Nuclear power plant shutting down

January 10, 2023

Looks like Chernobyl. When I rode my bike through the Alps, Chernobyl had its meltdown.

Not exactly nuclear, but it is shutting down. The deal was recently “cemented.”

I don’t think it will make much difference in terms of cycling safety.

We’ve had so much rain that Stevens Creek Reservoir is being lowered for more runoff.

Stevens Creek gushing

January 8, 2023

Stevens Creek crosses under Stevens Canyon Road on a soggy Sunday.

Stevens Creek hasn’t had this much water in at least four years.

Creeks that are normally dry now have water.

Stevens Creek Reservoir is nearing capacity. Will they use the spillway?

I’ve seen them running on rare occasions.

Stevens Canyon Road is open, but watch for falling trees. The ground is saturated.

Stevens Creek Reservoir nears capacity.

Santa Cruz Mountains roads under assault

January 2, 2023

Turkey tail mushroom in Stevens Canyon.

It’s looking like 2016-17 again as more roads are closing from floods and mudslides in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

If this weather keeps up, as predicted, we’ll lose a lot of cycling routes for a while.

This morning I noticed Stevens Canyon Road is closed at the canyon entrance.

I didn’t investigate.

Meanwhile, more Chanterelles from a Sunday search, and the gorgeous Turkey tail mushroom is out in force.

Chanterelles ready for cooking.

Chanterelles honeycomb the Santa Cruz Mountains

December 28, 2022

Recent rains have been a blessing for mushrooms.

I wish. Today, for the first time in years, I found a new location for chanterelles.

They were right under my nose, I hope.

Chanterelles are notorious for popping up one year, and gone the next.

Other times they’re dependable at one location.

Swiss bunkers honeycomb the Alps

December 27, 2022

Bunkers galore in the Swiss Alps.

In my years cycling through the Swiss Alps, I never knowingly saw a bunker, but they’re out there, at least 300,000 of them!

Bizarre, but understandable if you were living next to Nazi Germany in the early 1940s.

Gotthard Pass into Italy.

Nothing beats a bike ride through the Swiss Alps.

Faber’s Cyclery resurrection, of sorts

December 25, 2022

Faber’s Cyclery building in downtown San Jose, restored.

Faber’s Cyclery was a fixture in downtown San Jose for decades, before burning down in 2013. But wait!

The San Jose Mercury News reports that it has been restored, as a bar.

I first saw the shop in June 1983 on a ride with Jobst Brandt on our way over Mt. Hamilton.

I stopped by today to check it out. It looks a lot like it did before the fire.

There’s colorful history behind the shop. Check it out here and on my previous blog posting.

Santa Cruz Mountains wildlife up close

December 14, 2022

Wildlife camera in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Katharina Pierini photo.

I’ve been exploring the Santa Cruz Mountains for more than 40 years, but I’ve never seen anything like what Katharina Pierini has captured on trail cameras.

It’s amazing the amount of wildlife that lives here in the shadows.

They mostly come out at night, but not so for three cougars somewhere near Skyline Boulevard, I’d guess.

It’s all described with photos on website.

Finally, a happy forest

December 13, 2022

Somewhere in the Santa Cruz Mountains. 1.6 pounds.

How long has it been since I found chanterelles in the Santa Cruz Mountains?

It was 2018. That’s a big gap, and not for lack of trying.

Anyway, a happy forest is a forest with chanterelles. That’s because it means there’s plentiful rain.

Forests love rain, and so do mushrooms and banana slugs.

Hillsdale Avenue unsafe – no matter what

December 8, 2022

Hillsdale Avenue looking east. Widest city street I’ve ever seen.

Recently the city of San Jose gave Hillsdale Avenue a makeover, reducing lanes from six (no bike lanes), with a turn lane, to four (with bike lanes).

There have been lots of accidents on the street, so I’m told, and something needed to be done. I applaud the city planners for making improvements, but it’s not enough.

I’d put in stop lights, anything to slow traffic.

You could land a 747 here! I’ve never seen a road so wide, especially one that cuts through residential neighborhoods. It’s obscene.

While the changes are good overall, there are some shortcomings for cyclists.

I’ll mention two:

  1. Add some green striping at the Camden/Hillsdale split going east. Anyone riding a bike this direction has a death wish. The rider has to merge across two Camden lanes and at this point cars are moving fast. I’m not saying green stripes will eliminate the hazard, but it gives motorists a warning.
  2. Add some green stripes across Hillsdale for bikes turning left on Cherry Avenue. There’s a long left-turn lane, but I found myself trapped between parked cars and the road. I had to turn right and make a U turn on Cherry. That’s why I’m not a fan of having car parking to the left of bike lanes.

I don’t ride in this area because of roads like Hillsdale. Traffic moves fast on wide roads. Not my kind of riding.

Car parking left of the bike lane. It makes left turns difficult.

However, the popular Willow Glen neighborhood has some great cycling. Riding here, you’re transported to a magical fairyland where every house has character and beauty and all is right with the world. Too bad it’s surrounded by unfriendly roads.

A good clockwise loop is Los Gatos Creek path, Willow Street, Glen Eyrie Avenue, Cherry Avenue, Robsheal Drive, Hicks Road, Dry Creek Road, Cherry Avenue, Hillsdale, Leigh Avenue.

South San Jose is emblematic of all that’s wrong with car-centric city design. It’s unfriendly to all forms of transportation, except cars.

Sunnyvale’s deadly intersection

December 4, 2022

When I saw a ghost bike parked at the intersection of Inverness Way and S. Wolfe Road in Sunnyvale, I knew someone had died here, on September 26.

What I didn’t see right away was a pair of ghost shoes. A pedestrian died at this intersection on September 8.

The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition had some harsh words for the City of Sunnyvale. Such criticism is well deserved. My dealings with the city regarding bicycle matters has been negative. They never respond.

However, they did adjust a traffic light on Mary Avenue per my request. It wasn’t recognizing bicycles.

A word of advice to city traffic engineers: Streets with bike traffic/bike lanes should have traffic signals that trip promptly when a bicycle rolls over the sensor. That’s a small convenience that will encourage bike riding in a big way.

Nothing is more frustrating than waiting for a light to turn and then finding out it’s not bike sensitive.

I face this kind of obstacle at Northlawn Drive and Campbell Avenue in West San Jose. It’s a block from Moreland Middle School. I usually have good things to say about bicycle safety in San Jose, but this is an oversight.

I couldn’t find any information about the cyclist, Yong Hu, age 63. Maybe full name was Yongsheng.

Nor could I find anything about Cole Decker Lockwood. From the photos, he looked to be young.

I ride through this intersection about once a week. It doesn’t have a left-turn signal, which is the only negative I can find.

Of course, I think Inverness should have bike lanes its entire length, but that would mean eliminating street parking since the road is narrow. At least paint some bike “sharrows.”

I ride this way so I can snake my way through the Panama Park neighborhood to get to Fremont Avenue.

This route avoids traffic, and these days that’s the best way I can think of to stay alive on the bike.

Inverness at Wolfe looking east. (Google Maps image)