Monday, March 30, 2009

Saddle Peak Road Construction

There is some major road construction at Saddle Peak in the Santa Monica Mountains. The upper portion of Scheuren Road (~200m) is closed to vehicles, there is some major re-grading going on. I was able to ride on the well-graded dirt road to get through the closure. However, it's not a guarantee that you will always be able to get through, especially if you come through during the week when people are actively working on the road.

Saddle Peak is a massively popular spot for cyclists, as it is the nexus for many classic routes like Piuma, Fernwood, Stunt, and Los Flores. So be aware that you may need to adjust your route because of this closure.


UPDATE April 4, 2009: The construction crew was on site today during the early afternoon, and they were making sure that no one could get through. This leaves Stunt and Saddle Peaks (Fernwood) as the only two options for ascent/descent when construction workers have the road closed.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Surviving a flat tire on a dangerous descent

Last weekend I was cruising down Las Flores in Malibu when I suddenly heard the dreaded hisssss coming from my back wheel. As flat tire is always a nuisance, but it can be downright dangerous on a twisty, steep, 35mph descent. Fortunately, there are a few tips that will increase your odds of staying upright.

  1. Transfer your weight to the good wheel. You are about to start braking, and you need get additional traction on the tire that is still inflated. This means getting your butt way over the rear wheel or else moving your body forward and resting more of your weight on the handlebars.
  2. Hit the brakes. Brake hard on the good wheel, and much more softly on the flat tire. If your leak is not too fast, no need to freak out. But if you have a blowout, you need to slow down in a hurry. On the flats it is not the end of the world if you ride on a flat for a few extra meters, but it is not an option on a big descent
  3. Avoid turning at all cost. This is especially critical if your front tire is going flat. Turning will cause the tire to roll and lose all traction -- it is a recipe for disaster. In most cases it is better to gently roll off of the road onto the shoulder than make a sudden turn and find yourself eating asphalt.
Be safe out there!