Ride Recap: Pt. Molate, or Sitting On A Dock At The Bay

Was it worth the wait?

This past Sunday Leonard Gabriele, Roger H, and I hosted a ride out to Pt. Molate, which is a spit of land just north of the west landing of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. Although Pt. Molate has long been there, it hasn’t been easy for cyclists to get to it. Until the multi-use path was built for the RSR Bridge you had to risk getting on the shoulder of I-580 West for a short distance and exit at Pt. Molate. And that shoulder wasn’t very broad either, barely a car width. But the need to construct an approach to the new multi-use path led to some interesting negotiations with Chevron and got them to cede a right-of-way on their land, which directly abuts the north side of the freeway and on which the bridge path would have to traverse. So now it is possible to get to Pt. Molate safely without having to get on a dangerous freeway.

The ride was Leonard’s idea although Roger and I had already been out there once but had turned around at the scary hill. There is a restaurant at the very end of the road—the road out to Pt. Molate is a dead-end since all the surrounding land is Chevron’s—which none of us had been to: the Nobilis. I had difficulty imagining a thriving restaurant on Pt. Molate because, well, it’s pretty out of the way and not easy to get to, which means you have to have a real draw to get folks to wend their way to your front door. But we were game.

Will Bir, Donald Cremers, Roger Sayre, and Ann Dunn joined us for our little safari. We lucked out with gorgeous sunny weather and almost no wind. From North Berkeley BART we took the Ohlone Greenway before dropping down to the Bay Trail and taking it up to Pt. Richmond. Along the way we lost Leonard a couple of times when he took shortcuts. The good weather brought out the throngs on the Bay Trail but it was never so crowded that we felt impeded in a meaningful way. Once in Pt. Richmond we accessed the new marked bike lanes to get to the multi-use path, which we took to nearly the toll plaza before diving north onto Stenmark Drive, the road to Pt. Molate. The public land on Pt. Molate is limited since almost all of it is Chevron property, running from the water’s edge to just the eastern side of Stenmark Drive. Some of it was previously military and you can see the old naval housing, now all shuttered, and perhaps wonder how many home buyers would snatch them up if they were remodeled and put up for sale despite their modest appearance. Stenmark is by no means flat, with two inauspicious but short ramps. Along the way you pass Winehaven, which apparently was the largest winery in the US before Prohibition shut it down. The other draws are Point Molate Beach Park and the East Brother Lighthouse, where you can take a short ferry from the end of Stenmark Drive out to it and spend the night. If you’re interested in Point Molate’s history, you’ll find a very nice, succinct presentation here.

The pièce de resistance is the very last climb to the Nobilis. Instead of heading to the ferry landing for the East Brother lighthouse, you turn right and head straight up an oh-my-god-I-don’t-have-low-enough-gears chute. It’s just a fifth of a mile but visually it’s intimidating when you’re at the base. The other side drops back down to water level but someone figured out that maybe a few switchbacks would make sense. There are also some awful speed bumps to force everyone to slow down.

At the bottom is a small harbor with the Nobilis Restaurant, a small building with a large outdoor sitting area with tables and sunshades. The small harbor was full of small boats and—surprise, surprise—a few houseboats! What a marvelous location for a home. The parking lot is large and there were a lot of cars already there yet not more than a handful had passed us on Stenmark. This is a popular place!

What the trek to the Nobilis worth it? Long story short: on a relaxing, sunny weekend day you’re in a for a very long wait for your order. When we saw the cars, we should have sensed that we would be in for an Italian-style lunch, ie. long and relaxing. You order at the register and then go look for a table; we lucked out and got a great table under a sunshade. However we ended up waiting almost two hours for our meal. The voluminous outdoor seating well exceeds what the kitchen can pump out—we weren’t the only group that had an extraordinarily long wait for food. However this particular day no one seemed seriously irked over the incredible delay. For us it meant more gab at the table and since the ride wasn’t hard no one dying of hunger. The good news is that the food is pretty good. You would think the kitchen would just sloppily hurry out dishes to satisfy the crowd but instead the dishes were well prepared. I had a fried chicken sandwich with fries that I thought was quite tasty (you ask, “So, how could fried chicken anything not be tasty??”). Leonard had perfectly poached eggs. Roger H had a scramble dish that he thought was just alright, nothing special. Ann thought her clam chowder was good. (It looked good!).

