Mount Hamilton / Mines Road Ride
Destination: To Livermore for lunch via Mt. Hamilton
We do this ride every year. It is an old favorite ride, and one that is not too long for a Sunday. The route is a mixture of tight mountain roads and wide open valleys, no freeways except for the first few miles on 101. If the weather is good, this is a beautiful ride with great views from Mount Hamilton. If the weather is bad, it is a great experience of wildness just a few minutes from downtown San Jose. The temperature and riding conditions can change radically in a short time so be prepared for anything if the weather looks changeable. We will ride rain or shine, but you may have to change the route if it snows... (We rode in snow last year...)
The Ride Route
Depart around 9:00 am and head south on 101 to Alum Rock Road, east to Mt. Hamilton Road (Hwy 130). We usually regroup just before the turnoff for Hwy 130. Head southeast on 130 all the way to the summit of Mt. Hamilton. When in doubt stay on the main road. (You can take Quimby back into San Jose if you decide you don't want to go all the way up the Mountain.) We regroup again at the Lick Observatory parking lot. Make a hard right just as you reach the summit to find the parking lot. On the way up the mountain keep to your side of the road and watch out for those shiny, slippery tar strips and rough sections of pavement. If your tires slip on the tar strips, just relax, you'll regain traction immediately just as soon as the tires are back in contact with regular pavement.
Take a break at the summit of Mt. Hamilton. I suggest bringing a thermos of coffee or tea, and you can use the bathrooms at the observatory. You'll probably get there around 10:15 - 10:30. When you head out, take San Antonio Road east to the Junction, where Mines Road and Del Puerto Canyon Road split.
Your second break might be at the little cafe at the Junction. If you are lucky, it will be open. If not, don't be disappointed; you'll just have to wait till Livermore.
From the Junction continue on down San Antonio/Mines Road to Livermore and have lunch at Emil Villa's Hick'ry Pit. There are only two turns - bear right at the bridge where Mines joins Del Valle Road, and left where Mines joins Livermore/Tesla Road. The Hick'ry Pit Restaurant (925-449-1499) is at the far east side of the first shopping center on the right as you come into town. Eat on the porch if it is nice, inside if the weather is bad. After lunch ride back either on Calaveras Road or on 84 if the weather is bad. Be sure you have a back-up plan if it snows!
Here are some basic group ride protocols which you may find useful for your own group rides:
Be ready to leave on time. It is best to show up a little early with your tank full, your tires checked, with proper clothing for bad weather and a bike which is safe to ride. Be prepared to help your fellow riders with any problems on the road.
- Safe speed: The safe speed for road conditions will differ from rider to rider. You are responsible to pick a pace that is comfortable and within your ability. Never ride beyond your limits in an attempt to keep up with another rider! There are no prizes awarded for first place, and crashing is no fun.
- Safe distance: Do not follow too closely! Ride in staggered files on freeways, and always leave a safe distance between you and the next rider. It is especially important to avoid following too closely on secondary roads where circumstances can change suddenly.
- Passing: If you are prepared to ride faster than the rider in front, put your blinker on and pass. If you see a rider behind you preparing to pass, move over and give plenty of room. Don't speed up!
- Stopping: If the group stops, pull off the road completely. When a group starts, be sure to look over your shoulder for approaching traffic before you pull out after the person in front of you.
- Breakdowns: The sweep riders and riding friends may stop and provide assistance. It is not safe for then entire group to stop for one rider.
- Taking off early: It is fine to head home early if you are tired, but it is good manners to let the others in your group know so they don't go looking for you.