There were 27 of us who arrived by BART or vehicle at 6:45 AM to begin a ride through the valleys and some of the fairly steep hills of northern Contra Costa County. We began the day with a bit of chatter, being reminded of the safety rules for riding which ALC demands all riders follow to the letter of the law. This is how every ride begins and you can see from the above picture that everyone pays attention!
We started riding about 7:30 AM and headed out to ride up the hill known at "Papa Bear" on Bear Creek Road. Then we rode over to "Pig Farm Hill." Last year on this hill I had to walk part of the way as it is quite steep at the top. This year I managed to peddle to the top. The hill is still steep and the pigs are long gone. Then we headed to Martinez, a lovely town on the shores of the Carquinez Straights of the San Francisco Bay. After a stop at Starbucks we rode through the seculded Carquinez Straights Park and down Hwy 4 and through the chemical plant complex near Rodeo and then on to Hercules and Pinole, where we visited another Starbucks. Then we headed southeast on San Pablo Dam Road and passed by the Orinda BART station where we had begun hours before. I passed BART at around 3:30 or so. All but 7 or so riders opted to end their ride at that point but I pressed on to do the final loop that took us out to Lafayette and covering the same roads we were on at the start of the day, we peddled back to the Orinda BART station, arriving at 5 PM. The last three determined riders of the day! 77 miles and still smiling.