I figured I’d get wet today, so I dragged out the fender bike. It came in handy on Watsonville Road.
The rain is nice, and the local reservoirs have plenty of capacity for more.
The rain is nice, and the local reservoirs have plenty of capacity for more.
The narrow, bumpy road routinely experiences landslides, but this year, so far, no slides. (Eureka Canyon Road becomes Highland Way at the top of the climb, Ormsby Cutoff intersection.)
Back in 2000 a huge slide closed the road. We walked our bikes across, carefully. The county eventually fixed the road, but there was another big slide a few years later.
Cyclists who explore the Demonstration Forest on Highland Way drive these roads all the time.
I’m seeing a lot more Sunday traffic on Hwy 236 than in the old days. Yes, times have changed.
How long will it be before the paved North Escape Road into Big Basin State Park becomes a trail? Eventually. It gets worse every year.
Turns out there was an unannounced tailgate party at the Lick Observatory parking lot that nobody told me about, but it was all over the Innernet on one of those ride group postings we call Social Media.
As I churned my way up the 19-mile climb under clear skies and gentle breezes, I noticed a heck of a lot of riders flying by. So while I did avoid the Madden crowd, I ran smack dab into the madding crowd. They no doubt, in addition to blood doping, are mechanical doping. I felt like a dope as I had to rely on my own two aging legs, capable of generating about 60 watts, enough to power our feeble kitchen light bulb.
I had a long conversation with the owner of a new carbon-fiber Colnago. Of course, I had to tell him how I bought a new Colnago frame off Greg LeMond back in 1980. He won it in a race and already had a half-dozen new bikes, so he gave it to Palo Alto Bicycles for safe keeping. Paid $400.
Mostly when you’re riding up Mt. Hamilton people are in a big hurry, like they’re late for the train or something, and don’t want to slow down and have a conversation. It’s not that way with the slower riders, who seem more willing to exchange pleasantries beyond “on your left.”
With 3 million, 218 thousand millimeters to go before the summit, give or take a millimeter, I passed a young woman who was being so nice to everyone as they passed that they had to slow down and be nice back. She just bubbled with enthusiasm, the kind of chipper attitude that makes life a little more tolerable.
That kept me in a good mood until I reached the summit and saw a mob of cyclists. There must have been a thousand, maybe more. They stood around jawing about everything under the sun, some recounting their near-death encounters with cars.
I edged closer as one guy described being run over by a Chevy Suburban, which is only slightly smaller than a bus. The driver admitted he had been drinking and, amazingly, stopped to check to see what that object was caught under his wheels. Turns out he ran over the cyclist, who broke a bunch of bones and now has so much metal in him he sets off the airport metal detectors every time he flies.
After downing a Clif Bar product, I headed back down Mt. Hamilton and noticed that all the riders who blasted by me on the way up, also blasted by me on the way down. I even got passed by guys riding mountain bikes with those enormous tires that look like they belong on a monster truck.
I’m now in the market for one of those motors you stick in your seat tube and churns out 150 watts without anyone being the wiser.
Just don’t tell anyone.
FYI, the mighty Guadalupe River has submerged parts of the Guadalupe River recreation path.
I saw it beneath the Hwy 237 overpass. While it might have been less than a foot deep, I wasn’t going to risk submerging my bottom bracket.
I can imagine other locations are also under water, such as at the Trimble Road overpass and Hwy 101.
San Tomas Aquino Creek trail is OK with the exception of a wet section beneath the Great America Parkway overpass.
It’s something I’ve written about, but it bears repeating. Bikes going fast are deadly weapons. We had a walker killed on Page Mill Road by a cyclist earlier this year. It happens.
I was lucky. I got my bell rung for about 10 minutes and rode home some 35 miles. I was even luckier because Jobst Brandt helped fix my tweaked wheel so I could ride. I was not wearing a helmet (wish I was).
The cyclist who hit me was not so lucky. He dislocated his shoulder and needed a ride out. He was wearing a helmet. He waited several hours for a ranger to arrive. The rider was nice enough to pay for my damaged parts. I hope he learned his lesson.
Today I saw one racer barreling downhill. Everyone else rode safely, including about 10 youth doing a commercial bike tour. A few mountain bikers have exceptional riding skills and can manage to avoid accidents, but most riders lack these skills. They’re yahoos and they’re the ones who crash because they ride beyond their abilities.
Here’s the good news: Aptos Creek Road, which connects Buzzard Lagoon Road and Aptos Creek Fire Road (green gate) was graded since I last rode there in May 2013.
It’s a dramatic improvement. I found a photo from 2013 that illustrates the rocky boulder field and one that may be the same location. It’s hard to tell because the grading made the road smooth, as smooth as I remember it from riding here in the early 1980s.
Dirt roads degrade over time, mostly from water erosion, and just a little from bike tires. So we should thank the government agency that went to the trouble to grade the road, whether state or county. It’s greatly appreciated.
Today’s ride was much like the one in 1995: A beautiful day with temperatures in the mid-70s and sunny skies. Only this time I didn’t get a headache.
I can tell you: it goes nowhere. That is to say, it goes uphill paved for a mile at a 10 percent grade, or more, before reaching a Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District sign. I'm sure you can imagine what it says: no traipsing.
The road turns private and goes beyond to ranch houses and the like, according to maps.
It's part of the Sierra Azul preserve, MROSD's largest. This section is called Rancho de Guadalupe. It makes one wonder why this road exists and why county tax dollars were used to pave it, if nobody uses it beyond a handful of ranches? Maybe it was because realtor interests anticipated growth here back in the day.
Based on what I've seen perusing topo maps, there are some roads that go to interesting places. One of these days they might even be open to the public.
I’ve been riding on the Hickory Oaks Trail and Long Ridge for about 30 years. Today was one of those days you’ll remember for the fine weather and clear skies, as long as you take a photo.
Highway 9 still has a stop light about three miles up from Saratoga, but it looks like work will be done soon.
Skyline Boulevard has new pavement near the CDF station, but it’s still rough farther north for a few miles. Will they wait until next spring to repave?
We enjoyed passing by and admiring the tree every Halloween.
The owners of the house are long-since gone, along with the tree, but the memories remain.
After reading about the tack attack on Kings Mountain Road, I decided to scratch my plan to ride there.
Turns out the tacks were spread over 50 yards back in June, but an effort to raise a $10,000 reward to catch the criminal made news, again.
I took various paths and expressways to make it over Dumbarton Bridge and then around Coyote Hills and along Alameda Creek.
That reminds me of the time I rode over Dumbarton with Jobst Brandt and friends on April 17, 1983, six months after the new span opened, while on our way to watch the Coors Devil’s Cup Criterium in Walnut Creek, won by Steve Tilford.
Because we were following Jobst, you can be sure we did the unexpected, which meant riding ON THE BRIDGE road, not the separated bike path on the south side.
Back then the striping was four lanes, two each direction, with a generous shoulder, so we rode without being hassled. Striping increased to three lanes after the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake. Due to construction near Crow Canyon Road, we also had to cross Interstate 580.
I’ve lived here long enough to remember driving over the OLD Dumbarton Bridge. Narrow would be the operative word.