Mt. Hamilton Road weathers the storms

February 12, 2017

Eucalyptus down on Mt. Hamilton Road, first mile of climb.

Eucalyptus down on Mt. Hamilton Road, first mile of climb.


As I expected, Mt. Hamilton Road has made it through the recent wet weather with only minor rock falls and a bit of mud here and there.

It’s not worth mentioning the areas with so little rock sliding. I saw road crews out in force today, so they’ll have the debris scraped up by now.

I’m glad I wasn’t riding up the lower climb when a giant eucalyptus fell across the road. It looks like the tree was already dead or dying. I remember it from my many climbs up Mt. Hamilton.

Tree before it fell. I guess it wasn't dead after all, but not a good lean. (Google Maps photo.)

Tree before it fell. I guess it wasn’t dead after all, but not a good lean. (Google Maps photo.)

I can do without the eucalyptus. It has enough negative characteristics that I wish it had never been imported from Australia. If you’re curious about the fascinating history of how it came to California, I found a story in the Santa Barbara Independent. Yes, the main promoter of the tree lived in Santa Barbara.

Mt. Hamilton sees a lot less rain than the Santa Cruz Mountains, which have been hammered. The roads may be worse off than the dreadful winter of ’82-’83.

This creek about a mile up from Smith Creek is usually dry.

This creek about a mile up from Smith Creek is usually dry.

Rains dredge up mud and a bike

February 10, 2017

Flooding has blocked the Guadalupe River Trail at Hwy 237.

Flooding has blocked the Guadalupe River Trail at Hwy 237.


I managed to make it to Alviso this morning following the San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail. The underpasses were muddy, but passable.

Saratoga Creek is really gushing, more than San Tomas Aquino.

It was a different story on the Guadalupe River Trail, flooded at the Hwy 237 underpass. No doubt other low-lying underpasses are also flooded.

I found a Marin mountain bike, minus its wheels, propped up on the levee near Gold Street. Stolen and abandoned? It was purchased from The Bike Connection, Palo Alto.

It will be a while before I try riding in the Santa Cruz Mountains. They’re a soggy mess.

Anybody need a bike? Cost about $650 when new around 2000.

Anybody need a bike? Cost about $650 when new around 2000.

All blogs ranked by popularity 2009 to 2017

February 9, 2017

All Time

Title

Views

Home page / Archives

112,748

Jobst Brandt leaves behind memories to last a lifetime

32,014

Photo of the Week – Best Route to Santa Cruz

1,619

Shimano Pedal Overhaul

1,278

Loma Prieta Road defines open space

1,193

Microshift Gets into Gear

900

Bontrager Bar Tape Gets a Good Wrap

896

World’s Most Comfortable Mountain Bike Saddle?

880

Ritchey Break-Away Design a Study in Elegant Simplicity

743

Loma Prieta Road has a long history

733

Old Santa Cruz Highway – Paradise Lost

724

Empire Grade a cyclist’s Santa Cruz Misery Spot

714

PRODUCT REVIEW: Blackburn’s Atom SL cyclometer an affordable electronic
marvel

677

Reach 4 of San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail moving ahead?

667

Shotgun Bend claims another victim

659

My day in court

659

San Jose Track Racing Has History

649

A Cinelli Frame with Stories to Tell

631

Cateye INOU Explores On-bike Video

617

Redwood Shores Has its Oracle

602

Alps Memories as Fresh as Newly Fallen Snow

598

Ritchey Break-Away Making Inroads

541

Remember Campagnolo Pump Heads?

