Christmas Eve Loop

We’ve often gone for a ride around Christmastime, as much because we can as anything else. Ruth has been agitating for a ride where she gets her own bike, and Max is always happy to get in Ruth’s normal trailer. Anne got me a taillight camera for Christmas, so it would be an excuse to try that out.

We decided to keep it simple, a heading towards the bay, with vague ideas of looping through Coyote Hills.

Getting down to Don Edwards and Coyote Hills was simple enough. Ruth does a good job of following directions on the road. Max pedaled furiously, if intermittently, in his trailer. We crossed the pedestrian bridge over 84 into Coyote Hills, and that’s where things got most interesting.

This path is gravel. Gravel can be okay, but it’s a tricky surface. It’s pretty easy to lock the wheels when braking and slide out of control. Ruth is confident on good surfaces, but gravel is another story. We encouraged her to try, as the only way to get better is the practice.

Down the first (short) hill we hit the first snag. I don’t think I realized how much Ruth brakes to control her speed. Her rear wheel locked, and she skidded for a good ten feet, fishtailing slightly. She stopped safely and kept upright, but was pretty shaken. I stopped to offer comfort and encouragement, and eventually Anne came back to check on us.

Anne decided to scout forward so we could figure out how long the gravel went. She came back and suggested we make it to a bench a bit ahead before turning around. We did, and stopped to eat.

I spied further down the road what appeared to be pavement, and sold it to Ruth as faster and probably less hilly. We finished eating and went on our way. Ruth and Anne walked down the hill the bench was on. I rode down with Max.

Further down the way, Ruth lost control again. This time, her rear wheel slipped out in front of her, perpendicular to the path, but she hopped off and managed to stay on her feet. She was shaken, but there wasn’t anywhere to go but forward — going back would have meant just more gravel.

So we continued. What I thought was pavement was actually just gray gravel, rather than the red we had been in. But it seemed tighter packed, and relatively level. Ruth was still shaken, but didn’t have any more incidents.

We finally did come to the paved paths, and looped our way through. Ruth was started to wear out, but kept pedaling. It seemed to get colder, somehow. Max was having fun behind me. We exited Coyote Hills and took the roads back to home.

This wasn’t the most intense ride ever, but it was nice to get out. Ruth still needs practice before she’ll be able to power herself on a tour, but I’m pleased with how she handles being on the road. The taillight camera is mostly for if there are problems on a commute, but it produced some cute clips.