Wednesday, May 11, 2022

BARBARA FROM B.C. on her way home

Riding norht into the wind, Barbara was 1,000 miles from home--and smiling. Bike touring...try it and see for yourself.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Rick Gilbert Pacific Coast Tour

If Covid 19 has you down, how about a solo bike ride down the west coast of North America? When Rick turned 65 he decided to take on the American Pacific Coast with his electric bike. I ran into him near The Hammond Trail and we rode south to Arcata. We met again the next day for breakfast at Brio on the Arcata Plaza. That could be your story if you had Rick's electric-assisted bike and some time on your hands. 

Fabric chain = no oily stains

On first glance, you don't realize this is an e-bike. No telltale battery bulges, no exposed wires. To further simplify, this bike replaces the oily chain with a fabric belt. Rick rode south planning to put the bike to the test on steep, windy Route 1 which runs along the ocean cliffs from Humboldt County to San Francisco and south. Proving? That life without Covid goes on and so does fun. 

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Bike Sharing Comes to Arcata

Brand new and ready to go on the Arcata Plaza we now have Zagster bikes with basket and lock included. Blocks from the gorgeous new Arcata Marsh bike trail.

Members The Latte Warriors, my Sunday riding group, inspecting the new rental bikes. Humboldt State University has two kiosks. An additional one will soon be available just a few blocks away at the Arcata Coop market. I'm planning to review this service here on the blog.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


Arcata Marsh, minutes before 10 am Sunday, November 19, 2017


A lot of people for a town this size

Steve Fox ready to ride

Frank shows the Latte Warriors colors

Wendy Ring and her folding bike

Carolyn Lehman on her trike, Noreen Sipma wore red

Mark Mueller, recumbent pioneer, with somebody's wife

The Crowd Grew Restless...

Moments before the tape was cut...

And we were off! 

Not Holland, not Denmark. A new bike bridge across an estuary of Arcata Bay.

Lorraine Miller Wolf and friend consider dog walking options

Willard Foote combing biking and birding along Arcata Bay

View from the top

Three miles from the starting point the trail exits to Route 101's bike lane, a corridor of evenly crushed red rock. A separate 4 mile dedicated bike trail is under construction from this point to Eureka. When that's completed you will be able to ride on dedicated waterfront bike trails from Humboldt State University in Arcata to the south end of Eureka.

Essential trail organizers Dennis Rael and Rees Hughes chart the trail's future at the Arcata Marsh Interpretive Center.

Doug Ingold and Carolyn Lehman near the south end of the trail. The railroad authority wouldn't grant the bike trail a "rails to trails" easement which would have made the project less costly. So now we have a beautiful new bike trail that runs next to an abandoned railroad. 

Cyclists, Runners, Kids, Dog walkers...People in wheelchairs,,,

Viewing platform on Arcata Bay, south end of the trail. 

Typical roadside attractions

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The Arcata Bay Trail, Preview

The new trail is still officially under construction but this Sunday morning there it was, gleaming in the early morning light unwalked and unridden. What is there about new asphalt that speaks to every walker and cyclist in town? Dozens of cyclists streamed past the "Do Not Enter" signs followed by walkers, runners, dog watchers and mothers with strollers. Onward to the bay!

My longtime Sunday cycling group "The Latte Warriors" have had only a three or four reliable rides to choose from on our narrow coast. Today we added a new one.

"It's beautiful" said Steve Fox, "but of course it would be." 

Just ahead: install bridges over the various bay estuaries. The first one is already done.  

Official opening day for the new trail is October 29. I'll be there on my recumbent! 

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Humboldt Bay Trail 75 years old I skipped a couple of years on this blog--but not on the bike. When half the people in the obituaries are younger than you, an actual bike ride becomes more attractive than a virtual experience. Yesterday I rode 42 miles with my longtime cycling group THE LATTE WARRIORS. It still beats hell out of any gym routine, meditation, discussion, class, regimen or pill and I still feel good a day later.

A couple of years ago Arcata was making noises about a bike trail through town. We'd heard that before but I took some photos of broken up sidewalk while  a few nearby cyclists smiled tentatively. 

Two years later we've had a breakthrough: miles of dreamy bike trail are actually completed in both Arcata and Eureka and the tricky route through the beautiful Arcata Marsh, under construction right now, has a promised completion date of 9/17 2017 (not 2117). Which means..this Fall we'll be tantalizingly close to connecting the south end of Eureka with Humboldt State University in Arcata. Cyclists will then be able to continue north on the beautiful Hammond Trail which runs along the Pacific. I did that ride today. Here's a photo: 

Behold The Map:

Humboldt County cyclists have been working on variations of a city-to-city bike trail (4 miles of dotted lines on the map between the two cities) for more than 25 years. Ten years ago I sat through a presentation at Arcata City Hall given by a team of "Transportation Infrastructure Consultants" from Sacramento. Beware of any committee that employs the word "infrastructure" in its title.

First, we watched an inspiring film about bike trails in Sedona, Az. Then, a lovely Arcata to Eureka trail appeared on a large white board. We were encouraged draw our wish list right on the board using brightly colored magic markers—like second grade art class. 

