Day 4: Pittsburg to Berkeley, CA
Day 4 of the tour has proved to be the most exhilarating day of biking thus far. We departed Pittsburg with beautiful California clear skies as we headed for the mountains. Palm tree-lined streets guided us out of town to the base, where we climbed a scenic, steady 3 miles up followed by an exciting descent. We rolled on to Walnut Creek, our first break of the day, and a brief stop at the Encina Bicycle Center for a quick adjustment and supplies. We were fortunate to have the staff there suggest the best route for our journey over a scenic pass to Berkeley; this alternative route lessened our climb and proved to be amazing.
Before leaving town, we stopped for a brief regroup with Organic Valley Fuel, Organic Prairie Mighty Bar and Clif Bars at the Heather Farm Park. You can’t take these kids to the park without some antics, so we had fun ‘posing’ for a couple group picture as ‘Team Fuel Tree Huggers’ and some tree climbing in honor of Earth Day.
Back on bikes we headed toward the Tilden Regional Park. Team Fuel eagerly climbed at a steady pace to the ‘summit’ along a winding, tree-shaded road with the picturesque scenery below and around us, enveloping us more and more as we rose. The vista was amazingly beautiful, but, again, the reminder of water shortage/drought conditions were still apparent in the lush area as did an aerial view of the receding waterline of a lake, with signage reminding us this area was still a protected watershed.
The ride down the park was rolling switchbacks where we passed a botanical garden and research area as UC Berkeley was not far from the park, then on through Berkeley Hills. Again, this was an amazing regional park area open to cyclists, hikers and anyone just wanting to be present in nature. Our ‘Earth Day’ ride couldn’t have been better planned. On to Berkeley, we wove along the bike path through town and a beautiful old downtown area which was very biker-friendly, where the final few miles of our trek took us along a beach front trail by the bay. Winds really picked up coming off the water, but we didn’t mind being sprayed with serf before arriving exhausted, yet happy, at out our hotel on the bay marina. Brian said elevation today was over 2,700 feet!
Team Fuel picked up ‘fresh legs’ as two farmers joined us for the rest of the journey: Jake from Wisconsin and Mirillya from Maine will be added to the ‘Fuel Pack’. Sadly, we had to bid farewell to two farmers as duty called and Eli returned to Oregon to manage business ops there, and Hans returned to upper Washington State. We each expressed reluctance in their departure, as they hated to leave as well—it’s been a great ride with amazing camaraderie. Lots of new friends made both on and off the bikes, all appreciative and gaining a better understanding of each other’s local dynamics as well with the on-going discussions of weather, water, soil, and our continued quest to find sustainability for our land—no matter the region. Peace out and happy Earth Week!
Cycling for Sustainability is an adventure series. To check out our previous day’s adventure click here. To see all of the posts from this series click the “cycling for sustainability” tag at the top of the page.