Eau de Cologne Tour of San Jose

North San Jose is home to public infrastructure


It’s hard to believe there is a bike ride in San Jose that goes 20 miles and sees little traffic. Even better, it passes by two of the city’s most vital public works – the sewage plant (water pollution control plant) and the garbage dump (sanitary landfill) on Zanker/Los Esteros Road.

I call this route the Eau de Cologne Tour of San Jose (map). You get to see Alviso, one of my favorite out-of-the-way South Bay excursions, which has somehow avoided the gung-ho Silicon Valley lifestyle. Oh, there’s also the Calpine natural-gas-fired power plant where sheep and goats are seen grazing.

The key to avoiding cars is the creek paths of San Tomas Aquino, Coyote Creek, and Guadalupe River. San Tomas is paved, but Coyote Creek and Guadalupe on this route are not. Los Esteros Road out by the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge sees little traffic.

While this area is constantly changing, the creek paths are here to stay and will only get better with time (paving). In the past week a large tract has begun development off Orchard Parkway. Let’s hope the Guadalupe River path was incorporated in the planning.

Progress has its price. The homeless man’s wood and tarp shack next to the development area was torn down. I only saw him once during my many rides past his encampment.

It was great to see the San Jose airport car rental area north of the airport shut down and moved. It made cycling across the narrow river bridge to Ewert Road a real pain. That’s what I call progress.

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One Response to “Eau de Cologne Tour of San Jose”

  1. Martin Says:

    You missed the best part of this trip, and that is the 9-mile loop on the levies around the salt evaporation ponds. Just continue north from the intersection of Gold and 1st Street in Alviso, cross the tracks, and enter the county park to pick up the (dirt) trail. A wonderful escape from city streets and enchanting views of marsh reeds and water birds. (Be prepared, though, for a strong breeze from the northwest.)

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