A Ride Around the Yard

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New Years Day at Carnegie is a Tradition

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MERRY CHRISTMAS

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Fun Pics

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THEY ARE BACK AGAIN AND HAVE NO MERCY: THEIR MOTTO IS “LET THE PUBLIC EAT CAKE”

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The commission approves the Environmental Impact Statement and New General Plan.

Now highly motivated political forces, including the Sierra Club and Friends of Tesla Park, are trying to prevent the opening of the Alameda/Tesla expansion of the Carnegie State Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) Park. Friends of Tesla are spreading their lies on the internet, to the media and to influential politicians. It never stops. These are some of the same people who unsuccessfully filed suit a few years ago to shut down Carnegie. They failed but they never give up.  See http://www.independentnews.com/environment/lawsuits-to-challenge-off-road-expansion/article_a8f01802-b239-11e6-abbe-b3e3e6fe7fdf.html

The instigators, Mark Connolly and his wife, Celeste Garamendi (Friends of Tesla);  have about a nine thousand acre cattle ranch next our OHV park. They raise cattle to sell as organically certified beef and most likely meet the requirements for certification. They probably adhere to all the rules and regulations related to cattle ranching; but does that mean they have less of an adverse effect on the environmental than the OHV park across their border?

I remember hearing that when Mark Connolly was inspecting the new property, back when the  rangers let cattle graze in the Alameda/Tesla expansion, Connolly complained because the park’s the cattle were “destroying the environment”.  Mark observed that they were tramping down all the grass and getting into the little pond. But then one of the rangers pointed out that Connolly’s cattle were doing the same thing just thirty feet away on his side of the fence. There was only one water hole for the cattle in the dry summer months. It was where they all congregated.The guy is such a hypocrite. And now when we are opening up the new property for off road recreation he and his wife are crying bloody murder.

It is semi-arid region and especially dry in the summer meaning that the cattle live in a fragile ecosystem. Hay and water have to be supplied depending on the season. After the cows have finished grazing and exposed the topsoil in the summer, the rains bring the soil down into the canyons eroding the hillsides. How is that different from what the rain does to our trails? It is a lot different because most of our trails are hard and do not wash out like exposed topsoil. They can be maintained because bikes stick to the trail and cattle don’t. Cattle amble along an endless staircase of single track along the contours of the hillsides. That too becomes eroded and devoid of native life.

Native plants and animals are not adapted for survival in conditions where cattle are raised. Cattle are large mammals with four stomachs and big appetites. They follow each other around and their hooves cut grooves in the soil. They also like to stand in the streams. It has been documented that manure contains pathogens that gets into the water supply.

“The harmful environmental effects of livestock production are becoming increasingly serious at all levels — local, regional, national and global — and urgently need to be addressed”, according to researchers from Stanford University, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other organizations.

The 2006 report Livestock’s Long Shadow, released by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, states that “the livestock sector is a major stressor on many ecosystems and on the planet as a whole. Globally it is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gases and one of the leading causal factors in the loss of biodiversity, while in developed and emerging countries it is perhaps the leading source of water pollution.” And here experts have concluded that soil erosion associated with overgrazing is an important issue in many dry regions of the United States and the world.

In essence, cattle destroy the very native flora and endangered species which Connolly and Garamendi claim they are trying to protect from off road recreation. The hills all around Carnegie suffer the destruction and desecration of cattle ranching. The Lawrence Livermore Weapons Lab across the street fares no better and was declared a super fund site. But ignoring the true perils to the environment, they filed suit against Carnegie which is the only place in the Bay Area where we can legally ride our bikes.

A huge buffer zone is incorporated into Carnegie where we can’t ride so as not to affect our neighbors’ property. This is not enough for them and they want to get rid of us entirely. When Connolly’s father was alive, he helped create Carnegie so that we had someplace legal to ride our bikes. Everywhere else has been developed and without our official off road parks we have no place to ride without driving a much longer distance.

