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A bag of cherries in a pannier.

Cherry picking (and other u-pick fruit picking) in Brentwood. A successful 20-mile adventure by bike!

April to May to June is u-pick cherry picking season in the Bay Area When I was a child, I remember apple picking in New England with my dad.  My memory is fuzzy now and I don’t remember if we just went once, or multiple times, but I still remember climbing a ladder to pick, and watching cider presses.  I was confused when the cider came out brown when apple juice wasn’t.  It seemed odd, but I still enjoyed drinking it. There’s so much locally grown produce in California, and I wanted to create a similar experience for our family.  Especially after friends at a picnic shared some of their u-pick cherries with us. Last June, we went cherry picking at a u-pick farm in Brentwood for the first time.  Brentwood is the place to go for cherry picking in […]

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California Street and Dwight Way Bike Infrastructure improvements

Dwight Way and California St intersection traffic improvements – Berkeley

Building the right infrastructure for people: Traffic Calming in Berkeley There are a number of new quick-build traffic calming improvements sprouting up all over the East Bay. Crossing Dwight Way at California street as a pedestrian or person on a bike was traditionally difficult.  It’s wasn’t terrifying, but the traffic speed and volume made feel like a bit of an adventure to cross.  California St is far enough from a traffic signal that might create breaks in the traffic.  By the time drivers reach this intersection, they have had a chance to accelerate to faster speeds. The City of Berkeley has put in temporary traffic improvements as part of Phase 2 of the Dwight Way/California Street project.  The City of Berkeley will record data and use this to evaluate whether Phase 3 permanent improvements will be implemented.  I hope this […]

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Bicycle hand signal image via Wikipedia

Bike Laws in California (and other traffic laws)

Bike laws and traffic laws for people on bikes, in cars, and people who walk in the state of California I just finished a League of American Cyclists training course, and was really impressed with the depth of information covered in the course.  One important aspect of the training is the law as it relates to how people share the roadways.  This reflects traffic principles, bike laws, and infrastructure in their current state.  I’m hoping there can continue to be improvements that will make it easier for people to walk and bike to get to where they need to go without the fear of being hit by a car.  You shouldn’t be required to drive a 5000 pound vehicle to pick up a loaf of bread and 12 eggs from a grocery store. I’m still learning, and am definitely open […]

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Bike Soccer Dad

Bike Soccer Dad (No Minivan or SUV Required)

I’m enjoying being a bike soccer dad. I guess I’ve become a soccer dad now.  Our kid has practice on the weekends, but we bike to the field instead of taking a the stereotypical soccer mom or soccer dad minivan or SUV.  We do it because we rarely drive, but there are plenty of benefits to doing so.  It’s good exercise, and it’s a great way to get outside and enjoy nature.  It also helps reduce car traffic congestion and pollution. It’s about a 3 mile ride that takes us 20-25 minutes. We selected our route based on Oakland’s Slow Streets (which are being taken away soon, sadly!) and other low-car-traffic roads.  Berkeley has done a decent job adding physical barriers on designated routes to promote safety by slowing the flow of automobiles.  There are a couple of hairier intersections […]

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Child riding on Milvia Street Protected Bike Lane in Berkeley, CA

Fantastic Berkeley Bike Lanes: Riding on Milvia Street on a Sunny Day

Protected Berkeley Bike Lanes on Milvia Street We rode the new Milvia Street protected bike lanes in Berkeley again a few days ago.  These lanes are protected from automotive traffic in a few different ways.  There are concrete islands with metal rails in some sections (by Berkeley High School, for example) and then simply concrete barriers in other parts.  There are a few unprotected paint-buffered areas.  In general, the lanes allowed us to feel more comfortable riding around Berkeley with a physical barrier between us and moving automobiles. We were on our way home from getting lunch.  Our route took us south on Milvia Street from near the Cal campus in order to get back to Oakland.  It was a short but enjoyable stretch.  A few students were milling about and the vibe was nice and calm – perfect for […]

