All posts by Mark Kaufmann

2021 VCM Summer Picnic – Sunday Aug. 29

Hello All! We’re looking forward to our first official IN PERSON VCM party in over a year. Welcome Back!

Our traditional Velo Club Summer Picnic is scheduled for Sunday, August 29 from 2-6pm, for all members and guests who have been fully vaccinated for COVID 19.

The picnic will be held at the Coniglio Family House on Laureles Grade in Carmel Valley, as in recent years. There’s lots of room, a big grill, swimming pool, and even a shower for those who want to clean up after the morning rides.

THE PICNIC: VCM provides barbecued burgers, sausages, hot dogs and the fixings, as well as coolers/ice, plates and utensils and non-alcoholic beverages. BYO Beer, Wine or other alcoholic drinks. Also we ask that members bring salads/side, appetizers or desserts to share.

  • If your last name starts with A-H bring an appetizer.
  • If your last name starts with I-Q bring a dessert.
  • If your last name starts with R-Z bring a salad or side dish.

Coniglio Valley House
437 Laureles Grade
Carmel Valley, CA 93924

THE RIDES: Long Ride – Big Arroyo Seco Loop. Start/meet at the Coniglio Family House at 7am, climb Laureles Grade, Hwy 68 to River Road, Arroyo Seco and back over Cahoon Summit into Carmel Valley (about 87 miles). Shorter Ride – Climb to Cahoon Summit (with Cachagua Loop option on the way back) ride leaving at 9:30. If you get back early, you can help set up the picnic or take a dip in the pool to cool off. 

We need the following:

  • 1 or 2 volunteers to help decorate for the picnic (Noon-2)
  • 2 or 3 volunteers to help setup for the picnic (Noon-2)
  • 3 volunteers to help on the grill (90 minutes)
  • 5 or 6 volunteers to help with cleanup at the end (6-8pm)

RSVP via Evite  or Email ( no later than August 22nd so we can get a headcount and know how much to bring.

If you’ll be riding that morning, please mention which ride in your RSVP comments.

Also, PLEASE tell us if you’re able to fill one of the volunteer positions needed to make the picnic a success, in your RSVP.

The Summer Picnic is free for VCM members. Non-members are welcome but we ask that they give a $10 donation to the club.

We look forward to seeing you at the Summer Picnic!!

Click here to RSVP

Taking the Rough with the Smooth

If you enjoy cycling, then please invest the three and a half minutes it will take to read this . . . I promise it will be worth it – there is a carrot for you at the end!
Taking the rough with the smooth – why pay your dues?
Ever had a flat? Of course, you have. It is part of what we do. We ride our trusty, two-wheeled steeds on great adventures, relying on a slim band of rubber to keep us moving forward. Inevitably, sooner or later, that thin veneer that keeps you aloft is going to get pierced. Do you give up and throw the bike in the trash? Call your partner to the rescue and tantrum your way to the next, also sure to be short loved, leisure interest? No, you fix it and move on. It is called taking the rough with the smooth. Whatever we do in life we will come across hurdles – jumping hurdles is how we learn and it’s what makes us stronger.
This pandemic is a hurdle. Like everything in life, it too has a shelf life. It will end. Let’s not let it take our beloved club with it. 
Several people have approached me with tales of ‘others’ who cannot see any reason to join the VCM again in 2021. Sure. Why would you want to pay out hard earned $ to join a club that cannot give back right now? I completely get it . . . if that statement was actually true of course.
This is where I could list all our running costs, the fact that we are staffed by volunteers and the numerous hours that go into keeping the club alive, not least the events we hold each year, but also pondering how to operate during COVID. My guess is, that most of you will already appreciate all these things. 
But what of the real reason we exist?  It’s not just about the bike. 
Essentially, we are a Social Club with a bike problem.
What does the VCM do for you right now?

  • Like lots of other things it provides a Tradition. The VCM has been in existence since 1968. 52 years of something, day in day out, year in year out, is a tradition in my book. And traditions are a good thing – they allow us to pass on a multitude of things to others and to generations, not the least of which is cycling know how and the intricacies of that 1970 steel classic that you have hidden in the shop,  but also friendships, camaraderie and affinity.
  • A Focal Point for cycling in the local community – VCM is quite simply the first stop for anyone wishing to learn more about bikes. We serve a purpose in the community!
  • And then of course there is the hidden gem. The one thing that so often gets overlooked – Community. This is the magnet that attracts new people into our little band of like-minded brethren and sistren; and the adhesive that allows group friendships to remain and flourish – not for months, or years, but for decades. Do not underestimate what you cannot see. 
  • Got a bike problem? We have a solution in our ‘Answer Man’, Jan Valencia. If he cannot solve it, he will certainly know someone who can – right here – in our VCM Community.
  • Wear & Tear – when you ride it, it wears. Sooner or later, you will need ‘Shop’ help. VCM Membership gives you 10% Discount at all participating local, Community, bike shops. That’s local, not Amazon – with humans you can chat with . . . about bikes. 