Garamendi has been busy behind the scenes organizing the attempted takeover of our state park and other actions aimed at destroying off road recreation in California. Her methods were brought to light by looking at the public records.We did an Open Records Request a year or so ago directed at East Bay Regional Parks District (EBRPD) and found numerous communications between Celeste Garamendi and various park supervisors concerning her goal to have EBRPD take over the Alameda/Tesla expansion and run it for passive (non-motorized) activities. EBRPD still has our park in their master plan included in their map of future acquisitions.  Garamendi comes from a very influential family and most people think that she is using her political connections for her own devious purposes.

The Petitioners in the law suit are asking the court to stop our three thousand acre expansion from opening even after the Environmental Impact Statement (EIR) and New General Plan were unanimously approved by the OHV Commission. Our opponents contend that the commission just rubber stamped the EIR. But that is far from the truth.

According to the legislation that created the Commission;  “The nine Commissioners are appointed to staggered four-year terms”. They are appointed from a diverse set of political leaders from the Governor, to the Assembly, and the Senate.  “The Commission membership is intended to represent a broad range of groups including OHV recreation enthusiasts, biological or soil scientists, rural landowners, law enforcement, environmental protection organizations, and non-motorized recreation interests”.

The EIR for the Tesla/Alameda expansion plan includes a thousand acres which is slated to be shut down entirely to off road recreation and the other two thousand acres are planned for the creation of highly maintained trails routed to avoid sensitive areas. It is not my favorite option (obviously chosen to  placate our opponents) and I can’t understand what there is not to like if you against off road recreation at Carnegie. The plan does not look like a plan for an OHV park. It seems more concerned about pure conservation rather than off road recreation in an environmentally responsible manner.

Our opponents claim that we represent a threat to nature. This is more than the kettle calling the pot black. Connolly’s love of nature extends to selling tags to kill Elk for $10,500.00 a pop. He says that he does this to cull the herd because there is not enough for them to eat. I wonder why – maybe because his cattle have eaten up and tramped down everything else? He claims that the elk are afraid of humans but they wander around Carnegie and show only curiosity towards the public. We all know why they are afraid of Connolly and his minions and not us regular folk.

When Garamendi  was running for mayor of Tracy (she ran and lost twice) one resident in a letter to the Tracy Press said the following:

“I can’t believe that the Connollys are once again telling the residents of Tracy what is good for them. I must have missed the memo where God made them the king and queen who make the decisions for the poor peasants in Tracy…” and it goes on “Mark Connolly lives high on his hill, yet believes he knows what is best — for Mark Connolly and Celeste Garamendi, that is. He has brought lawsuits against anyone he can think of.  Les Serpa tries to build some beautiful homes in Tracy by offering to assist in building a long-needed swim center, and Connolly sues”.

This is the same rancher and his wife (from a wealthy political family) who attempted to close us down a few years ago by supporting the previous lawsuit against Carnegie. They failed but they will never quit until they get what they want (follow the money). Again it comes down to the interests of the wealthy against the public. It is the only public off road riding park within a reasonable distance from the Bay Area and we take our responsibility to protect our land very seriously. In fact elk and other wild life are prevalent inside our park. Maybe that is because they have no place else to go due to the degradation of the surroundings hillsides. Go figure…

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We will not be Overcome

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Yamaha YZR3 a Modest little Road Bike That Looks Like a Million Bucks

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The other day I saw the Yamaha R-3 Super Sport sitting on the showroom floor at Berkeley Honda, Yamaha. While I admired the bike because of its affordability (about $4,990.00), it was still a little too expensive for my limited budget. At that point Scott, the salesman, informed me that they had a used one for sale with only about 3,000 miles on it for under $4,000.00. I was intrigued and bought it that very day because I know that they would give me a good deal (they always have in the past) and I had fallen in love with the unassuming little bike with a super sport soul.

