Author: Richard Masoner

What do you wear for this cool weather riding?

In my part of California, we have at least another couple of weeks of unseasonably cool weather. After several years of heat waves and drought in the Golden State, I forgot how to kit up for riding when it’s 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

My upper body is fine — a windproof vest or jacket feels about perfect, and a warm core helps to keep my extremities warm. My legs — which are the engines that power my ride — never get warm.My summerweight shorts aren’t quite enough, but my heavy fleece-lined winter cycling tights are far too warm.

Should I look for my leg warmers that I haven’t seen in five years? What about a lighter weight pair of tights or three-quarter tights?

I think I like the idea of fleece-lined bib shorts like these thermal cargo bib shorts from Ornot in San Francisco. Who else has shorts like this?

How about you? What do you wear when it’s cool with maybe a bit of fog or mist?

Postscript: I asked this question on Twitter and received good responses. Thank you! Let me know what you think.

Public comments open for Santa Cruz Rail Trail Segment 12 Draft EIR

The Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) will hold a public hearing to solicit community input on the Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Assessment (DEIR/EA) for the proposed Coastal Rail Trail Segment 12 Project and Highway 1 Auxiliary Lane/Bus-on-Shoulder project.

The proposed project includes construction of northbound and southbound auxiliary lanes between the State Park Drive and Freedom Boulevard interchanges on Highway 1, extends the bus-on-shoulder facility by 2.5 miles, widens the Highway 1 bridge over Aptos Creek and Spreckles Drive, reconstructs the north Aptos and south Aptos railroad underpasses, and constructs drainage facilities, retaining walls, and sound walls. The project also includes the construction of an approximate 1.25-mile-long segment of the Coastal Rail Trail (Segment 12) along the Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line between State Park Drive and Rio del Mar Boulevard.

The DEIR/EA identifies the project’s potential impacts and potential avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures. A public hearing will be held to provide the public with the opportunity to learn more about the project’s environmental process and submit comments for consideration in the Final EIR/EA.

View the DEIR/EA documents online at the SCCRTC project website; at the RTC office at 1101 Pacific Ave., Ste. 250, Santa Cruz (located upstairs from my favorite ice cream shop in Santa Cruz); and at the Capitola, Live Oak, and Watsonville public libraries.

The hearing takes place during the Santa Cruz County board meeting at 9:30 AM, Thursday June 1, 2023, at the County Board of Supervisors Chambers, 701 Ocean St., Rm 525, Santa Cruz, CA. During this meeting, the RTC commission will also receive information about a proposed GO Santa Cruz County Bicycle Incentives program that was discussed during the Santa Cruz bike committee meeting earlier this month.

If you cannot make the hearing, written comments may also be submitted by mail to Lara Bertaina, Department of Transportation, 50 Higuera Street, San Luis Obispo, CA, or by email to All comments must be received by 5 p.m. on June 2, 2023.

Chargel: A different kind of sports beverage

I routinely receive media invites to try various sports recovery supplements and almost deleted an invite to try “Chargel Gel Drink” when I noticed an interesting detail.

This recovery drink comes from a Japanese candy company? Of course I have to try it!

Morinaga is famous for its HI-CHEW fruit-flavored chewy candies. I love Hi-Chew candy, and the PR firm telling me about Chargel’s introduction to the US market completely buried this lede.

As I suspected, Chargel (flavored with real fruit juice) tastes amazingly like a less sweet version of Hi-Chew candy with an interesting jelly texture that I’m told has propelled this drink ahead of the popular Pocari Sweat electrolyte drink in the Japanese sports drink market. 18 grams of sugar in each 180-gram pouch is pretty high when compared with other sports drinks, but Morinaga’s fruit-flavored blend of carbohydrates and B vitamins tastes pretty delicious after a hard effort in warm weather.

If you’re familiar with east Asian foods, Chargel’s jelly texture may remind you of the soft, slippery jellies and noodles made from the konjac yam, or the slurpable soft jellies available at some boba tea shops. The jelly is almost identical to Jin Jin Jelly Straws, if you know this popular snack. This texture contributes to a satisfying feeling of satiety without making me feel overfully full while I’m out and about, and it goes down very easily during and after a hard ride.

Chargel comes in sippy pouches and tastes best chilled. So far in the San Francisco Bay Area, I only find Chargel at Japanese markets such as Mitsuwa and Nijiwa. Find Chargel in your area using Chargel’s online store locator, or buy directly from

Disclosure: I received a free sample of this product with no expectation of consideration. It really is pretty delicious.

David Byrne *still* rides a bicycle

David Byrne made a big splash with the Bike Internet when he arrived at the Met Gala last night on his Paul Budnitz titanium cruiser bicycle as he cheekily showed off his car parking valet placard to the paparazzi.

Byrne’s bike is smartly outfitted with a Gates carbon belt drive connected to a single speed hub for low maintenance and grease-free operation to avoid staining his crisp, white outfit. Custom wooden fenders also work to keep road schmutz from Byrne’s bespoke attire.

