Pleased to Meet You, Mt. Tam

February 9, 2011

While the biking culture in Portland was fabulous, the rides promising, and the whole “bikey vibe” pretty much infused into everything in the city to include the coffee and art at our favorite restaurants (ie: Tasty and Sons huge mural welcoming you into their temple of breakfast goodness,) it was tricky for this biker chick to latch into – there were certainly triathletes and racers in the city, but they were hard to meet. There were so many epic rides to do….when it wasn’t raining. And the general love of bikes was like a language that everyone spoke – but the racers and fixey riders didn’t speak the same dialect. Tricky.

And heartbreaking for this girl who, when she landed back in the U.S. after years of riding without compatriots in Asia -without legible street signs, espresso and baguette conventions along routes (and rather miso and rice balls,) – kinda wanted a place to tackle climbs like I could in Okinawa. And knew it would be a whole lot more fun to ride 100 miles with friends than alone. A hipster on a bike with a beard cutting me off and harassing me in my personal space with his wallet chain and earrings didn’t seem to count in this case. Though his beard and chain were epic.

This weekend, I had my first chance to break into the bike scene here in the Bay, in all of it’s glory. I had dabbled here in the humbling Berkeley Hills but this weekend took me beyond the East Bay, through San Francisco, over the Golden Gate Bridge and into the riding treasure trove of Marin. The first of these little gems, lying not so far from my now home, was the Mt. Tam ride. Sincere hills, serious views, and most certainly exciting and fabulous.

A good friend was my guide and together we pedaled through the hills, along the coast. Over that Red Bridge with the other riders, cruising through Mill Valley, up and up and past Alpine Lake, over Stinson Beach on the Three Sisters and down again. Cruising along Hwy 1 with the other day-trippers.

I don’t actually know how far we rode – I didn’t/don’t even care, the lack of a GPS, or bike computer, or heart rate monitor was completely liberating.

There was companionship. And espresso. And sweeping views, and a whole slew of other riders out celebrating the unlikely February temps- pushing 70 degrees- in their spandex. And the best part is that this ride was only the beginning. (Insert thankful, elated squeal of glee HERE.)

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