4/B/72 – Butters, Moraga, Orinda, San Pablo Bay Trail and Carquinez Bike Path to Martinez and Moraga BART
Very similar to my loop starting in Orinda, except I tacked on the Butters and Little Redwood climbs, so I could start from home. The whole route amounts to 5,000 feet of climbing and because of the effort and general coronavirus situation, I took it relatively easy. This allowed me to finish strongly and without strain.
Link for route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/30987399
This route was mostly up and down, with the extended Reliez Valley climb coming fairly late at Mile 58. The weather was sunny, but cool, and it seemed I had favorable winds all day. The coldest part, as usual, was the descent down Redwood at 43°F. In my estimation riding in California during the winter is quite pleasant, as long as you layer sufficiently. It is the hot summer to come, that one must be mindful of the effects of heat on your body and metabolism.
Since it had rained the day before, I took the precaution of sliding my Ass-Saver under the saddle. There were also many walkers on the various bike paths, with and without dogs, so I had to call out fairly frequently. Other cyclists, on the other hand, were encountered very rarely, though there were far fewer cars to contend with. One still had to be alert, because cars passing by singly could do so at any time.
Everything was starting to bloom, especially the cherry trees, and one could hear the birds start nesting. Altogether, I had a great solo ride. I stopped only once for ten minutes at the John Muir historic center in Martinez, though the Park Ranger office was closed, to eat two gels before the climb up Reliez Valley Road. I passed by the Kaiser clinic at 0900 as a time check and arrived at the Orinda BART station at 1400.
The first train to the MacArthur platform was on the rattly, old version. When I transferred to the Fruitvale train, I was greeted by the new generation train, which is much quieter and a smoother ride. These trains have an additional set of doors to each side for each carriage, therefore slightly less seating, but also LED boards announcing the next station and flat-screen maps, tracing the train’s progress. Passengers easily maintained physical distancing, since there were not many to contend with.
I was home at 1500 and was able to easily rinse off the dirt spray on my bike, since I always clean it with a protective layer of Pledge.
My riding time was 5 hours, so a group ride for this route should factor in at least 6 hours. If time is a factor, start from the Orinda BART, which is 22 miles less. I like this route for its varied terrain and beautiful views, so feel free to try it out on your next ride!
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