Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sunday Training Rides: Two Left for Ramadan 2011

This Sunday, August 21, 2011, 7 AM, we will meet at the Cascades for our weekly training ride. We will warm up with runs up and down the stairs, stretching and then begin laps. You can ride as many times as you like around the Lake. This months training rides end next Sunday. The ride and warm up take --if you do one lap under one hour's time.

Make the commitment to fitness: mind, body, heart. Ramadan is a great time to change or start a new habit--why not start one that can save your life?

No pressure, just think about it. Our commitment to health is a nonnegotiable. This morning I couldn't find anyone to ride with.

After Ramadan 2011 ends, what's next?
Good question. Beginning in September the club will sponsor a monthly ride in the San Francisco Bay. We will focus on the Bay Trails, easy rides on trails with minimum traffic (some trails end and resume with brief road time in the street with car traffic).

Well I am off to the Bay Trails now. I found a new part of the Trail connecting or near the High Street Bridge. Its behind the factories and not as clearly marked so I missed it. There is a dock there and parking. Really nice. I remember when the City of Oakland closed it for renovations, but I didn't know what happened after that and while riding the other evening, I saw a cyclist coming from a direction I hadn't ridden in a while and there it was, a vista which took me back to the place I had been just a few minutes before.

I am going to ride it this morning and when I return I will give you the name of the rode where the entrance is just moments from the High Street Bridge (Oakland).

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Join Us

I am a woman over 50 who lives in an area of Oakland where it is unsafe to ride one's bike. I decided to start this club to get folks out into areas of the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, especially South of High Street on bikes. I am not necessarily encouraging people to ride down International Blvd. alone, though I have on many occasions. Oakland is not a bicycle friendly town. Just look at the recent repaving of San Leandro Street. It would have been a great time to shift the two lane traffic to one and add bike lanes. No one can ride down International, it is too narrow. 

Bancroft Avenue is the only street with bike lanes and it is too far north, we won’t even mention MacArthur Blvd.  International or E-14th Street is the location of many drive-by shootings; however, there are lovely Bay Trails seconds away—one easy to reach one is at 66th Avenue and Zone Way, just past the Coliseum BART. Getting to Zone Way from 66th Avenue is treacherous, to say the least. One can get hit by a vehicle while waiting for the light to change. I have been. Lucky for me it was my bike that was hit and the driver, making a right turn on a red light didn’t even stop after he hit my bike—he just looked at me and kept rolling.

Hegenberger isn’t any better as a street to ride up to get to the Bay Trail –cars speed up as they pass me and then at the freeway entrances, one cannot see the cars approaching from below, so technically one could get run over in the crosswalks the way they are situated. I always cross diagonally so the drivers can see me.This entrance to the Bay Trail is again on Hegenberger just before Doolittle.

Once on the Bay Trail one doesn't have to worry about car emissions or traffic and the Bay Trail seamlessly connects one to Alameda and San Leandro. Many folks who live in the 'hood don't even know about this treasure. Just the other day, I learned of a new entrance to the Bay Trail connecting Alameda and Oakland to San Leandro by way of (for me) Bay Farm Island. I usually cross the Blue Bridge, this time I went across the wooden pedestrian bridge (below the blue bridge connecting Alameda to the mainland) and voila, what a pleasant surprise!

There were miles and miles of trail along the San Francisco Bay. Across the liquid tapestry I could see South Shore Shopping Center. Ramadan Rides is a effort, a movement to take back our public spaces, after all, despite the crashing economy and higher taxes for those of us who bought into the American Dream and own property, which, in my case, depreciated, $300,000, one can't bask in despair--life does go on. We should look at the weed as a prime example of dogged determination. Can't kill 'em, can't uproot 'em, can't even cover 'em--they just keep pushing through the most enormous and gargantuan challenges (smile).

I live across the street from junk collectors who have a fleet of 7 vehicles, which take up all the space in front of most of our houses. The slum lord's last tenant was a drug dealer who was shot and killed just a block away. On my street, cars speed by, hit my car which I am liable for, kill a neighbor's pet dog, injure another. These cars, trucks, motorcyclists speed until they reach the intersection where they slow down, because there are speed bumps for the second half of the long block. It is crazy! I report these problems to my council person who refers me to her staff and to police services, but nothing happens--absolutely nothing from the diesel trucks in a residential neighborhood to these inconsiderate neighbors to the dangerous motorists. I ride for sanity, I ride to stay calm, but riding alone is not safe--I have been harassed. I have fallen badly on ill maintained streets, so I said to myself--why not start a club for women, for Muslims, for riders 30-80 years old. Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting is a time for reflection and introspection. It has been a fun journey so far.

