Sunday, June 12, 2011

More Lore About Canyon

So... I got home late from work Saturday night, didn't get to bed until 12:30. The night before, I didn't fall into a bed coma until 1:30...Bike Party!!! More on that next blog. However, Sunday morning, I felt pretty good despite the lack of sleep and decided to take a Team Alameda ride.

Lately I hear a lot of this: " Hey Flash, why don't you lead rides anymore? We miss your style of ride, its not the same without you." Well, I have led some rides this year, but not as many as in years past, and some, like the Mystery Ride, featured bad timing when a lot of people were out of town. But the over-arcing reality is that I am exploring other avenues of bike culture, my work sometimes now happens on weekends, and I'm sometimes lazy and don't want to get up at 6:45 on a Saturday to ride by 8. Why not sleep in and ride at 10? Makes sense to me.

I do miss my TA friends, so yesterday I joined them on a Point Richmond ride. At least 10 flat miles of it, when I broke off at Gilman to get in some hill riding. Not sure of my route, I fell back on autopilot and set course for Wildcat Canyon. Los Angeles and the beginning of Spruce were tough. I've been putting in a lot of flat miles on a heavy Dutch bike lately, and its not the same kind of exercise. With the weather we've been having, I'm off my hill form a bit as well. But not a lot, and half way up Spruce these other roadies ahead of me, chatting, riding two abreast, blocking traffic pissed me off and I passed them all in a dismissive " On your left!" That burst actually kicked out the jams and I found myself climbing at a steady tempo and all felt good. My mojo came together quickly and I had the old familiar feeling of its good to be alive. I get that feeling when all is going well.

Before I knew it I was descending Wildcat and turned towards Orinda. Just as I turned a peloton of about 20 riders coming off of the 3 Bears turned towards Orinda and were behind me about 50 yards. I let them reel me in somewhere around the turn off to Geppeto's, and I liked the feeling of being pulled along, although I wasn't as I was on the inside and a 20 person line was slowly passing me on the left. Hey, I got to say hello to a lot of people, and in the moment I decided to ride with them out to Moraga. However, someone in their group yelled FLAT!!, effectively deflating the momentum, and they stopped after the big Orinda intersection. This blew the Feng shui of the moment for me, so I decided to go to Peet's for a coffee.

There were a couple of tandem couples hanging out there, and just then a gaggle of female riders rolled in as I was balancing my LeMond against the big tree planter. After I got my cup o' Joe, I grabbed a chair and sat by the doors, and started greeting cyclists as they came in. This is so easy to do: "Hey, welcome to Peets!" and the conversations start. So I chatted up the gals next to me on the bench and guess who they turn out to be?

The Cycling Wives of Canyon.... I kid you not! This is what they call themselves. They even have official Canyon cycling jerseys.

Did I mention I've been fascinated with Canyon for a long time?

I found this too intriguing. After many years of wondering what goes on in Canyon, last year I finally met a woman who lived there, went to her moving away party, met some rather eccentric Canyon locals, led a group of TA riders to a pancake breakfast there, then it was all over. I had lost my long sought after connection to Canyon.

One of the CWOC wives told me her husband's name is Canyon. Wait a minute... I met him at that party! He's the offspring of the original hippies who settled there. The other woman told me her husband's name is Sequoia. Same deal. The Real Deal, these Canyonites. The wives told me they were "imported" from SF and Brooklyn NY, like Hindu brides. They told me that the initial move from the big city to Canyon was like "hitting the wall". But they have adjusted. They are roadies as well. They like to ride. And they are expanding their circle with friends who don the jersey and ride with them.

Most importantly for us cyclists, I was told that only 6% of Canyon's 200 residents cycle, the other 94% are annoyed and frustrated by us clogging and blocking their road. One thing they hate is when cyclists being followed from behind wave the car to go around. This can result in bad things happening during the pass, and they resent the supposed authority the cyclist claims with the "go around" wave.

Makes sense to me, and I am going to think seriously about it before I wave a car around. You have to put yourself in their position.

Anyway, I took some Flashcuts between Orinda and Moraga, and although I left Peets before the CWOC, they got ahead of me, and when I was riding through Canyon, I glimpsed them up a driveway, in the trees, ending their ride. So I turned around and rode up the drive, and they were like "hey, there's that Alameda guy" (had the TA jersey on) Just then, a man came walking down the hill. I recognized him, a young middle age. It was Canyon himself, the guy I had met at the party. A nice feeling of coming full circle settled on me.

I now have several new friends in Canyon. Hopefully they will remember my verbal blog URL and find this post and comment, and this will result in a Casablanca-like beautiful friendship.

That was another great ride. It wasn't just the gorgeous day, or the 43 miles, or the great to be alive feeling. It was more... I think I took the Bike Party ethos and spread it around this day and met some groovy people, people who will somehow influence my direction, I think, yeah...pretty sure.

Thanks for reading, and as always, Ride On, my friends.



  1. thanks for posting. This is a fun read about a ride. randoro

  2. Let's do the math Flash. 6% of the Canyonites ride bikes? How many Canyonites are there anyway? Yep, I have long been intrigued by this neighborhood too, and most of it is concealed behind trees I think.
    It is kind of mysterious. Are there 50 residences there?
    Could there be a couple of hundred folks living there? Surely not 500. How many kids go to that school? It has a post office too? Do they all disappear under mushrooms at night?
    Great place for old and young hippies for sure. I saw The Youngbloods play there for a school benefit there and they were new to the west coast then. Missed the Grateful Dead playing on the school yard at a previous fundraiser.
    I have searched for sales info on homes there on my real estate site. Never found evidence of any home sales there. Though this must happen I think Canyon must have a waiting list of buyers who strike a private deal over a campfire or something.
    Like "the old days."

  3. Thanks for the generous comment there old friend!
    I was told Canyon's population is right around 200 people ( I just added that fact in the story) One of the great things and worst things about the town is that everyone knows everything about everyone there. I can only imagine the Dead playing the Canyon School Yard, and the movie playing in my head about it is pretty cool!

  4. As always an interesting and enjoyable read about your adventures while out cycling.

    I bet those groovy people enjoyed meeting an interesting and groovy guy like you while they were out cycling, too. I smiled when I saw you use the word groovy. When was the last time I heard that?

    Keep on riding and sharing your adventures. I love reading them. Looking forward to your Bike Party post!

  5. Man, I found one spacious 4 bedroom, 2 bath home on almost an acre sold there in Jan. '10 for $710,000. Great views too. Looks to be the only house sold in a standard fashion in the last 30 months.
    The Youngbloods were great in the school yard; "Come on people now smile on your brother, everybody get together try to love one another right now"