Santa Cruz ride puts a spring in my day

Isn't it time to take down these signs? Seen on Cloverdale Road and Alpine Road.

Isn’t it time to take down these signs? Seen on Cloverdale Road and Alpine Road.

There’s nothing better than a spring ride down the coast to Santa Cruz because in all likelihood you’ll have a nice tailwind. Thursday was no exception.

I don’t recall ever riding this loop on a weekday. It’s almost always on Sunday or Saturday. Now that it’s over, I can tell you Sunday is probably the best day for riding, although “Friday Light” lives up to its reputation, even in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

On Thursday I saw enough Santa Cruz Mountain commuters to last me a while. Because they drive roads like Page Mill daily, they’re aggressive and fast. They don’t anticipate seeing cyclists.

On Moody Road I missed being run over by inches. A Chevy Volt came up from behind while a Tesla came down the hill and I immediately knew that, according to the Law of Convergence, we would all meet at the same place in the road.

I was so far to the right that my front wheel ran off the pavement into the gravel. Just another close call in the life of a cyclist.

But I digress. Things got more civilized on west Alpine Road where I saw only a car or two.

At the Portola State Park Road junction I saw a sign warning cyclists not to ride on Alpine Road due to gravel.

San Mateo County road maintenance might want to include cars in their warning. Loose gravel can be equally hazardous for cars, especially ones in a hurry like those daily commuters.

The sign has been there for many months and the loose gravel is long since gone.

Loma Mar Store under repair. Lots of memories here.

Loma Mar Store under repair. Lots of memories here.

As I passed the Loma Mar store, a place full of memories of past Jobst Rides, I noticed it was jacked up. Erik Garfinkel informs me it’s receiving a new foundation and will be back in business.

I got my tailwind on Hwy 1 and enjoyed the ride into Santa Cruz. I took the usual route through the city via the San Lorenzo River path, over the bridge to Felker Street, Plymouth, Fernside, Emeline Avenue, El Rancho Drive.

Riding up Mountain Charlie Road I noticed about the same amount of traffic I would see on a Sunday afternoon. Nothing to speak of. Even a few cyclists rode by.

Nice bike bridge over San Lorenzo River. There's also a path under Hwy 1 to Hwy 9.

Nice bike bridge over San Lorenzo River. There’s also a path under Hwy 1 to Hwy 9.

2 Responses to “Santa Cruz ride puts a spring in my day”

  1. jay Says:


    I quit my job in January because of an impending move. Therefore I’ve decided to ride only during workdays and leave weekends for family. My observation is that compared to weekends rides up to and along Skyline have much less traffic if before 3pm. If I’m going to do a longer ride to the coast, it is best to make sure to leave early as there’s a noticeable increase in commuter traffic heading east stating as early as mid-afternoon.

    However descending 84 west on weekday afternoons and evenings is really enjoyable–95% of the traffic is heading east–so the odds of either getting tailed by a car or ending up behind one are much reduced.

    Motorcycle traffic on highway nine is greatly diminished on weekdays which makes it a much more serene riding experience.

    Also Mt. Hamilton road to the observatory is a better and safer experience on a weekday–there’s much less bicycle and auto traffic which is a relief as I always fear encountering a car passing a bicycle on a blind turn when I’m descending.

    I do notice a lot more contractor and delivery trucks during the workweek. However overall I much prefer riding during the workweek as opposed to weekends.

  2. Jim Lemezis Says:

    Hello Ray,
    Are you riding to Santa Cruz via Moody/Page Mill/Alpine/Pescadero Creek/Highway 1? How many total miles and how long is the total ride?

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