The R-3 is generally sold as a woman’s bike or a beginner’s bike because of its the modest sized engine (321cc) and low seat height (30.4 inches). It is a fully modern motorcycle with a liquid-cooled 2-cylinder power plant with double overhead cams, and 4 valves per cylinder. The R3  is  superbly smooth and handles like a dream. It is listed as a super sport bike and has a full fairing. It looks very fast but looks can be a bit deceiving with its small engine meaning that it runs our of steam at higher, nonlegal freeway speeds.

It is related to its big brother the R1 (980cc) with a list price of $16,990.00 but don’t confuse them because the R1 is a Moto GP inspired race bike, with 167 horsepower and with the accessory race ECU 172 horsepower. Its seat height is a towering 33.7 inches, and the four cylinder engine packs a real wallop especially in the upper rpms. It has completely adjustable suspension and a rock solid, light chassis and oversized brakes to match. It not only looks the part, but is a real race bike capable of putting the hurt on other big bore super sports anywhere, and especially on the track.

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The R3 is a bit of a poser with 42 horsepower at 10,750 rpm, it is tuned more for ride-ability rather than for high end horsepower. None-the-less, it does most of its work in the mid-range and makes its best power on top.  But it does not have the high quality adjustable suspension, the exotic parts or super stable chassis of the R1. For all that, it is a fun bike even for an experienced rider like myself, although the non adjustable stock suspension is a bit soft.

The R-1 is a race bike that can be ridden on the street while the R-3 is a street bike that can be ridden on the track but only if you forget everything you know about racing. You don’t suddenly shut off the power and brake hard coming into corners because doing that will upset the chassis and slow you down. Using the engine to power out of the the corner will cause the bike to wallow. You have to maintain your corner speed. Again the trick is developing a rhythm and maintaining corner speed.

The thing to remember about this bike is that you have to get into a rhythm and sweep through the the turns. It is light and maneuverable but the non adjustable (except pre-load), and soft suspension  means you will have to pick your speed with with care and slow down if things get sketchy. The chassis can get lively speeding through uneven pavement and it will throw you off if you aren’t paying attention. It is a very fancy looking go anywhere bike with hidden potential if you know how to use it.

I am an off road rider who has owned two street bikes in the past forty years. They were both relatively small bore two strokes; a 1976 Yamaha RD-125 and a 1984 Yamaha RZ-350 (now classics). Those bikes were a blast to own and ride but tame compared to this new two cylinder four stroke with fuel injection, super-sport styling, forged aluminum pistons,  and cast aluminum wheels. It has all the modern amenities and it feels like a million bucks on the pavement.

The R-3 powers up to 70 miles an hour in fifth or six gear if you rev the engine, and it maintains freeway speed without having to take it above 7000 rpm. It is responsive at seventy miles and hour and picks up pretty quickly for passing on the freeway. You can duck down behind the fairing and get out of the wind. It is heavy enough (368 lbs) to not get blown around on the freeway and light enough to be very maneuverable on city streets.

The m0re I ride this bike the more I appreciate how cool the R-3 is for such a low cost, low maintenance machine. In dirt terms, it is comparable to the inexpensive Honda CRF 110F and CRF 15oF made for beginners with low horsepower, air cooled engines and a low seat height. They don’t have adjustable suspension either, but they are not in the same league off road as the R3 is on the road. The R-3 for all its shortcomings as a pavement blaster, is no play bike. It has real potential.

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The R-3 makes me feel like a hero. If I pick my corners carefully, it can speed through them smoothly and predictably. The shape and feel of the chassis (you sit in it rather than on top) makes it easy and natural to hang off in turns. It won’t keep up with the bigger bikes but it is a great bike for just plain having fun on pavement.

