Ride Recap: Contra Costa Ramble to Clayton

Those incessant East Bay heat waves took a break this week and we got a nice breather on Derek Liecty’s ride to Clayton. It was temperate and got only into the low-80s by early afternoon. That allowed the eight of us to enjoy a pleasant, slow ramble along the Iron Horse and the Contra Costa Canal Trails. Two newcomers attended—Lindsay, who recently moved to San Francisco from South Africa, and Jim, who didn’t recently move from South Africa and is a local boy from Pleasant Hill. When I asked Jim what got him interested in cycling, he said, “I wanted to eat more.” Jim, I think you’ll fit right in! Also in attendance were Lamberto and Joe, from literally just down the street; Roger and I; and Laura, a former Spoker, who is getting back into cycling after a long hiatus.

Derek, although not a founding mother of Different Spokes, was certainly one of the very first members. Derek’s connection with Different Spokes goes back to the original Gay Games in 1982, which was the impetus for our club’s formation. Derek being a soccer ref, was asked to help out with Gay Games and through it came in contact with the original Ur-Spokers who went on to plan and set up Different Spokes. He’s been riding with Different Spokes ever since and although considerably slower than he was at 50 he’s still able to turn the pedals at a goodly pace. And, with the help of his new e-bike he’s now able to put the club animals back in their place! Although he was a prolific ride leader back in the day he’s literally retired to Rossmoor and rides mostly with his age peers and infrequently deigns to lead a Different Spokes jaunt. Lucky us!

Both the Iron Horse and the CCC Trails are well used by cyclists and pedestrians and more so on weekends. We had plenty of company throughout the day, everyone from racing bros, beach cruisers, tandems, weekend warriors, and the endlessly fabulous. Eventually we left the trails and meandered through neighborhood streets in Concord and Clayton, including a short, dirt foray through a local park. In the meantime there was a lot of chattering going on that only a slower ride allows. Poor Lamberto, who was on call, had to field a work related emergency and then promptly got a flat. He ended up abandoning and heading home, conveniently allowing him to spend more time with his dog.

Clayton proved to be a busy burg with several large groups of racing bros heading towards Morgan Territory. We stopped at the Center Street Deli for a midday meal. We had the pleasure of encountering Mr. NRA in the ordering line. Wow, he was into Glocks like I’m into Masis. Don’t you just love this country? After lunch we took a faster route back but it meant riding on Contra Costa’s wide boulevards rather than trails. We were back at Walnut Creek BART in no time. Everyone seemed to have a good time, no one was worn out, and folks are looking forward to the Niles Canyon closure ride in two weeks!