527

Lists: 10 Best Roads to Ride in the San Francisco Bay Area

522

Bike Commute Adviser: Mountain View Shoreline area

522

Highway 9 Speed Limit Reduced to 30 mph

510

Mt. Umunhum access down to this: Eminent
Domain

506

Machinists Turn Wheels of Progress

458

Steel’s the Word at Steelman Cycles

454

Adventure ride in the Ventana Wilderness

445

Summit Road a ribbon of endless dirt

444

Classic Names & Steel Bikes at Interbike

440

Squeal Like a Brake Pad

437

Jobst Brandt Memorial Ride brings back memories

421

Bikes hanging from rafters

406

Fixing that Crazy Creaky Handlebar

404

San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail, Reach 3, Open

403

San Tomas Aquino Creek Bike Trail Closure

388

World’s best bicycle bell in the works

384

It’s never foggy in Pacifica

384

Gavia Pass memory

380

Best route to traverse Santa Clara Valley

365

Asphalt Bungle – the road to Bear Gulch is paved with bad intentions

360

Avoidable accident on Page Mill Road

354

Zayante Road a Hidden Gem in the Santa Cruz Mountains

353

New life for old Avocet Gelflex saddle

352

Bike Trailers for the Low-Tech

351

New Idria’s siren call leads to new
adventures in San Benito County

345

Peter Rich Remembers the Tour of California

344

Publications
to Inspire and Educate

336

Moffett Field Bay Trail — FINALLY

331

Gazos Creek Road never fails to delight

327

He rode to the moon and back

322

Tour of the
Alps – 1986

294

Remember Alpine Road!

291

How Long Will Your Bike Last?

290

Avocet: more than just a shorebird

286

Timbuk2 Bags Send the Right Message

282

Miles to Ride Before I Re-tire

280

The Force Who Rides

279

Bay Area Ridge Trail Expands Near Alum Rock Park

272

Lost my appetite for Michelin Optimum Pro tires

271

Open Space District gets the message – increase public access

266

Another cycling accident on Tantau

264

Butano Fire Road Airport Open for Business

262

Bike Facilities Mushrooming in the Valley

258

New Idria ride breaks tradition

258

Up and coming Brands: Linus and All-City

254

Ritchey Break-Away retrieved!

253

Cyclometers keep us honest

252

Been there done that: San Francisco Watershed inches closer to public
access

251

Joe’s Trail in Saratoga a Work in Progress

245

Frozen Freewheel Fun

243

Cyclists rattle the fence for opening the San Francisco Watershed

236

Official update on San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail extension

235

Buying a Bike

231

Bike Photos Capture Life Before Cars

229

Bikes and Components Put to the Stress Test

227

Mt. Hamilton by Bike in 1914 – Don’t Forget the Fying Pan

225

Road Sign
Sends the Wrong Message

225

Smith Creek on Mt. Hamilton Road Then and Now

221

Forest of Nisene Marks Park reveals a lost memory

219

Railroad trestle reveals a dark side of Los Gatos Creek

215

Excuses, Excuses! Flat Tires

215

Get a Charge Out of Riding an E-bike

211

Loma Prieta Beckons

210

Headset Headache Turns Into a Migraine

203

Vindication 34 years later

201

Mountains Behind Fort Collins Great for Cycling

200

Excuses, Excuses! Body Odor

197

So many ways…to mess up a hub

196

Sigma rear brake light gives warning

193

Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers

193

Sonora Pass when it was Dirt

192

Shimano PD M540 creak an easy fix

187

Greer Road Not Your Run-of-the-Mill Location

187

Wurr Road bridge a sign of the times

186

Slippery paint lines can cause a fall

184

Tour of the
Alps – 1985

183

Gravel Roads, Take Me Home

182

10 Most Memorable Rides

181

VDO MC1.0+ Review – April 24, 2008

179

Eventful Rides on Dumbarton Bridge

178

Faber’s Bike Shop Memories Burn Bright

178

Sony RX100 Lives Up to the Hype

176

Photo of the Week: Forest of Nisene Marks

174

If you want change at MROSD, you’ve got to vote

174

Elevated bike roundabout: Only in the Netherlands

172

Little Basin and Beyond

167

Mount Umunhum summit poised to open in Fall
2016

167

Veloro Bicycles Opening Doors in Redwood
City

166

Ultimate minimalist’s flashlight mount

165

Uvas Reservoir reveals old road

164

Some Tire Makers Sell Smooth Tires

164

Bike Gathering Supports Silicon Valley Advocacy

162

Way Back Machine and New Idria Ride

162

Adventure Rides in the Santa Cruz Mountains

158

Train Tunnel Could Solve Marin County Cycling Dilemma

158

Easy and Not So Easy Tire Mounting

158

Jobst Brandt Gears Up for Alps Slide Show – April 12, 2008

157

The Guys on the Bikes

155

Ups and Downs on Sheep Ranch Road

154

Once Upon a Ride…available now

153

Naming Roads in the Santa Cruz Mountains

152

Good Tire, Bad Tire

150

Continental Gatorskin rear tire lasts 5,400
miles

149

Shoes that Make Your Toes Curl

149

People need the “Freedom to Roam”

