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Old 08-18-09, 05:59 PM   #1
Rumpled
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Mt Hamilton by a Kid

Reading these threads about Mt Hamilton; and watching on the ToC gets me to thinking.

I live in SoCal now, but as a high school kid I got a wild hair up my butt and decided to ride my bike to Mt Hamilton from my house in Santa Clara. Took me two tries as the first time I got two flats and had to call my Dad from a pay phone in Grant Park to pick me up. I didn't even have patches or tubes or a pump - stupid kid.
Second try I made it up and the observatory was closed when I got there. I went up Quimby as it seemed shorter on my Auto club map borrowed from Dad.

The speeds coming down were better than any ride at Great America or Santa Cruz.

Here's my basic route on mapmyride.
Map My Ride to Mt Hamilton

~ 63 miles and ~5000 + feet of climbing; still the most climbing I've ever done in a day.



Looking back; probably not the smartest thing for a 15 year old to do.
I wasn't even a cyclist then; just a 5'0" 105lb squirt of a swimmer - my old Nishiki was how I got around.
About 8 miles to swim practice and school every day.

Forgot to mention, I might have just seen Breaking Away for inspiration.

If I get around to getting a road bike again; I'd like to go up north and do Hamilton again and others like Diablo and Sierra Rd and Tam and ....

Last edited by Rumpled; 08-18-09 at 06:12 PM. Reason: add inspiration?
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Old 08-18-09, 06:23 PM   #2
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Great story...It's really cool what you can do when you're a kid and don't know any better. I used to sneak away from home and ride my bike in downtown Boston and my Parents would have flipped! I've always loved the craziness and danger in the city. When you're young you don't think about it.
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Old 08-18-09, 06:53 PM   #3
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Great story...It's really cool what you can do when you're a kid and don't know any better. I used to sneak away from home and ride my bike in downtown Boston and my Parents would have flipped! I've always loved the craziness and danger in the city. When you're young you don't think about it.
I did that in LA for a bit. I was from the burbs in upstate NY, and when I was 13/14 we moved to LA (I moved back to NY shortly thereafter). While I was there I had my little Kona Mtn bike, and I used to ride that thing all over LA (probably some neighborhoods I shouldn't have... lol... and some busy streets). It was just me and my mom, then my sister too eventually, so I was pretty much totally free while my mom was at work. I used to just ride over to 3rd St Promenade or the beach and kick back. Pretty cool adventures I went on that summer/fall.

Bikes are pretty damn amazing... even more so for a kid.
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Old 08-18-09, 07:33 PM   #4
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Great story...It's really cool what you can do when you're a kid and don't know any better.
No kidding. when I was a youngster, I and two friends rode from my home in the San Fernando Valley to the top of Griffith Park and back. And we did it on Schwinn Varsities. Plus, we had no clear idea how to get there from where we lived. We just struck out and wandered on over. I was probably only 12-13 years old at the time.

I clearly remember stopping midway at a Taco Bell For some 25 cent Bell Burgers - anyone remember those? Also, I had a mechanical speedometer on my bike, and recall getting up to 40mph on the descent. When we hit the bottom, all three of us had red lines around both sides of both wheels, whre we had melted off the bulk of our brake pads on the steel rims.

Good times.
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Old 08-18-09, 10:03 PM   #5
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Sounds very familiar. As kids we rode our stingrays to the top of Diablo from Walnut Creek...in our jeans!! Later, we would ride our Schwinn Varsity through the foothills to get over to Northgate Rd. Little did we realize that we could have invented mountain biking.

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Old 08-18-09, 11:40 PM   #6
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I bet Breaking Away inspired many of us to do something similar.
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Old 09-08-09, 02:01 PM   #7
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I found a photo of the bike on Mt Hamilton. Probably the only shot I have of Lick and/or the bike.
Of course, with my old Kodak 126 camera; no self-timer so I'm not in the shot. It would look pretty funny if I was, long scraggly hair and tight 70's basketball shorts

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