Brooks leather saddles are known for their all-day riding comfort. Obvious wear and marks on this bike’s Schwalbe Little Big Ben tires show this bike is not just for looks, but is used as a daily get-around bike.

I’ve asked the Internet about the disc brakes on this bike. I’ve gotten a few interesting ideas.

Byrne keeps his bike secure with a Sold Secure Gold rated ABUS Bordo 6500K bike lock that he stores in a bottle-cage mount. A chrome bicycle bell alerts people in front of the former Talking Heads frontman to his approach. The bike’s utility is rounded out with a Wald handlebar basket, which you can buy for an easy forty bucks online.

Byrne is long known for his love of bicycling as a means of transportation. This modern, upscale take on the paperboy bike is a nice upgrade from the three-speed Schwinn he rode around Manhattan in the early 1980s, as he recalls in his book Bicycle Diaries, excerpted here:

Caltrans “complete streets” update and new draft design guidance open for public comment

Caltrans HQ is proposing new design guidance (titled DIB-94) related to “complete streets” to make design for walking and biking on certain state routes easier to accomplish. These proposed changes hopefully will allow Caltrans to use updated standards for vehicle lane widths, shoulder requirements, and bike lane widths that are not part of the Highway Design Manual.

Caltrans uses their Highway Design Manual to determine the geometry of California State Routes, and includes details on lane widths, turning radii, shoulder width, vertical clearances, and so forth. Remember, a California State Route designation does not necessarily mean a limited accesss freeway. State Route 1 through Santa Cruz, for example, is known in town as “Mission Street.” State Route 82 is El Camino Real through much of the South Bay and the Peninsula in the SF Bay Area. State Route 50 is the main street across South Lake Tahoe. Large sections of SR 1 in Southern California — the Pacific Coast Highway — are used as surface roads.

Efforts to improve walking and biking on these stroads cum state highways can be difficult due to Caltrans insistence that these improvements violate their highway design standards. In December 2021, Caltrans Director’s Policy 37 on Complete Streets (DP-37) established that “in locations with current and/or future pedestrian, bicycle, or transit needs, all transportation projects funded or overseen by Caltrans will provide comfortable, convenient, and connected complete streets facilities for people walking, biking, and taking transit or passenger rail unless an exception is documented and approved.”

In conjunction with this policy, Caltrans determined that new contextual design guidance was needed to detail the minimum expectations for complete streets facilities by place type. The goals for this new design guidance are to:

  • Develop guidelines for comfortable, convenient, and connected facilities that maximize the use of the existing right-of-way by prioritizing space-efficient forms of mobility.
  • Provide minimum expectations based on context.
  • Provide additional guidance on appropriate designs, especially recommended vs minimum facilities.
  • Support streamlined design development for high volume of complete streets projects, due to new policy & funding.

Caltrans says DIB-94 standards will apply to state routes were bike and pedestrian facilities will be provided; with speed limits of 45 MPH or less; and located in urban, suburban, or rural main street places.

To read the full draft design guidance, download and read this 71 page PDF. I know it’s a lot. To provide public comment, you have to this Excel “Comment Matrix” spreadsheet, fill in your comments, and email the completed sheet to Public comment will be accepted through May 10, 2023.

Bike news digest for the first of May 2023

Happy USA Bike Month 2023! I intend to re-launch San Jose Bike Train Real Soon Now. This is a casual morning bike commute on the Guadalupe River Trail. We’ll begin in downtown San Jose from San Pedro Square Market for coffee from Voyager Craft Coffee, hit the trail, and ride north on the trail to River Oaks, with people peeling off along the way for their destinations that can include the Santa Clara County buildings, SJC Airport, and VTA HQ. The trail is mostly clear with some minor work still needed underneath Hwy 101. Please comment below for your thoughts on day of the week and start time.

Events and News

  • Early registration is open for the Safe Routes to School Summit 2023, celebrating the People, Places, and Possibility of Safe Routes to School. This three-day virtual summit will be held October 24-26, featuring innovative presentations and networking opportunities for Safe Routes practitioners, partners, and champions. Early Bird registration opens today and continues until September 1. Learn more in this FAQ.
  • The next Viva Calle San Jose takes place Sunday, June 11, 2023. Learn more
  • Santa Cruz County celebrates Bike Month with a Bike Challenge, encouraging participants to get around on two wheels and win prizes. Santa Cruz County Bike Challenge info.
  • The Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Stewardship encourages you to take part in what they hope is their largest trail work day ever on National Trails Day. They’ll team up with over 20 other local organizations to host 19 different events throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains. After a morning of trail work, they’ll host a big after party at DeLaveaga Park. Learn more at their Trails Day event page.
  • What do you think of solar panels as a shade covering over exposed bike paths?
  • Cycle of Influence summit September 12-14, 2023 in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Remember: let me know what day and time works for a casual morning ride from downtown San Jose towards the Bay. And feel free to comment with your bike event and news below.