Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Far East Way or: How I learned to Stop Braking and Love the Dirt

i'm going to have a title for my ride report today! whee!

TITLE: Far East Way or: How I learned to Stop Braking and Love the Dirt (original post title: "Far East Way tomorrow - 6:05am at 24th St BART")

i can imagine all the things scott said in distrust about me being flaky as he and brett were standing on the BART platform waiting, but since you're reading my ride report you already know that he was WRONG! i was running down the stairs as fast as my cleats would carry me just as the train pulled in, and unlike my fine companions i didn't waste five minutes of my life waiting for the train. suckahs!

after this fine start we relaxed in the train for a while, scott looking smug in a pair of flip flops that he had brought for walking in the stairs. well, bones get frail when you get old, so it was probably a wise decision on his part. youthful and careless as we are, brett and i were sporting sidis.

our BART ride came to an end in san leandro. two titanium steeds and one damn fine transparent aluminum steed could be seen by the fine vistas at lake chabot, which were soon followed by some steep rolling hills with stop signs in every valley. scott dubbed them "the seven cortlands".

View Far East Way - San Leandro to G via Palomares Canyon in a larger map

after less than 40 minutes of riding time scott declared that it was time for breakfast and bodi's java in castro valley served us some good bagels while we chatted with the regulars who were trying to make sure we'd gotten at least 15 miles of riding in before stopping for breakfast. hmmmmmm. oops, no. being the youngest member of the peloton, i was chosen to pose in a relaxed manner:

after this First Ever (?) Mid-Ride Breakfast Stop we went on and soon reached Palomares Canyon, 15 miles of nice hilly road with barely no traffic and horses on the side. that was sweet.

that was followed by a few miles on single-lane 84 with lots of fast traffic. that was not so sweet, but it was short and we were soon safe on alameda creek trail that doesn't have any motorized traffic at all, except for the one truck that coming at high speed through a blind corner trying to kill brett. he survived and we observed several things:

  • east bay people are really friendly. not a single person ignored our greetings.
  • the houses on the non-creek side provided us with a diorama of how different classes live: first some nice, big, well-maintained houses with largish yards, followed by some smaller houses further south, ending with a trailer park before the weeds took over.
  • the creek appears to be dangerous, as all housing was fenced off from it. the cost of the fence appeared to be proportional to the cost of the living quarters; tall painted steel fence for the fancy houses, a simple net fence for the trailers.
and at last we reached the dirt path in the middle of the bay! scott proposed to call it moses way, as it was kind of like parting the sea and walking through it. if we're going to have religiously themed routes, i want to ride shiva's path or maybe the avenue of ganesh. i wonder what kind of bike ride a blue elephant god would favor.

riding in the dirt was fun! it was nice, flat, hard packed dirt. i figured that since i wasn't a dirt kind of girl, if i was fine with it, everyone else would be fine with it too. it wasn't much of a speed deterrent, either - it wasn't entirely unlike a bike highway. but say the happiness that lasts forever... after a few miles we reached the dumbarton bridge which we swiftly crossed and we were back on good ol' bayway. refreshed by the ride in the dirt, scott and i were eying some cool little plank bridges built through the marsh for servicing the power lines. it would be rad to ride on those, and it would be a shortcut! but alas, it was not meant to be and we continued on the usual way through most of palo alto, but added an offshoot towards the bay somewhere in the middle, rode on some more dirt, got back on track, then headed off to a sekrit dirt path instead of the usual boring bayshore! we saw some more of the power line plank bridges, and, alas, they were not contiguous and our dreams were shattered. but at this point i had embraced the dirt and was delighted to see more of it. we navigated through school classes and trash pickers on nice wide dirt paths and i realized i could no longer view myself as a strict paving girl. in fact, the small sections of paving between dirt appeared horrendously boring in comparison.

our dirt paths eventually dropped us off by the shoreline lake and we could safely proceed to google without having been on a road since palo alto.

scott has photos. scott, give us photos!

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