Wednesday, May 11, 2011

stickering the SF2G Bayway route for B2WD

Today I rode the SF2G Bayway route on a stickering Mission. A few of us met Debbie Leight at Ritual Roasters in the Mission.... she had rolls of RouteArrow stickers in yellow, green, and blue: yellow for before the turn, green for the turn itself, and blue for post-turn. I was assigned yellow.

The others weren't quite ready and since I wanted to make sure I got to work by 10 am I left. I was impressed by how well the roads were marked. I contemplated that perhaps I'd not have anything to do, since others had marked the preceding days. But Debbie had said there were unmarked sections "past Oracle", more than half-way.

I put down a few arrows, though... one to cover an arrow which had been pointing the wrong way, and another along the shoulder where I thought arrows further to the left might be missed. I still had plenty.

The Bay Trail near San Mateo and Foster City is always fun. Gorgeous views.... it's called the "Feral Cat Freeway" by SF2G and, sure enough, I saw a well-fed grey cat watch me from the brush as I rode along. I hadn't ridden it for quite awhile: it's become fashionable in SF2G to take the roads through Foster City instead. That route is shorter but not much quicker due to traffic lights. FCF is worth the few added minutes.

Soon after rejoining the roads is Oracle, so I knew here I would likely be approaching some unstickered territory. But while I added a yellow sticker to a left turn to encourage riders to get into the turn lane early, things were still well marked at this point.

I was caught by the others who had been at Ritual at the entrance of the freshly paved Bridge To Nowhere approach. This is not a welcome infrastructure upgrade. Cleaning Bridge to Nowhere has always been an important challenge on the Bayway, and now it's just another paved bike path. Ah, well... I suppose I'm being elitist, and the paving does help people ride who might otherwise not do so. And after heavy rains B2N would become a true quagmire of muck and mud. The price of progress...

I left them there as I'd already put down a yellow arrow to clarify the relatively obscure entry to that path, and never saw them again the rest of the ride. They must have been slower stickering than I was.

Here's where my stickering really began. Lesson 1: when stickering in the middle of a busy road face traffic to watch for cars. Fortunately the car drivers were watching for me so no harm done.

I flubbed a bit my entry to the Bay Trail at San Franciscito Creek.... two dead ends then I ended up taking my normal route to the trail which is off by a block from the canonical route. So if riders follow my arrow, they'll get a bit of extra dirt for their troubles. Dirt's always a good thing: partially making up for the destruction of the B2N path.

Sooner than expected, I was out of stickers. What to do? Surely this would end in tears, riders wandering the Bay Trail for hours looking for the proper exit. But to my surprise the exit had been already marked.

I got to work later than I'd wanted.... 9:59, so right under my 10 am deadline, but I'd wanted to be there earlier. Ah, well, all in the name of good karma.

The route is very well marked, as well marked on a corner-normalized basis than a typical century or double century. Surely a group of three, for example, wouldn't miss any turns. But a solo rider might... so I recommend not setting off on the ride without some sort of route sheet if you plan on riding alone. On the other hand, I expect at least 400 riders to be at Mission and 16th tomorrow for the 6:15 am start (146 signed up as I write this, and surely many others aren't aware of the form), so there shouldn't be any reason to ride alone for long.

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