So my new game is "How Far Can I Stretch My Commute?". I won again today, doing fifty-something miles in about eighty minutes. I mean, down El Camino or 101, it's maybe 12 miles, but if that's all I wanted, I could just drive my car or take the train. Instead, from Palo Alto, I took Arastradero-Alpine-Portola-Mountain Home-Woodside Road/Route 84-King's Mountain-Skyline Blvd (Route 35)-84-Cañada Road-Edgewood Road, and then home. (Edgewood Road turns out to be really interesting on a bike, not just from 280 to Alameda de Las Pulgas, which has some funky curve + hill combinations, but also the neighborhood part of it, which has speed bumps I can safely ignore, and some nice technical curves to practice on.)
I bailed on most of yesterday afternoon to go down to Road Rider in San Jose to buy riding gear (I'd exhausted the places that were closer, and Road Rider seemed to have everything). I found some nice mesh pants that I'll order online to get the right size, but surprisingly enough, I bought leather pants. It was never really clear to me exactly how good these are for riding: they're comfortable, I feel much safer (I was wearing double-front canvas work pants, which might take 48 inches to wear away instead of the 36 inches for blue jeans), and the big surprise is that they insulate me so much better from the heat of the engine.
Big day planned for Saturday, as I'm heading down to hang out with a guy just north of Santa Cruz, a racing instructor who often rides his wife's Ninja 250 on group rides (and blows everyone away in a handy demonstration that the Ninja is a perfectly capable bike in skilled hands). It goes without saying that rather than taking the 70-minute highway route, I will take the 3-hour mountain route. Though I don't know exactly what that will be. But I'll enjoy it.