Palo Alto opens Hwy 101 pedestrian/bike bridge

November 22, 2021

Palo Alto’s new recreation overcrossing improves baylands access.

After years of work and millions of dollars, cyclists finally have a better way to reach the Palo Alto Baylands.

The wide overcrossing includes interpretive signage and a place to sit.

The trail continues to E. Meadow Drive, which has a bike lane and continues into Palo Alto. Or you can take the lightly traveled Bayshore Road paralleling highway 101.

Judging by the traffic this morning, the bridge will see plenty of wheels for recreation and commuting.

Stevens Creek Reservoir at 10%

November 17, 2021

Stevens Creek Reservoir very low.

I haven’t seen Stevens Creek Reservoir so low.

I’ve only seen the spillway overflowing once or twice since 1980.

Built in 1935, this dam will eventually silt up. It happened at Searsville Lake.

Sunday weather awesome for cycling. This is November?

Once Upon a Ride… available in hardcover

November 14, 2021

Available now in hardcover.

I published two titles in hardcover recently. Available on Amazon. Printed in Illinois.

Once Upon a Ride… is a new cover, but same content. The only negative is the paper. Glossy would improve the images.

Mirais, Mirais everywhere

November 12, 2021

What is a Mirai you may ask? It’s a hydrogen fuel cell car made by Toyota. Looks a lot like a Prius.

Today I saw two of these elusive vehicles!

Looking into it, I found out there are a couple of stations in the South Bay and a few more elsewhere in the Bay Area. Nationwide there are only 48 stations (maybe more), almost all of them in California.

So the car’s 400 mile range will get you around most of the state, but that’s all.

I encountered these machines on my way to Almaden Reservoir, where water is about as scarce as hydrogen fuel these days.

The reservoir is 41 percent full — not so bad.

The new bridge over Los Alamitos Creek is quiet today. No workers.

Built in 1935 (refurbished 1964), the bridge needs replacement. Because the span will have a completely new alignment, eliminating a sharp curve, it qualified for a Federal subsidy at 100 percent reimbursement to the county.

New Alamitos Creek Bridge completion set for 2022.
Decent water level. Back in 2014 it was empty.

Atmospheric river more like a creek

November 10, 2021

Lest you think the “atmospheric river” we experienced a couple weeks ago fixed the drought, check out Guadalupe Reservoir.

It’s at 11 percent. Pathetic.

Mt. Tamalpais got plenty of rain, but the South Bay might as well be in the Mojave Desert.

With La NiƱa in the forecast, we might be looking at a third year of drought, and water rationing.

YouTube: “Houston, you have a problem.”

November 7, 2021

Jason Slaughter burst onto the YouTube scene two years ago and already he has a substantial following among people concerned about our car-centric world.

The Canadian recently moved his family to Amsterdam to settle down. He and his wife decided it was the most livable city in the world.

Here’s his take on Houston, Texas, and its wretched city planning. His description of trying to walk to a nearby store says it all.

He is NOT a cyclist. More on that soon…

YouTube: Winter riding popular in Oulu

November 5, 2021

Snow and cold doesn’t bother cyclists in Oulu, Finland.

The reason is simple: The city has an extensive network of bike paths that are maintained year around. Snowplows clear the paths around the clock.

I rode through the winter when I lived in Fort Collins, Colo. One night I rode home in a wet snow.

By the time I got home 20 minutes later, my chain was stuck in a single gear, the freewheel a block of ice.

Alpine Road closures an encouraging “sign”

October 10, 2021

Work underway on Alpine Road will mean weekday closures.

It looks like the promised makeover for Alpine Road is underway, based on the sign I saw today.

I rooted around and found the Alpine Road environmental impact report done by LSA, an environmental consulting firm based in Richmond, Calif. It was published in October 2020. If the link doesn’t work, you can download the file from my site, below.

I rode to the green gate and waited for riders coming down. They said there is no indication of repairs.

Riding to the green gate I didn’t see anything either, beyond a couple of signs saying the road is closed during weekdays.

Reading the report, it might be the job site is at Joaquin Road and Alpine Road junction, not visible at this time.

Alpine Road repair a short distance down from Joaquin Road.

The report is exhaustive, and exhausting to read. As much as I value a thorough plan, I wonder if we need every little detail accounted for.

Back in the day, huge construction projects were completed in a flash. Now it is true that some catastrophes (think St. Francis Dam) occurred, there are also construction disasters even with environmental impact reports.

The report points to completion in three months — at least that’s the goal. That could mean construction begins next summer?

Let’s hope so.

(I don’t know all the agencies paying for the work, but it’s our tax dollars. Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District is the primary sponsor.)

LSA report download

Fatigue Limit available now

October 5, 2021

Just in time for the holidays, Fatigue Limit is ready for printing or Kindle.

Contest winners have been alerted. Congrats to the lucky ones.



Alpine Road’s “muddy” history

September 28, 2021

Upper Alpine Road between Page Mill Road and Portola Valley got its start in the mid 1800s as a trail, then a crude wagon road.

In 1893 San Mateo County declared the road a public right of way and made improvements.

It was all about the economy. The county supervisors thought they could siphon away business going to Santa Clara County by having a better road down the east slope of the coast range.

And so began the road’s tortured history of closures caused by earthquakes and storms that wiped out culverts and bridges.

Look at these photos taken by Jobst Brandt around 1974. The road turned into a muddy mess during wet winters.

Laurence Malone struggles up Alpine Road in the mud.
Dirt bike and cyclists find the mud hard going on Alpine Road. Jobst Brandt photos.

According to Peter Johnson, a cyclist who rode Alpine Road on many occasions, he walked up it faster than half of the cyclocross competitors could ride/walk that day.

The race was hosted by the Palo Alto Bicycle Club, fulfilling a United States Cycling Federation requirement that a club hold one race a year.

I don’t know who won the race, or where it went after reaching Page Mill Road. Maybe someone will read this and post a comment with the information.

For certain, five-time U.S. cyclocross national champion Laurence Malone entered and is shown. Other names mentioned as possibly appearing in the photos are Joe Ryan and Tom Hill, according to Dino Ride on Facebook.

Jobst knew to stay off the road when wet, but we almost always encountered the gooey stuff at “Mud Turn.”