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01/28/13
From the Bleachers
Filed under: general, brevets, bike commuting
Posted by: The Cyclofiend @ 9:54 am

All sorts of big and small cycling things occurred this past weekend, and I missed every one of them.  Alas.  Sometimes the best laid plans and all that….

The big-ticket event was the San Francisco Randonneurs’ Lighthouse 200K - a magnificent and reasonably challenging route which kicks off the brevet season each year (yep, January!) The weather is always the big question on everyone’s mind - it can be gloriously clear and sunny or intensely nasty.  Winds can certainly be a factor, but the common direction is a WNW direction, which mostly blows you home.  I’ve completed the ride three times, but didn’t really have the mileage base to consider it this season. 

A number of ride buddies and internet cycling denizens shared their images - Estaban (up from San Diego), Manny (who broke a shifter and finished the ride short a few gears), D Yu G, Campy Only Guy, and One Happy Cog all have photos to enjoy.  PlattyJo has a ride report here.  Franklyn has his here

There was also a Populaire along a portion of the same course.  This is a lower mileage (114 km) “intro to randonneurring” designed to introduce newcomers to the conventions and quirks of brevet style rides.  Briefly thought about engaging in this, but after a ride the previous weekend which covered ~40 miles, decided that adding the White’s Hill climb in addition to the mileage was also not in the cards.

What was looking good was the potential Bay Area arrival of David “Cyclotourist” - who had similar goals and realizations to me regarding the 200K and the Populaire.  Still was part of a rideshare, he had plans to ramble up Mt. Tam in mixed-terrain mode.  BikeTinker Philip had planned on connecting, and I threw my iron in the fire to join up.  Alas, Friday’s stomach cramps made it pretty clear that the bug which bit my wife had gotten some talons into me as well.  So, I sat at the computer and napped my way through the weekend.   Gino managed to connect with them, and they managed an excellent day in the windy sunshine, capped off with one of Avatar’s punjabi Burritos.


photo courtesy of Cyclotourist

I rode and enjoyed vicariously.  Ahh well… next time gentlemen!

Two news items also cropped up in the local cycling news - one is the continued hashing out of the proposed Corte Madera Creek overpass project.  It’s a potentially massive project on one of the remaining confusing bits of Highway 101 in marin county.  The full project involves fixes and corrections from the Paradise Drive exit to north of the Sir Francis Drake exit. 

There have been a succession of minor changes and tweaks, most of which seem only to confuse things more.  The suggestions ranged broadly, dating back to some public meetings in probably 2007 or so which I attended.  At the time, it was clear that the various forces of homeowners, city managers and developers were going to hash things out for some time , so it was hard to react to anything directly. 

Since that time, they’ve more or less focused on the solution that is now being presented.  One outcome is the demolition and elimination of the Hwy 101 pedestrian overcrossing structure which has been around since I was in high school (used to ride over it to get to crew practice, in fact).  It’s a nasty, generally glass-strewn structure with a ridiculously dated “round about” approach (I thought I’d snapped a photo of it at some point in my Commute Bits set, but cannot find it…though here I do make reference to it as “The World’s Stupidest Overcrossing”).  Ah - here:

aerial view via the MCBC website

And yes, that is a full 2 1/2 times around on the entrance/egress, with no line of sight to speak of.

Now, I certainly get that it is desirable to provide direct access.  I’m an absolute proponent of that.  But, it seems to make more sense to develop a viable bicycle route using the Wornum undercrossing.  Right now, it’s OK, but lacks night time lighting and the section which runs in front of the Cost Plus shopping center is generally pretty hairball.     But, in terms of battles for the MCBC to pick, I have to hope this is only a initial position so they can regroup to a stronger focus on developing a more sensible connector from the Redwood Hwy frontage road to Wornum Undercrossing to connect to the High Street Bridge path (the one which uses the old railroad right of way to connect to Corte Madera / Magnolia Ave.) 

That whole discussion is going on here:
http://www.marinij.com/larkspurcortemadera/ci_22453621/residents-draw-battle-lines-over-143-million-greenbrae

The one which surprised me was the nascent beginning of a Marin County Bike Share program. 

http://www.marinij.com/marinnews/ci_22451169/push-get-bike-share-program-rolling-marin

If you will permit me a moment of snark, I’d say that there are a whole bunch of “Team Postal” Treks, neglected Lightspeeds and forgotten Serottas hanging in carports and garages throughout the county.  I say “FREE THE BIKES, MAN!”  Collect those things and distribute them around the county or to county-based employers who can assist their workforce in riding.

ahem…. sorrry about that.  I watched a bit of Portlandia last night…

But, you have to admit, a whole rack of “need a ride?” steeds like that might actually induce some folks to give up their car.  Yeah, I know, they’d end up chopped and stripped and sold, but it would be a glorious day and a half.

The one error the article makes though is the idea that marin is “hilly”, precluding most people from riding.  There is a great deal left to improve, but the MCBC projects have helped a great deal already.  With the Cal Park Hill tunnel project, you can ride from Larkspur to downtown San Rafael without significant elevation change, for example.  The new connection between Ignacio and Novato has dramatically changed the nasty climb which used to be required. The routes are there.  They just continually need to be cited and explained.

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