Thank You Ride #3: the Other Side of the Mountain

Rain was in the forecast for today and the next few days. Even the official AIDS LifeCycle training ride I signed up for got cancelled, and I was resolved to take it easy until the storm passes.

But then this morning I felt a little restless, it wasn’t raining much, and I had an errand outside anyway. Also, last night’s post left me wondering about the other side of San Bruno Mountain. One thing led to another and… today’s cycling day, some 18 miles, is dedicated to David, who was the third sponsor to support my participation in AIDS LifeCycle, a 545 mile bike ride from SF to LA, June 2-8, 2019. In a previous post, I tell more about this endeavor and the thank you posts.

It’s been a while and I may be forgetting stuff, but it probably was with David that I went to the REI in 2009 to purchase my first bike as an adult. (I owned a bike as an adult before, but that was a bike somebody was giving away for free at a yard sale when I was in grad school; as rusty and heavy and in irreparable need of maintenance it was, it served me well until I too put it out there with a “FREE” sign.) I didn’t ride that much in Philly. It was scarier and I was more scared. When I moved to the Bay Area 6 years ago (to the day: happy anniversary!), I started riding more and more deliberately. Feeling less scared is wonderful!

…unless you are this guy with a stand up bass in which case you are outside

So, today’s ride… With rain in the forecast, I traded speed and ease for feeling safer and rode my street bike. I could also look around from it more comfortably; an excellent choice for a weekend. With proper rain gear, including rain pants, the rain is not as bad as the chaos it causes. On a Saturday morning the rain helps, because more people stay inside with their cars put.

This being an exploration of the other side of the mountain, we will have mountain pictures. Most if not all of them are part of Santa Cruz Mountains, part of Pacific Coast Ranges, part of the North American Cordillera . The first two are from the beginning of the ride, Twin Peaks seen from the corner of 23rd and Valencia and Bernal Heights seen from the corner of Valencia and Cesar Chavez.

Not only it didn’t rain at first, there was even a little bit of blue sky. For the next few miles, I was glad to explore over the rainy weekend. The route looked simple on the map, but I somehow still missed a couple of turns and stopped a lot to make sure I didn’t miss more. Also, I think a large stretch of that route is eastbound, so would be uncomfortable early in the morning, especially the first few times and with lots of traffic.

The first of many cemeteries along the Colma stretch of the road

Since I never took that route before, it was interesting to ride through various parts of the city that I heard the names of but didn’t quite know. For instance, I usually ride on the Bay side of San Bruno Mountain, so I forget that a large part of the Peninsula side of the mountain is cemeteries. Even without stopping after I took the first picture, I saw an ostensibly Japanese cemetery (I could read the names), an ostensibly Chinese cemetery (it had a lot of red and gold and was called Golden Hill), and a pet cemetery. A presumably Catholic cemetery was behind a thick wall and trees, so I couldn’t have a good look.

A green hill in South San Francisco

When I got to South San Francisco I briefly considered just taking a BART back, having accomplished the mission of exploring the other side of the mountain. Oh, and it did rain a bit. But then I reminded myself that I was in training and went back my regular route in reverse, the Bay side of the Mountain. Even though I am by now familiar with that route going South, it looks different Northbound, and I had to pay attention.

By the time the rain really picked up and the cars got out there to go to lunch, I was close to home and in a familiar territory. The rain was still not much of a problem; the cars were, but that was okay.

Okay, now I definitely am going to take it easy for the next few days. Just a few local miles now and then by bike. The next batch of thank you rides will have to wait!

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