By Roz Rogoff
My Trek to DanvilleUploaded: Mar 28, 2013
In my last blog, "Bad day at Good-Guys," I mentioned that I went to the Livermore Cyclery in Dublin to try out a Trek Shift bicycle. I also wanted to try the Trek Pure, which is supposed to be easier to pedal. Livermore Cyclery doesn't carry the Pure, so I looked up online to find another bike shop nearby to try one.
The Trek website listed the California Pedaler in Danville. So I phoned the Pedaler to find out if they had a Trek Pure I could test ride. The woman on the phone said she had two in stock. I also asked if they carried adult tricycles. If I wasn't able to ride the Pure I'd probably move down to a trike.
She said they didn't carry adult tricycles because they take up too much space in the store. I thought I should give the Pure a chance before resorting to a tricycle and drove up to Danville on Sunday afternoon. I figured there wouldn't be much traffic on Sunday.
When I got to Danville I realized why I don't like going to Danville. It's like something out of "The Walton's" – too small townish for me. There weren't too many cars driving on Hartz Avenue, but every curbside parking space was taken, and on a Sunday! It was like Good-Guys all over again except with new cars.
I recognized the California Pedaler right away from all the bikes out front, but I had to drive past it because there wasn't any place to park nearby. I spotted what looked like parking lots behind some stores and restaurants, but since I don't know my way around Danville I didn't know if they are public or only for those businesses. I turned left at the light on Prospect and left again on Railroad Avenue to get back to the bike store.
I remembered that the store is on the corner of Church Street so I turned left there hoping to find a parking space, but it was full. I turned right on Hartz Ave. and parked half-way into a red zone next the Basil Leaf Restaurant. I hoped I wouldn't get towed or a ticket, but I didn't expect it would take long to try the Pure and either buy it or leave.
The Basil Leaf looked busy for 2:30 pm on Sunday. All of the restaurants around the bike store, and there are many, seemed busy. Folks in San Ramon believe that Danville has better restaurants, but I believe this is an illusion brought on by the quaintness of the setting.
Restaurants seem more appealing in the small town environment. Several quality restaurants in San Ramon, like Izzy's or the Italian place (can't remember the name) at the top of the Hill on Bollinger Canyon Road, went out of business for a variety of reasons. One reason might have been the location in a shopping center parking lot or a strip mall near a Domino's Pizza, which made them seem less desirable than the mystique of Danville's "charm." I prefer the easy access and parking of San Ramon.
Anyway back to bikes. I was looking over the Pure and walked over to the customer service counter and on my way I saw a small, red Worksman Port-o-trike. This was another trike/bike I was interested in trying but I didn't expect to see one in the California Pedaler.
I asked Linda, the woman I spoke to on the phone, if they were planning to carry adult tricycles now. The Port-o-Trike is small for an adult trike, not nearly as big as the one I tried last year at the Dublin Cyclery. "No," she repeated, "They take up too much room."
John, the owner and Linda's husband, told me a woman brought it in just half-an-hour before I came. I asked if it was used. It looked brand new. He told me she bought it for her husband but he didn't like it. So she brought it into the store to sell it.
I tried it out on the sidewalk. I wasn't very good on it, but at least I was able to pedal it half-a-block. I asked Linda about trying the Pure too, but she thought my balance wasn't good enough for a bicycle yet. She really wanted that trike out of there.
She suggested buying the Port-o-trike and riding it until I strengthened my legs enough for a two-wheeler. That was almost the exact same thing I said to the bicycle salesman at the Livermore Cyclery in Dublin the day before.
John tried to phone the bike's owner for a price, but he wasn't able to reach her. I asked to put it on hold and offered a deposit, but Linda said that wasn't necessary.
Linda called me Monday afternoon to give me the owner's price which was reasonable. I knew this bike folded up; so I thought it would fit into the back of my new Focus hatchback, but I brought my bicycle rack along too.
After I paid for the bike John and his mechanic Brian tried to figure out how to fold it to get into the back of my Focus. I downloaded the Port-o-trike User Manual on Sunday night, but I forgot to print it out and bring it with me.
I suggested putting it on the bike rack I brought, but it wasn't set up for the new car. So Brian put the trike into his big Jeep and John followed me back to San Ramon with it. We were lucky to leave around 3:45 pm to miss the 5 o'clock commuter traffic.
Speaking of commuter traffic, that leads me to the latest brouhaha over Danville's General Plan. There's a thread on the Danville Express about the Town Council's unanimous vote on their General Plan despite opposition and downright hostility from many residents.
Once again ABAG (Association of Bay Area Governments) raised its ugly head over how transportation should be controlled by urbanizing suburban communities. I'm not against public transportation or living near one's work, but ABAG's assumptions about how people behave are highly flawed. Just because housing is affordable for low-wage workers to live near their work, doesn't mean they will work where they live. They want to live around here because of the better schools and safer environment, but residents who paid big prices for their homes resent the riff-raff moving in.
So Danville is going through similar opposition to their General Plan that many residents of San Ramon voiced two years ago against ours. As I pointed out to the opponents of the North Camino Ramon portion of San Ramon's General Plan, a General Plan is exactly that, both "general" meaning "not specific," and a "Plan" meaning whatever is in it "might never happen."
But some of the comments in the Danville Express go over the top, especially a highly researched tome by Heather Gass, a well-known pontificator in Danville. Her argument is that the requirements forced on their town by ABAG actually come from the United Nations which is trying to destroy our American way of life.
I don't dispute that the UN has set some standards they would like countries in the World to abide by. Whether Heather or other residents of Danville like it or not, and I might not like it either, Danville, San Ramon, my house and the air around it, are not isolated under a dome. We are part of the larger World and what American citizens do in our belief that we are entitled to our "Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness," regardless of the cost to anyone else living anywhere else, is no longer viable if we give a hoot about anyone else.
Thank God for the new Pope. Maybe his concern for the poor and disadvantaged throughout the World will focus more attention on the connectedness of everyone on this planet; so our outsized consumption won't reduce the sustainability of the many others with whom we share the Earth.