01 February 2020
3/A/78 – BART Pleasanton - Mines Road - Pleasanton BART
This is a route I have not traversed since 03 December 2016, though, to my knowledge, our club has not been there since that time either. It was a perfect day, clear, with very sunny conditions, and cool temperatures not exceeding 78 degrees and averaging 68. The canyon is sheltered, so the wind was not a factor. Mines Road and the Junction Café at its terminus is a popular attraction for cyclists and motos and is a bucolic, but wild, foray into a relatively untouched part of the California hinterlands.
The route was posted on Friday, after I noticed nothing on the ride calendar was displayed for the weekend. Perhaps it was the short notice, but the estimated return to Alameda around 1700 (5 P.M.) may have convinced club members to opt for a shorter decide-and-ride.
I caught the 9.23 BART out of Fruitvale and started from the Dublin/Pleasanton station at 1000. The first 11 miles proceed along the Iron Horse Trail, then the bike path along Stanley Boulevard, finally another section of the Arroyo Mocho Trail, before starting Mines Road itself.
Those extended climbs up to the café were challenging, and so I took my time. Better to complete the ride than abort prematurely. To make up for my lack of climbing ability, I took only a short 10-minute break at the Junction Café and sat with another group of cyclists, who had started in Livermore, but were doing the whole circuit through Patterson and Del Puerto Canyon Road. They started to eat their various burgers and sandwiches, but could not finish their meals without feeling bloated. For that reason, I also refused their kind offer to help myself to the leftovers.
The return leg is much easier, with only two climbs and a downward gradient. I had to repeatedly loosen the ratchets on my right shoe for my swelling foot. The road was dry and only moist in the shade under the trees. Some flies and gnats were attracted to my orange jersey, believing I was a flower, and I had to shoo them away repeatedly. The motorcyclists would give me enough clearance, but would sometimes zoom by at 60 to 70 mph. I saw a police patrol car and moto, but don’t know if any motos received speeding tickets. It is simply just another feature of riding on Mines Road one should be prepared for.
I reached the BART station again at 1540, nearly catching the train. Even so, with the following 1601 train, I was home at 1645. I must say, I was pretty tired and quite hungry by then, but survived on 2 small bottles and 2 gels without bonking.
Though it was physically demanding, I was glad to have been able to commune with nature on this beautiful route. There was a sprinkling of other cyclists and all of them seemed to be particularly friendly with their waves, as this was a quite rare and gorgeous day.
TeamAlamedaPO Box 1216Alameda, CA 94501