If only we take the time…

| March 1, 2017 9:19 am

When travelling, it is always exciting to visit historical places: the Paris Mouffetard cafés where Hemingway met with Gertrude Stein and Picasso; Gare St-Lazare where Monet would setup his easel; or Auvers-sur-Oise where Van Gogh roamed the melancholically beautiful wheatfield with crows in tow.

Closer to home at Cannery Row, a faded wooden shack stands between imposing buildings, mostly unnoticed by the thousands of visitors hurrying to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The Doc Ricketts’ Pacific Biological Laboratories looks so out of place yet it is filled with a proud history, if only the walls could talk. It was there where John Steinbeck met Ed Ricketts. Ricketts became a good friend and mentor to Steinbeck. Ricketts was fictionally portrayed in many Steinbeck novels: Cannery Row, Sweet Thursday, Burning Bright, Dubious Battle, and the classic Grapes of Wrath.

Ricketts also trained the great mythologist Joseph Campbell whom George Lucas gave credit to his influence in creating Star Wars.

Ed Ricketts was a scientist ahead of his time. Though he made a living collecting and selling marine species to Universities and Colleges, he was an early advocate of now-common concepts such as habitat, predator-prey relationships, and intertidal organisms in an ecological context. Ricketts and Jack Calvin’s textbook “Between Pacific Tides” remains in use today and is the best-selling book of the Stanford University Press.

Sadly, Ricketts was killed when his stalled car was hit by a train. A beautiful Ricketts Memorial now resides at the train-crossing turned bicycle path at Drake Ave and Wave St. Take the time to enjoy our local treasures on your next bicycle ride to Monterey.

Best,
Tony Le, ACTC President

Doc Ricketts’ Pacific Biological Laboratories

Ricketts Memorial @ Drake Ave & Wave St

Bob Thompson, A Gentle Giant

| February 19, 2017 3:55 pm

Seems like it was yesterday, Bob and Kris Thompson, Jean and I were having lunch on a sunny afternoon at a League of American Bicyclist meeting in Olympia, Washington. That was nearly thirty years ago — my friendship with Bob grew with more respect and admiration each passing year. In those days, Bob would run a marathon, no, make that a Dipsea-type marathon and then joined us the very next day mountain biking at Point Reyes, on President’s Weekend. Henry Coe was Bob’s favorite and he led countless rides there, despite loosing much of his sight. To ride and navigate safely, he must have remembered every corner, every downhill, every inch of those trails, including the single tracks. One day, tears in his eyes that mercilessly had abandoned him, Bob stopped at the start of his ride and professed that he can’t see well enough to go on.

On road rides, even before Bob’s eyesight failed, Kris and Bob were riding tandem, only Bob was the Captain. Then the table was turned, Kris had to captain a specially-made Bike Friday tandem for a much taller stoker Bob. So unconventional yet so graceful! The Kris and Bob Thompson tandem led many South County Old Goat rides, went to Ragbrai, Louisiana, Virginia, Carolinas, Alaska, Canada, France, Mexico, and China.

Kris and Bob were avid ACTC volunteers. They were Captains at the Gilroy Hot Springs rest stop for over a decade and always invited the Progressive Dinner to their home, including this past year.

Bob’s photography and his video presentations were always memorable and enjoyable. Much of my own presentations are lessons from Bob during our then yearly trip to the San Francisco MacWorld conference.

Bob Thompson passed away February 16.

Bob on a French Postal Bicycle in Paris

Kris and Bob at the Col d’Illoire, Grand Canyon du Verdon

Kris and Bob in Provence, note the double-suitcase trailer

A Dilemma

| 3:45 pm

During our last visit to Dalian, China, a child, no older than 5, came up and hugged Jean, asking for money. We knew not to give children money or sweets because the apparent kind act may create beggars of them. Furthermore, parents then will send their children to beg rather than to school. However, what ensued in that encounter still bothers me today. A man walked up, hit the child in the head, and scolded him for begging. The mother quickly came out to retrieve the child. Poor kid, he was crying from pain and shock but way too young to understand. We felt very bad.

As I will embark to cycle in Vietnam this fall, it would be great to learn better ways to help begging children. Please write to me at president@actc.org and I will post them at a future Black and Blue Bottom.

Best,
Tony Le, ACTC President

First Tierra Bella 1977

| January 18, 2017 2:49 pm

Two score years ago, ACTC, then with just a hundred members, bravely created the first Tierra Bella Century. Historical ACTC Members still with the club are Ken Schwab (Past President and Club’s Art Designer), Rosa and Lou Mason, Connie and Terry Shaw, Peter Enright (first VP and second President), and Pat Grilione. The Tierra Bella Chair-baton has been passed only a few times; I remember Jack Lacy, George Alexander, John Halverson, Mike Matthews, Brad Kurtz, Brian Bernhardt, David Seeley, and Michael Hudick.

Our legacy is strong and their accomplishments are inspiring. Ken created nearly all the early Tierra Bella and Sierra to the Sea artwork. With Tommie Lacy‘s help, Jack led some years despite loosing his eyesight. Michael is the longest-serving Tierra Bella Chairperson. In 2014, terminally-ill George Johnson fulfilled his Captain-duties at Machado — an unbelievable dedication to ACTC!