I drew a bike rack, a woman on the other side of the table added dotted lane markers. "Hey, you can do better than that." said a smiling infrastructure consultant. "Think BIG, think outside of the box!"  Minutes later a two lane bridge over the Freeway appeared areas with swings and sandboxes, fish ponds, a baseball diamond, a snack bar, bird feeders. Bike racks popped up everywhere. "Wow! Better than Sedona!" exclaimed the infrastructure consultants. Then they packed up the white boards, drove back to Sacramento and billed the city a million bucks.

But now, thanks to Humboldt County trail activists like Rees Huges and Dennis Rael we are dealing directly with Caltrans, builder of 
actual roads, bridges and tunnels all over California. They are at work constructing miles of beatiful bike trail through the Arcata Marsh as I write this. With a community buy-in for the dotted line portion they are prepared to finish the trail. 

Jeff Bezos is a Twitter friend of mine. The other day he asked all of us Twitter friends to suggest a worthwhile social investment project.

Jeff, by simply finishing the Rte 101 bike path through Oregon and tacking on the North Coast of California and Southern Washington you could link Seattle with Eureka. If this were Denmark or Holland, it would have happened twenty years ago. Seriously.

Anyway, Jeff, when the project is finished you're invited to bike down to Arcata and stay at my place while you're in town.

In case that scenario doesn't pan out, you, dear reader, are invited to support The Humboldt Bay Bike Trail.
 On day one after the trail opens life will change permanently around here. Students and workers who can't afford Arcata rents will begin to commute from Eureka, whole families will weekend on the trail, tourists will return to beautiful Humboldt Bay and joy bikers like me will be out there daily. Thousands of car and truck miles will not be driven. The treacherous route 101 "safety zone"will become bike free. Waist lines will shrink. Smiles will happen. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Amsterdam Train Station

Amsterdam train station, 2007. Every Dutch city has a train station with parking for bicycles. Build it, America, and they will come.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Starting Biking at 73, Part !!

My Biking Annals #1: Remembering Ornette Coleman At Angel Speed

Biking for me is as much a metaphysical as it is a physical activity. By this, I mean it is bifocal: one part, full (and, if possible, immaculate) attention to the present; the other part, reverie. Of course, you use your “lazy eye” for the second activity because that sector of mindfulness is more accustomed to drifting in time and space. The “strong eye” stays steady and watchful.

Now lest you think I’m bipolar, trapped in some dichotomy of consciousness, let me quickly add that both activities converge on a plane where all is yoga.

Being a second-time beginner to biking, I did not know too much about the metaphysics of this pastime. When last I biked, I occasionally thought up stories and wrote them when I got home. But I never knew that biking could open what Aldous Huxley called “doors of perception” native to this, ugh, “sport.”  

To rewrite Jesus, “Pedal and it shall be opened to you.” And I add that the pedals I have in mind could easily be spelled “petals.”

Before setting out for my bike trip on this glorious post-rainy, low-humidity, mild-climed day, I read about a funeral service held yesterday for jazz giant Ornette Coleman. Coleman was 85 and supposedly in poor health for the last few years. When you’re 73, as I am, that’s young. As far as I know, I’m still in good health and would like to stay that way long enough to leave a legacy of some sort. But I am also aware that my soul is “on loan” and must be returned at some point to the issuer (hopefully, no worse for wear).

In any case, I’ve been listening all week to Ornette’s records, as well as some made by others whom I revere equally who chose to play his compositions. One of those albums which paid tribute to Ornette was made by John Coltrane in 1960, with Coleman’s trumpeter Don Cherry and his bassist, Charlie Haden, also recently deceased. Called “The Avant-Garde,” it features three (out of 5) songs by Coleman and is notable for being the album on which Coltrane took his first-recorded solo on soprano sax.

Fairly soon after starting my usual bike route, I went into reverie mode, remembering listening to Ornette recordings with Gordon Inkeles, the proprietor of this blog. Although I have not seen Gordon since the late 1960s, he is an active presence in my life, linked by our mighty passion for jazz. It was Gordon who first played for me Charlie Parker’s epochal break-thru 1945 recording of “Ko-Ko”--not once but at least five times in succession until Bird’s whirl of notes made us feel like dervishes, spinning, spinning on “the still point of the turning world.”

I always remember that experience because I date my epiphany that the earth’s surface is (or was meant to be) a vast dance floor to that moment when Charlie Parker broke the speed of sound, then light, and ran jazz’s first 3-minute mile. Forget flights of bumblebees, and Lisztian arpeggios. Bird soared and took us with him as if each note was a footstep to be followed (mind you, at sprint or glide-path speed).

I rejoined Bird in flight today, soaring with Ornette to a celestial sphere far closer to earth than any I have ever imagined. There is a saxophone blues-yelp that summons all angels on patrol of this planet. And Ornette sounded it in my fondest memory as I pedaled along today. In fact, he enveloped me in it.

And that’s when I felt like I entered a seraphim’s tailwind; maybe a whole band of them carrying me along in their beating-wing air stream. It seemed as if I had broken my own personal sound barrier and that I was traveling at “angel speed.” I know this sounds corny, but I was in a deathless place. As beacon, as a symbol of all I love, Ornette was singing through me, using my consciousness as his instrument and sounding board.

