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TOUR d’ALAMEDA

25 March 2002

bevnavy.jpg (24911 bytes)The "First Bike Ride" has officially taken place. (Note the cool biking gloves!)  I should just link to the page of Secra's first ride, because today was remarkably similar. It will be hard not to sound like I'm repeating what she wrote almost a year ago. But honestly, this is my own story!

The first thing to learn today was how to Attach The Bike Rack to the Car. Walt was off at Mass, and I decided I am Woman. I can do this unaided! And I did. Managed to get it attached to the car, and the bike up on it and tied more knots than a Boy Scout trying to get a badge. This baby wasn't going anywhere.

By the time I was ready to leave, Walt came back from Mass and checked the job I'd done, started loosening and tightening for another 15 minutes or so. But finally I was pronounced freeway worthy and I headed off. I was convinced that this would be the first time in my life I'd be rear-ended and that the life of my Silver chariot would come to an abrupt end.

But no. I made the drive to Olivia's house safely. We loaded her bike onto my bike rack (I was amazed at how casually she tied the knots and seemed unconcerned that the bike might go flying off of its own accord).

Our first stop was across the street at Safeway, where Olivia picked up lunches for the two of us and then we were off on our first adventure.

The Alameda Naval Air Base is for all intents and purposes uninhabited. Lots of wide open spaces to practice in and learn to feel comfortable on a bike. It's also the parking place for several naval ships, including the retired air craft carrier, the USS Hornet (now a museum)

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The weather could not have been more perfect. The rain of the past two days had left the air crystal clear, there were lovely fluffy cumulus clouds floating overhead, the air was not too warm, not too cool. We needed jackets, but it was decidedly comfortable.

We parked the car in a deserted parking lot just beyond the deserted entry gate of the base. The whole base stretched out before me. "Go where you want," Olivia instructed. We decided to start by cycling down to the Hornet, which we did. I became more comfortable with what I was doing, though I had a moment of panic when my tire ended up slipping into the groove of a metal track and I was sure I was going to topple over, but I managed to get it out again with minimal wobble.

By the time we got to the Hornet's pier, I was comfortable enough to steer the bike between a toddler wandering off in one direction, and a grandmother backing up to take a photo of someone on the ship itself. I didn't hit either. I was feeling very good about myself!

At the end of the pier is a breathtaking view of San Francisco. Even though I was born and raised in the city, the sight of it on a clear day never fails to take my breath away. Standing there between the Hornet and the city with a warm breeze blowing and our bikes parked by the fence--it didn't get any better than this.

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There is a picnic table at the end of the pier, so we brought out our lunches and sat there watching the sparkle of the water and the seagulls gliding gracefully overhead.

With lunch finished, it was time to hop on our bikes again and ride to the opposite end of the base. While it's no training ground for doing city biking, it was definitely a good experience, learning to stay upright, learning to turn, learning to brake. Only one heart-stopping moment, when an AC Transit bus coming in the opposite direction passed right next to me and at the same time hit something metallic so that there was a huge "crunch" sound. I discovered I can jump and pedal at the same time.

It was a lovely ride, past the line of ships, the bay, the deserted warehouses, fields of flowers, the port for the Alameda ferry, a beautiful park... Such a lovely day.

We finally made the full loop of the base and Olivia's hands were bothering her (she powdered her elbow in a bike accident a year ago and the fact that she's even on a bike again is pretty miraculous), so we returned to the car.

When we had the bikes loaded back up, we drove the route we had just biked and while it wasn't quite the 6 miles that Terri and David did on their first ride, we figure we had biked about 4 miles and decided that was a decent start.

I can hardly wait for our next ride!

So now I'm watching the preparations for the Oscars--all that tacky fun.  If you want to find out what it all looked like before the stars arrive, go check all the pictures (there are lots) on Steve's diary for today (no rush--he updates so seldom it will probably be the current entry for a month.)

 

Quote of the Day

You are never given a dream without also being given  the power to make it true."

-Richard Bach

 

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