Monday, June 3, 2013

Ride Report: Fremont-Berkeley Mixed Terrain Ride, 6-2-2013


My brief ride report from the Riv list:

Normally any ride where I get three flat tires and am plagued by a saddlebag rubbing on the rear wheel would seem pretty frustrating to me, but this ride was so awesome that all of these minor problems paled in comparison to my stoke.  Manny lead us on an awesome ride starting from the Fremont BART station, pretty much the southern extremity of the East Bay line.  I'd never really biked in Fremont before and I was quickly blown away as we blasted up Niles Canyon to Sunol, a beautiful and fast stretch of road.  Stopping in Sunol for supplies and to pet Mayor Bosco for good luck, we headed up driveways and fireroads towards Pleasanton Ridge, which seems to favorite with local MTBers.  From there it was rolling fireroads and plentiful singletrack detours as we made our way northwards, through increasingly deserted lands.  Somewhere in there I got the first of three flats, which seemed to be related to a bad rim strip.  Popping out on Palomares Rd. we bombed the paved descent (who says you can't get aero on Albas?) into Castro Valley for a Safeway lunch.  From there Manny took us up on trails around Lake Chabot and the golf course (golf balls!), where the second flat happened.  Manny had to get back home to get his camping gear for the evening's S240 so he took as far the southern extremity of Skyline Dr. before dropping down into San Leandro.  I lead the rest of us up Skyline and down Joaquin Miller through Montclair to the Rockridge BART station for the rest of the folks to get home to the city.  Leaving the BART I felt my rear going flat for the third time, luckily there was an open bike shop right there so I bought another tube and a new Velox rim strip.  Got it fixed and rode home, pretty stoked to arrive on my doorstep in Berkeley after riding all the way from Fremont, mostly on trails.  An epic day all around.

We had a good mix of bikes on this ride, everything from a full-on (monster) cross bike to a couple of well-setup Rando machines, and of course Manny's Hillborne.  I was on my new LHT with Albatrosses and 42mm tires, and it was perfect for this ride. 

Pics to prove it happened, although I seemed to stop taking pictures after Pleasanton Ridge so you'll just have to believe me about that part:


Unrelated to the ride report, this is awesome. 


  1. Hey Jeremy, nice to see you are out and about. The ride looks a bit like mountain biking in Chino Hills.

    I was wondering if you had tried any of the airless tires yet. Does your shop carry them?



    1. Hey Dave-

      Yeah, the riding around here is pretty awesome, definitely similar to some of the places you've taken me in SoCal.

      No, I hadn't seen that particular airless tire concept before. It seems like it would probably be very complex to manufacture and with expensive materials, so the cost might be prohibitively expensive for most riders. Plus, it seems they still use a rubber tread, which would be subject to wear, so you'd have to replace your tires pretty much as often as conventional ones.

      The truth is, in my mind, occasional flats are a totally acceptable price for the comfort, efficiency, and versatility of lightweight bicycle tires. Making them heavy enough to make flats extremely rare (like car tires) isn't realistic for human-powered vehicles, and complex solutions to provide the benefit of pneumatic tires without air retention issues are unlikely to succeed against the massive economies of scale keeping bike tires and inner tubes cheap.

  2. Hi Jeremy,
    I think the alleged advantage of these things for car tires and presumably for bicycle tires is that they can provide lower rolling resistance than a pneumatic tire.

    If that was true for bicycle tires I would imagine that we would begin to see their use in professional bicycle racing, and I haven't noticed that so ....

    As for flats: Mr. Tuffy's or similar products. I realize that these go against the heart of a purist but speaking as one who does not have the ability to ride around thorns, I like them.

  3. I enjoyed reading this post about lightweight mountain biking on your Long Haul Trucker (and the other one reviewing the LHT) after you recommended one for me. I always love talking about bikes with you, and it was so sweet that you thought about my future in cycling.