After that long wait the food didn’t remain on the plates very long. By now the afternoon sun was getting lower in the sky so we headed off—up the short hill and back to civilization after a quiet, sunny respite by the Bay.

At the moment there is no way to continue eastward to connect to the rest of the Bay Trail system since Chevron owns all the land right down to the water. But I expect—perhaps not in my lifetime though—that this will change and when it does there will be a very nice route through Pt. Molate with a decent lunch stop on your way to the Carquinez Bridge. When you’re riding next to the Bay you get to appreciate this vast body of water that we merely deem an impediment for commuting rather than for the beauty and peace it provides.

A Bridge To Somewhere

The Richmond-San Rafael bridge bike/ped lane finally opened on November 16 last year after a contentious debate whether car drivers needed the lane more than everybody else. For the time being they’ve lost—don’t get me started on how frickin’ entitled car drivers are—as we now have a way to cycle directly to Marin. (Although some may ask intelligently, “What for?”) Den Daddy Derek wanted us to go to the opening day—he’s into big ceremonies—but the prospect of a mosh pit of cyclists and walkers all vieing to cross the bridge at the same time seemed like a recipe for injury and frustration. I’ve since heard from those addled by festivities that in fact it WAS a gigantic mishegas so in retrospect it was indeed the right decision to forego it. In any case we already had other plans for the day. Since then Jeff Pekrul and Will Bir have separately led club rides across the span but I hadn’t heard a peep from either of them as to what they experienced. I knew eventually we’d go across but it wasn’t a priority as we got closer to the Solstice.

Just before the New Year some non-DSSF friends called and said they were heading over the bridge on Friday and did we want to come along? The weather was supposed to be clear, we had no other plans, and oh yeah, we’d better start cycling if we wanted to survive Diablo on New Years! Their ride started in Berkeley, went up the Bay Trail, and then rolled through Point Richmond to the access route to the bridge.

Richmond, or Point Richmond, is the ostensible starting point for getting across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge from the East Bay. Alternately if you are heading from the Marin side, Point Richmond makes a good location to get lunch either before turning around or heading to a BART to catch a train back to SF or the Peninsula.

Once you’re in Point Richmond the trail to the bridge is fairly obvious. it’s just a quick roll past Little Louie’s and you’ll see the marked bike lane on the pavement. The path on the bridge is only part of the whole access project—the approaches on both sides of the bridge had to be engineered and signage installed. The approach on the East Bay side is slightly contorted, taking you on the parallel frontage road to I-580 until you can access a newly constructed path under 580 to the north side and adjacent to the roadway but safely separated. To get to the underpass you have to cross at the bottom of the eastbound exit ramp from I-580. Although cars have a stop sign, be very careful when crossing because…cars! At this point the path ramps up to freeway level in a series of ‘undulations’—up, flat, up, flat, etc. Perhaps the flatter sections are to give wheelchair users a breather but for cyclists heading down them it has a decidedly bumpy feel that is only mildly bothersome when you are heading up (ie. west). Heading east—ie. descending is another story. In fact recently a cyclist crashed and died coming down the path when his hands came off his handlebars. Oddly there are no warning signs. By my measurement the uphill ramps aren’t more than 6% and they’re all very short.

Once you’re at freeway level you are in for quite a bit of company, namely the billions of cars hurtling towards Marin from whom you are separated by a movable barrier similar to the one used on the Golden Gate Bridge to divide its two directions of traffic. The traffic is loud, intimidating, smoggy, and tests the ability of your frontal lobes to control primitive fear screaming out of your amygdala when 65-mph heavy trucks are a mere four feet from your easily squishable body.

