This was a fun ride with a bit of everything – The day started with 14 riders heading out of Martinez on Franklin Canyon Road. The first few miles are a long-ish but gentle climb up through the oak woodlands of Franklin Canyon, then a bit more climbing along Cummings Skyway through the often windy grassland on the ridge.
After the few miles of climbing we got the reward of a long, fast, fun descent through the Crockett Hills Regional Park on Crockett Blvd. This is a fabulous descent that features a sweeping 180 degree curve.
Once down into Crockett, we regrouped at the end of Crockett Blvd. While we were stopped a lone cyclist came along and asked if we were headed over the Carquinez Bridge, and yes that was our plan. He had just been turned back from crossing by some workers, who had ‘dropped’ some equipment on or near the bike lane and were temporarily holding traffic on the bike lane until it was safe to go. His alternate plan was to get to Martinez via the Carquinez Scenic Byway.
We decided to try the bridge anyway, and on approach saw no signs indicating closure. In fact, ahead of us was a group of maybe a dozen cyclists already on their way across. Well, there was no problem riding on the bridge itself, but when we reached the far side of the bridge, just before the turnout for Vista Point, we did indeed find that the bridge bike path was closed. So, there we were, a group of 30 or so MAMILS (and MAWILS) stuck on the bridge, trying to figure a strategy. It may have been the expanse of lycra or the seeming gazillion flashing lights in their eyes, but something inspired the workers to pull back and let us proceed! (Note: MAMIL short for Middle Aged Man In Lycra).
So, it was on through Vallejo, via Sonoma Blvd and Lemon St. The trick here is to accelerate up the last bit of Sonoma Blvd and on around the corner on Lemon St, so as to carry speed down Lemon past the auto repair, auto parts and U-Haul businesses, until taking a right turn on Benecia Blvd.
Only one problem - the Benecia Blvd bridge over I-80 seemed to be closed! Again, no signs anywhere indicating that a detour may be in order!
Rob was quick with google maps on his iphone and found an alternate route via Georgia and Steffan streets, and we were back on course!
The next bridge on the ride was the Rose Dr. bridge over I-780. Here we took note of the array of cones now safely delineating the very hazardous slot between the two sections of the bike lane. This slot is filled with some sort of flimsy rubber seal that can capture a bike wheel and send the rider down in a hurry. One of our riders (PF) knows about this first hand, and her experience probably helped get the cones put out. Happily, she negotiated the bridge this time without incident.
The next section of the route is on the bike/walking path through the wetlands of Benecia State Recreational Area. This section of trail is also part of the San Francisco Bay Trail, and although it is not long, it is one of the highlights of the ride. The path comes leads to a big parking lot along the shore which seemed to be the right spot for a group photo.
Our next stop was One House Bakery. This place is high on my list of Bay Area bakeries, and it did not disappoint. I had the scone with Devonshire Clotted Cream and house made strawberry jam and a side of sliced strawberries. I tried this trio in both the Devonshire (scone/clotted cream/jam) and the Cornish (scone/jam/clotted cream) ways and declare both to be fabulous. In particular, the Devonshire clotted cream from One House is wonderfully thick and rich, but still easily spreadable! One House is take-out only in these days of COVID, so we enjoyed our goodies at the nearby St Paul’s Square in shadow of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.
One of us (Paul) cycled the short distance down to Benecia Point at the end of 1st St. and snapped a couple photos of the waterfront.
We left Benecia quite repleat, and crossed the Benecia bridge back to Martinez with no additional road/bridge closures, then pedaled the short distance through Martinez back to our starting point.
Great ride, and as one of the riders summed up the day 'our fun meters were pegged on maximum!'
-Thanks to Paul L. and Robert R for sharing photos.