Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Beginner's Middle East (Bay) Way Ride Report (Tuesday, 7/20)

Vital stats:
Departed 16th and Mission BART at 6:22 am, arrived San Leandro 6:54 am
Riding time: 2:28
Mileage: 35.6
Avg. rolling speed: 14.4

Summary: I really enjoyed this ride and would recommend it to anyone who wants to change things up from Bayway or Skyline. It’s exhilarating to be on a commute to work where at times you can see no other buildings or people - it makes you feel much farther away from civilization than you really are. There are 3 dirt sections - sections 1 and 3 are easier technically, while section 2 is a little more challenging. If you haven’t ridden on dirt before, this is a good introduction. Section 1 gets you used to the feel of dirt and by the time you’ve arrived at section 2, you can handle the slightly rougher terrain. I have no special tires or equipment and I was fine.

Details: We got off BART, biked for about 10 minutes and then entered our first dirt section. It was definitely dirt, but I had pictured something much more intimidating - something like the deep grooves of BTN mud, which in my opinion, share some of the same tire trapping properties as MUNI tracks.

We exited dirt section 1, rode on pavement for another 10 or so minutes, and then headed on to dirt section 2. This section was more difficult because the stones over the path were larger than on the previous section. Still this was totally do-able for an intermediate cyclist like myself. I only slipped once here - and did not fall - w00t!

Somewhere during the ride, we rode through Hayward, where there is no bike lane and a few rushed and rude drivers came within a foot of our bikes. There was very little traffic on the road though, so luckily the cars were few and far between.

In Freemont, we entered a bike path, which started as a paved trail, and then transitioned to dirt section 3. This section was similar to the easier dirt of dirt section 1. By this time, I felt comfortable on the bumpy terrain and even found it fun!

As we continued on, we took our requisite photos with the Christina Maria:

(Now I know you all want to go on this ride for your pictures w/her!)

As we finished our last dirt section, we headed across 84 surrounded by the bay. Then it was back to our familiar Bayway stomping grounds - Sun, EPA, and finally Goog.

Brett insists that I tell you that I pulled him from Sun to GOOG ;) - and this was possible because I still had lots of energy from trying a new ride! For me, this ride was easier than a Millbraeway - it’s about 5 miles longer, but we were going significantly slower. This ride is more technically difficult than our standard routes, but that shouldn’t prevent anyone from trying it out. For beginners, you may feel a little wobbly on the dirt, but let’s face it, if you do fall (unlikely), it’s not going to hurt as much as falling on the Bridge to Nowhere...not that I know anything about that. ;)

The Bottom Line: If you’ve done Bayway and Skyline, this is the next ride to put into your ride portfolio. The ride is probably best in summer when it’s drier and the mud is less muddy, so you have plenty of time to test it out before the winter rains come back. What are

you waiting for? GO!

Friday, July 9, 2010

DOUBLE FAIL on Fri 7/9 Millbway style II

The day started out good;  Made the BART train on time, snuck in a
coffee, and rode down to Millbrae listening to Le Show.

Fooled around with the add-fare machine and managed to get rid of one
of my many $1.10 tickets lying around the house.

There was a +1 followed by a -1 and I expected to ride solo, so I was
pleasantly surprised to find Michelle Cheng (hope I got your name
right!) waiting at the bottom of the escalator.

Off we rode, and made the left onto Millbrae Ave.

SNAP     And there goes my chain.

Michelle was very optimistic that between her chain tool and someone
more experienced than either of us eventually riding by, my chain
could be fixed.  Looking at the missing link piece, I was unable to
muster such confidence, so I confirmed that she was cool with riding
on by herself, and said goodbye.  I called my wife and asked if she
could throw the boy, the dog, and the bike rack in the car and come
pick me up, walked back to the station, and took the BART back to Glen

They were waiting for me when I arrived, which was really nice, and I
went around the back, pulled out the rack, stuck it into the slot, and
turned the crank to tighten it into the hitch receiver.

