Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ride Report: Middle East Way - West Oakland & Coyote Hills Explorations & Some Setbacks

Map and photos from Ammon (truncated showing just the route to Google (46 miles).

I met up with Ammon in car 2 of BART train that departed 16th Street Mission station at 6:12am. We were on the train for a mere 14 minutes and got rolling at 6:30 in West Oakland, which is pretty tranquil at this time of day. We pedaled down 7th Avenue in hopes of taking the tunnel over to Alameda island. Oops!: no bikes allowed (setback #1). Note to selves: we're gonna look into taking the ferry over, because the west and south ends of Alameda look awesome for riding. So we continued down 7th Street, which is probably crazy busy during the day but was chill for us. To get to Alameda via a bridge, we had to head down some unintuitive roads that made it look like we were gonna get on 880 but worked out fine. I'm gonna research the best way from West Oakland to Alameda, because while not too bad, I'm pretty sure what we took wasn't ideal.

Once in Alameda via a cute old bridge, we decided to cut across the island and get on the Bay Trail. Again, I'm not sure we took the most direct route, as we ran into a lot of lights. Once we reached the opposite shore, we were greeted with trail closure signs from the recent oil spill (setback #2). We took our chances and got our first taste of dirt. Ammon squirted ahead with his cross bike. Next up was crossing from Alameda back to mainland via a bicycle drawbridge. How cool is that? This section by the Oakland Airport was surprising very low in traffic. Right past the airport is the easy-to-miss sign for the Bay Trail, which we then hopped on.

A little ways down the trail, we encountered another trail closed sign (setback #3). Apparently they're building a bridge across the creek here. which meant that we had to detour inland and ended up in the wastewater treatment plant with a high fence between us and Davis Road. Huh (setback #4). We looked into hopping the fence but before too long, a vehicle drove out of the facility, opening the gate for us, too. (Sorry, no pictures here.)

After riding through Oyster Bay park, we were finally back on the "familiar" part of Middle East Way and figured we were safe...

Not so! It seems all this Federal stimulus money is going to bicycle infrastructure, so we again encountered trail construction (setback #5). We pleaded with the workers and they kindly let us pass. We did get to hop a fence this time, though.

The rest of the ride was pretty chill. Instead of riding way out of the levees, Ammon rode the ridge of the Coyote Hills as far as he could (setback #6)) and I rode the Bay View trail [video] along the base, where Ammon later joined me. This dumps out right by a scary/cool old mine and at the Dumbarton Bridge Toll Plaza. Bay View trail is a totally valid alternative, with less dirt and slightly more climbing (if you don't ride the ridge). Once past the toll plaza, you ride along 84 on a frontage road with cool foam on the road [video] and and cross the bridge and rejoin Bayway by Sun.

The last treat of the ride was learning about the amphibious (they float!) backhoes that are being used to restore the salt water ponds by East PA.

Many thanks to Ammon for the GPS track and excellent photo documentation, and for being as into finding new routes as I am.


- More riding + less BARTing = good

- Viable as a full-fledged route once they finish the bridge construction (the other construction project is short-term)

- Research a better way to and through Alameda

Your route finder,

Brett Lider

P.S. A couple more videos I took: