Foster City, you know that sign you see on 101 when you’re blasting by in your car but wouldn’t give the time of day to check out because, after all, it’s just another plastic suburb? You probably think it’s the Norcal version of Amityville. Yeah, you can’t be bothered to waste any time there because you’ve got better and more interesting things to do like check out that new Burmese restaurant on Valencia St. or the latest event at Catalyst. Well, we decided to go there. Again. By bike no less. Oh, and we also rode through Redwood Shores.
After a brief—and by Contra Costa standards, trivial (only low 90s!)—heat wave we were ready to go Bayside for some cooler weather. We were pleasantly greeted by mid-60ish temps that rose into the low 70s by the end of the day. And it was sunny with a light breeze to boot. Roger and I trundled off to Millbrae BART to meet Peter and Carl for our little foray into “the Wasteland”. We’ve gone there before on Social A rides but this time we were going to ride it a bit faster. After all, our ride is almost dead-flat: 220 feet of elevation gain in almost 32 miles. The biggest climb was the bike/ped overpass crossing 101!
A big portion of the ride is along the Bay Trail, which affords pleasant vistas of the Bay wetlands and provides an eyeful of shoreline development. It also passes by SFO, and since the weather was good air traffic into the airport was going full-tilt and we were able to ogle quite a few planes making their landings. This afforded plenty of chat about travel, vacations, how Alaska Airlines made Virgin suck, and why we’re never satisfied with where we are.
The northern end of the Bay Trail is occasionally narrow and bumpy and at least on weekends it seems to be fairly well used and that’s a good thing because it’s a serene retreat from the hustle of Norcal life. Other than the occasional roar of jets to intrude, you pretty much can let your mind wander while you ride. Besides the new construction I was also struck by the number of restaurants with bay views along the path. I saw a Korean joint I definitely want to check out next time. As you head further south the trail widens and becomes quieter and the number of pedestrians goes down. But cyclists still ply the path probably for the same reason we were there: it’s free of car traffic, flat, and has a calming ambience.
Once you pass under Highway 92 you’re in Foster City. This isn’t the kind of town where you can walk to a nice café from your home. It’s built around the automobile like many newer suburbs. But if you like to live in a quiet, sleepyish community with surprisingly little car traffic, both Foster City and Redwood Shores fit the bill. Although the homogeneity of the architecture—it is a planned development—can be a bore, there are undoubtedly comfortable apartments, condos and homes spread throughout. A nice plus is that some homes have waterfront access and have small boats to ply the sloughs and the Bay. If you like outdoor living, there are plenty of places to sit, walk, or pedal to take in the views. On the way to lunch in Burlingame we zoomed through East San Mateo, which originally was a working class community. Full of modest single-family dwellings now worth a million or so, it’s a strange testimony to the craziness of Bay Area real estate prices. Downtown Burlingame was a complete contrast: trendy young techies perusing Pottery Barn and the Apple Store wares. The Crepevine in Burlingame unlike the ones that used to be in Walnut Creek or on Church Street in SF, was jampacked and busy. Carl’s fortuitous conversation in Spanish with one of the staff got us an alfresco table at the height of lunch hour. Score! Although Crepevine isn’t haute anything by any means, it is decent, affordable food. The lunch special was a fried chicken sandwich with fries and god, am I a sucker for fried chicken! Lunch was prolonged and chatty despite the natty crowd yearning for a table. After lunch it was only about three miles back to Millbrae BART and after that feast there was no need to make haste. Nice day!