Social Ride: Lunch at The Baltic, er Little Louie’s

At the Red Oak Victory
Different Spokes visits the Red Oak Victory!

The Social Ride Lunch at The Baltic got slightly derailed last Saturday when we rode up to the eerily quiet joint and were greeted by, “Oh, the cook had a family emergency this morning and we’re not going to open until 3 p.m.” Oh drat, I had been drooling with anticipation at the thought of gorging on schnitzel and spaetzle and now…well, it was going to be just sandwiches, sigh. That was the only real disappointment after a marvelous day of cycling along the Bay Trail from Oakland up to Point Richmond. It means we’ll have to return another day to get our German itch scratched.

Rain derailed the first attempt to go to the Baltic. The rescheduled date turned out exactly the opposite. If you were out riding (you weren’t?!?) elsewhere, then you know the weather was spectacular: unusually warm for fall and brilliantly sunny. Rolling along the Bay we had postcard views of Mt. Tamalpais and the Golden Gate not to mention the Berkeley hills. I managed to round up five others to go out on a social ride: Howard Neckel, Will Bir, Adrienne Ratner, Sheila O’Rourke, and Roger. Den Daddy Derek was going to ride but the sequelae of a medical procedure the day before had him cancel riding and instead he drove out to join us for lunch. Howard is one of the original Spokers and has been conspicuously absent from club rides over the past two years. Will, who usually is accelerating off into the sunset, decided to enjoy a leisurely roll with the “A” group instead of a pedal-to-the-metal ride that he typically does. Interestingly, everybody in the group except Howard had successfully done the Mt. Hamilton ride two weeks ago. And no surprise, despite my goal of keeping the “A” rides to a true A-pace we were all rolling at a brisk pace up the Bay Trail! Despite Howard’s protestations that he had been regularly dropped on Different Spokes rides, I saw no evidence of that as he accelerated up the path to catch Will and Adrienne. Maybe it was the nine-week tour across Europe this summer that boosted his condition. The end result is that we had an average speed of about 11.4 mph for the day, well above the 8-to-10 for an “A” ride. We managed to stay together the entire ride.

And lunch? We merely rode two doors over to Pt. Richmond’s lunch central, Little Louie’s. Little Louie’s has been the go-to lunch stop for every club that leads a ride on the northern end of the Bay Trail and for good reason too: they have excellent deli sandwiches, homemade soup and salads. During the week it is always mobbed at noon by locals and the minions from the nearby Chevron offices. On Saturdays it’s still busy but not nearly so hectic. We ate on their back patio enjoying the luscious sunshine and warm weather. But it wasn’t schnitzel, and no beer was to be had.

After lunch we rode out to the Red Oak Victory, one of the historic WWII Liberty ships docked on the Bay and then returned along the Bay Trail to Oakland.

Currently there isn’t a Social ride scheduled for December because I had thought we’d be drowning in rain by now. But the long-range forecasts are for El Nino rains to hit beginning in January, so keep your eyes on the Different Spokes ride calendar for the final Social Ride of 2015. Maybe it will be to the Baltic? Wherever we end up, you know that the food will be worth the ride! Stay tuned…