Today, our ten year old had a doctor's appointment. It was only a dozen miles away, so of course she wanted to bike - on her own bike. Alas, I had the water bottles set up on the triple, so we were "water free". Luckily, urban routes tend to have a large amount of water sources (parks). We set out early, with a large packet of x-ray films in the pannier.
The doctor happened to be in the same direction as Psycho Donuts, so of course we had to make a stop. (We picked up a "crazy eights" reward card on our maiden voyage Saturday, so we just had to get an extra punch.) Since we were there earlier, the donut selection was better and we were able to both get "Canadian Morning Squeal Meal" donuts aka "bacon donuts". (Yes that was real bacon on top!)
Based on our experience Saturday, we avoided the "Prospect-Campbell" route that maps (and google bike directions) recommended, and instead went down Cox and Bucknall as our primary East-West route. It was a much more pleasant ride. We avoided the large retail intersections, and had plenty of quiet roads, with easy lights crossing the major streets. This also had the bike overpass over San Tomas expressway, eliminating one of the major road crossings altogether. When retracing the route, I had to work hard to convince Google maps that we really wanted to keep going on that street. (It tried to have us return to Campbell every chance it could.) Campbell does have a bike lane, but it is narrow. It is also filled with retail intersections and traffic lights. Bucknall is a quiet, low-traffic tree-lined street (that looks especially colorful this time of year). Alas, these details are not self evident from the maps.
From the donut shop, we went down the Los Gatos Creek trail. She said the trail was "boring" and she preferred to take the road on the way back. So, after a very long doctors visit, we headed back on the road. First, we took the "secret bike bridge" over Highway 85. The neighborhood was filled with "too-big houses", including some that we thought looked like mini-castles. We had to check them out.
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We stopped briefly at a park in the neighborhood. While there, I noticed my tire was a little flat. Alas, I couldn't seem to get my cheepo pump to get any air in. Oh well. We continued on our way, going a while down Bascom, one of those "wonderful" 6 lane roads that are symptomatic of contemporary suburbia. She much preferred this to the trail. (The road itself was not all that bad today.)
From there, we passed by Tread Bike Shop. They were kind enough to let us borrow their pump to fill the tire. (This worked much better than the cheapo!) We asked about a "touring" style bike for our daughter. Alas, there doesn't seem to be much available. They did mention that a couple came through a few days back. The were on their way from "Alaska or someplace" down to South America. They were looking for Schwable tires, but alas, none were in stock. We also passed by State Bicycle Shop, a fixed-gear bike specialist. Not quite our style.
And we were soon back at Psycho Donuts. We got the donuts for the rest of the family and tried some noses and eyeballs (custard filled donuts holes.) We also had a chat with the founders. He was a tech guy who just decided that donut shops need some invigorating. They are also considering expansion. Perhaps they can have one close to us. (As an aside, I first heard about this donut shop when I saw a Groupon offer. I didn't buy the offer, but we have now ended up there a few times. I wonder how often this "free" publicity helps lure in customers?)
We continued on home via a similar route, though this time we decided to try to go through a neighborhood near Saratoga Creek. Alas, there was a big hole in the bike map right in that area. However, it just "felt" like an area that may have a "secret bikeway" nearby. We eventually found a "back entrance" to Prospect High School. This took us around the edge of the school and out to Prospect, bypassing Lawrence and the retail area (yeah!). Perhaps it was a good thing we didn't have a map, because this was not listed on the map. Google also doesn't have it listed, though from street view you can make out the entrance.
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On the trip we passed schools in a number of different school districts. Almost all had the whole week off. (The exception was Fremont Union, which actually had school today!) We happened to pass by her school right as the morning bell rang. (A day off school, and we end up on the same schedule. Go figure.) On the way back, we were at the school right at early dismissal time. So, I guess it was like a school day. We saw her teacher busy typing away on the computer in the classroom. So much for a day off!)
We made a final stop at Trader Joe's to get some things to make smoothies. (We had only one pannier, and plenty of other stuff, so we couldn't get much.) It was packed with the pre-Thanksgiving Day crowds. There were also free samples of pies in front, in addition to the samples in the back. Yum! The parking lot was also a zoo. Luckily, we could sneak out a side ways on our bikes.
Later when we got back, my wife went off on a grocery store run with the Bakfiets. With the parking lot zoo, it probably ended up being much faster than driving. Go figure.
The 30 mile bike ride we did was not quite enough for our daughter. Later that evening the three big kids all wanted to bike to the library. It was chilly and dark, so I was inclined to stay home or drive, but they were insistent. (They absolutely detest cars!) So we went on the triple (with plenty of lights) and the Japanese Bike (with the generator.) Alas, my wife had adjusted it for her trip yesterday, and had accidentally made the seat too low for her. I'm 5 inches taller, so I was nearly kneeing my chest as we were going - and the adjustment tool was in the other bike. Going there was not too bad (downhill, with the wind.) The return trip? Well, it felt like pulling a trailer while kids were pedaling backwards. It is amazing what a workout you can get with a poorly positioned seat!