10 February 2019
3/A/71 – Alameda, Sunol, Livermore, Collier Canyon and Walnut Creek
Collier Canyon reduces my earlier route through Livermore by 6 miles and 300 feet elevation gain. This canyon is also quite picturesque, with many cow- and horse farms in a landscape of rolling hills. This route has no incline greater than 12% and an overall elevation rise of only 2,800 feet.
This route of 71 miles can be covered in five hours and offers varied environments, from urban to country, farm lands and bike paths. Nobody took me up on this ride, starting right after the rain showers passed clear at 0800 at a pretty frigid 41° Fahrenheit. Certainly, I took a chance with the showers, but none materialized.
The evidence of past showers was apparent. Roads were still wet, until I reached Sunol at 1030. I had to avoid numerous puddles and debris, sometimes the occasional flooded section of road. However, they were easily negotiable and there were quite a few other cyclists out there. Isabel Avenue has been widened, but does not need to be ridden on the bike, since there is a nice bike path running in parallel.
Once through Livermore, the streets were mostly dry and I was looking forward to traversing Collier Canyon, a shortcut I discovered while studying the map on RidewithGPS.com. Even though it was not marked as a bike route, the cycling blogs and Google Street View supported the notion that this road could be safely ridden. I did enjoy the scenery there, and although there was no shoulder, the street was not heavily trafficked.
The Northwest wind picked up a bit to about 20 mph, however I had the foresight to swap my front wheel to one with a low profile. I did not make much speed against the wind, but after Mile 60, everything was pretty much on a downhill gradient anyway. I arrived at the Walnut Creek BART station at 1315 and just missed the train, because I had to purchase a new ticket. My average speed was 15.3 mph and I was home at 1415.
In the future, I would prefer doing this route rather than the longer urban route through Livermore. Livermore Avenue heading North is not that scenic and can be quite a slog, whereas Collier Canyon is shorter and more beautiful.
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