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San Jose ride observations....(6 posts)

San Jose ride observations....DINOSAUR
Feb 10, 2003 10:05 AM
I just got back from San Jose, where I house sitted for my son and daughter-in-law who reside near Westgate. I managed to put in 200 miles within 6 days of riding. I did a lot of riding on Foothill Expressway as I felt very comfortable riding there. I was taken back by all the cyclist I saw. I think I saw more cyclist on Foothill Expressway in one day then I see in an entire year riding in the Sierra Nevada foothills above Auburn. On one ride I rode up Stevens Canyon Rd and trekked up Monte Bello Road, which I thought was only a couple miles long before it dead ended. It turned out more like 4 miles with some very steep climbing. I punctured my front tire on the way down about 1/2 mile from the top and thought I was in the middle of nowhere and to my amazement 4 other cyclists rode past me within a 10 minute period, all who stopped to inquire if I needed help. I took one ride out to Calero and the road had not changed that much, just a couple of new housing tracts, 2 fire stations and a church. I had a couple of motorists blow by me around 70 MPH missing me by inches and nearly sucked the fillings out of my teeth. I scounted out SR-9 and SR-35. S-9 looks all moldy and overgrown, perhaps due to the recent rain. Redwood Gulch Rd was closed, and what's with the grooves on SR-35? How do you ride on those things? I opted not to ride on those roads as my nearest help was 150 miles away. The problem with riding was getting to the good ride spots. I had to ride 8-9 miles on surface streets to get to the hills. Just about all the major surface steets have wide, well maintained bike lanes. Most of the motorists were courteous and seemed aware of cyclists, perhaps because they are used to being around them. But that changed when I hit the south side of town. I must have stopped for a zillion red signal lights, where at home I stop for absolutely zero. I can't remark about how much the area has changed. When coming back from Calero on Shannon Road I looked down a sheer 90 degree embankment with no guardrail nor berm, and could see the old paddle markers about ten feet below the roadway surface indicating how much the road had been built up, probably because of errosion. The best thing was the weather. On one ride it hit 70 degrees and I was slapping on sun tan loition and riding with no leg coverings. And then there is that Bay Area traffic, which is beyond description. One observation I had was that I saw no one riding with a mirror and tons of folks on Litespeeds. All-and-all it was a fun trip, sort of aventureous, riding on unfamilair roads with no one to call if something goes wrong. It was fun to ride in the flats and there are numerous ride locations to pick from, where up here you are sort of limited. I liked the flats, they were fun and provided an excellent workout, but then again the endless red lights that really screw up your pace.
It made me appreciate where I live and there is no place like home....thanks to all who responded a couple of weeks ago with tips on where to ride in San Jose. I packed that info with me and used it to plan rides.....
Thanks--headed down there next week.cory
Feb 10, 2003 10:50 AM
I haven't lived there since the '70s, but still ride in the area fairly often (Grandma's still in Almaden). You've hit some places I've been meaning to check out for years.
Interesting that you mentioned two things that always strike me: The sheer numbers of cyclists and the number on very expensive bikes. A ride I do often is from southern San Jose over Hicks and Shannon roads to Los Gatos, then up into the foothills. I see more Litespeeds and Merlins and whatnot there on a Saturday than I do in a year in Reno. Last fall in front of the Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Company, my Atlantis was the cheapest bike in the rack.
. . . but you ride yoursRJF
Feb 10, 2003 11:53 AM
I have a theory that all those folks who hang out at Los Gatos Coffee Roasting don't actually ride bikes. I think they load their expensive bikes up on the roof rack, take them down for a "viewing" while drinking their latte, then load 'em up and drive home. Anyway, just a theory.

There is a lot of nice road riding down there. While it may take a few miles of surface streets and traffic lights to get to it, it is a unique area in that it has so much "country" riding so close to a major metro area. Where I live now, I'd need to drive my car 30-60 minutes to find that much good rural riding.
re: San Jose ride observations....laffeaux
Feb 10, 2003 11:10 AM
Glad you enjoyed your trip.

By the way Montebello is about 6 miles to the end, and climbs over 2,000. So yes, it's step. :) I ride it most Sunday mornings on my mountain bike - climb the road and take the dirt back down. Yesterday's ride was 25 miles with 2900 feet of climbing.
south valley trickmohair_chair
Feb 10, 2003 11:28 AM
You can avoid a lot of lights in the south valley by using Camden instead of Almaden. Going out to Calero, take Camden to Trinidad and eventually you'll hit Almaden with just one light to go. Coming back, from McKean, don't get back on Almaden. Keep going past it and turn on Camden. It's a nice long stretch interrupted only by one stop sign at the high school (which we rarely have to stop for). At the next stop sign, turn right, which will take you out to Almaden at Redmond.

The grooves on hwy 35 have been there for a while. It's not supposed to be like that. They started to repave it and then quit for some reason, probably because they expected bad weather. It's been such terrible weather for the past month. :)

Montebello has always been a crucible of a climb. It is pretty steep for the first three miles, then it almost goes flat for a mile or two, then it goes back up again. But you can't beat the view from the top, or the fast descent for the fearless.
wondered where you've beenDougSloan
Feb 10, 2003 11:34 AM
Nice hear from you.

While it's fun to explore new places, as you say, there's no place like home.