I’m sure there are other ways and means beyond bikes and meditation mats to “get” to where I “got” today. I urge every person reading this to find his way and means to that place--a place where remembrance of ancestors, gods, and heroes becomes grateful (and grace-full) mindfulness of the here and now. “It is all one day,” Tennessee Williams wrote in his last play. I hope to resume that day ASAP, or, at least, the next time I bike. In the meantime, thank you, Ornette; and thank you, Gordon. The three of us are still tuned in to God’s radio.

--David Federman, June 28, 2015

Saturday, June 20, 2015


The beautiful Hammond Trail will soon cross Little River on a separate bicycle bridge, and connect Clam Beach with Scenic Drive, thus permanently eliminating a long Freeway hill for riders to and from Trinidad! This means you will be able to ride from gorgeous Patrick's Point State Park, six miles north of Trinidad, all the way to Eureka without entering a Freeway.

The Lost Coast Outpost has details. Take note west coast bike tourists!

Sunday, June 7, 2015


Behold! After 22 years of meetings, studies and consultants, we are finally getting it built!

 Soon there will be bicycles rolling in the wake of these steamrollers. .

This part of the path will lead to a spot near Humboldt State University.

Big, wide and beautiful. Yes, it will be beautiful.

Next up: Connect Arcata and Eureka, a few miles along beautiful Arcata Bay. The old Railroad Easement or a place nearby is the likely route.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

An Old Friend Starts Biking at 73. Discovers "Hard Fun" and "Preordained Gladness"

I haven't seen Dave Federman since we were students at The University of Pittsburgh half a century ago. We've stayed in touch online, however, and continue to share a passion for jazz and poetry. I mentioned my cycling but it didn't go much further. Then...voila!


I'm back in the saddle again. And since this saddle belongs to a Trek Verve 3, it is cushy enough to be 'mindful' of my aging posterior and the woes like hemorrhoids it is heir to. To be honest, I wouldn't be taking my second stab at the bike life if it wasn't for a bike like this that is designed for city streets and straits. You don't have to travel far by car or bike in Philadelphia and its suburbs to encounter simulations of or equivalents to off-road challenges. The makers of my bike must have foreseen the often corrugated stretches of street I must pedal in pursuit of the 'la bell vie ambulatoire'. Thanks to shock absorbers and other components of stress-reduction technology, the winter-ravaged streets pose less danger and discomfort than when I took to these less-ravaged streets a year ago on my oversized racer that I was told would make a man out of me.

To the contrary, my first bike's height nearly unmanned me. After three serious spills, the last of which almost justified a trip to the emergency room, my wife forbade further treks on that macho speedster. Something like a Trek Verve 3 17.5" was a pre-condition for any return to biking.

Ride a stationary bike in the basement...or explore these streets.

My reasons for giving the bike life a second try are typical and sensible for men my age. At 73, I am well-aware of the need for daily exercise. We have a stationary bike in the basement that is ideal for short attempts at physical fitness. But it is boring. So I have broken every resolution for continual usage.

Outdoor biking, on the other hand, adds meta-physical to physical fitness as you become a fast-forward urban/urbane Thoreau whizzing past suburban splendors. Sometimes there are even high-impact haiku impingements of external reality. And I don't mean the bells and horns of approaching bikes, busses, cars and trucks. I mean bird-trills and dog-barks, butterfly and blue jay sightings--things that make you stop hating your neighbor or yourself, and make you feel pre-ordained to gladness. Indeed, I started writing this essay while biking a few days ago--that is, when the Force (of my burgeoning stamina) joined me in a brief foretaste of abundance.

Monique, the author's bicycle muse. 

Stamina is a grand, glorious and, above all, attainable objective of biking. It encompasses things seen and unseen, as well as aids and abets concentration and patience. No wonder I am amazed and embarrassed to see how much of this precious resource I lost between my last bike ride in the Fall and my first this April. Thankfully, stamina returns, or, maybe I should say, resumes. In any case, my wife, and biking partner, is telling me not to push the return to previous fitness levels. "You're not in training for a competition," she reminds me when she sees me in full self-punishing, hair-shirt, endurance mode. Instead,  she advises me to see biking as a mixture of meditation and yoga, not merely a sport or athletic interest.

This brings me to my own private purpose for writing this short essay. During my first biking incarnation, I saw this pastime as hard work. During my second biking incarnation, I see it as what I call "hard fun." So this time I look forward to the exertion rather than dreading it. Hell, I even find myself upshifting on declines to take the opportunity for easy exercise rather than mere gliding. Then when I face the uphill climbs, and the number of my grunts per minute are equal to those on a Perez Prado record, the effort seems as rewarding as learning to dance the mambo and, more challengingly, the tango.

So there you have it: I'm bike-borne as well as bike-reborn. I don't know where it will lead or if it will last. For now, however, it's nice to think I have joined millions of others who heard and heeded the call of the open road disguised as a bike path.

"Hard Fun" in Ardmore

--David Federman, Ardmore, PA, May 7, 2015