Archive for the 'Welcome' category

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

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!

Sitting — the New Smoking

| July 8, 2016 11:07 am

“Sitting, more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV, and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death.” — Dr. James Levine, Mayo Clinic

Sitting, like smoking, is clearly not healthy. Heart diseases and many forms of cancer prefer sedentary bodies, obesity and diabetes thrive with inactivity, and recent studies showed that even our mental capacity disappears faster the more we sit around every day.

However, many of these diseases are preventable so we have some control of our destiny. ACTC weekend rides are good starts but a daily dose of exercise is necessary to keep the doctor away.

Many ACTC members already ride nearly everyday so it may be like preaching to the choir but we all have family and friends who need some encouragement. We are proud that ACTC have many family-friendly events: Rotary Playgarden Celebration and July 4th Pancake Breakfast, upcoming Ice Cream Social, Olema Campout, and Progressive Dinner, but all ride-leaders are encouraged to lead at least one LM no-one-left-behind ride so beginning friends and family can start their journey with ACTC to sit less!

Best with no smoking and less sitting,
Tony Le, ACTC President

When You Tour by Bicycle, the World Is On Your Side

| June 10, 2016 5:08 pm

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” Muhammad Ali

This year, many ACTCers travel to far-flung places: Europe, Africa, Asia, South America, New Zealand, across the US, and our own Sierra to the Sea.

Bicycle traveling is perfect: it is fast enough to see the world, yet slow enough to meet the humanity. It is not uncommon for cyclo-tourists to get invited to dinner and perhaps a stay over by total strangers, receive advice for not-to-be-missed sites, good restaurants, concerts, or farmers markets, many of which cannot be found in guidebooks.

Beginners or even veteran cyclists often mistakenly think that they can’t do it. They are not fast enough. The rides are too hard. The trips are too expensive. Impossible — Not!

Speed is rarely a prerequisite to have an enjoyable tour. Ride at your own pace, stop to smell the roses, take videos and pictures, sample the local cuisine, and make a point not to go by a bakery without checking it out.

Flat rides are usually windy and hilly rides, well, hilly. They are especially taxing with extra weight of panniers, but smart cyclo-tourists keep the average daily mileage between 20-50 miles. If it is unusually hilly, make it even shorter and take rest days.

Rick Steves has a saying that, the more money one spends, the higher the wall surrounds oneself. Not many regular folks stay at 5-star hotels. It is counter-intuitive that less expensive trips, like many led by ACTC members, are the best, bar none.

Make your next vacation a bicycle tour – it is not impossible. Once you try it, you will never go back because when you travel by bicycle, the world is on your side.

Best,
Tony Le, ACTC President

ACTC, an Antidote to Alzheimer Disease

| March 1, 2016 7:08 am

At a recent talk “Forgetting Names, Should I be Worried?” Stanford Professor Sharon Sha presented data showing that today’s medicine has no cure for Alzheimer disease (we know that). Patients’ mental capacity merely decreases at a slower rate with these medicines. The only two antidotes where patients retained or actually regained some capacity are aerobic exercising and socializing — two of the three qualities of ACTC. The third quality of ACTC? Eating — not mentioned in the study.

Two out of three is not bad. Join ACTC! Fight Alzheimer!

Best,
Tony Le, ACTC President

ACTC, the Club with a Heart

| January 24, 2016 10:17 pm

Although we don’t wear our philanthropy actions on our sleeves, ACTC is a not-for-profit organization so we strive to have a zero-sum annual budget by donating a steady and predictable amount to bicycling-related organizations. ACTC is run by volunteers so all the proceeds from members’ dues, Tierra Bella, and Sierra to the Sea, go to governing our club, events such as the Russian River Rally, producing the Black and Blue Bottom newsletters and www.actc.org website, and to philanthropic actions.

ACTC has supported these organizations in the last decade.

  1. League of American Bicyclists
  2. Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition
  3. Adventure Cycling Association
  4. CABO – California Association of Bicycle Organizations
  5. Turning Wheels for Kids
  6. Good Karma Bikes
  7. San Jose Sacred Heart Community Services Job Link, enabling low-income earners to get to work
  8. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Engineering Department, bicycle design
  9. San Jose Bicycle Club, Junior Program
  10. Palo Alto Veterans Hospital, Blind Veterans Tandem Program
  11. Mountain View Kidical Mass
  12. San Jose History Museum, Bike Festival
  13. San Jose Gardner Academy, helped to start the Aztec Bicycle Club at this elementary school
  14. Guadalupe River Park Conservancy
  15. San Jose Velodrome
  16. City of Gilroy, Recreation Department
  17. City of Gilroy, Share the Road Bicycle Signage
  18. City of Morgan Hill, Recreation Department
  19. Gavilan College
  20. City of San Jose, trails beautification with drought-resistant native plants and graffiti removal
  21. Rails to Trails

It is hard to quantify results from ACTC’s philanthropic actions, especially with the national and state-level advocacy groups. However, with local programs, it is very heart-warming to see children getting their first bicycle, less-fortunate workers able to bicycle to work and not be dependent on inefficient public transportation, a San Jose Bicycle Club junior getting a Silver medal at the US National, and blind veterans happily feeling the wind on their face.

