Archive for the ‘Weekly photo’ Category

Photo of the Week

September 2, 2012

Mt. Hamilton had its share of warm sunshine on Sunday.

Both times I’ve been up Mt. Hamilton Road in the past month, strange things happened. First, the road was closed at Crothers. No explanation and not even an official vehicle blocking the road.

Then today I see two sheriff’s cars zooming by on the way up Mt. Hamilton following a car that was also zooming. They didn’t have lights on. Strangely, the car turned around and parked at the Grandview Restaurant and the sheriffs followed. Minutes later the sheriffs were both driving up the road and then just as quickly turned around. Weird.

At the observatory I went inside at noon and took the tour to see the 36-inch refractor. Well worth the visit.

In finally saw the new bike lanes in San Jose, on 10th Street next to San Jose State. I think they’re a bit strange to look at.

Here’s the new bike lanes on 10th street. A welcome addition, but I think the striping is odd.

Photo of the Week

August 26, 2012

Amaryllis flowers brighten the view on a dreary August day on the Pacific Coast.

Imagine temperatures between 52 degrees F and 68 degrees on a bike ride in August. Only in the Bay Area.

I rode over to the Pacific Coast and returned on Tunitas Creek Road. These Amaryllis grow next to a mail box at the property where, entering the redwoods, a large aviary burned years ago. It was a sad day, for sure.

I won’t use the common name for these flowers.

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

August 12, 2012

Hedding Street just beyond First heading west. A bike lane on Hedding would be a good thing.

I for one am a big supporter of San Jose’s city government and the actions it’s taking to plan the city’s future. Bicycles are front and center in the transportation plan, which you can read about in the San Jose Bike Plan 2020 – all 20 megabytes.

One small step to a sustainable transportation future calls for bike lanes crisscrossing the city. By sustainable, I mean fewer oil refineries and I think we can all agree we don’t want one of those in our back yard! A little white paint for a bike lane doesn’t sound so bad.

Bike lanes are nothing more than white stripes on the side of the road. However, they can include parking restrictions and that’s the sticking point with a few residents on Hedding Street where a bike lane is planned.

Some 20 street parking spaces in a four-block stretch could be eliminated as the street is reconfigured from four lanes to two, with a center turn lane.

I rode Hedding today going southwest from First Street, not to check it out, but because it’s a route I often take when returning from a ride to the Mt. Hamilton summit. Hedding is a wide boulevard with not much traffic and that’s why I like it. I wrote about crossing Santa Clara Valley east to west in a previous column. Today I prefer Hedding (right on First Street) over Taylor.

As far as I’m concerned the residents can keep their street parking, but let’s stripe the bike lanes. This street should have had bike lanes long ago. As for going from four lanes to three, I’ve seen it done on a short stretch of Pruneridge Avenue and I have no complaints both as a motorist and a cyclist.

As I read the Mercury News editorial column and the Hedding Street hullabaloo, it’s pretty clear that the bicycle remains the whipping boy of transportation. It’s nothing new. Even when bicycles became the king of the road around 1895, we had to fight for our rights.

Whether or not people will take up cycling on safer roads remains to be seen. Sadly, many people stigmatize cycling as degrading, especially for getting around town or commuting. Cycling is the most efficient means of transportation. It’s good for your health and it’s good for planet Earth. Everyone may not agree, but what’ll it be: more bike lanes or more oil refineries?

Ride bike.

Mabury Road approaching King Road in San Jose. Nice street design. Everyone is happy.

Photo of the Week

August 5, 2012

Only in the Bay Area can you ride up a 4,000-foot mountain to an observatory and enjoy the view under sunny, but not hot, skies in August.

Mt. Hamilton seemed like the best choice today given the murky skies in Santa Clara Valley and the Lick Observatory webcam showing sunny skies and mild temperatures.

I rode through downtown San Jose on San Carlos looking for the new bike lanes reported by Mr. Roadshow in the Merc. No luck. I didn’t go out of my way looking.

However, there’s a photo in the Merc. I’m a bit puzzled by the design. It looks like a two-way bike lane with the dashed lines down the middle. It’s not, but it looks that way. I think it will cause some confusion.

On another note, some bike lanes are going to be painted green. That seems like a good idea (as long as repainting is kept up) judging by what I’ve seen mocked up on Cycleicious.

Kudos to San Jose government for trying. Downtown areas of most U.S. cities are a nightmare for cycling due to congestion. Of course, early Sunday morning isn’t bad.

But I digress, a lot. On the ride up Mt. Hamilton I saw the worst outbreak of puncture vine on the road in many years. It’s noticeable all the way to the Grandview restaurant. The thorns are still attached, but in a month they’ll fall off and with a little wind could wind up in the road.

The temperature fell to 58 degrees F but once past Halls Valley and beyond the fog, it went up to a pleasant 80 degrees. I was the sixth rider to the summit, arriving at 10:32 a.m.

While I doubt Lick Observatory has anything to do with tonight’s landing of Curiosity on Mars, I’m sure the entire staff will be glued to the NASA website to follow the landing around 10:30 p.m. PT.

Photos of the Week

July 29, 2012

Public works. About 5 years ago Santa Cruz County repaired this bridge on China Grade.

While waiting for at friend at Skyline Blvd. and Hwy 9, I made small talk with the CHP motorcycle officer watching the intersection. He confirmed the 100 MPH motorcycle challenge through the Santa Cruz Mountains was broken up (this was eons ago but he knew about it).

He said he was looking for speeders and people running the stop sign. I figured he would not see any action. Suddenly a beater car coming from Santa Cruz on Hwy 9 went blasting through the intersection, blowing right by the stop sign!

