The March Social Ride was supposed to take place last weekend, but the forecast for light showers led us to postpone it. Good thing too because even though Roger and I had cancelled the ride we ended up going out and riding a different route anyway and got rained on. And apparently it was worse in the Martinez area. Yesterday was a completely different story: sunny, warm, a light breeze—in other words a perfect spring day. Lamberto and Joe joined us to make it a quartet. We had hardly gone a few miles before we passed Back Forty BBQ, which led to an elongated discussion of barbecue joints in the East Bay, lunch, eating good meals on rides, lunch, the virtues of unhealthy food, and did I mention lunch? After passing through suburban Pleasant Hill we headed up Franklin Canyon, which has the virtues and vices of “rural” Contra Costa County. On the one hand it it semi-rural with small farms, real open space made beauteous by brilliant green spring grass. But on the other hand it’s a fav place for miscreants to illegally dump their house refuse—sofas, old tvs, garbage bags full of who-knows-what, broken down chairs. All we need is a meth lab and some Superfund sites! We had a headwind but it was actually cool and refreshing and we were taking it easy anyway. After reaching the top of the Cummings Skyway—don’t you like that name?—we blasted down to Crockett and rather easily went along the Carquinez Scenic Drive. Strangely there were hardly any other people on the trail despite the spectacular weather we were having. The four of us reminisced about the old Scenic Drive before it was improved and turned into the George Miller Trail. Again it was a mixed bag: it was funky, decrepit, isolated, a site for illegal drug dealing, but it was incredibly atmospheric à la Planet of the Apes near Pacifica. Now it’s a smooth, paved multi-use path—much more pleasant to ride on—but it’s lost its isolation and has a completely different character, more tamed and safe.
Creek Monkey Tap House was crowded but, thankfully, for some odd reason most people were crammed into the inside bar rather than enjoying the weather in the outdoor courtyard. One reason I like Creek Monkey, besides the delicious grilled chicken sandwich and their beer battered onion rings I always get, is that you can bring your bike into the courtyard to keep an eye on it. Joe was the only one of us to enjoy a pilsner with his lunch but we ended up spending almost an hour and a half over lunch just chatting and chilling. By the end we were all thinking a nap would have made a nice coda to the afternoon but we still had about 15 miles more to go. So off we went through the side roads of Martinez and back to Pleasant Hill BART by the Contra Costa Canal Trail. Our average moving speed was 11.4 mph–right on the B-pace.
Next week: we’re going to the Prolific Oven in Palo Alto!