The first ride, when the club was in its brainstorm form was August 7, 2011. It was the weekend The Brotherhood of Cyclists was in town for a large conference. I felt left out of their loop completely, so I drove to Union City to ride with a friend. The two of us rode the trails, kind of rocky, dusty, not necessarily the kind of terrain I prefer. Afterwards I rode the Bay Trail by the house as I still had a bit of energy left to burn (smile). It is my hope that the club can grow from two on two women riders to at least ten people in the next two weeks. I'd like at least half to be women 50 years old and over.

To join send us your contact information: Tell us something about yourself, demographics, talents or skills, and why you think this is the club for you. We will have a proper application soon.

August 14, 2011

Today after stretching, filling tires with air and a bathroom run, we were off. The morning was overcast, traffic --both pedestrian and motor was also sparse so the two cyclists on this virgin run, didn't have much to worry about.

Tauheedah on her blue bike and I on my white one breezed around the moderated Lake Merritt. Under construction, cars and bikes share a narrow lane--which we avoided, choosing to cycle with the pedestrians, who as I said were few.

We were finished before 8 AM with the first loop. Tauheedah headed for home while I decided to loop the Lake one more time. This time I rode with cars, because there were a lot more people walking with their dogs. Coming down Lakeside at 14th Street was a breeze, as I waved to another Muslim sister walking--I see her a lot on the Lake, generally, in the evening. She's a teacher at the Emiliano Zappa Street Academy.

I stopped again at the parking booth at Children's Fairyland, this time to find out when the public bathrooms are open: 5:30 AM. Good to know for next week's ride.

I hope more of you decide to join us. I am still working on that bike shop sponsorship. In the meantime, if you need gear, go to The Roll Up Bicycle Shop and Art Space (510) 536-6652, . Let them know you are a part of Ramadan Rides and that Wanda sent you (smile).

It's great starting one's morning off with prayer, followed by a ride. What a wonderful way to start the week and the third week of fasting.

To join send us your contact information: Tell us something about yourself, demographics, talents or skills, and why you think this is the club for you. We will have a proper application soon.

Ramadan Mubarak!

Welcome Letter and Invitation

August 12, 2011

Meet the latest cycling club on the block: Ramadan Rides: RIDES for EVERY-BODY! We will be riding bikes at 7 AM every Sunday in August, beginning this Sunday, AUG. 14, 2011.

We meet at Lake Merritt at the foot of the Cascades (stairs next door to Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church). If anyone wants to join us, all are welcome. The club's mantra is that biking is for every-body (smile). We are targeting women between 30-80, the median age is 50. We don't mind youngsters cruising with us or men, they just have to understand what our focus is--to keep moving, while enjoying the gorgeous landscape we are favored with here in California's San Francisco Bay. Most of the rides will be on the Bay Trails, and although we are not planning, necessarily, to climb mountains, the occasional incline is unavoidable. I am interested in long distance like Oakland to Richmond; SF Embarcadero to Crissy Fields to Sausalito (across the GG Bridge); Oakland to San Leandro, Hayward, Union City, Fremont, San Jose, Palo Alto, etc.

If anyone has a favorite ride to share, I am all ears. If anyone would like to sponsor the club, let me know. So if you have been looking at your bike for years and haven't been on it in a while AUG 2011 join the Ramadan Rides.

October we will ride for The Fire Inside: A Newsletter by and for women who are incarcerated or formerly incarcerated. It is published by California Coalition for Women Prisoners ( It will be a pledge ride for the organization to help the women. There is an anniversary event, featuring Angela Davis as the keynote speaker October 14, 2011 at the Women's Building in San Francisco. I have attached the call for art for the silent auction. If anyone wants to plan and facilitate the Ride for the Fire Inside in October, let me know.

We will start the rides with a warm-up and then do laps around Lake Merritt. AUGUST is training month.

For those who are fasting, don't overdo it and drink plenty of water before you arrive. I am working on getting a commercial sponsor, for gear discounts and repair, a logo--if you are good with Arabic calligraphy let me know. We are looking for a fashion designer who can make flattering gear for the Muslim cyclist (smile). I'd like to wear spandex, but in my neighborhood that is asking for trouble (smile). Can we be cute and safe from predators?

Remember, if you don't have a bike, at least for August, you can walk. Bring a partner to walk with.

Beginning in September, we will ride once a month, preferably First Sundays, if that works (smile). We will explore the Bay Trails. Please share widely.

If you don't have a bike, come out and walk, bring a partner.

Peace and Blessings,


To join send us your contact information: Tell us something about yourself, demographics, talents or skills, and why you think this is the club for you. We will have a proper application soon.