Post COVID – The future of local cycling.
We do not know what the future will look like. This is a time of great uncertainty. What we do know is that more and more people are riding bicycles… and one day, COVID will be controlled… and we will find a way to be a cohesive club again. My prediction is fact – we already ride together, just not in the same organized fashion that we used to. Like lots of other things, we change to embrace this new and challenging era.  
Here is my plea. Help maintain this Social Club. Support us and join again in 2021. Help us evolve by suggesting how we can change. We encourage all club members to attend our board meetings. Come along and tell us what and how you think our club should look in the new, post COVID, Cycling Fanatic era! (Board meeting details are published on our web site)
Thank you for those last 3.5 minutes

  • Incidentally, 3.5 minutes is half as long as it takes to fix the average flat.
  • It is also 7 times shorter than once when working with our retiring President, Mark Kaufmann, who had an extremely troublesome flat with a tubeless a couple of years back (it was embarrassing for us too Mark – sorry).
  • It is also 30 seconds short of how long it takes to read our membership list which amounts to 200 members in 2019 – that’s 200 people who belong to your VCM Social Club! So you have a lot of friends then. Think about it.

And now for the Carrot…
Obviously we’d love to have you renew your membership. As encouragement, EVERYONE who renews before January 31st will receive a FREE Velo Club Monterey Cycling Buff – something very useful this time of year to keep you warm and covered.

Getting your Velo Club Buff is easy. Just renew your membership and one of our merry band of board members will hand-deliver your buff.  

How to renew…

  1. Follow this link to get the 2021 Membership Application Form
  2. Complete the form (On a desktop you can probably fill it out online).
  3. Sign and mail it to us along with your…
  4. Payment – Either a check or you can Pay Online via this link.

We’ll contact you to coordinate getting your new VCM Buff.

Finally, even if you decide not to rejoin, continue to enjoy cycling. Whatever you do, don’t sell the bike. Remember – it’s not just about the bike.

Chris Swainson

Velo Club Monterey

2021 VCM Board of Director Election Results

As expected, it was a landslide win for the Velo Club Monterey Board of Directors slate.  Congratulations to President, Chris Swainson; Vice-President, Tom Rolander; Treasurer, Jack McKenna; Secretary, Keely Clifford; Director-at-Large, Suzanne Kroeze; and new Director-at-Large, Patrick Tregenza – who have all been elected to the board for 2021.

Also, by way of introduction if you don’t know Patrick, here is a short bio. He is clearly an example of local boy makes good!

Oh Salinas. It’s given us Steinbeck, salad, Kiddie Kapers, and, well, Patrick Tregenza. A second-generation Monterey County native, he ventured westward towards the Peninsula in 1978, only to find that it’s pretty much like Salinas except the land runs out. He decided to stay anyway, though he never forgot his roots, and so, to this day, he is able to identify nearly any vegetable field at 60 miles per hour. In between rides, Patrick operates a commercial food photography studio in downtown Monterey. His participation in Velo Club Monterey has inspired Patrick to increasingly feel that oftentimes two wheels are better than four, and that is why his garage currently houses 22 wheels, though only twelve are considered “his.”

Also, just a heads up, be on the lookout next week for another email with information on renewing your Velo Club membership for 2021.

Have a great Holiday Season and let’s hope for a 2021 where we can spend more time riding together.

VCM 2020 Holiday Party and Cycling Celebration

Sorry this event has been cancelled. Fall Century rides still on though so keep riding!

2020 Velo Club Monterey Holiday Party
and Cycling Celebration

While we can’t be together in person this year, your Velo Club Elves have put together a special Cycling Celebration this holiday. We’ve got two ways for you to join in the fun this year. Here’s how…

STEP ONE… Ride one of two Fall Century Rides between
Saturday Dec 5th and Saturday Dec 12th

It really is as simple as it sounds – keeping within YOUR COMFORT ZONE and remaining compliant with the Monterey County COVID guidelines – complete a century ride between 6am Saturday Dec 5th and 2pm Saturday Dec 12th.

The ride can be anywhere you choose, and you can make up the century in as few or as many stages as you like. As long as the total distance is 100 miles (Traditional) or 100km (Metric).

STEP TWO… Send us your ride details for a chance to earn prizes at the Holiday Party:

  • Record your ride stages
  • Take some p­hotographs
  • Count your flats
  • Have an adventure . . .

Why? . . . because there will be prizes for:

  • Total distance
  • Longest single ride
  • Total elevation
  • Fastest century
  • Best Photo
  • Most Flats
  • Best story

Make sure you submit your ride details before 4pm Saturday, Dec. 12th so that we are ready to award those prizes and give space at the party for one or two stories you may like to share!

