This past Friday was yet another BTW day. That makes 3 this week. I can't recall now if I had ever done it three times in one week. I must say, though, that the more you do it, the easier it becomes. All the preparations that are required become rote and less thinking is required. You just do it and go.
Two things of note on Friday. In the morning, I was passing by Blackford Elementary School, right when all the cell-phone-glued parents are dropping off their offspring. On the other side of the school (the Willow Street side), I saw a motocycle CHP cop sitting in the parking lot, watching traffic enter the grounds. Since the Trail feeder had a Stop Sign at the end as it touches the end of Willow, right next to the cop, I looked over at him and said he should be over on the Leigh Avenue side of the school. He says, Why? Lots of speeders? I says, All kinds of things, speeders, people making crazy U-Turns, etc. He says, Where? I pointed and says, right there on Leigh. He says, Just go through the parking lot? I said, Yep. Thanks, says he, as he starts his engine and begins negotiating his way through the throngs of cars packed with youngsters.
It was obvious he didn't know his way around. There is occasionally a decent presence of San Jose PD on Leigh, at that same location, but for some reason, I guess the State of California decided it was their jurisdiction on this day.
The second thing was that it was a Friday. Warm one, too, I noticed as I left my work building for the first time all day. As I rode home, I decided to take a detour, just to see how it would go. After taking my normal, new route up to the same school, I stayed on the LGC Trail rather than picking up Leigh for the straight shot home. I stayed on the the Trail all the way through Campbell, to the LGC County Park, over the pedestrian overcrossing of highway 17, then wound my way home through the neighborhoods. This last part is also where I normally run.
After that ride, the trip odo came in at 10.01 miles. That's about 2.7 more than my regular, new route. Took 45 minutes. It was a warm day, bordering hot for the season, and I was exhausted, but felt great.
If I decide to indeed begin training for a triathlon, this may be a route I'll take just to get the saddle time in.
We hear it a lot from lots of different people, those folks who occasionally shop at Whole Foods Market. Boy, that store sure does have an eclectic array of food choices, as well as other consumer products like beauty and health care. As a matter of fact, one store employee told me that not a single item in the place comes from Proctor and Gamble. Now that must take some doing for a grocer.
After telling all about the vibrant atmosphere, the selections, the incredible amount of organic and otherwise "unconventionally grown" produce, invariably it comes down to how darn expensive the place is. Thus the nickname it has earned itself of Whole Paycheck.
It's never been easy for me to explain verbally to people why they're so expensive. But, I do have an idea in my head of the reason. this week, in Grist's regular column Victual Reality, author Tom Philpott provides an admiral job of an explanation, in the guise of describing how the consolidation of the food production system into the hands of a few is squeezing out small producers and is generally not a good thing for anyone.
Now I have a link to his article. If anyone talks about Whole Paycheck again, I have somewhere to send them.
Events again today provided an opportunity to leave the car at home and hop on the Rob-powered two wheel machine to work. Amazing how good you feel after the body produces some physical work.
Following a really nice bike lane all the way down Willow Street eventually leads to Leigh Avenue. Now this stretch of Leigh from the Los Gatos Creek Trail up to Curtner used to be considered a bit scary. But indeed, it's not too bad, all things considered. The long stretch of Leigh between Hamilton and Dry Creek Road is nice and wide with a bike lane. I may have found a new route.
Heading from downtown SJ, take the Guadalupe Creek Trail south through the Discovery Meadow, under 280, and then through the neighborhood up to Willow. Right on Willow and you're in a bike lane. All the way to where Willow dead ends at the elementary school. A quick 30 seconds on the LGC Trail puts you on Leigh, the straight shot from there.
Nice this about this route is that my odometer says it knocks over a half mile off the trip, each way. Depending on lights, especially at Willow and Meridian, and Willow and Lincoln, that means time knocked off the trip too.
Got home in 31 minutes today. Cool! Only about 5-10 minutes longer than driving. Not including suiting up.
The official Bike To Work Day is still another 3 or 4 weeks away, on 17 May. But today I decided to take the initiative and do it today.
Ever since they've closed down the trail that runs right next to Guadalupe Parkway, just south of 280, I've been hesitant to ride to work. That portion of trail, despite being really bad, with all the diesel exhaust filling your lungs, the trash and broken glass, and the hairy scary interchange at Curtner, was a key part of my route.
What I did earlier in the month when I rode, for the first time in about a year and a half, was to wind my way through Willow Glen. that's what I did again today. It's a great way to refamiliarize myself with some of these neighborhoods of San Jose, and see some of the really nice, older, beautifully restored homes in the area. The time and distance is still essentially the same, at about 35-40 minutes of riding time, and just over 8 miles each way.
Today's scariest part was crossing Meridian at Foxworthy. Lots of soccer moms and construction types, all in their big american trucks, chatting happily and absentmindedly away on their mobile phone.
Getting commuter wheels and tires, or at a minimum, just tires, for my bike is still on my radar. Gotta keep slogging through craigslist, getting familiar with the types of tires and wheels that are out there.