Thank you for supporting ACTC either as a member or joining us on Tierra Bella and Sierra to the Sea — count on ACTC to be the club with a kind heart.

Best,
Tony Le, ACTC President

A Gift to be Simple

| November 25, 2015 1:13 pm

“Simple Gifts”, a Shaker song by Joseph Brackett celebrates a sentiment that is as applicable today as when it was written in 1848.

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.

A Gift To Be Simple
The gift to be simple is a perfect description of cycling because a great ride can be had on any bicycle, even on a second-hand one from Good Karma, a Turning Wheels for Kids bicycle to an under-privileged child, or on a world tour owning nothing more than what a bicycle can carry (Jerry Schonewille and many others).

A Simple Gift
A gift is better given than to have it received. ACTC has incredibly caring and compassionate members and we need to be generous to the less-fortunate, especially children. Turning Wheels for Kids and the San Jose Rotary Playgarden for handicap children are both worthy causes.

A simple gift of a bicycle can change life and free children from childhood obesity and juvenile diabetes. In some cases, a bicycle may be their only way to go to school.
www.turningwheelsforkids.org

The unique Rotary Playgarden (www.grpg.org/rpg/) promotes equal play for children of all abilities and is located by the Guadalupe River Trail. An uplifting speech by Lily Guggenheim, a teenager, at the Playgarden Grand Opening is a must see (starts with Mayor Sam):

My three favorite versions of Simple Gifts are:
Yo-Yo Ma and Alison Krauss
The Piano Guys, Live at Red Butte Garden
Judy Collins

Best,
Tony Le, ACTC President

State of ACTC

| August 21, 2015 1:06 pm

40th Anniversary 1976-2016

Vibrant, strong, energetic, responsible, gentle, and generous are terms that come to mind when thinking of our beloved Almaden Cycle Touring Club. We will be celebrating ACTC’s 40th Anniversary in January 2016, and hope to have one of the founding members, first VP and 2nd President Peter Enright at that General Meeting. The late John Bass wrote in 1993, “The history of ACTC is really a history of the members who made it a success”. True to that statement, I am grateful to so many members, and acknowledge their contribution and dedication to the ACTC family.

Challenges Ahead

Just as on Billy Goat rides, there are always mountains that lay ahead to challenge us. Tierra Bella and Sierra to the Sea are still going strong and both were filled to near capacity this year. However, new regulations forced us to be nimble. There are also more competition from commercial rides and fund-raising events. Our chairs Michael Hudick and Steve Crosby and their capable staffs are mindful of the challenge. ACTC is also reaching out to cooperate with other bicycle clubs to co-promote each other’s events. Compete, we will! Nimble and swift, we remain.

We are careful to minimize expenses and not be wasteful. For example, a nominal fee is charged for some events to ensure members who sign up will show up and therefore food will not go to waste.

Our membership is aging so we have been sponsoring programs to attract younger cyclists (Turning Wheels for Kids, San Jose Bicycle Club Junior Program, Winona’s Kidical Mass, Gardner Academy, Helmet Fitting Programs, reduced fee or free for children to join events like Russian River Rally and Awards Dinner).

Moving Forward

Although nearly 40 years young, stale, old, boring, mean, and selfish should never be associated with ACTC. John Bass further wrote, “ACTC is many things to many people, but it is a place to bicycle and make friends above all else. Our Founding Fathers way back there in 1976 were on the right track!” To remain true to ACTC’s principle, it is entirely up to all of us to uphold its legacy. Hope to be around to see the next 40th!

Best,
Tony Le, ACTC President

 

A Bicycle Could Talk?

| 8:27 am

If only a bicycle could talk
Take me cycling around the block
Up and over the mountain
Rest at that beautiful fountain

Encircle that clean and serene lake
To feast on pastry and cake
Take me to a museum
Market, coffee, and gymnasium

Turn around against that fierce wind
To find what follows is more head winds
If stolen, will cry out for help
Refuse to go and melt

On most days we have a blissful time
The beautiful Tierra Bella, sublime
Up and down rolling hills that rock
If only a bicycle could talk

Tony Le, ACTC President

It Was The Best of Times, It Was The Worst of Times

| April 29, 2015 11:04 pm

Years ago, a few ACTC general meetings descended into shouting matches. Many members came to these meetings because they were passionate on controversial issues. However, even in those worst of times, I longed that they be well attended.

Today, ACTC is facing no less challenging issues than those of earlier years. This Board is proud that we take the time to explain any changes to Members and that this is the most transparent and accessible ACTC Board. All members are encouraged to voice their opinions, even if there are disagreements. We seek common ground by communicating respect- fully to diffuse potential contentions.

Just because the Board communicates well does not make today’s issues unimportant. Wanting the best for ACTC, the Board seeks input from its many members at the General Meetings.

Hoping to see a good turnout at all future ACTC Meetings. It was the best of times and it will be the best of times.

Best,
Tony Le, ACTC President