Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Destruction Zone

The good people at Union Pacific (or is it Southern Pacific? I can never remember) are working on the railroad tracks and on Tuesday it took like half an hour to cover the 6 miles of track between Richmond and Berkeley. The conductor terms it "the destruction zone." So yesterday I rode the bike, even though I was a little tardy getting up and it was bite-ass cold. I wanted to be able to get to the office five minutes after getting off the train, somewhat minimizing the lateness.

The train was late even getting to Richmond, and then the conductor announced that it would take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to get from there to Jack London square - a journey that should take about 15 minutes. Argggh. I decided to bail and jumped off the train with my bike. I had been a little intimidated by riding from the urban setting of the Richmond train station in the past - partly the traffic, partly the gritty neighborhood, and partly the profusion of broken glass and random sharp objects that tends to festoon the streets of gritty neighborhoods. But using my Droid, I figured out a route that promised to be pretty quiet and led fairly directly to the Ohlone Greenway bike path, pictured above. I just found out that the route used to the be old Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad track. Now it runs mostly along the BART tracks.

It was quiet. Eerily quiet. All the gangbangers were still tucked up in their cribs, I guess. I cruised over to the bike path. The greenway was more populated than the streets of the Iron Triangle. And to my intense annoyance, pedestrians littered the bike path even though there were clear signs saying bikes on the left, pedestrians on the OTHER path on the right. Grrrr. At one point a group of about 30 young people (college students?) strolled along the bike path, blocking the way completely. I yelled, "BIKE PATH! PEDESTRIANS OVER THERE!" but it didn't have any effect except to crystallize my irritation. That made me ride faster though. Channeling my aggression. After a while I forced myself to chill. The weather was warmer, it was a lovely way to get to work, and I was getting an extra eight miles of cycling in under the guise of getting to work. Not so bad.

The train was late on the homeward journey too, so I rode home in the serious dark, having left my headlight on the kitchen table after changing the batteries. Slightly tense, but successful. I applied some Anti-Monkey Butt Powder to my chafed behind (no time to find bike shorts this morning, big mistake!), and for dinner ate a big plate of pasta with porcini/tomato sauce.


  1. I sympathize with your pedestrian frustration. Run 'em down.

    Also, I am getting the Droid tomorrow, and I am encouraged by the fact that you really seem to like yours. :)

  2. I lived in Berkeley this summer and rode the Ohlone Trail a bunch. I thought it was kinda ugly but a good ride nonetheless. My friends took me down to the bay trail. That rocked. Though the headwinds are just...well, evil. As for pedestrians blocking the bike lane,no fun. But I bet if ya bumped into one of them accidentally, they'd never block it again!