I took the Serow out on a short ride through the Cupertino foothills this afternoon. I’d wanted to do a longer ride, starting in the morning, but it was 45F and cloudy when I got up, and didn’t warm up until 2pm or so — I’m all spoiled with the electrics on the SVS now and my poor widdle bwood would have fwozen had I taken the Serow out earlier.
Mental note: Get Gerbing heat controller for the Serow….
Anyhoo, I started out here in Cupertino and rode past Stevens Creek Reservoir. It’s a 2-lane road, 30mph posted (if I remember correctly), and decently-paved. Between a quarry alongside the road and the reservoir, there’s always patches of mud/dirt/gravel in parts of the road, but even the SVS has never had a problem on it.
It was my first time taking the Serow on twisty roads; it took me a while to find a line. I’m not used to how the bike tips into turns at various speeds, so from above, my lines around corners probably look like a drunk navigating city sidewalk obstacles. Practice will help.
There’s a stop sign at the intersection of Stevens Canyon and Mt Eden; normally Peter and I take the road bikes up Mt Eden, but today I stayed on Stevens Canyon. I’d done this road once before, years ago on the SVS, and I vaguely remembered it being a narrow road.
My memory served me well! Stevens Canyon is a wonderful 1.5 lane (narrowing to one lane in many places) road that winds alongside — you guessed it — Stevens Creek. I saw many bicyclists, a couple of pickups, and no cars. It’s the sort of road you travel because (a) you’re doing some sort of 2-wheeled ride or (b) you live there.
The pavement was wet on much of the road and the shoulders were dirty and covered in wet leaves. The Serow loved it! Not a slip, not a waver nor wobble. I rode over three one-lane wooden bridges, y’know, the kind with lots of planks perpendicular to the road and then two long parallel planks where the car wheels would travel. I would have stopped for a photo, but they were always just around blind corners; I didn’t want to become a hood ornament for a local’s pickup. There’s one in the background of this photo, though:
Stevens Canyon dead-ends at a metal gate announcing the beginning of a fire road that winds northwest for a while and eventually meets up with Page Mill Road in Palo Alto. Sadly (for me), the fire roads are closed to all motorized traffic. Sigh. I turned the Serow around and headed back the way I came.
A short while after my U-turn, I remembered that there’d been another small road, Redwood Gulch, that’d intersected with Stevens Canyon; I was pretty sure that road then intersected with Highway 9. I turned right onto Redwood Gulch and wound my way up and up and around and around. Another tight, narrow road, with similar scenery to Stevens Canyon. The last little bit before hitting Highway 9 is extremely poorly paved; we’re talking manhole-cover sized potholes and mud and grime. I avoided the biggest potholes, but it was impossible to miss all of them, and the Serow did really well again. I’m loving this dual sport suspension!
I turned south onto Highway 9 and headed back down towards Cupertino. 9’s a nice wide road, so I was able to get some speed up and practice my lines. They were still pretty bad.
I turned left onto Pierce Road and took that past the wineries to Mt Eden — Peter’s and my usual weekend morning jaunt.
As I turned back onto Stevens Canyon, there looked to some sort of accident right at the quarry. There was a policewoman directing traffic around two ambulances, a fire truck, and two cop cars; someone was being loaded into the ambulance as I passed. I didn’t get a good luck at what happened. Another ambulance and seven more police cars passed me, heading towards the accident, as I continued down Stevens Canyon. 🙁
I stopped at Stevens Creek Reservoir for a couple of photos, naturally.
I continue to adore the Serow. Hopefully I’ll do more riding tomorrow…