East Bay ride

I woke up yesterday morning to very heavy fog — the solid wall of grey that means that the hot central valley air is rising, pulling the fog in from over the ocean and through the Golden Gate.  Neat stuff, but it means coastal riding is pretty much a no-op (one August ride with the heated vest was enough for me, thankyouverymuch).

So I figured, what the heck, I’ll head east.  I haven’t been east in a long time.

I had grand plans to take pictures of the Dumbarton Bridge, maybe even pulling over at Ravenswood Open Space Preserve at the base of the bridge to take arty pics.  But no; it was totally fogged in.  So no pictures for you.

I have this weird thing going on with the city of Fremont — I get stuck riding through street fairs a disproportionate amount of the time.  I remember a particularly dismal ride with Women on Wheels there once where we were routed all over god’s green earth because of some pet festival that shut down all the main roads. Why do I mention this?  The 47th Annual Niles Antique Fair and Flea Market, of course!

This is the Antique Fair portion, which was vaguely safe to photograph (note the stellar driving as illustrated by the pickup truck trying to plow over pedestrians).  The Flea Market part had the double whammy of the main roads being closed while every third house (plus every church) showcased a ginormous yard sale.  The number of cars and pedestrians was astonishing.  It would have been sort of cool had I not been trying to ride through it.  Ah, Fremont.

Once I passed the Antique Fair and environs, Niles Canyon Road opened up and the traffic dropped off significantly.  As if to celebrate surviving Fremont, the last of the fog burned off.

I wasn’t on Niles Canyon very long, but instead took the left onto Palomares Road, one of my favorite little backroads.

This seems like a reasonable restriction:

I do love Palomares.  It was a gorgeous day and I really enjoyed just puttering along the 7 miles of sweepers.   I’ve never been a very fast rider to begin with and not riding for 2 years certainly didn’t make me any faster, but I’m getting more and more OK with that.  Fortunately I was the only motorized vehicle on the road in either direction (there were a few bicycles) so I could take my time.

Along Palomares I started to notice the old pinched nerve pain in my left shoulder.  I was disappointed because I’d assumed that it was chronic while riding because I did so much touring and therefore maybe it had healed up over the past couple of years.  But apparently not.  I mean, I’ll take the shoulder ache over the spine problems any day of the week, but it was still a bit of a bummer to notice it again.

Fortunately — unlike the back pain — the shoulder always calms down within a minute or so of getting off the bike and stretching, so I pulled over at the intersection of Palomares and Palo Verde.

The barn at this intersection has been a tag in many a photo scavenger hunt game.  The foliage is growing annoyingly tall for photography…someone should get on that.  😉  I did some googling but surprisingly wasn’t able to find any history for the barn.  Does anyone know?

This is as good a time as any to confess to my new alter ego: Midget Stig!

I have half a review done for my new incredibly fantastic custom-made Revolution suit by Teiz Motorsports, so check back for that.  Looks pretty awesome, no?

I think that Midget Stig is perhaps the flip side of the coin from Evil Robot.  Separated at birth?

From Palomares and Palo Verde, I had a thoroughly uninspired ride through Castro Valley and Hayward back to the Bay.  Blah blah surface streets blah traffic lights blah blah.

My final stop for the trip was at the Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center.  I only had about 20 minutes to putter around the visitor’s center before I had to head home, so I didn’t do any walking around out on the marsh — next time!

The high point to the visitor center for me was a tiny little mud crab in an aquarium.  I photographed the crab for most of my allotted 20 minutes at the center; it was entirely unclear as to whether the crab enjoyed the attention.

At any rate, I highly enjoyed the interpretive center and plan on going back (and will hopefully walk the short trail there too).

Since the weather was cooperating, I did take a fascinating photo of crossing the San Mateo Bridge into Foster City:

And a few miles later, bippity bop, I was home.

For what it’s worth, late last week I also rolled over 1000 miles ridden in 2011.  Much better than the 360 that I rode in 2010!   While I’m talking milestones, I want to mention that I’m also commuting to work 3x/week now…as of today (Monday 8/29), I’ve now ridden 5 days in a row. 🙂




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