It will take nothing less than our very best to uphold this great legacy. Like a tandem captain and stoker needing to cycle in sync, we can accomplish most when working together. Please, let us redouble our effort by filling all the volunteer spots that Rita Hernandez and Michael Hudick are posting!

Tierra Bella, 40th to infinity!

Best,
Tony Le, ACTC President

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George Johnson, 2014 Tierra Bella Machado Captain

30th Anniversary Sierra to the Sea, a New Epic Journey to Challenge all your Senses, June 17 – 24, 2017

| December 4, 2016 11:10 am

Dip your toes and front wheel in Lake Tahoe and dip them again a week later in the Pacific Ocean in San Francisco, how cool is that!

Sierra to the Sea, an uniquely ACTC tour started by the late Past-President Rod Annable, has a new exciting route from South Tahoe to Golden Gate Park created by all ACTC volunteers and STTS Director Steve Crosby. This new route travels through folkloric passes and historical towns.
Day 1 – Kingsbury Grade and Carson Pass
Day 2 – Mormon Emigrant Trail, Pony Express, Placerville, and Sutter’s Mill where California Gold was first discovered
Day 3 – Folsom, Davis, American River Trail and Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail
Day 4 – Napa, Pope Valley, Davis Double fame ‘Cardiac Hill’ (sounds worse than it is)
Day 5 – Sonoma, Russian River, Sequoia Sempevirons, Guerneville
Day 6 – Pacific Coast Hwy, Valley Ford, Tomales, Point Reyes Station
Day 7 – Bolinas, Stinson Beach, Mt Tamalpais, Golden Gate Bridge

In all, you will have seen, heard, smelled, tasted (dinners are catered by local chefs!), and enjoyed our Northern California rich history and terrain. Challenge all your senses; sign-up for Sierra to the Sea starts soon at sierratothesea.org

Best,
Tony Le, ACTC President

Tierra Bella, where John Muir walked

| 9:19 am

Poppies, lupines, shooting stars, Indian paint brushes, and uniquely large Manzanitas greeted John Muir on his historic walk to Yosemite and remain unchanged to greet ACTC Tierra Bella cyclists on April 1st, 2017. Next year will mark the 40th Anniversary of Tierra Bella, a ‘beautiful country’ bicycle tour to showcase our graceful south valley to the bicycling community. The Gilroy Hot Spring loop remains a favorite and the recent Henry Coe addition was where John Muir travelled on his way to Yosemite. Urging every ACTC member to get involved, please help fill every position quickly when Rita Hernandez and Michael Hudick ask, tell your friends on social media, and register to ride with them if you are not volunteering to work on the Tierra Bella.

John Muir would be proud of ACTC and the Tierra Bella.

Best,
Tony Le, ACTC President

The Children Thank You

| December 3, 2016 10:51 pm

On this bright December Saturday morning, more than forty ACTC members, led by Jim Schallau, volunteered at the Turning Wheels for Kids (TWFK) Big Bike Build to assemble over 2500 new bicycles to be given free to underprivileged children. Jim and Marjorie Schallau, Past-President Herman Wadler, and I have been helping since the beginning of TWFK. Furthermore ACTC continues to have the most volunteers. Many more chances to help — join us in 2017!

Very proud of everyone involved, the children thank you!

Best,
Tony Le, ACTC President

 

Group photo

Please Vote

| November 7, 2016 4:36 pm

Make your voice heard by voting. It always amazed me that a great percentage never bothered to vote. Many failed to appreciate how fortunate we are to live in this democracy, having not seen how people in other countries struggle, with not enough food, no education, no future, and no right to vote.

Please vote,
Tony Le, ACTC President

Money does not guarantee happiness

| October 12, 2016 3:15 pm

On our September low-cost self-supported Italian trip, it was predicted to rain and perhaps snow up at Passo Stelvio by noon that day. We all started bright and early and nearly everyone made it to the top before the rain. As we were waiting it out, warm inside a cafe with an expresso, a premier tour group ($5K for one week) was stumbling in, everyone wetter than drowned rats.

“Where was the sag wagon?”
“Where is my bag of clothes?”
“Can you go back to curve # 21, Dave was not responsive”
“Where is my hot chocolate?”

Well, they did get their pre-ordered drink and food when they arrived. Afterward nearly everyone filed into the sagwagon and skipped the beautiful downhill!

Same day, same Passo Stelvio, very different results — Without a sag, we had to plan our timing to perfection, everyday. Furthermore by not relying on a sag, we had our rain jacket, warm gloves, and wool hat right there.

Spend less and experience more!

Best,
Tony Le, ACTC President

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Amy celebrating at Passo Stelvio

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Bailing, poor planning!

Daniel Pearl World Music Days

| September 26, 2016 2:37 pm

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” Albert Einstein

On this, the 15th Anniversary-Remembrance of 9/11, a helpful way for me to move forward is to listen to meaningful music. A favorite is the Daniel Pearl World Music Days, an international network of concerts that use the power of music to reaffirm our commitment to tolerance and humanity.
http://www.danielpearlmusicdays.org

Daniel Pearl is the Stanford graduate, violinist, and Wall Street Journal reporter who was murdered in Pakistan in 2002. His life and work is celebrated yearly with a free concert at the Stanford Memorial Church.

Join me on Oct 27, 7:30-9:30
https://arts.stanford.edu/event/harmony-for-humanity-daniel-pearl-world-music-days-concert/

Best,
Tony Le, ACTC President