147

San Jose History Park Looks Back at Bikes

147

Hearst Castle by Bike – Dream On

146

Disc brakes slice and dice the peleton

146

A nightmare come to life — classic Nishiki stolen

145

Hwy 9 Speed Reduction Improves Descent

144

Silicon Valley Bike Festival celebrates local cycling

144

Far from the Madden crowd

144

Floodgates Open at Moffett Field

143

Custom-built Wheels Accompany New Bike

141

Mt. Hamilton summit around 1970

141

Curiosity Robot Arm Built by Litespeed

139

Mt. Hamilton backside road stories

138

Photo of the Week

137

Purisima Creek Road cuts through a heavily logged canyon

137

MROSD – from Vision Plan to ballot measure…maybe

134

Cargo Bikes are “Ram Tough”

133

Braking: front, rear or both?

131

Logging on Gazos Creek Road

131

Excuses, Excuses! Clothing Concerns

130

From Repack to Rwanda

130

Cyclist enters the fray with new clothing line

129

Hedding Street bike lanes a symptom of
class warfare

128

New Idria Ride Ends – May 4, 2008

128

Mt. Hamilton a tale of two climbs

127

Handlebar sprouts doodads

124

Puncture Vine Bites the Dust!

124

He Made a Business Out of Bikes

123

Cranky, Creaky Bikes

123

Bike Friendly Cities Named in the San Francisco Bay Area

122

More than you want to know about the science of bells

122

Safety concerns on Mt. Umunhum

122

Bicycle helmet bill – further study needed

121

“Idaho stop” the right way to go, but changing the law unrealistic

121

Are You Going to San Francisco?

121

A towering redwood memory in Big Basin State Park

120

A Mt. Hamilton and Quimby Road one-two punch

120

Mt. Hamilton by Bike: 1888

118

A road too narrow

118

Rideye offers “black box” evidence video

118

Why do riders say “CAR BACK”?

117

Photo of the Week: Purisima Creek Road

116

Urban Hip Take a Liking to Fixed-Gear Bikes

115

Catching Up with “Q”

112

Mt. Hamilton Road Race brings out the hammerheads

112

World’s Most Uncomfortable Bike Saddle?

112

Guadalupe River path paves the way to Alviso

111

Photo of the Week

111

What’s all this $50 grease stuff, anyhow?

111

Showers Pass Beats the Rain

110

New Bike Physics Blows Away Myths

110

Moffett Field Trail closed

110

Freedom Bridge spanning San Tomas Aquino Creek in peril

110

When the Merckx Wind Blows

110

Yet another bicycle helmet law heads our way

109

Old Pedro Mountain Road a recreational gem

108

50 Years in the Alps – April 22, 2008

106

Purisima Creek Trail – a culvert gone bad

106

Coast Ride avoids headwinds

105

Eucalyptus trees burn brightly

103

By law bikes are not vehicles

101

Bayland trails fall victim to government
shutdown

101

Cupertino Bike Shop Open on Stevens Canyon Road

100

Filoli Estate visit brings back cycling
memories

100

Personal freedom vs. safety obsession

100

2013 Alpine Road Calendar Available Now

99

Tightening the
Gordian Knot – Part 2

99

Take short showers, and pray for rain

99

Mushroom Ride Yields Fungi

98

Mt. Hamilton Road in 1900-10

98

A Stop Sign on Page Mill Road?

97

Hwy 9 widening makes progress

97

Big Basin Way is a highway, but not really

97

Hwy 236 repave makes for a ludicrous ride

96

About

94

Bike technology: More than the Ordinary

93

WD-40 quells the last creak

93

Flashlight or bike light?

93

Shimano CN6701 chain lasts about 4,000 miles

93

Photo of the Week: The Haul Road

92

Wacked Out Wireless World

92

Smug Cyclists? No Way!

91

Three Creeks Trail Hangs in the Balance

91

Quarry Park discovery in Saratoga

90

Haul Road has Wild Iris in bloom

90

Arastradero Road: Then and Now

90

Not All Bike Shops are Alike

89

All That Glitters is Not Gold

89

Photo of the Week: Coast Highway

89

Laurel train memories

88

Memories of a Bike Shop Owner – Part 2

88

Mag trainers a safe way to go

88

Wall of Shame

86

Memories of a Bike Shop Owner – Part 3

86

Leader 1 Takes the Yellow Jersey — December 2, 2008

86

Reynolds Road to nowhere

85

Peters Creek Trail – still there and not much changed

84

Rocking and rolling at the Tour de France

84

Are Your Favorite Trails Getting Rockier?

