Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Road Conditions

I live in the East Bay.  Due to work demands, on weekdays I ride stupid early from 4:30 a.m to 7:30 a.m.  This time of the year Oakland and Berkeley hills are completely enveloped in fog.  The fog is so dense that it takes the form of drizzle and trees overhanging roads also drip-drip water, leaving roads completely wet.  Often, visibility is minimal.  Fog is so dense that I take off my prescription glasses and ride bare-eyed.  My prescription is fairly light, so what I lack in visual acuity, I more than make up in not having to look through lenses fogged up inside and out.  Having ridden in the fog on wet roads almost daily for years I've become pretty good at it.  I'm now ready to try riding on dry roads that I can see well.

The other day, I had my bike in my office in San Francisco and decided to take a lunchtime ride.  I rode from Financial District along the Embarcadero to Fisherman's Wharf toward the Presidio, then to Sea Cliff.  Turned east in Golden Gate Park, rode through the park, then went north back toward Presidio and retraced my steps.  Riding through Presidio, Sea Cliff, and GG Park was magical.  Especially the park.  On weekdays it's completely empty.  Main roads are newly paved and the tail wind makes up for the gradual uphill grade from the ocean to the Haight.  Went past the bison, Conservatory of Flowers, and the new DeYoung Museum.  Beautiful and peaceful. 

I had two close encounters with cars:  one made a right turn in front of me without signalling near the Fisherman's Wharf; the other pulled out of a parking space as I was passing by on Battery, half a mile from my office.  I had anticipated the latter more than the former, but had enough room to avoid the right turner.  Neither appeared to be a tourist -- the first was a Saab, the second a Toyota Highlander, not your typical rental vehicles -- so I can't blame gawking out of towners for not paying attention.  I'd been thinking about keeping a bike in my office and riding at lunch a couple of times a week, but these incidents and the overall lunchtime volume of traffic made me reconsider riding in the City altogether.  Perhaps I can find a different route.


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