bailout room. 
Leave enough room on either side for some yahoo behind you to pass, if they insist on such a move. At least you’ll know then that you have enough room to maneuver should you need it to avoid an issue in front of you.
The Remedy for Rubbing 
Some riding skills are straightforward and instinctual. This is not one of them. Our natural inclination when our front tire rubs against another is to turn away from the other tire quickly to escape danger. 
Unfortunately, that’s exactly the wrong thing to do in case of tire rub. Quickly turning away at best takes you immediately off your line (and in a group will likely cause you to veer into other riders), and at worst leads to an overcorrection that throws you completely out of balance, bringing you down. 
The proper, paradoxical, remedy is to turn slightly into the tire yours is rubbing. Doing so allows you to maintain your line and balance, and to slowly ease away from the wheel by slowing down just enough to extricate yourself. 
Another paradox about this technique is that it’s actually easier to accomplish the faster you’re riding. So many riders go down touching wheels on slow hills because it is harder to maintain control throughout this process at a slower speed. If you’re already riding slowly, your balance is more easily upset, and it’s harder to slow down enough to “back off” the wheel you’re rubbing. 
If you’re cruising along at a good clip, though, you’re in better balance and can more easily scrub a little speed just by easing off the pedals a bit as you pull back and escape danger. 
Remember, it’s best to do what it takes to avoid getting yourself in a “touchy situation.” But it’s almost inevitable that it will happen to you at some point. So fight your instincts, turn into the wheel you’re rubbing, ease away, and stay upright to ride another day. 

The Enemy!
aka: Goathead

(and believe it or not, it may cure what ails you!
Tribulus Terrestris 
Other common names:  Tribulus, Tribulus Terrestris, Gokshura, Goathead, Burra Gookeroo, Caltrop, Burra Gokhru, Yellow Vine

Puncture Vine is an annual (or perennial), trailing vine that grows in India, Africa, many areas of the Americas, Asia, Australia and Mediterranian regions, thriving in sandy soil at higher altitudes.  It has been called a weedy species and can survive in desert climates and poor soil.  In many areas it is considered an invasive species.  It is a flowering, taprooted, herbaceous perennial that also grows as a summer annual in colder climates.   The leaves are pinnate with small leaflets, and the flowers bear five lemon-yellow petals.  A week after each flower blooms, it is followed by a fruit that easily breaks into nutlets, which are hard and bear two spines that are sharp enough to puncture bicycle tires and to cause considerable pain to bare feet.  

The seed is an amazing product of natural selection. The seed coat is extremely durable (as you well know if you've stepped on one with a bare foot) and in the right conditions can last upwards of 20 years.  Each fruit or burr from the plant separates into five separate segments. Each segment has two to four seeds inside it. Each of those individual seeds have a varying degree of dormancy. One portion of the seed may be past its prime, but there's a couple more still to come into theirs. So the seed can patiently wait and wait for the right conditions to sprout. The seed is also transported across the country in tires of automobiles and in livestock feed which allows the puncturevine to continue to grow and spread in theUS. Puncture Vine's Latin name, Tribulus terrestris,  means "thistle of the earth," referring to the spiked seed case that can injure feet, also explaining the plant's name, Puncture Vine.   
Beneficial Uses:
In the folk medicine of many areas, such as India, China and Turkey, Puncture Vine has been used to treat sexual impotence, edema, abdominal distention, cardiovascular disease, urinary and kidney problems.  Puncture Vine is widely known as an herbal aphrodisiac that improves libido in humans.  It is said to elevate testosterone levels in the body, which are thought to stimulate centers of the brain having to do with increased sexuality in both men and women, and as such, the herb is said to enhance arousal, desire and quality of sexual performance  Another reason for its libido-enhancing effect may be the herb's hypotensive qualities, which lower blood pressure and increase blood flow to the reproductive organs of both sexes.  In men it is believed to increase sex drive, improve the quality of erectile function and increase the concentration of sperm.  In women it is believed to enhance libido and increase ovogenesis (egg manufacture).

Athletes use Puncture Vine to increase muscle mass and build strength.  The herb is thought to be a natural herbal alternative to synthetic anabolic hormones, without producing any ill effects.  Its use is said to produce significant results in athletes, and these results first gained recognition when the herb was used by some of the highly successful Bulgarian weightlifting teams.  Persons using Puncture Vine (or Tribulus, as it is often called), who have engaged in active training and workouts, reported both increased bodily strength, as well as faster recuperation and recovery from muscular stress. Puncture Vine is said to be beneficial for those whose testosterone is below normal, such as dieters or overtrained athletes.

