Riding to San Jose (well, trying)

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So I’ve had a pretty good day, exercise wise. This morning I went the gym and worked out for an hour or so – just light stuff for the moment to ease myself into it. Then Ash and I went for a ride down towards San Jose, as traced on this map. I included a view of the other end of Stevens Creek road for comparison with my ride last weekend.

Quite a long road, all in all. We didn’t know exactly where we were going, just that it was east… so, we went east. After the bazillions of car yards and a few shops, things went a bit down hill… rather crappy neighbourhood. Then we came across a sign promising downtown San Jose south, so, we turned south, not particularly wanting to continue even further into the dump. Of course, we should have known – this is America – the crappier it gets the closer you are to a city.

So, we worked our way back. There’s very few useful signs off the freeways, which we obviously can’t ride along, so it’s very hard to figure out where you are, where you’re going, or where anything else is. So, we went west until we couldn’t go any further. Then we go to the Lawrence Expressway, and couldn’t go any further. So we went north, and wound up back on Stevens Creek.

It wasn’t a particularly scenic ride, unless you’re really into crappy commercial areas and rundown suburbia. But at least now, that I’m back and can figure out where we went, I know how to get to San Jose proper.

For reference, A is the “HP Pavillion” – the ice hockey arena, where we were last Thursday. Just east of that, going off the map above, is downtown San Jose (not south as that evil sign promised). B is San Jose City College, and C is the Santa Clara Valley Medical Centre, which is the only hospital-like place I’ve seen here so far.

’twas a nice little way to kill an afternoon. We rode about 20km, all up.

Ride to Rancho San Antonio

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Well, it’s been a busy week, and a reasonably busy weekend so far. Today’s big highlight was my ride up into the mountains west of here. Well, the foothills of the mountains, anyway. 🙂

Let’s start with a map.

I started at home, marked on the right. Went all the way to the end of Stevens Creek Boulevard, which actually goes up into the foothills, then terminates at the giant cement factory thingy, marked as B above. It’s really amazing to come around the corner and see it all spread out in it’s little valley in the hills – it looks exactly like something from your favourite FPS, only ten times better. One day I shall have a magic picture box with which to record these things.

So, my attempts to get up into the hills dashed, I backtracked down to what I assume is Monta Vista (going by the sign on the fire station), then headed north. I wound my way up to Rancho San Antonio, marked as A (more or less). It’s quite disturbing, really… an entire town that’s a retirement village. It does have some nice houses though, and is in a pretty spot, with some view over the valley and towards the bay. There’s a few benches in the area C from which there’s quite a view.

I then decided to head back, but got sidetracked along the way by the opportunity to climb the big fat hill that had previously blocked my view (D on the map). The view from there was fantastic – a full 180 degrees north to south, out across the valley.

It’s very odd that the mountains to the east of the valley are largely bare, bar only grass, while the ones west are quite wooded.

And so anyway, long story short I returned home, via a few other minor detours – I got completely lost in the area near the electrical substation (the grey square southwest of D). Eventually I found the train track which led me back to a road, and from there it was smooth sailing back home.

What the map doesn’t show is just how hilly the area is. It’s all over the place. It was quite a tough ride. I’ll look for another way into the mountains, but I’m having mixed feelings about the ride into them. 🙂