Details to include with your Century Ride submission:

  • Century Choice (Traditional or Metric)
  • Number of Stages­
  • Total distance
  • Total elevation
  • Total time
  • Number of flats
  • Between 1 and 3 Photos
  • . . . and of course, your NAME

Submit your ride details via email to:

STEP THREE: Attend the VCM ZOOM Celebration Party (even if you didn’t do a Century ride) – Saturday December 12th, starting at 6:30pm.

Join the Party Saturday evening using the following ZOOM link:

  • Please arrive at the Party at 6:30pm – arriving late will mean you will miss out!
  • Join the party by clicking the ZOOM link at 6:30pm on Dec 12th
  • Do not join the ZOOM party using ZOOM through a Browser – Joining ZOOM using a Browser will not allow you to participate in some of the events we have planned.


Need help with ZOOM?

Join Chris Swainson for a ZOOM Workshop between 6pm and 8pm on Wednesday December 9th using this ZOOM link:


  • STARTS 6:30pm – login using ZOOM and get comfortable.
  • Fun Activities . . . wait and see
  • The Main Event
    • Club Announcements
    • Prize Awards
  • Following the Main Event, we will create ZOOM Rooms for you to end the evening in – just like a regular House Party!


We’ve arranged some special Holiday Party menus for Velo Club Members for that evening. Make a night of it by ordering and collecting your Party food at one of our participating restaurants.

 Aabha Indian Cuisine – Barnyard in Carmel

Power Lunch Box for Velo Club December 12 – $17.95 (before tax) Includes: Choice of two curries, Salad, Rice, and Butter naan.  Place your order BY WEDNESDAY DEC 9, and tell Aabha when you will pick up your order on Saturday Dec 12.

Bistro Moulin – Wave St. near Aquarium

Three course Holiday Prix Fixe Menu for Velo Club December 12 – $50 (before tax)  Place your order BY December 9 – You may also ask for wine pairing suggestions when ordering.

Il Vecchio –110 Central Ave., Pacific Grove 

Take Out – Special Dinners – Fixed Price – $19.50 Includes entrée choice and ‘insalata mista’ – artisan greens with marinated vegetables.

Melville Tavern – Washington St., Monterey near WorkHorse Bicycles 

Melville’s features a broad range of: Appetizers, Salads, Entrees, Burgers & Sandwiches, Pastas and Wood Fired Pizzas available for Take Out!

Click here for more details on all the restaurant menu items.


Please RSVP if you are planning on attending the PARTY by Dec 5th. Treat this as a dinner invite from friends – you would not just ignore it and not let them know if you were coming.  Be sure to tell us how many are attending if there will be more than one person attending from your location.

If we do not get enough RSVPs then we will not go ahead with the Party – it takes a lot of effort to put this on.

RSVP No later than 5pm Sat Dec 5th!

Click here to RSVP via EVITE

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read) version – RSVP (B4 DEC 5) to let us know if you intend to join the party + ride a century between 6am Sat Dec 5thand 2pm Sat Dec 12 + record the ride stages + take photos + submit the details before 4pm Sat Dec 12th to join the party at 6:30pm on Dec 12th.

We can’t wait to see your ride details and see you via Zoom on the 12th!

Any questions, email us at 

Save the Date(s)… VCM Holiday Party & Cycling Celebration

Velo Club Monterey – Save the Date…

VCM 2020 Holiday Party and Cycling Celebration
(while remaining COVID Compliant)

While we can’t hold our Annual Holiday Party in person, this year we’ve put together a special way for you to celebrate the season with fellow VCM members. It’s a full week of Cycling Celebration – commencing Saturday Dec. 5th and ending with the VCM HOLIDAY PARTY – Saturday Dec. 12th.

Ride one of two Fall Century Rides between
Saturday Dec 5th and Saturday Dec 12th

Complete the ride of your choice, in as many or as few stages as you like, record the ride(s) using Strava or similar, take photos & have an adventure.

  • Choose from the Traditional 100 mile Century or the 100km Metric Century
  • Get in the holiday spirit – choose to ride in your favorite Holiday Costume
  • Donate to our chosen charities
  • Take some great photos
  • Remember those funny/memorable moments

Prizes will be awarded at the Holiday Party (best costume, funniest photo, best scenic photo, most feet climbed, fastest time recorded etc.)

Saturday Dec 12th – Join us for a VCM ZOOM Celebration Party

(Nervous about ZOOM? Never used ZOOM before? – don’t worry, we have this covered – more details to follow)  

  • Order & Collect your Party Food at one of our participating (discounted) local restaurants
  • Join the VCM Team Quiz
  • Find out what is happening with the Velo Club – plans for 2021, announcements etc.
  • Century Ride Prize winners
  • Raffle
  • Mingle with your VCM friends in our virtual holiday party rooms
  • Pay your 2021 VCM Dues and collect your FREE 2021 VCM Special Gift

More details to follow – for now, SAVE THE DATE. We hope to see you there!