Northern California - Commuting in San Leandro
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01-09-09, 05:50 PM
I posted this in Commuting, but wanted to see if anyone here can help... I just moved to San Leandro and want to get back into my commuting habit, but don't really notice many cyclists here. Hopefully, there are a few of you out there though! I'm going to be going back and forth down E 14th St to Fairmont. E 14th really isn't bike friendly from what I can tell and was wondering if anyone knows of some alternate routes? Thanks in advance.
Welcome to the Bay Area. I don't know your particular area, but I have done a few rides starting, ending, or just passing through Hayward and I always hate riding there. The infrastructure is much worse than in Oakland/Berkeley and the drivers seem less aware and tolerant of cyclists. Keep the faith and hopefully more will join you!
Try to grab an East Bay Bike Coalition map (called West of the Hills, I think). That map shows routes that are considered friendlier and safer for cycling. http://www.ebbc.org/maps/map.html Sold at many bike shops.
01-09-09, 07:25 PM
I've also not enjoyed riding in Hayward, Union City, and that area. I agree the drivers are less tolerant there.
Can you go through Chabot Park?
The bay trail does go through part of San Leandro, but I suspect that is too far out of your way.
01-09-09, 07:39 PM
I rode on E14 when I lived there. It is not as bad as it looks. Then again I am not scared easily by cars, so I guess it depends on the individual. Not sure where you live in San Leandro but check out San Leandro Blvd it will get you most of the way there, and it's not as bad as E14.
01-09-09, 08:54 PM
I'm pretty much on the corner of Parrot and E14th. So, the commute is basically a straight shot. I've seen a couple people on E14th and a couple on the sidewalk going the wrong way. The latter is definitely not my style. I might have to give E14 a shot and see how bad it is for me. Cars don't really phase me that much, but I'm not really used to this amount of traffic.
01-09-09, 09:23 PM
I took a quick look on Google maps streetview, and it looks similar to Union City blvd. 2 lanes each way, the shoulder is filled with parked cars.
If you are going to ride on it, I highly recommend taking the lane. Don't hide to the right, the cars will try to squeeze you. Some drivers will honk at you, but they will have to go around you. It's ok because there is another lane for them to go in. This is a much safer way to ride.
I'd also recommend making sure you are very visible, such as using a blinky taillight, even during the daytime. It's even more important where bicycles are not so common.
Good luck. :)
Don't by any means think that you're limited to one blinking taillight. On the contrary: The more the merrier. :) An annoyed motorist is a motorist very aware of your existence and position on the road.
Even if the road is more trafficked than you're used to, it's worth it to give it a try. You may actually find that you like riding in traffic. Or you may find that you're not a traffic fan, but wouldn't mind riding further to avoid it.
01-09-09, 09:34 PM
You could try to go up to Bancroft and see how the traffic is there. That would limit the amount of time you spend on E.14th. What time is your commute?
01-09-09, 10:26 PM
Hey Mr Vagabond,
I live and commute in San Leandro. Bancroft Ave is one of the better choices for north/south runs. From Parrot, cross E14th -- it becomes Delores -- then make a right on Bancroft. Bancroft has a dedicated bike lane starting at 146th that runs the entire length north up into Oakland. Make a left on 146th and a right on Lark and take that to Fairmont.
San Leandro Blvd is another northbound choice, but it's pretty industrial the more north you get (translation: trucks and debris). Don't be tempted southbound by Washington Blvd, as you can't pass the RR tracks south of San Leandro Blvd without bailing off and carrying over the tracks. It's not a deal-breaker for me, but may be for you.
I highly recommend http://maps.google.com . Enter your address and select the "street view" option. You can see the actual street (photographic view), and visualize your entire ride without leaving the comfort of your computer. It's a great way to explore potential routes and find alternatives.
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