CLC18 Ride 2: Old and New

Monday, March 12, 2018   15 miles

I had some fun seeing old and new things today on a meander around a neighboring town. It was going to get breezy this afternoon and a series of rainstorms would be moving in behind the wind, so only thing on my agenda this morning was a ride. Nothing planned except to go somewhere different and just see what there was to see. Just for a thrill I started out by going up a route I usually go down. Or more like, it’s not especially scenic because of the usual shopping centers and strip malls, but it’s direct and gets me home from rides in the hills.

an intersection at a couple of busy roads
Boring but necessary

I passed a gore point between two intersecting roads that is a vest pocket park. I have been by it hundreds of times. In the last year or so a new sculpture was installed there. I decided to stop and take a closer look at it.

a sculpture of a blimp set upon a pair of bird legs, in a small grassy park
Bird? Bomb? Well, it’s really a blimp/zeppelin/dirigible on bird legs. I never noticed the gondola underneath before.

I wondered for the longest time why this affluent town would put up something with a bomb on it. It’s not a bomb, I now know, it’s a blimp. I never noticed the gondola underneath near the front. That’s better.

I took a turn here and there to head towards the center of the town of Los Altos. It’s a pleasant residential town and it has a pleasant little downtown. On one street I saw in a front a house a couple of trees that had burst into bloom. I rolled right underneath a branch and breathed in deeply. I thought it might be an apricot tree but wasn’t sure. This whole area was a center of apricot ranches once upon a time.

a street in a residential area with houses and trees
apricot blossoms
Apricot blossoms?

To find out if it was an apricot or not, I knew where to go. There is a heritage apricot orchard at city hall. The wife had been there recently and raved about how wonderful it smelled. So I made a turn here and there and entered the city hall complex from the back.

a place between to fences for bikes and pedestrians to cut through a park
Secret passage …
a picnic table, an old apricot sorting table, some other antique items, under a spreading coast live oak
… takes me to the Los Altos History Museum outdoor exhibits. Under a beautiful spreading live oak.

The back way dumped me into the back yard of the Los Altos History Museum and its outdoor exhibits. I had great fun wandering around. I believe the entire city hall/library/police/youth center/playgrounds/ballfields complex with the heritage orchard were all part of the same ranch. The ranch house is now the main part of the museum.

an antique walnut huller machine and explanatory sign
The Wizard Walnut Huller, invented right here in Los Altos in the 1930s, removed the hulls without damaging the shells.
recumbent trike in front of antique apricot sorting table and crates
Pokey checks out an apricot sorting table with all the crates ready to go.

I moved on to find the orchard. It did indeed smell wonderful. I went up to one tree and stuck my nose into a blossom (after first checking for bees, of which there were many). Yup, smelled the same as the other blossom I checked out. So that other tree was indeed an apricot tree.

a recumbent trike in the middle of a remnant, historic apricot orchard in the Los Altos town center
The heritage apricot orchard. I took a sniff and yes, the other blossoms were on an apricot tree. Lots of folks had at least a few trees on their property, and everyone in town was busy at harvest time. Except for a few trees here and there, this is the only orchard left in the area.

I was feeling a little peckish so moved on to a local supermarket to pick up a nutrition bar [sic] and pedaled to a nearby preserve called Redwood Grove. I had to share it at first with some other people but I waited them out, then had it to myself for a while.

a recumbent trike, a bike helmet, a thermos of hot tea and a bench in a park
Proof of purchase, after consumption.
redwood trees in Redwood Grove Preserve in Los Altos
The view while consuming the consumable.
a dry creek with a structure made out of bent willow branches to preserve to creek bank
A creek without water in it during the middle of the rainy season is not a good sight. But I also want to point out something I found interesting. On the far side of the bank is a gabian created by weaving willow branches together. A better way to dissipate the force of the stream than armoring with rocks or concrete, and it protects plants and the silt that’s built up.
close-up of willow sticks planted in dirt and now with leaves
And another thing about willows that I think is magic: you can just put a willow stick in the ground and it will grow. These sticks were probably put in last fall, and they’re already sprouting leaves. Willows are good for the creek banks.
a piles of redwood logs from recently cut-down redwoods in Redwood Grove, Los Altos.
About a half dozen redwoods along the creek were cut down, but I don’t know why. Probably weren’t doing too well.

Break over, I continued through the neighborhood. One resident was ready for Easter. Another was ready for St. Patrick’s Day.

a small tree in front of a house with many brightly colored easter eggs hanging from the branches
Someone is ready for Easter.
a sculpture of two dolphins that have been decorated for St Patrick's Day with necklaces, hats and tiny beer mugs
And someone is ready for St. Patrick’s Day. This sculpture is of a couple of dolphins. They are wearing green hats and green sunglasses. Around their necks are necklaces that have a small beer mug. Also notice the lounging lions near the front door, which are wearing green hats. The white dog is another sculpture.
a high point of a residential road that drops off suddenly
I actually had to climb up a little knob. It was only a little steep.
recumbent trike at an almost too-small opening on an informal path between streets
Off roading. I forgot though that this passage was not completely trikeworthy.