Also it is a wonderful go anywhere bike that gets a lot of admiring looks from the uninitiated. It gets a average of 57 miles per gallon and if looks could kill, this bike would commit mass murder. In addition, the big tires makes it easy to keep up speed in the in corners. I haven’t touched down with the peg extensions yet, but the  large diameter tires are getting worn down almost to the edges as I take it out on the deserted, twisty roads in the hills. Big fun…

My husband, bless his soul, would have been happy that I did not get a more powerful and dangerous bike like the R-1. It is enough that I ride full fledged motocross bikes in the dirt without endangering my life on the street with over one hundred and sixty horsepower.

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Donated to a good cause…

My grand son is grown up and and his Honda mini bike has sat in the back of my garage gathering dust for about fifteen years. So I donated his XR-80 to Oasis for Kids where it will be used by disadvantaged children who would not normally get a chance to ride a dirt bike. First it had to be fixed up. The gas in the tank had turned to a green slime and the air filter had turned to dust. The jets in carburetor were replaced and a new air filter was put in. Dave Duffin, who runs Oasis for Kids, took the bike apart, polished it up, put it back together, and got it running for his students.

First a little history: Back in the day Dave managed a motorcycle shop in the Bolinas Elementary School after a couple of the boys asked him to get one started as a kind of shop class. After getting the approval of the school board, Dave opened its new motorcycle shop in a shed that housed minibikes, tools, workbenches and engines. Students gravitated to the shop, where Dave taught the basics of motorcycle safety, ethics and personal responsibility as well as motorcycle repair.

There were field trips to to lean about current events and history. Some were to motorcycle races as well as trips to remote areas where the kids took turns riding through trails and hills in motorcycle parks such as the Carnegie Motorcycle Park near Livermore. Dave is a certified flight instructor and taught some of the Bolinas kids how to fly.

There were those in the community who loved the program, while others hated it. Three decades later, dozens of children who participated swear allegiance to Dave and credit him for their successes on motorcycles and in life. Many of the parents and Bolinas community members echo the sentiments.

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Dave and his pupils in the motorcycle shop at the Bolinas School

Erika Zetti a former teacher and principle of Bolinas school really supported what Dave was doing. “I thought it was a blessing for the kids to get into the motorbikes,” Zetti recalled. “It was Dave who really kept them in school through the motorbikes. They were not just learning about motorcycles — but about whole attitudes and philosophies. He taught them values and was like a father to many of them.

“I supported him and the program. As a person, Dave was intelligent — structured in what he was doing. He is very knowledgeable about a lot of things. He would take the kids to motorcycle races and even later, after I retired, they would always send me a group picture,” Zetti said. See: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Spin-doctor-Motorcycle-enthusiast-uses-bikes-to-2808773.php

Many of his students have gone on to become computer technicians, lawyers or law-enforcement officers. One went on to become a top-ranked motorcycle racer. Others have become airline pilots — after receiving initial flight instruction from Dave.

When Dave started Oasis for Kids he had a vision of a motorcycle project that takes kids from the inner cities out to the desert. It would combine school, lessons on real life and a passion for motorcycles. Dave insists that the kids be polite to others and each other. He is very strict, well liked and respected by everyone.

The program has all the elements for success: being in the outdoors, experiencing the freedom and thrill of being on a motorcycle and the camaraderie that comes with working with other youngsters like themselves. There is an educational element, with students participating in astronomy lessons, wilderness survival, computers, geography, history, ecology, mechanics, food preparation, aviation, meteorology, current events and math.

The Oasis kids are also taken to professional races where they meet teams like KTM Red Bull and Roger DeCoster. They are taken to local air shows and sometimes taken up and taught to fly.

The children of former students who were in his shop class at Bolinas School have participated in Oasis for Kids, and several different generations have benefited from Dave’s programs. Motorcycles seem to be the initial attraction but it is a lot more than just learning to ride bikes.  They learn self confidence, how to work with others and problem solving along with other intangibles. But most of all they get out of the city environment and have a chance to experience the freedom of being outside.

Sometimes Dave takes them to local riding areas. I met the kids at Carnegie and from what I can see it is a very successful program. They are all polite and respectful. Way to go Dave!

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