Port Loop

My second day of preparation for September’s California, Bike MS included a shorter ride (9.2 miles) and a yoga class, both included views of the Bay and San Francisco.The rest of the day has been devoted to house and yard work. I can’t count on the dog to take care of things while I am out.


I won’t ride everyday, nor will I write about it every day, but I’d like to keep track of it to see if I’m making progress. I’ve come to realize lately that not all progress is notable, but it’s progress. I’ll take that over the alternatives of no change or regress.

Since the end goal of this training and ride is to raise money, I will periodically make a pitch for donations and/or others to join our team. If either is of interest to you, please visit our page.


And so it begins…

Today I started my training for the Waves to Wine ride. I calculated that it would take me at least one extra mile per week to build up to 40 miles. Today I passed my usual 20/21 and did 24.6.


Starting out in West Oakland, and making my way towards the airport and looping back through Alameda, I passed Jack London Square, men unloading produce off of trucks, workers demolishing part of an 880 flyover, auto repair shops, dowitchers, plovers, pelicans, coots, mallards, Oracle Arena and Oakland Coliseum, tract homes, canals and Victorian houses.

Besides my back, I’m feeling good, not only physically, but about making my mileage goal. Just have to adjust my handlebars and see if that minimizes the discomfort. Stay tuned.

Where the white women at?

According to a retired navy guy that I met today, they shouldn’t live in West Oakland (Blazing Saddles reference in case you are curious).

Trying to confirm the destination of the ferry today, I asked a group of people if they were waiting in line for the boat to Oakland. They responded “yes, but why do you want to go there?” I enthusiastically said “because I live there.”

Surprised at my answer, I asked them where they lived, and they told me Sacramento. Then the old white man looked at the black woman next to me and motioned for me to go to the other side of the gangway so he could chat with me there. He went on to tell me he lived in Oakland in the 50s and 60s, “when it was nice.” I’m not sure what the point of him sharing this information, but I responded that there are nice areas in  Oakland, and the city is changing again, etc., but I didn’t go too far into this conversation.

It’s the kind of conspiratorial conversation you get as a white person, when people think you are sympathetic to their prejudice. But what make it stick out more to me today was that it happened as I was coming off the high of training capoeira. I was even still wearing my capoeira shirt, so if he would have had any idea about what capoeira is, he might have figured out that I wasn’t into hearing generalizations, let alone racist statements, about black people, or anyone else for that matter.

Maybe sensing my feelings, he toned it down, and said that he knows some nice black people, even lives near some, but “they” bring “riff-raff” into Oakland, which in itself isn’t a strong statement, but the subtext was there.

But there’s no way I’m going to school a man in his late 80s about being a bigot. So I reminded him that there are good and bad people of all kinds and they live everywhere. I took the opportunity of people knocking on the gangway door to excuse myself from the conversation and walked away.

It wasn’t any great stand for racial equality. It wasn’t any political statement. Just another day in the land of the free.

Fun on the ferry

I’ve commuted to work all sorts of ways: trains, automobiles, trams, buses, bikes subways and on foot.  Though the bike is still the top choice for me due to its reliability, flexibility, health benefits, etc., my new favorite is riding the ferry between Oakland and San Francisco.

It’s always been my favorite part of any trip.  I’ve crossed New York Harbor to Governors Island for a concert, ferried over Baia de Todos os Santos in Salvador, Brazil, and one of my best-loved crossings, passing through the Gulf Islands on BC Ferries.

A longer commute deserves a bigger boat.

It’s not the fastest way to travel, but it’s the most civilized.  The water is calming and the scenery is stunning.  Fellow passengers feel more free to chat with each other, on the San Francisco Bay Ferry you can sip a wine on your way home at the end of the work day (too bad, Canadians), and if you’re lucky maybe there will be live music and free snacks like there was today.  That beats sitting in traffic or a smelly BART train any day.

It’s nothing new. Before all of the bridges were completed in the 20th century, hundreds of ferries day crossed the San Francisco Bay every day.  One went all the way to Sacramento, others carried trains, and even some served a sea plane service in the middle of the bay.

And I just found out there is a new ferry service set to start running from Alameda and Oakland to South San Francisco in June.  Now if we could only have more ferries between Oakland and San Francisco.