I love California for many reasons, but speaking as a motorcyclist/biker/hooligan/whatever y’all call me, California is damn hard to beat. Here’s why:
- Lane splitting. If you don’t know what this means, get a motorcycle and come to California—you’re basically immune to traffic. Commuting by moto is the only way to go! A couple of years ago, when I started working at ReputationDefender (now Reputation.com) I was commuting from Sacramento to Redwood City each day. It was about 2 hours each way by bike, but by car it was often over 3 hours each way. Moving to San Francisco solved that particularly problem, but I would have burned out real fast sitting in the car for that long. Commuting by bike is fun!
- The “riding season” never ends. Yeah, it got down to 34 degrees when I rode Mount Hamilton a couple of weeks ago, but take a look at these photos and you’ll understand what I mean. It’s December (almost Christmas!) and it’s sunny, and there are tons of bikes in the city.
So what are you waiting for? Get on your bad motorscooter and ride!
It was supposed to rain this afternoon, but I wanted to ride the Mount Hamilton>Del Puerto Canyon>Mines loop I rode last Sunday. I also just installed some Barkbuster S1 handguards and wanted to see how they worked at keeping my hands warm.
Turns out it was a really good thing I installed those handguards: my bike’s thermometer was reading 34 degrees on the front side of Hamilton and my sandwich-grabbers were chilly. I know that’s not cold for you “Yeah, I ride my GSA in the snow, so what?” kind of guys—but that’s pretty cold for us California folks. The good news is between my heated grips and the handguards, I did ok. I did spend a few minutes warming up with a skinny mocha (gotta fit into my leathers!) in Patterson before heading back over Del Puerto Canyon to Mines road.
Unfortunately, I’m not super-happy about the pair of Held Warm ‘n’ Dry gloves I picked up a couple months ago. I had high hopes: the Warm ‘n’ Dries have great reviews and supposedly work well with heated grips. Plus, I love my Held Steve IIs, just as I loved the pair of Steves I wore out before the Twos. But the supposedly Warm (and Dries) don’t transmit heat from the grips very well, and they’re so stiff that I feel very disconnected from the controls. Not good. So, I’m on the hunt for a new pair of winter gloves. Maybe the SF D-store has something for me.
So in summary… I endured near-freezing temps in unsatisfactory gloves, lost count of the cows in the road, and the rear was end stepping out more than a cheatin’ wife in a country song on the dirty roads… but I had a hell of a time. And I made it home before it started raining.
Google Maps route over here, if you’re looking to do this loop yourself.
I headed out last Sunday for a quick loop over Mount Hamilton, across Del Puerto Canyon Road to Patterson, then back over to Mines and back to San Francisco. Check out my route and for extra points, the Yelp reviews for Del Puerto Canyon Road: “Why is there an option to review a friggen road?”
Good question, but it turns out there are reviews for Mines Road (“Yes it is a HELL OF A RIDE!”), Mount Hamilton (“Amazing views. A drive not for the faint of heart.”), and of course, The Junction (“Awesome, motorcycle haunt in the middle of no where. 10 stars for the food.”).
It was a classically Bay Area-beautiful day for a ride: temps stayed between the high forties and low sixties, and the roads were reasonably clean and dry for the most part. Surprisingly, I only saw a few other riders, including a slow-moving noob on a little dual-purpose bike. High five for your gumption, noobie!
It was clearer than usual, so I stopped off on Treasure Island to snap some photos of the city, where a friendly tourist took this photo of me with my bike. Here’s hoping the weather holds so I can get in another ride this weekend. If not, I can also tinker with my bike—I have some new bits from Touratech and TwistedThrottle to bolt on in the name of adventure via accessory purchases.