SNAP   And there goes my bike rack.

We made it home on the cotter pin and slow driving.

This is the 2nd time the attachment system on my rack - Thule "Helium"
- has broken.  I'm going to insist on getting it replaced with
something different this time.  Never again.

So much for my glorious return to SF2G.  Next week maybe.


store: | blog: | terms: | bike prep: | unsub:

7/9 Regular Bayway Style 3, Philz @ 6:15

Little chilly for a summer morning, and other than a small crash a
successful ride. 8 riders and we managed to pick up a few more along
the way, although we split into two groups by EPA.

Photo is after John took a corner with his inside pedal down and
caught some minor road rash.

Perfect style 3 pace at 14.7 mph, 3:05 (rolling time, including an
extra 3 miles that I rode to get to Philz).


On 7 July 2010 20:11, Nick Pelly wrote:
> Not quite a NRLB, but we'll be taking it really easy, so if you think
> you can keep up 15mph for the distance you should be ok. Already have
> 2 riders confirmed.
> Roll-out from Philz at Folsom & 24th.
> Nick

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Middle East (Bay) Way - Starting at West Oakland BART via the Posey Tube to Alameda Island

ToC (Table of Contents, not Tour of California)
1. New: West Oakland BART and the Posey Tube
2. New: Alameda Island to the San Leandra Marina
3. The rest of the way
4. Conclusion
5. Appendix
1. New: West Oakland BART and the Posey Tube
The ride starts at West Oakland BART and heads down 7th Street. I started a little after 6:15 AM and the streets were relatively empty, so it made for a chill start, just like Ammon and I had done some months back.
Up next was locating the Posey Tube, which for car traffic is the easten direction of travel. By some genius of urban planning, only one of the four possible walkways in the two tunnels to Alameda Island is open to pedestrian and bike traffic, and so when we had in the past tried to cross under via the westbound Webster Tube, we were looking in the wrong place. Once you know to go for the other tunnel, it is easy to find. This photo kinda says it all.
The Posey tube is loud and stinky and narrow. Stinky like sucking on a big rig's diesel exhaust as it gears down to climb up the highway 80 pass towards a Reno roadhouse. Loud like you can't even think to wonder where all this traffic came from. Narrow like the skinny jeans on an angry bike messenger working out their issues with authority while squeezing through FiDi traffic. (Enough with the poetics already.) The major concern for us bikers is the width. You can't ride fast, because there's a seam in the middle of the pathway that throws you off. And if a biker is coming the other way (like the dude with the motorcycle helmet and about 5 headlights I came across on this fine morning (sorry, no picture)), you both have to get off, squeeze to the sides of the walkway and slide past one another. It's totally doable, its just little bit of a pain. Kinda like the Bridge to Nowhere, it gives the ride some character. I recommend this ride for the mildly adventurous riding in a group of 10 or fewer.
2. New: Alameda Island to the San Leandra Marina
Once you are through the Posey Tube, you simply continue across Alameda Island to the waterfront and hop on the Bay Trail. There's a bike/ped bridge at the end of the island that takes you over to the land that the Oakland Airport is on. The only tricky bit here is that when you are just past the entrance to OAK, the trail starts up again, taking a sharp right out to the bay. From here to the San Leandro Marina was straightforward: just follow the trail along the water, and when the trail ends, stay on the surface streets next to the water until you reach the Marina.
3. The rest of the way
Same as previously documented. This day happened to have a stiff wind (10mph or higher) out of the west, so the ride became quite a slog for me. But every other time we have ridden this route, the wind has either been calm or helpful. Even though it was windy, I was tired and took time to take pictures and do minor route-finding, I finished the ride in 3 hours for a 15mph overall average (total of 45 miles).
4. Conclusion
I support adding this as a canonical SF2G ride. Thoughts? Shall we ride it together tomorrow?
5. Appendix