83

Mt. Hamilton Road 2013 Calendar

82

Mt. Hamilton Elk Make an Appearance

81

A Path for Progress in Santa Clara

81

Ultegra Cassette lasts 25,000 miles

80

10 Worst Roads in the San Francisco Bay Area

79

Steve Jobs Greased the Wheels of Progress

79

Mt. Hamilton a Cool Way to Go

79

May Use Full Lane – But Don’t

78

For Want of a Boot

78

Pedale Alpini gang resurrects a Jobst Ride in all its muddy glory

78

Interbike Trade Show Livens Las Vegas

78

Commuting in the Silicon Valley Triangle

78

Photo of the Week

78

Silicon Valley needs a transportation system like Zurich’s

78

Photos of the Week

77

Making a case for electric bikes in the Tour de France

77

An Appeal for Help

76

A Christmas wish come true

76

We live in earthquake country

75

Time for a new tire

75

Freehub upkeep needed for Ultegra FH-6700

74

Accidents accumulate with time

74

Upper Alpine Road repaired

74

Enlightened government – Marin Municipal Water District

73

Too much of a good thing

73

Drought update for the South Bay Reservoirs

72

Obstacle removed on Palo Alto bike path

72

Silicon Valley and traffic-light heaven

72

San Tomas widening a plus for cars, bikes, pedestrians

72

Nasty Reservoir Bypass Now a Memory

72

Tsk, Tsk, Tsk Shimano

72

Valentine’s Day Fun on Bryant Street

71

A Map of Bad Memories

71

What Signage Should be Added at Page Mill and Moody Roads?

71

Mtn Charlie tree a hidden gem

71

Mt. Hamilton History Reboot

70

Catch of the Day

70

Photo of the Week

70

When the levee breaks..

70

Summit Road a cool choice in July

70

Death of a Hub

69

Photo of the Week

69

Share Your Routes in Google Maps

68

Aptos Creek Road makes the grade

68

Something to Chew On: Bamboo Bicycles

68

Photo(s) of the Week

67

Bay Trail has a new surface

66

Big Sur Gets Surly – Part 3

66

San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail inching to completion

66

Part 1: Finding the best commute route

66

Michelin Man: You’re off the hook

66

Hwy 84 reboot 30 years later

65

Pacific Coast Ride – What Else?

65

Photo of the Week: Santa Rosa Creek Road

64

Bikes vs. Cars coming to a theater near you

64

Airport frontage road closed for Super Bowl

64

Skyline Boulevard gives perspective

64

Big-city cycling is the pits — even in Paris

64

Tired Out

63

Signs and expressions stating the obvious

63

Skunk Ride

63

Predictable riding, and traffic planning, essential for safety

63

Photo of the Week: Glenwood Drive in Scotts Valley

63

San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail extension opens in January 2014

62

Eureka Canyon Road and Highland Way endure the rainy season

62

Pedestrian lights are for pedestrians

62

A (Beautiful) Monument to Waste

62

A Mad Max Future One Road at a Time

62

2017 Bay Area Bike Rides Calendar

61

Car-free riding in Silicon Valley

61

Redwood roads always in-Spiring

61

Access Denied at De Anza College

61

Dumb Bills of the Year and Catching Bike Thieves

60

Taming of the saddle creak

60

Accidents Will Happen

59

Distracted Driving (Cell Phones) Kills Cyclists

59

Bike Repair Website a Visual Feast – December 24, 2008

59

A Link to Chains

59

Traffic Light Technology for Recognizing Bikes Inches Forward

58

Mount Hamilton by Bike Ideal for Climbers

58

Bike innovation: Chasing its tail?

58

Henry Coe Park Puts Spring in Your Ride

58

Steel-belted tires a source for flats

58

Lick Skillet Road: Can You Say Steep?

58

Local Trails Paving the Way with Good Intentions

58

Hickory Oaks Trail brings out riders

57

Burning Man for Bikes – November 16, 2008

57

Good Friday for a ride over Mt. Hamilton

57

Santa Cruz ride puts a spring in my day

57

Photo of the Week

56

Finding that Maddening Click

56

More rain brings out the fenders

56

One of those “eventful” days I’d just as soon forget

56

Microshift 7-speed shifter fits the bill

56

Once Upon a Ride: Crested Butte 1985

55

Skidders….the short story

55

Mt. Hamilton by Bike

55

Santa Cruz Beckons on a Glorious Day

55

Photo of the Week

54

Road Rage Advice: Keep Your Cool

54

Bicycle Detection Works Well in Pleasanton

54

A Free Adventure Ride Around the World

54

Mt. Hamilton Road An Engineering Marvel

54

Share the Road signs sow confusion

54

Google Man Helps You Find Your Way

53

Turning Over a New Leaf

53

Memories of a Bike Shop Owner

53

Tokyo by Bike After the Big Quake

53

Electric bicycles, mushrooms and solid tires

53

Bohlman Road a good test for Sierra Rides

53

A fair wind blows

53

Saddled with a pain in the rear

53

Mushroom Ride

53

Bad Karma?

53

Excuses, Excuses! It’s Dangerous

52

Photo of the Week

52

Coyote Creek Trail adds paved segment

52

New Roundtail Solves an Old Problem

52

Mushroom weather in Portola Valley

52

Wool jacket fits active lifestyles

52

Now that’s a motor-bike

52

Mt. Hamilton’s weird wacky weather

52

Untying the Big Sur Gordian Knot

51

Handlebar Wrap-up

51

Mt. Hamilton
Has a Darker Side

51

My Review of Custom Messenger Bag

51

Photo of the Week

51

Ride Report – Hwy 1 and Santa Cruz

51

When to replace a helmet?

50

Return to Stevens Canyon

50

Chestnuts roasting on an… open space district land

50

A tree house worth millions

50

San Felipe Road wanderings

49

Mt. Hamilton quiet on Labor Day

49

Photo of the Week

49

More Bike Cars Needed on Caltrain

49

Died and Gone to…Utrecht

49

Hetch Hetchy Upgrade On a Roll

49

A Boot Saves the Day – Again

49

Gulf Oil Spill — Not My Problem?

49

Too much of a good thing

49

Photo of the Week: Mt. Hamilton Clockwise

48

New electric bicycle law gives local communities jurisdiction

48

When the river runs dry

48

Photo of the Week

48

Super Bowl Ride Derailed

48

Mt. Hamilton never fails to impress

47

Roller racing has a following — in Europe

47

Good Cop, Bad Cop

47

Cannondale and Pedro: They Get It

47

Bike art comes in many forms

47

Excuses, Excuses! The Weather

47

A Good Sign

46

Smoky clouds grace Skyline overlook

46

Mud, More Mud, and Steam

46

Rumble on the Coast

46

Adventure Rides Available in PDF Format

45

James Lick House Lives On…In Seclusion

45

What, no weekly ride report?

45

Stocking Stuffer: Adventure Rides in the High Sierra

45

Well-Managed Forests Are Logged

44

A Mudhole No More

44

Transportation manifesto for Silicon Valley

44

Trail Work Moves Ahead in South Bay

44

Throw Us a Lifeline on El Camino Real

44

Freakish Squeaks Keep on Coming

43

Niles Canyon Widening Project Has Opposition

43

Capitola begonia festival draws Begonians from far and wide

43

Photo of the Week

43

Photo of the Week

43

Floor pump repairs

43

Ancient bridges reveal roads of yore

43

Who can forget the pumpkin tree?

42

Photo of the Week

42

Invisible bike helmet a Swedish invention

42

Photo of the Week

42

Page Mill Road Stop Sign Issue Postponed Until November

41

Lilliputian bike light an LED marvel

41

Attack of the giant arachnid

40

Brown skies continue in Bay Area

40

Here’s the recommended “Hedding” to cross
Santa Clara Valley

40

Squeaky wheels of democracy turning at the Santa Clara Bicycle and
Pedestrian Advisory Committee

40

Photo of the Week

40

Can You Take the Heat?

39

Lower Guadalupe River Trail closed

39

Photo of the Week

39

Bike Lanes or Oil Refineries: What’ll it be?

39

Haul Road Makes the Day

39

Any Light is Better than None

39

GM Architect of Light Rail’s Dismantling

39

Silicon Valley to San Francisco

38

Coyote Creek Path Puts on Some More S(miles)

38

Through Silicon Valley to Alum Rock Park

38

Silicon Valley Flat 100

38

Continental Grand Sport Race rolls for 7,500 miles!

