During mid December the Bay Area is in the midst of a long string of sunny winter days, perfect for biking over the Bay Bridge from Oakland to Treasure Island on a Sunday morning. Five of us headed out anticipating a cool slog up the bridge to Yerba Buena Island, and then possibly exploring the new route from the end of the eastern span to Treasure Island where we hoped to get coffee and a pastry.
The first part of the route was along Mandela Parkway where we passed the new Horn BBQ establishment. This place already has a reputation and this morning there was one person lined up 2 hrs before opening. You can check out their vittles at https://www.instagram.com/hornbarbecue/?hl=en.
While we couldn’t stop for BBQ, we did end up stopped nearby to repair Pauline’s flat tire. The tire change was routine – it only required 4 of us to get the wheel back on (I’m a novice to disk brakes and we broke social distancing protocols for a brief moment).
We pedaled our way up the the two plus miles of the bridge and stopped at the lookout to take in the view back toward Oakland.
As I mentioned above, there is a new route over to Treasure Island with a new segment of bike path that leads to Macalla Rd. The whole area is under construction including a big housing complex just above the bridge. The signage guiding us through the construction was a bit unclear and while we were working things out, Chris took a ‘stationary’ spill off her bike. Fortunately, she was up and pedaling in a flash. We deciphered that the route was to go up a newly paved section of Macalla Rd, UP being the operative word. The climb is not too steep and relatively short and then the road flattens out for a short distance before heading down toward Treasure Island.
There was a heavy dew overnight, and the road surface was wet so I took it easy as I started down. Good thing, as I quickly realized that this was a real DOWN, the type of DOWN is thrilling on a dry day and terrifying on a bicycle when the road is wet. There were a couple of brief moments when I was able to glance at my inclinometer and saw it was reading 15-17 %,with bits of 18%. I got the bike stopped at the bottom and realized that the climb back up was going to be steep and slippery and basically brutal. I called my compadres and fortunately they were still at the top (saved by the cell phone!). I recommended that they stay there and wait for me - we could do Treasure Island another day.
Heading back up, the roadway was slick and I ended up walking it. Near the top where the gradient was a mere 8% I tried to get back on my bike. My foot slipped and I nearly went down, so feeling somewhat ancient and rickety, I continued my trudge back to the group. I’m sure stronger, younger cyclists could do it no problem, but I chose the safer method of ascent. Moreover, we were out for a lazy urban ride and that section of road was more like Double Black Diamond biking.
Things got a lot less intense as we headed back to Oakland. We took a quick tour of the new Judge John Sutter Observation Pier built on foundation of the old Bay Bridge.
From there we pedaled over to Port View park at the end of 7th St. Tom and Chris had both visited this spot many times, but it was new to me. A special park feature is the recently reopened historical exhibit: "Room with a View", which is housed in a relocated historic train switching tower. The exhibit ‘presents rich detail about the maritime and railroad history of the area, which was the western terminus of the transcontinental railroad’. http://www.waterfrontaction.org/map/park_port_view.htm
The Port View park borders the Mid Harbor Shoreline Park which the Port of Oakland has built on the site of the former naval ship basin. ‘The park is a 150-acre water area of the harbor and has become an ecological reserve of shallow bay and shoreline habitats for many species, such as Dungeness crab, flatfish, anchovy, herring and perch.’
We toured the park and explored the Chappell Hayes Observation Tower.
and some of the huge Port Of Oakland cranes.
Then it was on to Jack London Square in search of coffee and pastries. Several booths at the Farmer’s market were still open including Dot’s Baking Pantry. I can recommend mixed fruit scones, Chris indicated that the cinnamon rolls are top notch, and and Tom found that the chocolate bumble (brownies surrounding chocolate mousse and covered in a fudge frosting) was definitely a chocolate lovers dream. While we were munching out on the goodies, we heard a commotion at Dot’s ‘tent’. A seagull had flown in through one of the ‘windows’. Dot, along with a couple of hopeful customers ushered the seagull out before it frosted any of the treats.
So in conclusion, until the old cycling route is restored, or they install an chair lift, I'll be driving to Treasure Island.
Here is the track of this ride, note the V in the elevation profile on Yerba Buena Island.