I rode over to the Stevens Creek bike path to take me back down towards the bay and then home. I found a lot more new-to-me things on this ride than I expected. But isn’t that almost always true on a ride?

a bike path with signs that say walk bike.
Part of the Stevens Creek Trail fell into Stevens Creek last year when we had record rainfall. This is the kludgy detour. Again, the joke sign about walking bikes. Will they never learn?
office buildings in process of being demolished
Further down the bike trail, this used to be Microsoft’s Silicon Valley campus. These buildings weren’t that old. I don’t know where they went to. Probably Google bought it up and MS had to skedaddle.
bike and pedestrian crossing across a major road
I am about to enter The Googleplex.
bike and pedestrian path through the Googleplex with people walking
Google bike path with actual Googlers allowed to wander freely. I wonder why.
condo complex right next to a busy freeway
Mmm. Gonna get me a cool condo right next to the freeway. Silicon Valley living at it’s finest!
map of a bike ride using satellite imagery
CLC ride 2: past and present

Until next time, kids.

tricycle tricycle tricycle I want to ride my tricycle tricycle tricycle I want to ride my tricycle I want to ride my trike I want to ride my tricycle I want to ride it where I like (And I like to ride my bicycle too)

11 response to "CLC18 Ride 2: Old and New"

  1. By: The Navigator Posted: March 13, 2018

    I’ve loved your two rides so far – you always show us the hidden secrets of your area, and I can’t wait to take a photo of one known secret passageway on one of my rides and one “Walk your bike” special. I’m sure there are more if I start to look. Still haven’t thought of a theme, though. I love your workplace and hope you are very happy there. Em

    • By: Kathleen Jones Posted: March 13, 2018

      Hi Em.

      It’s always a surprise to me that I can still find something new every time I take a local ride. A delightful surprise. I don’t have a theme yet but I’ll try to copy someone else. I think your secret passages are all the new roads you find, which are portals to magic (most of the time).

      Glad you’re able to ride and getting better all the time,

  2. By: Alchemyrider Posted: March 13, 2018

    Lovely post!

    I rode the Los Gatos Creek trail to Lexington Reservoir a couple of years ago. I love the trails you have in California. Even if you have to “Walk Your Bike” at times.

    • By: Kathleen Jones Posted: March 13, 2018

      The Los Gatos Creek trail is a great ride, but it’s getting so popular and crowded I only go on it for short stretches these days. But you’ve given me an idea – maybe I’ll ride that one of these days for CLC. Thanks!


  3. By: Suzanne Posted: March 13, 2018

    Great ride – all new to me. What did you do at the untrikeworthy spot? On the map you got through.

    • By: Kathleen Jones Posted: March 13, 2018

      Hi Suzanne,

      I managed to wiggle the wheels through, first one, then the other. If that bolt on the one side hadn’t been there I probably could have squeezed straight through. I am used to overcoming severe obstacles like this thrown in my path by the dominant paradigm of 2-wheelers.


  4. By: Seasidejanet Posted: March 13, 2018

    You have a great way of sharing and teaching! Loved the Los Altos farm. I moved to CAlif in 1970and lived down that way and remember all the orchids. Things have changed so much. Jack and I need to get started on this CLC we seem to have been sidelined of late. Promise to get out there soon.

    • By: Kathleen Jones Posted: March 13, 2018

      Hey Janet,

      Sorry to hear about being sidelined. It’s been a weird winter and I myself have hardly been out on the bike. I hope you two get out there soon. Because I can’t be in Monterey every day I’m counting on you guys to give me my fix.


  5. By: Tony Cullimore Posted: March 13, 2018

    Hi Kathleen. I have two questions for you.

    #1 – What is a gore point?

    I liked the blimp. When a young chap living in south London there were still a lot of pictures and references to the blimps that were flown over the major towns to try and stop the bombers during the Blitz.

    #2. You have probably explained this elsewhere but I noticed you are sometimes riding a 2 wheel and sometimes a 3 wheel recumbent. Do you have a preference?

    Recumbents are not known in Tassie – the ones I have seen generally belong to tourists. BUT I had a ride on one last weekend and it felt quite odd! It was a US made Bike E semi-recumbent and must be quite old ‘cos the company went out of business back in 2002. After half an hour things came together except I was clutching the handlebars too much as if still riding a diamond frame bike. The motorists around me didn’t seem to like it much.

    • By: Kathleen Jones Posted: March 13, 2018

      Hi Tony,

      Thanks for the questions.

      As I understand it a gore is a wedge-shaped area, often between roads or property parcels. It’s that area near off-ramps of highways. Etc.

      As for 2 or 3 wheels, it depends on my mood and what I may want to do. If I need to go faster I go on 2 wheels (like to work in the morning when I’m never up early enough). If I’m tired of the trike I’ll ride the bike, and after a while I’ll be tired of the bike and go back to the trike.

      A BikeE was my first recumbent, back in 2000 or so. It’s a true recumbent, but a short wheelbase recumbent. My bike is a long wheelbase bent. There are also compact LWRs. And there are delta and tadpole trikes. And quads. You name it, we got it.

      The steering on the BikeE has what is called the “tiller effect.” Not the best since it can be over-responsive, so it wasn’t you so much as the design. Once you learn to relax it works pretty well.

      Don’t worry about the motorists not liking the bent. That means they saw you. And they’re more likely to go around you.

      One of the best trike manufacturers in the world is Greenspeed, based in Australia.


Leave a Reply