2002 > Los Gatos SUV Ride > Lisa's Report

Team Bikeaholics Uncovers Direct Link Between SUVs and Global Deforestation

As reported by Team Captain Lisa Antonino
Bikeaholics Wire Services

Santa Cruz Mountains - Various and sundry Team Bikeaholics members wandered into Boulanger in Los Altos at, around, or way after the agreed-upon meeting time of 8:30 am on Sunday, December 8th. After carbo-loading on raisin danishes, muffins and frosting-laded cinnamon rolls, TeamCaptainLisaa, TomL, KenS, SalC, ThomasM and JohnE headed in the direction of HWY 9 to enjoy a nice, quiet, redwood-lined ride along Summit Rd, followed by a relaxing lunch in Los Gatos. Somehow in between bites of pastry and sips of coffee, TeamCaptainLisaa submitted to a request to climb Redwood Gulch.

We took a short rest at the top of HWY 9 and then continued along Skyline toward China Grade and Summit Rd. Usually, there is little traffic in that direction, and it is peaceful and serene (except for the echoing gun shots at the Los Altos Rod and Gun Range). This day, however, was much different. There was heavy traffic in both directions, mostly gargantuan SUVs. Team Bikeaholics began to observe key points. Vehicles going in one direction were all carrying trees on the tops, while vehicles going in the opposite direction were not. As we proceeded down the road, vehicles without trees were observed to enter into certain driveways, and those exiting the driveways all had trees on top. There were loud chain saw noises echoing throughout the forest. At one vantage point, subjects were observed to drive along rows of trees, stop and exit their behemoth vehicles, and point to certain trees, which were subsequently chopped off at the base and hoisted onto the tops of the aforementioned vehicles.

After observing a couple of these deforestation sites along Skyline, we proceeded onto the narrower, more rural Summit Road, where we observed even more deforestation sites and large vehicles. Vehicles were forced to pull off on the side of the forest to allow large vehicles to proceed in the opposite direction. In some places traffic was completely halted as the SUV drivers duked it out in the middle of the road to enforce their passage rights. In one instance, a couple of Team Bikeaholics members were caught in the fray. The traffic was slightly reduced after we got past the Bear Creek and Summit Rd. intersection, and we were able to relax and enjoy the view. We proceeded over the HWY 17 overpass, and made a left onto Mt. Charlie Rd down toward the Lexington Reservoir.

The descent to the Old Santa Cruz HWY was extremely steep and the road surface was not all that great, but things improved once we got on the main road. We took the back way around the reservoir, and headed over to the gravel dam trail leading down to Los Altos. Much to my dismay, the trail was CLOSED through March 2003, and a sign pointed us to an alternate mountain bike/hiking trail 1/4 mi. back. TeamCaptainLisa, a tried and true RoadBikeWeenie, refused to ride over the boulders, deep eroded parts, and tree roots, and ended up walking, whining and crying most of her way to the end of the trail. The rest of the group seemed to handle the road better - probably because TomL forged confidently ahead, and thus the other males were required to follow suit.

After that hairy ordeal, we rode into Los Gatos for lunch. A variety of burritos, sandwiches, pastries and HammerFoods were consumed, and we relaxed in the park until DrillSargentKen barked the command to get back on the bikes.

TeamCaptainLisaa ended up with 87 quality miles by the time she collapsed in her living room in Belmont - another great Bikeaholic cycling adventure past.

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