The path is bidrectional so walkers and bikes are going both directions but it doesn’t seem as wide as the one on the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge. For now it isn’t much of an issue because cyclist and pedestrian usage is just beginning and hence usually light but do not expect that to remain the same on pleasant, sunny weekends. The bridge has two ‘humps’—slight uphills and then downhills. You can pick up a head of steam going downhill but you’re going to want to control that due to oncoming bike/ped traffic. Don’t expect your crossing to be blissful; in fact I can practically guarantee you it will not be if only because of the car traffic immediately to your side. At least on the new Bay Bridge its path is completely separated from the metal chaos raging nearby and it’s suitably wide so you can relax and not worry about beaning another cyclist or walker.

When you near the Larkspur end of the bridge you’re almost at Bay level and there is something dramatic about seemingly skimming over the water. Without much ado you’re dumped onto surface streets, which at the moment lack any signage for bicycles as to where to go. You’re faced with two choices. You can go either to Larkspur or San Rafael. The latter is where you’re probably going to end up because getting to Larkspur is more complicated and there aren’t any signs telling you how. If your destination is San Francisco or thereabouts, you’re going to want to head to Larkspur where you can continue south to Corte Madera, Tiburon, Sausalito, and SF. This entails briefly getting onto the I-580 West flyover where a bike lane has been carved out that takes you immediately over said freeway to Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. There is nothing at San Quentin but Larkspur Landing is just around the corner where you can find food at the Marin Brewing Company or Rustic Bakery.

If you’ve come from the East Bay, you can turn around and go back across the bridge or catch a ferry at Larkspur Landing to the Ferry Building in SF. Larkspur, by the way, is now the southern terminus of the SMART system. It’s here that you can catch a SMART train to destinations north extending your adventure as far as the Russian River. But if your goal is a shorter ride, just turn around and retrace your path back to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge [Note: the bike path on the I-580 flyover is supposed to be two-way after it is completed. Last November at opening riders had to ride on the shoulder of I-580 West and exit at Main Street.] Just be careful when you reach the East Bay to go carefully down the stairstep humps on the access path. If you’ve decided not to get food in Marin, stop by Little Louie’s in Pt. Richmond for delicious soup, panini, or burgers. Little Louie’s also has al fresco seating in the back where you can watch your bike while you nosh.

2019—Don't Look Back…

2019—A Very Good Year!

Looking back on 2019 personally it felt like a ‘lost year’. You may recall that after a scary-dry early winter it started to dump buckets in January. Challenging weather notwithstanding I did a jillion miles anyway. But the rapid increase in mileage coupled with an aging body led to hamstring tendinopathy, which took three months of absolute rest to quiet. Then at the end of July I crashed and broke a collarbone taking another three months out of riding. But for Different Spokes it was the opposite: one positive step after another setting us up for, we hope, an even better 2020!

New Kit. Working quietly in the background our apparel maven Brian cranked out two new kits for at the start of 2019, a contemporary black motif and a polar opposite rainbow splash so eye blistering that even idiots texting behind the wheel will notice you. Then to close out the year Brian gets us windbreakers, tights, and bibknickers for this winter. Kudos, Brian!

New Website. Ho-hum, it’s so 2019 you say? Although the 2018 and 2019 boards both ushered in our new face, the heavy lifting was done by Nick Kovaleski and David Goldsmith, who did the design and set-up with able assistance from our previous longtime webmaster Jerome Thomere in the porting over of our resources from his website. Although still a work-in-progress, our website now has integrated communication, email, membership management, and calendaring making it much easier to stay in contact with all of you. Thanks Nick, David, and Jerome!

