New bike-specific (and frankly offensive) stop-sign addition in Los Altos


Did a sort of “wandering around” ride Sunday, heading south through the foothills, up Moody (why?), up Page Mill (again, why?), north on Skyline in the cold (where did that come from?), West OLH loop then back home. On the way I spotted the latest assault on cyclists by, I think, Los Altos Hills. I get a bit confused about where one city ends and another begins sometimes.

Apparently, in Los Altos, it’s only bikes that have issues at stop signs, so they’ve added a second red box below the regular “Stop” sign that says “BIKES MUST STOP AT ALL STOP SIGNS.” OK… so after unintentionally recording video of a car just blowing through one (making a right-hand turn, the first subject in the video above), I pulled over to record the next 4 cars through that intersection and the next.

Not one came to a full stop. Every single car had its wheels moving at all times. One or two came close to a stop, pretty much the same way a cyclist typically does. But nobody put the brakes on, brought the car to a complete stop, then started again. Which is, I think, technically what the law requires. Note that it is possible to do this on a bicycle without putting your foot down.

If the idea is to have safer streets, effort to reduce distracted driving (specifically cell phone use) would likely yield far greater results, if “results” are to be measured by fewer lives lost or injured. More likely the impetus for this comes from motorists annoyed about the growing congestion in the area and anything that’s in front of them, slowing them down, is the enemy. Or maybe it’s even jealousy; motorists stuck in traffic while cyclists zip past to their side.

Whatever it is, it’s misguided and wrong.

My first memory of Huddart Park

As I was riding up Kings this morning, “through the park” since it was a Thursday, not exactly having a great time in the cold (and just heard the weather report saying it could be 10 degrees colder next week by the way), I was thinking not the most awesome things about climbing that hill. From a practical standpoint, I was thinking it might be time to leave about 5 minutes early, assuming Kevin had others to ride up with, so I wouldn’t be holding everyone back. Once up “on top” it’s not such a big deal; I can suck a wheel with the rest of ’em! And it would be interesting feeling like the fox, with hounds behind chasing up after me. Better that than thinking about when the last time I might do this or that, and spend a lot of time thinking about things I used to do.

The “sack race” field of my youth?
So tonight, I’m thinking about this morning’s ride, I’m looking through the video for a picture worth posting and not finding much (I mean sure, I could post yet another picture of West Old LaHonda), but I’m centered on this being a Thursday so we rode up through the park, and see the “Huddart Park” sign in the frame of the video shown above. Huddart Park. Something clicked. My first memory of “Huddart Park” from the way way way wayback days. I was probably 12? My dad was sports editor of the Redwood City Tribune, at a time when newspapers were actually important. The parent company (don’t recall the name, but think they owned three local papers including the Palo Alto Times) had a summer picnic in Huddart Park. The classic clich├ęs were all present including hot dogs and… those sack races where two people have one leg each in a shared potato sack. It was in one of the lower fields, I think the first one we pass, on the left side, after we cross the bridge over the creek.

Despite having passed that field a few hundred times climbing through the park, I had never given thought to it, not once, until now. I’m now thinking I was probably younger than 12, perhaps 9 or 10, because I’m pretty sure it before I started riding a bike in a serious way. When I think about it, the pre-bike version of me really wasn’t around all that long.