Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lessons from San Jose to Los Gatos, Part II

I now return to my story of our bike trip from San Jose to Los Gatos, California. 

Eventually, we left large wide roads like this one . . . . and it did have a bike lane . . . .

and quiet suburban, residential streets like one . . . . and it also had a bike lane . . .

to streets like this when we got into Los Gatos . . . . that for the most part, did not have bike lanes.  I felt perfectly comfortable pedaling through traffic since cars are forced to travel at a slower speed since the streets of Los Gatos are not particularly wide and parked cars line sidewalks on each side.  My personal experience early on as a bike commuter is that I almost always prefer to bike in downtown traffic if the streets are narrow and on the busy side.  It might sound counter intuitive but I find that drivers are forced to pay more attention to what is going on around them.  I live on a wide suburban street that some engineer determined should be wide.  Unfortunately, too many drivers speed up and down the streets, even when taking curves.

So anyway, we found the town square and we took a short break to consult Google maps again and some of our winery literature, since we understood from Bob's sister and brother-in-law that some wineries were located nearby.  Indeed, there were three but they all required considerable pedaling on steep hills for quite a distance.  Even on light-weight bikes, the trip would be a challenge.

Bob pondered the revelation that we would need to pedal up very steep hills to reach the nearby wineries.  We were on 35 lbs bikes.  Could we do it?  I insisted, yes, yes, of course!  But . . .

The answer was NO!  The above photo cannot adequately convey just how long and steep would be the trek to one of the wineries.  This is how the most of the car handled the twists and turns up the hill.  We did make an attempt.  We hadn't pedaled that far when I accepted that after 10 miles, while the spirit was with me, the strength was not.  My willingness to throw in the towel actually shocked me since I DO live at 7000 feet in a hilly, mountain town.  How could this be?  Honestly, we considered about just walking our bikes up the road but we just kept thinking "what a great location for a gondola with a bike rack!".

Bob remembered that the Fleming Jenkins Winery had a shop just around the corner on West Main, so away we pedaled (downhill).  After a tasting, we purchased three bottles of wine and a tin of dark chocolates.  Very tasty.  The moral of the story, when you really, honestly can't take the unusually steep, twisty hill while on 35 lbs bikes just go have a nice glass of wine and don't get hung up on the Catholic (or Jewish) guilt.  This is especially true when on vacation.

Next post, we're on to late lunch on a Los Gatos patio.


Bicycle Tyro said...

Nice trip! Wish I could find a good riding partner. You're both lucky! Keep up the wonderful blog! :)

inspiredcyclist said...

Nice you still made the most of it and had fun!

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This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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