38

Mammoth display trumpets bone discovery

38

Photo of the Week

38

Attack of the milk snails

38

Greg LeMond Talks About Drugs in the Peloton
– February 17, 2008

38

Google Maps for Bikes — Use with Caution

37

Visiting the innovation vortex: Google

37

Alpine Road repairs

37

Photo of the Week – Shoreline Park

37

Keep Your Seat Rails Dry

37

Creaky Bike Seat

37

“The Bike, It’s a Good Machine”

36

Aptos Creek Fire Road weathers the storm

36

Meet Me Under the Kissing Tree

36

Trails Along Muddy Waters

36

Time to Rock…and Roll

36

Photo of the Week

36

Excuses, Excuses! Traffic

36

Cambria Bicycle Outfitter Has Halloween Spirits

36

Land Speed Records Broken

35

Eddy Merckx bike on display in Los Altos bike
shop

35

County Ordinance Fuels Range War

35

DeAnza College makes a small change for cyclists

34

Crater Lake’s rim ride an Oregon gem

34

Ridin’ in the Rain

34

Bike thefts on BART: good news, bad news

34

Romancing the Moon – December 8, 2008

33

Eating an oak tree — one acorn at a time

33

China’s engine of prosperity forsakes the bicycle

33

Endura gloves fit for a long ride

33

Bridges Connect Bay Area

33

Fitness for a Cause: Can There Be a Better Combination?

33

You Can Have YourTube!

33

Photo of the Week

32

Photo of the Week

32

Ring Around the Bay – We’re Still Waiting

32

Photo of the Week

31

Heat Stroke by the Numbers

31

Pseudo Racers Terrorize Golden Gate Bridge

31

Montana bill would ban cyclists from most roads

31

Common Sense, Not Speed Limits, on GG Bridge

31

Photo of the Week

31

Hailstones look like snow on Skyline Boulevard

31

A Soap Opera That Won’t Go Away

31

Netherlands Bike Transport Under the Microscope

30

Photo of the Week

30

Photo(s) of the Week

30

Photo of the Week

30

Tantau Avenue bike trauma continues…

30

Photo of the Week

30

Valley Fair expansion considers bicycles

February 7, 2017

Valley Fair's new parking garage off Monroe has bicycle amenities.

Valley Fair’s new parking garage off Monroe has bicycle amenities.


As I write this, another parking structure is coming down at Westfield Valley Fair shopping center, to be replaced by a six-story garage.

In the next 2 1/2 years the popular shopping mall will be expanded to include movie theaters, outdoor shops/dining and new banks. The cost: 1 billion dollars.

What we won’t see: a badly needed overhead walkway between the shopping center and Santana Row. I’m not sure who made that decision, but it’s regrettable. Additionally, there won’t be any police directing traffic on busy holidays.

The good news is that the new parking structure on Monroe has bike lockers, bike racks, a repair stand and a pump, all covered.

I didn’t try the pump, but it’s hand-operated and is supposed to accommodate both schrader and presta valves.

If you’re concerned about parking, check the Valley Fair website for a real-time view of how many spaces are available.

Montana bill would ban cyclists from most roads

February 6, 2017

Hwy 212 in Montana, Beartooth Pass, is one of the most scenic in the U.S. (Google Maps photo)

Hwy 212 in Montana, Beartooth Pass, is one of the most scenic in the U.S. (Google Maps photo)


A bill proposed in the Montana state legislature would prohibit bicycle use outside of municipalities where roads have no paved shoulder. In Montana that’s a lot of highway!

I’ve only been to Montana once, but I wished I had brought my bike as I drove the family over Beartooth Pass, state Hwy 212. I’ve been over a lot of passes, but this one ranks up there as the most beautiful.

It doesn’t have a shoulder. What a shame if Montana decides this bill is the right way to go.

What’s ironic here is that Montana is the state where the Bikecentennial started, a non-profit created to encourage bicycling across the U.S. in 1976 to celebrate our country’s bicentennial. More than 4,000 cyclists completed the route, which went through Montana.

The local TV gave the proposed bill some coverage.

I don’t know if it would do much good, but you can contact the bill sponsor, Barry Usher. Just be nice about it. He’s also a fan of two-wheeled vehicles, so we share a common purpose to keep roads open for all forms of transportation.

Here’s the bill wording. See line 23-24.

If there was a cycling hell…

February 3, 2017

Typical street scene in a Manila suburb. Tricycle motorbikes, motorbikes, cars, bicycles, pedestrians, trucks.

Typical street scene in a Manila suburb. Tricycle motorbikes, motorbikes, cars, bicycles, pedestrians, trucks.


