Sunday, February 07, 2016

Stop the bicycle ghostrider

Dear San Jose city council and SJPD, 

Over the last few year, you provided us with many new bicycle lanes. You even painted entire sections of the street green to clearly mark these bicycle lanes. Cars sometimes had to give up an entire lane, allowing a buffer space between cars and cyclists. I love that our city is more bicycle friendly. As I cyclist, I appreciate it.  

But yet, something is not working. Too often do I see cyclists ride against traffic. This is hazardous for me, as a cyclist, who now needs to share my lane with oncoming bicycle traffic. Worse, it is also dangerous for the car driver. Yes, you need to be aware that danger could come from all directions. However, there should be general expectation that people traveling on the right side of the road, are all going in the same direction. 

Today, in the short time I was on the road, I counted three such bozos going against traffic. 

I wonder if the problem is that there aren't enough safe crossings. As a result, a cyclist may prefer to stay on the side they started. Surely, SJPD isn't doing enough to police this type of behavior. There may be other reasons. I encourage you to look into what can be done to keep it safe for cyclists and cars. 

A concerned bicyclist, and car owner. 

2016 hike 5: Alviso Slough Trail

South of Highway 237 is busy Silicon Valley. Marvell, Arista Networks, Samsung Semiconductor, Brocade and KLA Tencor all have big buildings here. From the highway, you can also see the brand new Levi's stadium, home to the San Francisco 49ers NFL team. This weekend it is also home to Superbowl 50. Santa Clara police blocked have various street. Big party venues have been erected in the stadium parking lot. And lots of #sb50 events are going on this weekend, all over the bay area.

I opted to leave the busy valley behind and went for a hike along the bay. North of Highway 237 is the small town of Alviso (wiki). The town is part of the city of San Jose. Steamboats once arrived at New Chicago port.

I started my hike of the levees of the Alviso marshes and salt ponds in the Alviso Marine County Park. You can still clearly see the hangars at Moffett airfield, the tent-shaped Shoreline concert venue and the big buildings of Silicon Valley. But yet, you feel far away from it all. It is quiet here. There are few hikers. Yet, there are tons of birds. Only occasionally do you hear the engines of a small boat of fishermen or the horn from the Amtrak train heading to Oakland.


The Alviso slough trail is about 9 miles. It starts along the marshes near the boat launch. The first ponds you encounter, were nearly empty. Further along your hike, you end up walking along the Coyote Slough on one end and large full ponds on the other side. In the distance you can even see the Drawbridge ghost town.

Far out in the bay, I came a cross an odd structure. A friend mentioned this is a NOAA hydrologic gauging station.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

2016 hike 4: Rodeo Beach and Marin Headlands

This weekend, I did a small hike, together with my gang, as it was my wife's birthday. We parked our car near Fort Cronkhite, in the Marin Headlands.

Rodeo Beach
After a hike across the beach, we headed up the hill in the direction of Battery Mendell and Point Bonita lighthouse. Unfortunately, we arrived too late to cross the bridge to the lighthouse. Be there by 3:30pm!

Battery Mendell

Rodeo Beach

Point Bonita Lighthouse

Sunday, January 24, 2016

21 days

I like a glass of wine. I like a pint of beer. I like especially a cold pilsner, on a hot summer day. This was the case quite often during the Christmas break in the Argentine summer of San Luis, with temperatures above 100F.

I resolved to quit drinking alcohol during the first 21 days of January. Today is day 16 and I am happy this has not been a tough resolution so far. Having a couple of cold beers in the fridge (Dogfish Head namaste), or an open Malbec on the kitchen counter surely can be tempting. Or worse, celebrating my birthday in the middle of the month required extra suffering.

Water, water with a pinch of grapefruit juice, tomato juice, fresh squeezed lemon with grated ginger or a cup of tea are now my drinks in the evening.

My secret hope is that not drinking my calories can be the tipping point to dropping weight (in addition to eating more salads and lots of walking). Thus far I am -4 pounds.

Update: Day 21 came and went. I got a few high fives on Beyond that it was a non event, all while my fellow hikers last Sunday were drinking 1 liter steins of beer at the Park Chalet. I am still happily checking of my alcohol free resolution. Since this week is our company kick off week, continuing my winning streak is a smart idea.

2016 hike 3: Matt Davis trail in Marin county

In between the rain storms, we hiked this weekend the Matt Davis steep ravine trail (linklink). This hike starts in Stinson beach. Getting to Stinson Beach does require a strong stomach, as you go around the many, many corners along the Pacific Highway.

The hike is wonderful, especially after some rainy days, when the river and waterfalls are full of water. Overall, we did about 8 miles with 1500 ft of elevation change. It starts of steep through the redwoods, along the river. Near the top you get nice vistas of Stinson Beach and Bolinas.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

2016 hike 2: Coyote Hills

This morning I revisited Coyote Hills regional park (ebparks). My last trip was together with the cub scouts, during a warm spring day. Today was a wet winter day with a storm arriving any time today.

The Bay View trail is an easy stroll on a paved surface. If you want something more challenging, you can cut over the hills at various places. Today this steep climbs were muddy.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

2016 Hike 1: Mission Peak

July 4th 2012 was my first hike up to Mission Peak. I've returned since a few times, although mostly in the summer months, when the trail is dry and dusty and the sun is scorching.

Today, the first hike of the year, I went up again together with troop 14. We hiked up to Mission Peak, starting from Ohlone College. It was cool, the hills were green and we got a little drizzle along the way. Some parts of the trail were very muddy: extra fun.

Mission peak stands 2516 ft (766m) tall and you almost start from sea level. Today, the view was excellent. On occasion we could see as far as San Francisco and Oakland.

the view from the top, towards San Jose

the view from the top towards San Francisco

Ebparks: Mission Peak Regional Preserve