Good Friday for a ride over Mt. Hamilton

More wildflowers in San Antonio Valley this year.

More wildflowers in San Antonio Valley this year.

I’ve never ridden over Mt. Hamilton on Good Friday, so I thought I’d give it a try. I was not disappointed, until Calaveras Road, but more on that later.

I left at 7:20 a.m. under sunny skies, negotiating moderate traffic on Pruneridge, Hedding, Berryessa to get to the base of Mt. Hamilton Road, Hwy 130. I can’t say enough about the value of turning Hedding into a bike boulevard. It makes the ride across the Valley so much more enjoyable, or at least tolerable.

During the climb, ground and valley fog boiled up, reducing visibility to 100 yards in the first few miles, but once above the fog it was clear skies and mild temperatures the rest of the way.

I saw no cyclists and only a few cars heading to the summit. Same for the backside of Mt. Hamilton.

I noticed the pipe two miles down is not flowing. It must be plugged, but the creek was running, so I got some water. I would have hiked up the trail to fix it, but I had a long ride ahead.

When I stopped to take pictures in San Antonio Valley, I removed my long-sleeve jersey and gloves. One of the gloves fell out, so now I have to go back next week and find it. I can’t imagine anyone would stop to pick up a lone glove.

At The Junction store I stopped for a bite to eat and watched as workers continue the renovation under guidance of the new owners. I have no idea when it will open. April 1 was mentioned, but these things usually take longer than anticipated.

On the ride along Mines Road I was happy to see that the two traditional creek flows across the road are finally waiting for cyclists who don’t want to get their bikes wet. I rode through at a slow pace. It has been at least three years since I saw them flowing.

Wildflowers bloom in profusion along Mines Road, mostly yellow, and blue lupine in the rocks. It’s a good thing to see after heavier winter rains than we’ve seen in years.

I noticed the usual swirling winds as I headed to Livermore. I’ve only had a few rides here with no wind or a tailwind.

I took the College Avenue, Murrietta Blvd. route through Livermore, the best route by far to reach Stanley Boulevard, unless you’re into riding bike paths along Arroyo Mocho Creek.

Now that Stanley has a bike lane all the way to Pleasanton, it’s a breeze and by that I mean winds from the north.

Business was booming at Meadowlark Dairy, the traditional stopping place to grab an ice cream cone or the like. Is it the only drive-through store in the area? Maybe.

I was warned about Calaveras Road during the rush hour, but I had to see for myself. Besides, this was Friday Light, Good Friday Light no less.

It didn’t help, or is it worse on other weekdays? Narrow Calaveras Road was not built for a congo line of commuters driving like it was Laguna Seca, not when every corner is blind. Anyone who rides here on a weekday has a death wish, and the same goes for drivers going against rush-hour traffic.

I made my way back home across the Valley and thanked my lucky stars I had survived.

Work continues on The Junction store.

Work continues on The Junction store.

2 Responses to “Good Friday for a ride over Mt. Hamilton”

  1. Peter V Locke Says:

    Nice writeup Ray. Stephen Smith forwarded it to me. Have to look up Calaveras Rd. It’s been a long time. How many miles is the loop you took?

  2. xbr976 Says:

    Yes, excellent report. It’s been a long time since I’ve completed a Hamilton loop. Tried it in July a couple years back and it was about 110 degrees in the SA valley and I cramped up past Illyer (?) pass and was bailed out by a nice man who took me to SJ (I tipped him $110). That was embarrassing but a stupid ride on my part. Next time at an appropriate time of year I want to return and do the loop again which has to be one of the best century rides one can start in a heavily urban area in the country.

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