It would be the Philippines. You haven’t experienced traffic until you’ve been to Manila. Or Bangkok. Or New Delhi. Or anywhere else in Asia where the climate is tropical.

It’s hot, it’s humid, the air is fetid with the smell of diesel belching from aging jeepneys that the government is desperate to see replaced with newer, cleaner models.

Yet people still ride bikes here, at all hours, with and without lights or even reflectors. Few wear helmets. I saw them all the time, some wearing masks or handkerchiefs to try to protect their lungs from the debilitating air.

While bikes can maneuver around traffic, I can’t imagine an autonomous car lasting five minutes here during rush-hour. It would be laughable. The car would make it ten feet before shutting down, or just sit there waiting for an opening to safely go forward.

I was fortunate to have a relative who knows how to drive here, someone who does it so well he even worked for Uber. It didn’t take long for him to realize it was a money-losing proposition. I had an Uber driver take me home one evening from Makati and it was a paltry 75 pesos. That’s $1.50. It wouldn’t have even covered the cost of gas. Of course I gave him a lot more than that in cash (Uber takes cash in the Philippines).

Manila’s intersections outside of the ultra-wealthy sections of Makati are mostly unsignaled, which means turning left is a daunting task. Near the airport we had to cross three lanes of traffic while turning left, most of the time without any traffic control. There were roundabouts chocked with traffic.

Yet there are very few accidents because people who drive in Manila know how to yield. It’s like a school of fish maneuvering through another school of fish. They’ve got built in radar. It just works.

I’m not saying it’s better than our signaled intersection driving in the U.S., but it does work well enough that people can struggle to and from work daily.

Head for the Hills
There is one place near Manila where cyclists have a respite from the heat and traffic. It’s Tagaytay, where there are a few roads without traffic. Cyclists enjoy riding up a concrete road that spirals upward for 2,500 feet to the summit of Mt. Gonzales.

Cyclists begin the climb up Mt. Gonzales. Those huge fat tires popular here.

Cyclists begin the climb up Mt. Gonzales. Those huge fat tires popular here.

Riders at the summit and entrance to Palace in the Sky prepare for the descent.

Riders at the summit and entrance to Palace in the Sky prepare for the descent.

There they find a Palace in the Sky, literally. Marcos had it built in 1981, but it was never finished because his government was toppled by the People Power revolution from 1983-86. Today it’s a park where Manila residents can escape the ever-present heat in the valley below.

Cyclists face a daunting climb, some sections as steep as 20 percent and longer stretches of 15 percent, hard under any conditions but more so here with the heat and humidity.

At the summit they’re rewarded with cooler temperatures, fair winds and views of Mt. Taal, a volcano inside a lake. In recent years the roads in and around Tagaytay have been widened so cyclists can manage to get around a lot more safely. There’s still the ever-present traffic on crowded weekends.

When I think about any types of problems I have riding in Santa Clara Valley, I remind myself just how good we have it compared to so many places around the world. This is Shangri-La.

Colnago Ferrari. I'm assuming this is a knock-off of the real thing, which does exist.

Colnago Ferrari. I’m assuming this is a knock-off of the real thing, which does exist.

Winter storm floods creek path

January 9, 2017

That's a lot of debris. You'll want to ride on Great America Parkway a short distance and then take a left.

That’s a lot of debris. You’ll want to ride on Great America Parkway a short distance and then take a left.


San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail made it through the weekend rainstorm everywhere but here at the Great America Parkway underpass.

Use extra caution at the underpasses where there’s a slurry of slippery mud.

I also rode on the Sunnyvale Baylands trail over to Mountain View and the Google road improvement made it rideable even with all the rain.

Wool jacket fits active lifestyles

January 4, 2017

I purchased the Sheep Dip jacket. Other garments are available.

I purchased the Sheep Dip jacket. Other garments are available.


I haven’t owned a wool clothing item in eons, so when Dave McLaughlin offered a jacket on Kickstarter, I figured I could use one for those wet cold days, like the one today.

A Kickstarter purchase is never a sure thing, so when it arrived on time I was already ahead of the game. I’ve had all good luck with Kickstarter, purchasing a bike bell made in San Francisco, a board game, a book, and a cycling video camera.

Quality has generally been excellent with only one minor disappointment. The video camera broke, but it was replaced free of charge.

I’ve been wearing the jacket more often with colder weather, so I can now give my review. I’m pleased with the purchase, with two exceptions. The sleeves are a little tight at the wrist when putting on the jacket. The sleeves are just right once on.