Saddle Challenge. The 18th Saddle Challenge last March started without a hitch but ended with a big surprise: Project Inform, the beneficiary, closed its doors leaving us with, well, a charity effort without a charity. The future of Saddle Challenge as a charity fundraiser is unclear—what do you think? I’ll follow up on this topic in a future ChainLetter article. We raised a modest sum of $244, which the participants generously agreed to donate to the club to purchase a one-year trial of an all-club RideWithGPS membership. Thanks, Saddle Challengers!

Pride Ride. The Pride Ride has had an up-and-down history. Back in the day we didn’t have a Pride Ride because we were too busy getting ready to march in the parade on Sunday. It was really only after we stopped marching and staffing a booth at Pride that the Ride came into being as a regular offering. Interest has waxed and waned (but mostly waned) perhaps due to the route varying in length and difficulty. But we now seem to have hit upon a ‘Goldilocks’ route—neither too long or difficult nor too short—and coupled with some basic publicity and auspicious weather really brought out the crowd: at least 27. It wasn’t just sheer number either; we had participants from around the Bay Area and three from London. Thanks to Sal Tavormina and David Gaus for leading!

Meet Up. We’d been eyeing Meet Up with some interest for a few years and this year we finally pulled the trigger and set up a DSSF Meet Up site as a six-month experiment in outreach. We had mixed success—we brought in a few members but hardly any MU folks came on club rides. Ginny Watson put a superb effort into setting up the site, communicating with members, and especially in leading Mellow Rides. Nonetheless we pulled the site in November after lackluster interest. Although Meet Up turned out not to be a compatible venue for us, it taught us a valuable lesson in whom we should be reaching out to. Thanks again to Ginny for her leadership and hard work!

Before Work Morning Rides. We have had Social A rides, an occasional mountain bike ride, after work rides, and a few years ago even a weekday series of rides for those who either don’t work or work nontraditional schedules. But we hadn’t had something that is actually a staple of the racing crowd: an early morning pre-work ride. Perhaps it’s because most Spokers can’t don’t get up early enough. Well, Ginny and David Goldsmith, both early risers, led a few this year and although they didn’t get a great turnout, they had great fun romping up the Headlands to blast the soot out of the carburators before getting on with the less important part of the day.

Return of the Getaway Weekend. The club has had a long history of weekend cycling trips starting with a self-supported four-day trip from San Francisco to Santa Cruz and back in 1982 (over Thanksgiving weekend no less!) But the popular trips were two- or three-day trips to Guerneville and Lake Tahoe and later, to Amador County where we don’t have to schlep our make-up kits and boudoir outfits in–eek!–panniers. Roger and I put together an easy weekend in Monterey with a house rental where the group could prepare meals together and hang out. Along with folks who drove down for the day we had a couple of great rides, a delicious group dinner, and interesting conversation. This year David Gaus is putting together another Amador County Weekend in early October.

Annual Picnic. After a big turnout in 2018 when Bill Knudsen moved the Picnic back to Golden Gate Park after more than 20 years elsewhere, we thought, “Well, why fool with success?” Only this year the weather didn’t cooperate—isn’t that the reason it moved out of the Park?—and we had a light turnout. But we did try something different this year, a sandwich bar instead of a grill, and people were very pleased. Maybe in 2020 we’ll look into a warmer location!

RideWithGPS. Santa came early this year for the club. After the Saddle Challenge riders donated their orphaned funds to the club, we splurged and got a one-year subscription for a RideWithGPS club account. That club subscription meant every member of Different Spokes would be able to use RideWithGPS as if they had a paid subscription so you all could create your own routes and post them to the DSSF RWGPS account in our club library. Having a club subscription also makes annotating rides with images, history, and notes easy in addition to providing the usual map, cue sheet, route profile, and points of interest. We all we have to do is teach members how to use this fantastic resource.