Puncture Vine may also support cardiovascular health.  In recent scientific tests, the herb has demonstrated an ability to lower high cholesterol levels in the blood, which frequently helps to lower blood pressure and increase circulation.  This may also reduce hypertension and the risk of strokes and heart attacks. 

Spraying with herbicide is the most efficient way of controlling this plant. Spray early and spray often.   
Propane weed burners (like a flamethrower!) can also be used.

Puncturevine Weevils are a natural predator to Puncturevines. They are host specific, which means they eat Puncturevines and only Puncturevines. The adult female seed weevil deposits an egg in a small hole she chews in the green seed. Then she seals it with fecal material. The egg hatches and burrows its way inside the green seed. In the process eating the viable portion of the seed, so it can not sprout a new plant. The weevil larvae will spend its entire larval stage inside the seed. It actually pupates within the seed and emerges from the seed as an adult. The stem weevil works in the same manner only attacking the stem of the plant. Stem Weevils will inhibit the plant's ability to grow and spread. Unfortunately, Puncturevine Weevils aren't perfect. They won't find every single seed. The thing to keep in mind is every seed a weevil eats is a seed that can't sprout.
sources: and wikipedia 

How Many Miles Cycling Equals Miles Running?

As cyclists consider running as an off-season alternative to riding, they often seek to equate the two in deciding how much to exercise. The standard comparison is that one mile of running equals four miles of cycling, but that's lousy science, says Gabe Mirkin, M.D., in a recent issue of his ezine. 
"Although running requires the same amount of energy per mile at any speed (110 calories per mile), riding is affected by wind resistance, so the faster you ride, the more energy you use. So you have to compare running and cycling at different cycling speeds" Dr. Edward Coyle of The University of Texas in Austin determined average values of oxygen consumption by cyclists to develop a table to estimate the approximate caloric equivalence between running and cycling, according to Dr. Mirkin. He found that if you ride 20 miles at 15 mph, you burn 620 calories (20 miles X 31 calories per mile = 620 calories). 
Take those 620 calories and divide them by 110 calories per mile for running and you get 5.63 miles to burn the same number of calories. So, Dr. Mirkin says, riding a bicycle 20 miles at 15 miles per hour is equal to running 5.6 miles at any speed. "Coyle's derived conversion figures are for an average-size adult (approximately 155 pounds)," he says. "A larger cyclist would divide by a slightly higher number; a smaller cyclist, by a slightly lower one. Wind and hills are not accounted for in the table; nor is drafting, which can reduce your energy expenditure by up to one-third." The number of miles ridden divided by the conversion factor for the speed of riding equals the number of miles running to use the same amount of energy. Here's the conversion table: 
MPH:Calories per mile:Conversion factor 
10: 26: 4.2 
15: 31: 3.5 
20: 38: 2.9 
25: 47: 2.3 
30: 59: 1.9 
How to use the table 
For riding 20 miles at 10 miles per hour, divide 20 miles by the conversion factor of 4.2 to get 4.8 miles running. For riding 20 miles at 20 miles per hour, divide 20 miles distance by 2.9 conversion factor to get 6.9 miles running. For riding 20 miles at 25 miles per hour, divide 20 miles by 2.3 to get 8.7 miles running. For riding 20 miles at 30 miles per hour, divide 20 miles by 1.9 to get 10.5 miles running.

What Rights Do Cyclists Have Regarding Event Waivers?
(reprinted from

Question: My little cycling club (LAB-certified and insured but not incorporated or non-profit status) recently had a fatality on one of our club rides -- a truly horrendous experience for the 15 riders on the ride and for the local cycling community, in general. My question is, What are the specific rights we have as cyclists when we sign the waivers that come along with participation in a club for an annual membership -- or a specific event put on by some other organization? -- Mark P.

Daniel Glass, Attorney-at-Law, Responds: Mark, I’m very sorry to hear about the fatality on your club ride. It’s always a blow to the cycling community -- no matter where we live -- to hear about a death under such circumstances.

As I address your question, first I have to say that if you follow this column in the future, you will learn that almost all questions, when answered by a lawyer, will have at least two answers. This is not to suggest that we lawyers cannot give you a direct answer. It is to point out that there are at least two sides to most legal issues.