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Oakland Slow Street Sign with Scraper Bike

Goodbye to Oakland’s Slow Streets

Slow Streets are ending in Early 2022 We sadly received notice that Oakland’s Slow Street program was being discontinued in last January/Early February 2022.  The threat of being hit by a car is the biggest safety risk for anyone riding a bike with a child. Slow Streets helped by reducing (but not eliminating) automobile traffic, and by promoting a sense of belonging for people who want to use shared public space to walk, bike, jog, and play. We’ll miss these slow streets.  We’ve seen 10-20 children learn to ride their bikes on slow streets, and we use them for our monthly Bike Parades.  They were integral to giving our child confidence to ride their bike on the road, and to giving us the confidence to safely ride bikes with our child. Oakland Slow Streets Video We ride on these multiple […]

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The east side of the Emeryville bike bridge and pedestrian bridge

New Bike Bridge! A great first ride on the new Emeryville Pedestrian and Bike Bridge

I took my first ride across the Emeryville bike and pedestrian bridge recently.  It just opened on December 3rd. According to the Emeryville Eye, the idea was first officially conceived in the 1980s.  It’s amazing that it has taken this long.  But it is very nice. The South Bayfront Bike and Pedestrian Bridge Its official name is the “South Bayfront Bridge” and it has been a work in progress since 2002 and cost $21 million.  At one point, the city of Emeryville had to sue the state to recover funds for the bridge.  The bridge connects the Bay Street shopping area on the west (and even has an entrance to the parking lot from the ramp up the bridge) and Horton Street on the east side, just south of 53rd street. The bridge makes crossing the railroad tracks much much […]

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Kids and Parents biking on Slow Streets in Oakland

Neighborhood Bike Parades That Help Kids Learn to Ride Together

The kids bike parade is a way to let kids play, ride bikes together and learn to ride safely.  Children and adults make new friends and build community by bike. How did the bike parade start? Earlier on in the pandemic, we learned that COVID spread mostly through poorly-ventilated air. We tried to think of ways to still foster social interactions between children with a lower risk profile.  Our family and a lot of others have gone with their kids biking to spend time outdoors.   We started by turning a birthday party into a evening bike ride.  Kids had fun biking together and being able to see each other not on a computer screen! Parents got a chance to ride with their kids and others. Neighbors were treated to a lively mini parade.   A few parents loved the […]

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Bike lane on SE 42nd, Portland

Is this bike lane safe? (Riding to Creston Park was kind of scary)

  I took my child to Creston Park by bike during our last visit to Portland.  Aside from a few issues (it was hot! and my kid wasn’t used to their borrowed bike!) the ride there was mostly pleasant.  We took some of the calm neighborhood streets and Greenways. Our general path was along SE 34th, Clinton and SE 45th Avenue. I knew we’d have to cross SE Powell at some point, but I guess I had hoped that there’d be a decent way to bike across it.  Especially since Portland has relatively (for the USA) good bike infrastructure.  I also hoped that since there’s a park with Creston Elementary school nearby, the city might have provisions for easier biking to school and play.   We saw another adult and children riding, presumably headed to the same destination.  We stopped […]

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Protected bike lanes under construction on Milvia St in Berkeley, CA

Protected bike lanes on Milvia in Berkeley

  Protected lanes in Berkeley! I noticed a lot of new construction activity on Milvia Street in Berkeley a few months ago, after visiting Sports Basement and Missing Link in search of a new bike rack.  I was pretty excited to see that it looked like protected lanes were going to be installed.  Recently, coming back from University, it was nice to see the construction taking place around Addison, Center, Center, and along Berkeley High. Why protected lanes? I’ve asked a lot of friends what would make it easier for them to ride their bike more.  Most have answered that they’re scared of automobile traffic.  While painted bike lanes can be helpful, there’s not much preventing a distracted driver from drifting or veering into a bike lane and harming a person on a bike.  Protected bike lanes are great, because […]

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