More Membership Meetings. The club has four annual events that constitute “member” meetings—the Kick-Off Meeting, the Picnic, the Fall Social, and the Holiday Party, which is the minimum required by our bylaws. The Orinda Pool Party could also be included in the count but it’s not one of the “official” club events. Then David Goldsmith decided to pull off an ad hoc meeting just for fun. Ari at Bespoke Cycles was enthusiastic about having the club come for an evening and thus was born a fifth membership meeting in 2019. Those who attended had a great time. Now we’re thinking about more membership meetings in 2020. Do you have an idea for a meeting, a venue and topic? Let us know! Member meetings are a chance to get together around cycling and socialize sans cycling drag. And thanks to David and Ari for putting on the show!

We Recruit. In a heartening development our membership number went up significantly. We started the year somewhere around 69 (appropriate, n’est-ce pas?) and now we’re at 95. We’re getting close to the number where the membership fees will actually pay off our regular bills. Although the Jock Sunday at the Lookout fundraiser was a success yet again, it would be nice not to have to depend on the kindness of strangers in order to stay solvent. If your membership expired on January 1, we hope you’ll look back on the great year you had with Different Spokes and renew your membership tout de suite!

The Best Way to Keep One’s Word is Not to Give It

The San Jose Mercury News reported that October 21 was the deadline for remediation of the infrastructure for BART’s as-yet unopened Milpitas and Berryessa stations in order to open by the end of this year. If you recall last June the opening date for the new stations was delayed yet again until “November” or “late 2019”. Everything was set back when “thousands” of problems were still unresolved between the VTA-constructed stations and BART. Apparently those problems are now down to a “handful” and BART blew its deadline yet finally began testing the new line a week late on October 28. Nothing ever seems to go smoothly with BART especially its dismal PR. Since BART never appears to rush headlong (yeah, we wish!), the odds of it being able to open Milpitas and Berryessa by Dec. 31 are about zero. One would think that being one week behind schedule means it will open a week late. Well, originally it was “November” or “late fall”. I think we might see it before June 2020 keeping in mind BART never admits its timelines are always ludicrously unrealistic.

On the other hand we just had dinner with a German friend who commented that the new Berlin Tegel airport was originally set to open in 2011. But due to the 2008 recession subcontractors went bankrupt disappeared and along with them the schematics of their work. So now the airport is “done” except that nothing works and they’re untangling that mess slowly. New opening date is now late 2020. Does that sound familiar to you? In another example of stellar German planning the Hamburg opera house, the Elbphilharmonie, finally opened in 2017 but ran into cost overruns that put construction on hiatus twice, I believe. It eventually opened six years late. So maybe BART is actually ahead of the curve. Whoa, what a thought!

Calling All Spokers-Jock Sunday at the Lookout on Sunday Nov. 3!

Workin’ it, baby!

We hope you’re all planning to come to the Lookout (3600 16th St. @ Market, across from Cafe Flore) on Sunday, November 3 for our important fundraiser. The fun begins at 3:30 pm when your fellow Spokers will be the hostesses with the mostestes, selling raffle tickets and jello shots to raise cash for our club. Funds raised will go towards our 2020 budget.

What can be more fun than jokes and drinks on a balcony on a sunny (or even cloudy) afternoon overlooking the passing Castro parade? These Sunday afternoons/early evenings guarantee a hot, friendly, and frisky crowd of athletic supporters in an afternoon schmooze and booze with door and donations benefitting LGBT sports teams. We call on all DSSF members—both boys and girls, as it’s all gender friendly—to come out in their kit and gear to support and promote our club. In previous years we’ve raised a princessly sums of money ($400-1,000!) for club activities.


The WalMart of Bicycling Comes to the Bay Area [updated 10/30]

$50 bike shorts.