It’s itchy. However, with wear that is becoming less noticeable and I expect it will disappear with time. The fabric reminds me of felt, a blend of wool and polyester. It’s washable in cold water.

What I like about the jacket first and foremost: it’s fashionable. It fits perfectly on my slim frame. I like the full-length zipper and the abundant, large pockets, a big plus on cold days when you want to keep your hands warm. My size is medium.

It’s not a cycling jacket, but you can wear it for short bike rides around town with no problem. Dave designed his jacket for post-exercise activities, like going to a restaurant or visiting friends, and so on.

Another plus is that the jacket keeps me warm. No complaints in that department. Wool is a great fabric for warmth even when wet.

The price was a real deal on Kickstarter and it’s still competitive with other similar jackets on the market. If you’re interested in buying a jacket and supporting a veteran Northern California cyclist with your purchase, check it out on the DMAC website or on Facebook.

Coyote Creek Trail adds paved segment

December 27, 2016

Newly paved section of Coyote Creek Trail looking north from Tasman Drive in San Jose.

Newly paved section of Coyote Creek Trail looking north from Tasman Drive in San Jose.


Slowly but surely, Coyote Creek Trail is being paved from bay to Morgan Hill, including the latest segment between Hwy 237 and Tasman Drive in San Jose.

That’s about a mile. The heavy lifting will occur between Kelley Park and Montague Expressway where there are many obstacles in the way. Of course, that section isn’t even open. The newly paved section was open and gravel.

I’m seeing a lot more homeless people in places I never saw them before, like along the paved trail on the north side of Hwy 237. Yes they cleaned out the Coyote Creek camps, but those same people had to go somewhere, so now they’re along Guadalupe River and other parts of Coyote Creek.

One of those “eventful” days I’d just as soon forget

December 17, 2016

It wasn't all bad news. Mushrooms a plenty.

It wasn’t all bad news. Mushrooms a plenty.


My favorite bike rides these days are “uneventful.” Nothing at all happens beyond a quiet bike ride in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Not so today.

It was in the high 30s when I left and it didn’t warm up until late afternoon. That made things unpleasant most of the ride, so it was already edging toward “eventful” territory.

As I rode north on Skyline on the long straight after Grizzly Flat Trail two cars approached one another going opposite directions at their usual high speed, but the car behind me had to slow abruptly (slight tire screech) when he realized there would be a three-way passing situation, all of us lined up side by side.

The driver didn’t take kindly to having to slow down and he made sure to let me know it was my fault. He drove up to my side and matched my speed. I stopped. He said, “Why do you ride your bike on this road?” I responded in kind. “Why do you drive your car on this road?”

What followed is familiar dialogue. “It’s dangerous riding a bike up here,” he said. “I just want you to know.” I realized this was not a situation where anyone was going to win an argument, so I did my best to diffuse any tension, speaking with genuine sincerity. “You’re right. Riding a bike is extremely dangerous. I tell that to everyone I know.” It worked. He didn’t get upset and drove off in his punked out BMW.

But my close encounters were not yet over. As I was riding up Hwy 84 two or three miles outside La Honda I stopped at a driveway to check my bike when out of nowhere this young man shows up on Hwy 84 wearing a t-shirt and sweatpants. He told me he was walking to Skyline Boulevard and needed to know how far it was. After I told him, he asked me to call his mother and have her pick him up. He gave me a number and I punched it in to my smartphone, but first I moved close to the highway because this guy looked like he was sketchy, although he didn’t sound threatening. No service. I told him I’d ride up to Skyline, but I was none too happy about it. The guy did not give off a good vibe — more like a scared deer.

I got to Skyline soon enough and tried my phone. Still no service at Sky Londa. Oddly, there was a Sheriff standing a few feet away in the parking lot. I told him my story and he immediately used his walkie talkie to talk to dispatch. Turns out the guy “escaped” from Camp Glenwood, a probation facility in La Honda off Pescadero Road and they were searching for him. He had been wandering around since 3 a.m.

I have no idea what became of their escapee, but if he’s smart he accepted a ride from the Sheriff when he drove by.

This camp is not to be confused with the Honor Camp located in Pescadero Creek County Park, which closed in 2003. It was supposed to be turned into a campground, but I haven’t heard any news on that front. Ken Kesey stayed at that one back in the 1960s and got some material for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest while there.