Bicycling heaven in Berkeley

By Michael Collier

An unidentified cyclist zips along newly paved Wildcat Canyon Road in the Berkeley hills. Spinadventure photo.

An unidentified cyclist zips along newly paved Wildcat Canyon Road in the Berkeley hills. Spinadventure photo.

Among the things that road cyclists live for: Being King of the Mountains. Long descents. Post-ride feasts.

Oh, and one more: Virgin asphalt, which is like riding on silk.

This week, the denizens of roadies in Berkeley, Calif., were doing cartwheels over the news that a crumbling, pot-holed signature parkway through the city’s wooded hills was being repaved after months of pressure from the city’s robust cycling community.

The Grizzly Peak Cyclists club’s e-mail list was buzzing for days, with a collective sigh from members that years of excruciatingly bumpy pavement were coming to an end.

One member, Mark Abrahams, was so excited that he jumped on his bike and rode to where the paving crew was just finishing the job — giving kudos to the workers as he passed by them.

Wildcat Canyon Road, a narrow, winding street with breathtaking vistas of the wild land canyon, had reached a state of such disrepair that it was almost unbearable to ride. Hard-core cyclists grumbled and turned to other streets for their rides.

But last week the city sent crews to the canyon road, which is in Tilden Regional Park, and laid down several miles of new asphalt. The effort is part of a $15.4 million budget to repave nearly 25 miles of streets in the famously anti-car city, according to Berkeleyside, a news site that covers the city.

A rider who journeyed onto Wildcat Canyon Road one afternoon this week noticed several cyclists breezing along the route, which will be striped in the coming days. They looked very happy to be there.

2 thoughts on “Bicycling heaven in Berkeley

  1. I heard Mark Abrahams was the ringleader of an extremist hardcore sect of pothole riders who resisted the repaving until the very end.

    • Craig, Mark Abrahams’ point to me was that the asphalt cracks and potholes on Wildcat were nothing compared with the offsetting concrete blocks on Spruce before its remake a few years ago.

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