Yesterday we ran across a new phenomenon in cycling in our area; in north Walnut Creek, the police were writing tickets for cyclists who did not stop at stop signs on both Iron Horse Trail and the West Contra Costa Canal Trail. Both spots where we saw the police writing tickets were areas with little traffic; one was actually a driveway in an apartment area.
I am not exactly sure what constitutes a complete stop for a cyclist. Must one put one’s feet to the ground, or is a brief hesitation with one’s hand on the brakes enough? It is a fact that some cyclists need to slow down and ride more carefully, but I find it hard to believe that handing out tickets on the trails is the wisest use of police time. However, I wouldn’t object too much if police were to write tickets for people who let their dogs run loose on trails.
Yesterday we left home early and headed to Yountville, where we parked in the Vintage 1870 lot. From Washington St. we headed north to Yount St., then to Yount Mill Road, which we followed to Hwy. 29. Yount Mill Road is a quiet country road with little traffic. On Hwy. 29, we turned right and rode in the wide bike lane to Oakville Grocery, where we made a stop for coffee. The only downside about stopping at Oakville Grocery is that there is no place to sit inside. However, we found a dry bench just outside the entrance; it is fun to watch the traffic zooming by. After coffee we rode as far as Rutherford and then returned to Yountville, riding along the highway all the way until we reached the north end of Washington St., which we took back to the parking lot. After our ride of about 12.5 miles, we treated ourselves to a delicious lunch at Hurley’s in Yountville, where we both had cauliflower soup and onion tarts, a hearty warming lunch at a fine restaurant.
Yount Mill Road in the Fog
Wednesday was my husband’s 75th birthday, so he took the day off work, and we drove to San Francisco, a drive that has become challenging as the traffic in this area increases. But once we arrived in the city, we parked on the Main Parade area of the Presidio, pulled our folding Dahon bikes from the car, and rode down to the paved path on the edge of the bay. It was chilly, and there was a slight wind as we headed toward Fort Point but the sky was mostly blue under the winter sun and it felt good to pedal along with the Golden Gate Bridge looming over us as we absorbed the serene beauty of this wonderful city. Soon we stopped at the Warming Hut, run by the National Park Service, for coffee. Riding on to Fort Point, we turned around when we could go no further and headed the opposite direction.
The Golden Gate Bridge
A View of Fort Point
We then rode past the yacht club on the left and the beautiful houses on the right until we reached Fort Mason, where we again turned around to head back to the Presidio. We rode our bikes up the hill to the charming little restaurant, La Terrasse, where we each had a salad, his a duck confit and mine a Lyonnaise, followed by a lemon tart for him and a fig-blueberry tart for me.
After riding our bikes back to the car, we paid a visit to the fairly new Walt Disney Museum. It is a well-designed museum laid out chronologically with a lot of American history and culture bound into the story of the life of Disney, whose tale is a quintessentially American one–great success and wealth arising out of an undoubted talent, strong determination, and hard work.
After a drive of about an hour, we reached home where we prepared for an evening celebration with our children and grandchildren. This would make a better story if we had ridden 75 miles for my husband’s 75 years, but we probably rode about 7.5 miles, which works for us as the saying goes.
Yesterday I rode on Livorna Rd. to get to downtown Walnut Creek by riding through Alamo. Just past Lavendar Lane, on the right-hand side, there was a receptacle of some kind parked across the bike lane, blocking it completely. It was either a dumpster or some kind of storage container. Whatever it was, it was placed off of private property onto public space. It should not have been there. Livorna is a busy road where people drive fast, and no matter how much cyclists are urged to take the lane, it is still dangerous in some places. I don’t think that anyone would argue with the fact that the cyclist is much more vulnerable than the automobile driver or passenger.
Today my husband and I enjoyed a lovely ride from the Sycamore Park and Ride in Danville to Blackhawk. It was chilly, but the sun was shining brightly and the bike lane was clear of debris as though it had been recently swept. Although the traffic sometimes whooshes by, the bike lane is wide, making the cyclist feel reasonably secure.
The generous bike lane on Camino Tassajaro
Blackhawk is a pleasant place to have coffee and look around at the shops or to watch the ducks. Today we were fascinated to watch the ducks face the obstacle of a small waterfall to get to some toddlers who were offering food. Some ducks went right over the fast moving water, others flew, and some turned back, deciding not to take any chances.
Ducks at Blackhawk
It has been like a game trying to get a ride in around the surfeit of rain storms that we have had the last few weeks. But I have managed to ride about once a week. It is not enough, but it is better than nothing. The trail is lovely right now because everything is lush and green, and it tends to be quieter on the path because of the inclement weather.
Winter view from bridge in south Danville