You’ve probably never heard of Decathlon stores but there are now two of them in the Bay Area, in Emeryville and soon to be in San Francisco on Potrero Hill. Decathlon is a cross between WalMart, Performance Bike, and Sports Authority: it sells sporting goods including lots of cycling stuff for distubingly low prices. The catch is you’re not going to find any familiar brands in its stores. You look around and there isn’t anything from Castelli, Pearl Izumi, Sugoi, or any other brand you’re familiar with. They carry bikes from B’Twin, Van Ryssel, and Triban. Never heard of those brands? The reason is that they are only found in Decathlon stores as they’re all made-up brand names coming directly from Decathlon. Decathlon is a practioner of vertical integration. It tries very hard not to be a reseller of other manufacturers’ goods. Whatever it can make (or arrange to have made) Decathlon will sell. That allows it to avoid markups for other companies’s marketing and cuts out the intermediate cost so Decathlon can offer goods at low cost. So you see cycling shorts for $50, inner tubes for $4, and bicycles of every level at anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars less than you’d pay for a Trek, Specialized, or Colnago. The trick is you have to be satisfied with non-name brand stuff made in god-knows-where. The good news is that some of their cycling stuff is either decent or pretty good.

We walked into the Emeryville store and were simultaneously blown away and skeptical: how can you have decent cycling shorts for $40 or $50? Then you run across product reviews on the blogosphere like this or this or a review from a mainstream cycling sites like this or this and you realize that although their stuff may not be quite as good as, say, Pearl Izumi, it’s still good enough and it’s a whole lot cheaper.

My closet is filled with Rapha, Assos, and Castelli garb. But you know what? It may look nice but I’ve had quality issues with every brand including the “best”. Wearing $250 cycling shorts and $200 jerseys that PRO racers supposedly also use is a signifier more than it is a realistic and practical reflection of need. But we all know what our needs are abundantly manufactured, don’t we? It’s a lot like having that Porsche 911 in your driveway when all you do is run errands or commute on clogged Bay Area roads. Yeah, you look hot in that German Autobahn machine but a Prius would serve the same function. So it is with a lot of cycling stuff.

Commuting done on the cheap

Back to Decathlon: their bicycle prices are also eye-opening. We saw a starter bike for $199. That’s cheaper than Costco and probably Sears too. They also had full-on carbon road bike with a full Dura Ace group and Mavic carbon wheels for around $4,500. That’s the kind of bike that Trek or Specialized sell for at least $7,000 these days. Canyon Bicycles out of Germany is also selling the latest-and-greatest carbon wonder machines for thousands less than you’d pay for the Big S or Waterloo. But its road to lower prices is selling directly to cyclists through the Internet. The advantage that Decathlon has is it’s a brick-and-mortar store: if you have a problem with your bike/apparel/accessory you can take it back and get it fixed or replaced immediately rather than having to ship it back to Canyon’s North American distribution center, wherever that is. And those Decathlon bikes fare well against Canyon’s.

Carbon? Check. Full Dura Ace? Check. Mavic carbon wheels? Check. $4500??

Decathlon is like WalMart, Costco, or Ikea in another way: your local bike store is going to take a hit now that France’s megaretailer has arrived in town. Fortunately for LBS’s Decathlon doesn’t do small stores so you’re never going to see lots of them in the nearby communities. In a way Decathlon is doing what Performance Bike did only half-assed, which was to sell some of its own branded stuff on the cheap; in Decathlon’s case it sells ONLY its own stuff. If I were REI or maybe Sports Basement I’d be worried. Although Decathlon is more of a “traditional” sporting goods store and REI is outdoors oriented, there is enough overlap (cycling, running, hiking, camping) that Decathlon is going to undercut REI with its super-low prices. Also, Decathlon unlike REI or most local bike shops I’ve seen doesn’t trade in the same up-market mystique. You walk in and it looks more like a Sears for sporting goods (eg. Sports Authority) than a Rapha store. No snob appeal here and that’s partly because its stuff isn’t on point for fashion or trend. That isn’t to say their clothing is unfashionable—it’s just done simply. For your average consumer that’s a very good thing even if Rapha freds couldn’t stand the stench of off-brand knock-offs.

