Riding the Bay Trail in Foster City and San Mateo

San Mateo Bridge

This was a trip on a segment of the San Francisco Bay Trail. After we drove across the San Mateo Bridge, we turned right on the first street, Foster City Blvd. This leads to 3rd Ave, which turns into J. Hart Clinton Drive, where there are free parking lots with ample space. After mounting our bikes, we headed south toward Foster City, crossing under the San Mateo Bridge and eventually riding past some of the residential areas of Foster City, a city built on landfill in the 1960s. I can remember when a certain member of my family assured me that Foster City would eventually sink into the bay. But I can attest to the fact that today the area is attractive and fairly upscale.

San Francisco Bay Trail

We turned around after riding south for about a half hour and headed back north in the direction of San Francisco. We rode around Seal Point Park and then exited the trail to ride into the city of San Mateo, where there are several good restaurants. Although we found the bike bridge across Hwy. 101 by following the directions that we had in a book and by asking a couple of people, we soon found ourselves riding on 3rd Ave., which is  not a safe street for cyclists. There is no bike lane, and traffic is heavy. We had a good lunch at Acqua Pazza, a friendly Italian restaurant. We returned on 2nd Ave., which is somewhat safer for cyclists.

Please click here to see a video of some scenes from this ride.


A review of France on Two Wheels: Six Long Bike Rides for the Bon Vivant Cyclist

Adam Ruck’s new book France on Two Wheels is a delight for someone like me who loves both cycling and traveling in France. Ruck introduces each ride with a rough map of the route that he and his friend Galaxy followed. They spent a week or a bit more on each trip and completed about 60 miles per day. They really crisscross the country and so introduce the reader to varied aspects of French culture, scenery, and accommodations. I was impressed with the number of places that they took in all the while doing a hard cycling trip each day. Although they treated themselves well eating gourmet food as often as possible, they were faced with the obstacles all cyclists face–steep hills, wind, unclear routes, unexpected traffic, etc.

The book follows each trip in chronological order with an occasional insertion describing a sight, tradition, or famous person set off in its own box. At the end of each chapter, Ruck lists hotels, restaurants, and sources of information with phone numbers and web sites. My one quibble is that the photos do not add as much as they could if they were in color. Of course, I also know that printing color photos adds a great amount to the cost of book production.

I especially enjoyed some of his little vignettes such as the one where they pull up to the door of a restaurant at noon to be greeted by a waitress who condescendingly informs them, “We have a Michelin star, you know”(34). Unwillingly, she admits them and points them toward the lavatory. And remembering my own efforts at doing laundry on the road, I am always amused by the contrivances that Galaxy uses to dry his laundry.

Ruck ‘s self-deprecating humor and his clear factual writing make this book a source of amusement for the reader and also a possible source of information for the would-be cycling tourist.

An Idyllic Day in the Napa Valley

On the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend, we decided to load our trusty Dahons into the car and escape to one of our favorite destinations. When I looked at the Napa Valley map, I thought that we might ride south from Yountville instead of north as we generally do . It looked possible to ride out Oakville Cross Road to the Silverado Trail, and then head back on Oak Knoll Ave. , returning by the road that runs along the west side of Hwy. 29. Thank goodness, we opted to check Oak Knoll Ave. in the car on the way to Yountville. It is a pretty country road, but there is no shoulder at all, and there is a lot of traffic. So we scrubbed that option and did our usual trip: Yountville to Oakville, across on Oakville Cross Road, down the Silverado trail, and return on Yountville Cross Road.

It was a day with perfect weather, a touch of autumn in the early morning air, but neither too hot nor too cold. The grape vines were heavy with clusters of grapes ready for the harvest. And it was a pleasure to sit in the garden at Oakville Grocery to drink coffee. As we pedaled out Oakville Cross Road past the vineyards and wineries with beautiful stone walls and the clear blue sky and hills in the background, we could almost imagine that we were somewhere in France.

Using my OpenTable app on my phone, I made lunch reservations for us at Lucy at Bardessano. The feeling of being in France continued there because we were served wonderful food with a French flair and good professional service. I had a croque madame surrounded with garden fresh lightly seasoned greens, and my husband had sweet corn soup followed by a latter-day shrimp cocktail. For dessert, we split a butterscotch pot de crème. This meal was not inexpensive, but it was memorable, I would highly recommend this restaurant for a special meal. The following picture shows the outdoor area when it was relatively empty, but it filled up fairly rapidly.

The outdoor dining area at Lucy at Bardessano

AS my husband and I often say to each other, we get much more exercise with our Dahons than we ever did before, and their portability has helped us explore areas in a far more intimate way than we could by any means other than cycling.