History of the Orinda Pool Party

OPP2015inthe pool2
Yammering, not hammering

OMG, no bicycles! What happened to the club??

The Orinda Pool Party is coming up in just two short weeks! I thought this might be a good time to share a short history of Different Spokes’ favorite East Bay event. Although many current Different Spokes members think that the Orinda Pool Party is an original idea, it is not. That honor goes to former member Sue Melly and her partner Andrea, who opened their Walnut Creek house to the club for an East Bay Pool Party back in 1997. The East Bay Pool Party lasted at least through 2001 before vanishing. I was living in SF at the time and I never went to it probably for all the reasons that many current Different Spokes members don’t come to the Orinda Pool Party now: it’s ‘far’ from SF, it’s a short ride, and it’s ‘too hot.’ Oh, and add ‘Why would I want to swim??’

Zoom forward a few years. Roger and I are living in Orinda and we have a pool, which coincidentally we don’t use all that much. Roger and I are talking about Different Spokes, the need for more social events, and what we could do for a ride that was ‘something different’. What about a pool party? Roger was game, so we went about contriving a ride plus party. The party part was easy to devise: jump in the pool after the ride and then have a post-ride meal. So you see, great minds think alike, or imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Of course the ride part of the Orinda Pool Party is quite different from the rides that were part of the original Annual Pool Party. Sue and Andrea live in Walnut Creek and the rides started in Berkeley and went to their house. In contrast the Orinda Pool Party, which we have offered every year since 2009 except 2011, its mainstay ride has been that classic East Bay training loop, Pinehurst-Skyline-Grizzly-San Pablo Dam Road. One quandary of the current Pool Party is that it is very difficult to create an easy ride because of where we live, which happens to be in the Orinda hills on a hellishly steep road. The only way to offer a flatter alternative would be start a ride on the “flats”, say Orinda BART, and finish it there with a car shuttle to the house. Except that we have no street parking in our neighborhood and that makes bringing cars to the house a potential problem. Maybe some day we’ll figure it out. In its current form the rides are probably too forbidding for Spokers who prefer flatter rides. But nothing prevents folks from skipping the ride and coming to the party afterwards.

The original pool party was a club fav—25 people showed up in 2000—and the Orinda Pool Party entertained about the same last year. If it grows much more than that, we’ll have to charge admission—just kidding!

This year we’re following the same worn, comfortable rut: we’ll grill up some Aidell’s sausages and provide homemade pesto from our garden along with a simple Caesar salad; participants bring appetizers or desserts. We realize that schlepping goodies plus your poolside amenities is too hippie for most Spokers, so just bring your stuff to the start and we’ll haul it up to the house for you so that you can do the ride less gravity-impaired. You’ll enjoy grinding up Pinehurst so much more without that hummus and veggie plate strapped to your back!

In addition to the ‘standard’ ride we are offering a new long route. This route goes up to Skyline by Redwood instead of Pinehurst, and after a short visit to the Montclair district of Oakland head steeply up Snake and Shepherd Canyon to the top of Pinehurst where it rejoins the other route.

And don’t forget to RSVP no later than Friday, August 12! See the ride listing on the DSSF website for details and information.