In less than two seconds the officer took off in hot pursuit. I’ve never seen such a quick departure. Amazing.

The Plastic Planet II was made from discarded soda bottles, created by Richard Sundance Owen to highlight unfettered pollution of our oceans by plastic. Somewhere in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Photos of the Week

July 15, 2012

Stanford University’s original campus buildings have distinctive arched columns.

While visiting Jobst Brandt I noticed his bike has some of the same components as mine — an Avocet Racing II saddle, a Continental front tire and an Avocet Road 30 rear tire. I guess it’s not all that unusual though.

On my way home through the Stanford University campus I took Frenchman’s Road to Junipero Serra Blvd., a favorite road taken by Jobst over the decades (he graduated from Stanford). At the end of the road there’s a nice curb ramp to a small strip of pavement linking Junipero Serra.

The way Jobst tells the story of the ramp, he had enough of curb jumping in the 1980s and wrote a letter to the powers that be asking for just a small amount of pavement. After a lot of foot-dragging the ramp finally went in.

We are forever thankful for this small but meaningful cycling convenience.

Frenchman’s Road ramp is one of those little conveniences that makes the cyclist’s life a whole lot better.

Photo of the Week

July 1, 2012

Pomponio State Beach off Hwy 1 attracted a few surfers on Sunday.

Taking a page from the latter-day rides of Jobst Brandt, I rode up Hwy 84 (30 cars passed going my way between the Portola Road and Skyline) and down 84 to reach the Pacific. It’s obvious why this route became the ride of choice, being the easiest climb to Skyline.

At the coast I headed south with no wind under high clouds. Wave action was enough for the surfers to have a good time at San Gregorio and Pomponio state beaches. I stopped to grab a photo of Pomponio State Beach, the least visited of the nearby beaches.

Pescadero was quiet two days before the 4th. As I headed back up Pescadero Road I noticed someone put a silver globe on the snout of the nicely done Mastadon wood carving.

While climbing Alpine Road, I remember Jobst always wanting to go this way and me always wanting to go up 84 to Old La Honda. Alpine is too hard, I complained. Now it’s my ride of choice. Mindego Hill and those redwood forests in Portola State Park make it worth the effort.

Photo of the Week

June 24, 2012

Canada Road could not have been nicer. Not too much wind and mild temperatures.

Can you believe it was 52 degrees this morning? While the rest of the West burns to a crisp, we’re nice and cool. As I proceeded on Arastradero Road I passed two Sheriffs on motorcycles handing out tickets to cyclists. I guess today was their day for doing that thankless job.

I avoided the tickets and continued through Portola Valley, passing the shuttered Portola Valley Nursery. I guess it has been shut down for a while but never noticed. Just to make things interesting I took Albion Avenue over to Olive Hill Lane. I hadn’t ridden those roads in at least 25 years.

I wanted to check out the Crystal Springs Dam work, but the road is closed about a half mile before the dam. The road is supposed to re-open in December.

On my return I stopped by to see Jobst Brandt. He seemed in pretty good spirits. When I noticed his 48-spoke wheel I expressed my surprise and he had a good one-liner. “Weird.” That Super Champion rim with Phil Wood hub has been sitting in his house for eons. Waiting for a tandem rider who needs one I guess.

And you thought 36 spokes was a lot. This wheel has 48. Built to last.

Photo of the Week

June 3, 2012

Coyote Hills has a great trail network, which I use to go from the Hwy 84 frontage road to the Alameda Creek Trail.

Moving heaven and earth. In this case it’s mostly earth moving at Calaveras Reservoir where the dam will be replaced by 2015 for improved earthquake resistance, we hope. Also in the works on Calaveras Road is the 3.5-mile New Irvington Tunnel, which will run from Sunol to Fremont’s Mission San Jose district, replacing the aging Hetch Hetchy tunnel, which officials fear would fail in an earthquake.

On my Sunol loop ride I took in the lowlands, which makes for a fast ride. Fortunately the ride has a lot of diversity as it takes you along and over the bay, through Coyote Hills, along Alameda Creek and over Calaveras Road.

Lots of earth moving continues at Calaveras Road, which remains closed during weekdays, as the new Calaveras Dam is built. It was yet another beautiful day. While climbing Calaveras Road it’s nice to welcome the bay breeze at higher altitudes.

The bald eagle nest is still on the power line tower and one of the proud parents was looking down at the reservoir, probably contemplating the next meal to feed the eaglets.

Photo of the Week

May 27, 2012

These whimsical characters off Hwy 84 in La Honda remind me of Star Wars, kind of. Nice work.

Purisima Creek bridge crossing. The creek crosses the trail in several locations. The bridges have been in place for as long as I’ve been riding here, since 1980.

My ride took me up Kings Mountain Road and down Purisima Creek Road (trail for MROSD) out to the coast and back on 84 and Alpine Road, Page Mill Road.

Purisima Creek Road is in great shape, although there is unfriendly gravel for the first quarter-mile that will challenge road bikes. This is a far cry better than my last trip after it had been graded. A junk truck has been hauled next to the trail for removal. Logging took place in the canyon well into the 1960s, so it was probably abandoned back then.

No heat wave this weekend. I saw 48 degrees F in the canyon.

On my ride home while climbing Alpine Road I experienced a random act of kindness, one of those moments that renews your faith in humanity. A driver stopped and waited for me to catch up at which point the driver’s teen-age son got out and offered me a bottle of water and food. I welcomed the water because my bottle was empty.

It was a high point in an otherwise downer day as tire problems caused all sorts of delays. But more on that later.


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