Relating this maxim to the waiver issue, there is the approach of the person who created the waiver (the club, event organizer, etc.) and the approach of the person who signed the waiver. The club or event organizer that wrote the waiver took time to write it, maybe even had a lawyer write it or review it, and expects it to be valid, legal and binding.

Conversely, and as a practical matter, the person who signed it took no time to create it, and most likely never even read it before signing. In fact, the signing person could not care less about the waiver, unless and until something goes terribly wrong on the ride.

The bottom line, definitely in California -- and most likely in other states as well -- is that waivers are valid, enforceable and legal. Every rider should read the waiver before signing it and, if you’re not willing to sign, do the organizer/club a favor and don’t do the ride.

It’s that simple. Or is it?
Once you read and sign a waiver, you should think about what you signed and whom you are releasing. Yes, the club or organizer who asked you to sign the document may be immune from being sued if you are injured. But what if “speed racer” is coming down that hill with the 20 mph curve at 45 mph, because he/she has a new $6,000 bike and wants to see how it handles, and sideswipes you as they go screaming past? Did your waiver relieve this person of their liability for not being careful? Probably not.

Primary Assumption of the Risk
I say probably because some states, like California, recognize a legal theory known as the “primary assumption of the risk.” Under this theory, if you are engaged in a sporting event with others, and are injured by another participant engaging in your activity, you may have no right to blame them for your injuries.

How about, on the same ride, if you are riding at a prudent speed down that hill and a dog, or cow, or something other than a car gets onto the roadway and causes you to crash? Again, the club or organizer is probably immune. But, there are rules about loose dogs, livestock, etc. The owner of those animals can probably be held responsible for your injuries, and for any bicycle damage.

Two final thoughts: First, no one can be relieved of liability for a future “intentional act.” The organizer or club president cannot come over to you, knock you off your bike on purpose, and escape liability on the grounds that you signed a waiver. In fact, no "waiver" is legal or enforceable if it attempts to give any person immunity from intentional acts or "gross" negligence (so wrong that no person could ever think it was accidental).

In almost all cases, this type of conduct rises to some level of crime. For instance, there was the California case where a physician in Los Angeles didn't like the bicyclists on his mountain road, so one day he pulled around the group of cyclists, got in front of them and jammed on his brakes, causing some of them to rear-end his car -- and causing serious injury to at least one of the cyclists. I believe the physician ended up with some actual jail time in addition to fines. He probably also got sued for money damages, but that was not publicized.

Finally, the club/organizer cannot put you in peril by selecting a course that is treacherous, or has unsafe roads, or no roads, and send you out there without warning you of the potential hazards you will face.

In closing, always be as safe as you can. I have handled enough cycling cases to recognize that bike accidents tend to share similar characteristics. Someone is usually riding too fast for conditions. Or some rider tries to make an unsafe pass. Or someone is drafting in an unsafe manner. And the list goes on.

No matter the circumstances or outcome of a cycling-related legal matter, always remember that it is far better never to have had that accident in the first place. Focus on the purpose of your ride, and on riding safely. Doing so will help protect yourself and your fellow riders. If cycling were your profession, your goals would be different from the other 99% of us who ride. Keep in mind that, when it comes to cycling, we recreational roadies are the 99%. We need to help protect each other.

Daniel S. Glass is a civil litigation attorney and avid cyclist living in Sacramento, California. He has been an attorney and cyclist for more than 20 years. He has handled numerous cycling-related cases, raced as a Cat 4 racer for 7 years and has cycled more than 140,000 miles on the roads and bicycle trails of Northern California


1. Aggressive riding, much like aggressive driving, begets itself. One person starts it, tempers flare, everyone sharpens their elbows and starts taking chances. This behavior has no place on these rides. If you want to do this, find a race to expend that energy.
 2. It's time we grow up and eliminate sloppy/unskillful/dangerous riding.  Witnessed most days: crossed wheels, sudden lateral movements, slowing/stopping for unknown reasons, standing up suddenly in the paceline and causing kick-back, putting wheels where they don't belong, riding in the wrong gears for the paceline, surging, taking the right of way instead of giving it, not pointing out hazards. 
 3. Earphones. Wearing these during "our" rides shows complete contempt for the other riders around you. Want to be in your own little world? Do it by yourself on your own ride. 
4.  Finally, it's a group ride, not follow the leader. Are you planning to time-trial during the group ride? Great--let us know so you can put in your earphones and ride off the front. This gives us the choice to socialize or to chase and a chance for everyone else to put their nose in the wind. Otherwise, see #4.