There’s no doubt that the Decathlon in Emeryville is going to be a player. But for the moment its zeitgeist is nakedly value-for-dollar. So much of cycling—well, recreational cycling I mean—is about Walter Mitty, faux racer fantasies and projecting the PRO image and Decathlon just isn’t aiming for deluded aspirational cyclists. Yet. (There was a time when Decathlon did in fact sponsor a pro team. Maybe that will happen again.)

One thing that Decathlon doesn’t have going for it is customer service. We walked in and there were staff around. But it was more like Home Depot: you are going to have to hunt for a staff person if you need assistance. We walked in, perused the goods in the cycling area, which wasn’t small, and didn’t see a single staff person around nor did we see a repair shop; perhaps it was in the back (they have to assemble those bikes somewhere!). Well, you have to cut your labor costs if you want to offer low prices and make your owner wealthy. (Decathlon is privately held).

For more information about Decathlon: https://www.decathlon.com/pages/emeryville

UPDATE (10/30/19): Apparently merino wool is so en vogue in athletic or ‘active’ wear that even Decathlon now sells a merino wool long sleeve jersey in the UK for about £50 (=$64). I don’t see it on the US site but you can view it on the UK site here.

$64 Rapha killer

It’s a nice looking jersey that would probably be very comfortable for Bay Area winter riding. It also got a very good review at road.cc here. For comparison look at similar wares from trendy apparelists Rapha and Cafe du Cycliste. Rapha is the company that started the merino cycling apparel craze about ten years ago. Their current merino jersey, the Classic II, is $175. Cafe du Cycliste, a Rapha wannabe company in France, offers its Claudette merino jersey for $210 (!) I don’t foresee Decathlon cratering either Rapha’s or Cafe du Cycliste’s sales anytime soon. But the fact that Decathlon can come out with a comparable handsome jersey for a third the cost will raise some eyebrows (and open some wallets, maybe a lot of wallets). If you’re hanging in there for a Rapha sale—something that has been perhaps too regular—you may be out of luck as this article points out. Rapha’s has been posting a loss despite being a luxury brand, showing that even the velominati have their limits when it comes to being asked to hand over $270 for a pair of cycling shorts. With Rapha retrenching as the Louis Vuitton of cycling wear you can be sure that those of us who are déclassé will find it literally too rich for our taste and will be eyeing Decathlon’s goods with relief.

Ragging on BART, Part Deux, or Quelle Surprise! BART’s Pushing Back Opening Dates!

A Rock and A Hard Place: BART or this?

Ah, it’s time again to play “Guess The Opening Date”—money wagers only, please. Although the details weren’t revealed (if they even existed), we all knew that when BART announced last June that the Milpitas and Berryessa stations would open before the end of 2019 that it was another conjuring act for the easily duped. Yesterday BART as much as admitted that. With the “discovery” of over “1,000 problems” in the new stations and track, there likely isn’t enough time to resolve them and get testing done to open those stations this year. But thank goodness BART has assigned “its very best engineers” to do testing! Whatever. I’m sure they’re on it.

There hasn’t been a construction deadline that BART hasn’t blown by years, so whatevs. And to think the original opening date was projected to be 2016. Well, that’s just three- no, four years late. But arriving late is so fashionable, n’est-ce pas? We are going to be damn lucky if Berryessa station is open in time for next year’s Mt. Hamilton ride in November.

And with its track record [pun intended] BART has the gall to come to the table to ask for another fat tax measure to line its dysfunctional coffers. Aren’t you getting the feeling that BART is an endless black hole of tax money? We just passed Measure RR and now BART is already planning its next mugging. It’s like building more freeways: you never catch up because expansion just induces more demand, which leads to BART needing still more money. People have already realized that in the Bay Area we can’t continue building more freeways. When are we going to come to the same realization with BART?

You may use BART to get to work. But how many Spokers actually use BART to get to rides? On the rides that Roger and I lead, which we try to start at BART stations to encourage use of public transportation, I’d say only about a quarter of riders do; most people drive to the start. But parking at BART stations on weekends is awesome!