braving heavier traffic for serious twisties

Okay, by this point, I was seriously tired of stop and go. Unfortunately, other than superslab, there simply isn't anywhere I know of in Silicon Valley where you can just cruise for an extended period.

When Andy sold me the bike, he'd mentioned the ride up to Mt. Hamilton and back. When I looked at the map, I realized that I'd already made it two thirds of the way to Mt. Hamilton Rd. with my earlier light traffic practice.

So, intent on checking out this route, I set off again at a quarter to three, lust for altitude in my veins and the White Stripes rocking my eardrums. In order to get there, however, required going on the more heavily trafficked Alum Rock Rd.

This ride really reinforced the earlier countersteering lessons. I took it all at moderate speeds and had a great time working on smooth control of my speed through curves using mostly throttle control and as little brake as possible.

I did have one minor incident requiring me to catch myself as I was dropping the bike trying to negotiate a 360 degree hairpin turn while climbing with a car coming down in the opposing lane. Whew! I think it would have helped to have been shifted into first for that tricky passage.

It took me about two and a half hours to finish this journey, including liberal stops to rest and check out the amazing views. Unfortunately, this happened to be the lesson I forgot to grab my camera for, so I don't have any great images to post.

By the time I returned to the apartment, I'd unintentionally accomplished a number of firsts: transitioning from a stop on unfinished shoulder over a rough apron onto the roadbed going both uphill and downhill, riding through fog, riding at night, riding through fog at night, watching for gravel in the road and choosing a line to avoid it, and, finally, a trip to the gas station to fill the tank.

I arrived back home buzzed with excitement and drenched with sweat. At the end of day two of motorcycle boot camp I was sitting at the seventy mile mark, and I'd now had some amount of exposure to most of the types of road scenarios I expect to encounter other than highway travel.

I had so much fun with this ride that I'm planning on repeating it on day 3, extended to include Mines Rd., Tesla Rd., Patterson Pass Rd., and Calaveras Rd. Of course, depending on how I feel when I arrive in Livermore, I can omit the small loop through Tracy and leave it for some other day. Many thanks to Pashnit for showing me the way...


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