Sunday, February 26, 2012

Embarcadero BART to Bolinas via Railroad Grade, Ridgecrest Road

For the last 3 hours of this ride I dealt with less than a dozen cars in my lane and just a few dozen heading the other way. Bliss.

I started from Embarcadero BART and took the bike lane along the waterfront to Northpoint bike lane, then cut over to the hill between Aquatic Park and Fort Mason Center. The Golden Gate bridge was terrible. The west side bike lane is closed for a spell so now we mix with tourists and joggers on the east side. It was very slow.

Once across the bridge and through Sausalito things start to improve on the Mill Valley - Sausalito bike path through Bothin Marsh Preserve. I took Miller straight up through the parking lot by the old Depot coffee shop and zig-zagged up to West Blithedale.

After about a mile or so there's a gated fire road on the right, with an entrance you can ride through just behind the redwood on the left side of the gate. Get ready to climb.

Railroad Grade consistently winds up the south side of Mount Tamalpais at 7%, from Mill Valley to the peak it's about 90% dirt fire road and 10% paved. Lots of rocks and bumps but still passable on 23mm slicks if you don't mind constant bumping and occasional loose grip. Slightly cushier 25mm tires would be better.

Looking up from about 1/3 of the way up, West Peak on the right and East Peak on the left of the ridge -

Looking back down -

My steel Bianchi, no not the traditional celeste green.

The grade ends after at least an hour of climbing, hitting the ridge road about a mile or two below West Peak. After a quick ride on the road there's a paved bike/pedestrian path on the right after that takes you to the parking lot at the peak. Views from the top are stellar.

From West peak it's exhilaratingly fast and bitingly cold downhill at first, but then you're slogging uphill again on a couple cruel little climbs. Finally, after East Peak it's all downhill to the junction and a straight shot onto West Ridgecrest Road, an all time favorite.

Bolinas is on the left of that point of land jutting into the ocean in the center of the picture.

At the junction with Bolinas - Fairfax road I pause for a snack. It's quiet in the filtered light among the redwoods, and I'm filled with anticipation for another long snaking downhill.

Looking back up the way I came -

Anticipating -

I wanted to head out to the end of Mesa Road but was short of time, so I explored the Mesa a bit and found myself on this overlook at the end of Maple Road.

What a beautiful day, cycling over Tam in peace and quiet to meet up with my family in Bolinas. I'm blessed.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Fleming Point Feb 24 sunset


Sunset photo while out for a quick spin on the old steel Bianchi to get saddle angles and seat height dialed in for a ride over Mount Tam tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing the Railroad Grade again.

Beach at Fleming Point. Supposedly one of the last undisturbed sections of shoreline on the Bay?

Richmond Harbor Feb 23rd

Pardon the seam, I just like the look of an oceangoing ship docked right next to the road. It looked like they were loading or off-loading asphalt coal. I couldn't tell for sure and didn't want to hang out too long.

Monday, February 20, 2012

More Palomares

Cleaned my drivetrain last night, it was just a quiet whisper today.

I could smell more clearly - fireplaces, barnyards, roads drying, upturned earth.

Discovered Justco Lane, much nicer than turning from Crow Canyon onto Castro Valley Blvd. Jump on the curb or squeeze through the gutter at the gate. Connects with Castro Valley at the 580 shopping center, east of the light at the freeway offramp.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Reliez Valley Road

Must have done the Alhambra - Reliez - Happy Valley loop around 50 times, but this was only the second time I've done it counter-clockwise. Backwards makes it new.

Northwest end of Reliez Valley Road, just before it turns into Alhambra Valley Road.

My bread goes to 21

"Dave's Killer Bread" - 21 grains, who even knew there were that many bread grains. It is killer though.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

San Pablo Reservoir Boat Ramp, twilight

The 1.8 mile leg down to the boat ramp is open all week now, it's a nice little add-on to the minimum standard SPDR loop through El Sobrante and up Wildcat. Gate closes around dusk.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Palomares Road

A rare treat to get out on Palomares from Albany. It's a beautiful 10 mile stretch with some rollers and one good hill right in the middle, lots of greenery, and no stop signs.

Snaking south from crest.
Out of reach today, too bad.
Have to come back soon.

Turning back over the pass after taking south facing photo at the crest, mile marker 5.1 or so. The south side runs next to the creek for a while and is a nice downhill. Hwy 84 into Fremont is not too bad outside of traffic hours.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Red Oak Victory, sunset Feb 8th

Black and white seems more appropriate for the era

USS Iowa berthed in Richmond, off of Harbour Boulevard near the old Ford Building.

Is it somewhat ironic that the Ford Building (on the right), with a wharf where so many tanks, jeeps and other material forged from US steel was loaded aboard ships destined for the Pacific theater in WW II, is today immediately adjacent to the landing point for steel imported in the shape of Honda, Subaru, Kia, and other cars?