THERE’S a real division in our town today, between the haves and the have nots. Some of us have fat, and the rest do not. And among those lucky enough to wear spandex, there’s a whole subset of bikers who ride up and down the hills all day. Alison Stone is one of those pedalers, whose shocking pink outfit and saddlebags set her apart from the rest of the pack.
“I ride virtually every day to work in West Oakland,” she says, and in her spare time she does more riding, up and down the Tunnel Road and through the redwood canyons. “There are so many great places to ride, it is hard to know where to begin — but my favorites are Mt. Diablo — I do that at least once a week — and a great 40-mile, 4,500-foot loop from the house that includes going up Tunnel, along Skyline and Grizzly, down through Tilden, along Bear Creek Road, then up Happy Valley into Lafayette for a coffee frappacino, the bike trail to Moraga then home through Canyon and Montclair — where I almost always stop to do some shopping before the final grunt home.”
And if all that exercise isn’t enough, — riding 500 to 1,000 miles a month — Alison carries bricks in her saddlebags. Pink bricks! “It keeps me strong and ready to go,” she says, whether it be a ride from Istanbul, Turkey, to London, North Africa to the Arctic Circle, or a bike trip across the United States, which she and her husband, John Weiss, have completed four times.
So why all the pink? Alison says it’s a disarming color that gets folks to smile and wave as she rides by. And something else. “It invites people to talk to me — and has been one of best parts of my bicycling experience. I only did it for safety — and it has almost transformed my life.”
E-MAIL BAG: As the Montclair merchants consider the bounty of a possible Sunday farmer’s market, reader Marc Viale reacts to the news that a new restaurant is coming to town. “I read in your article that the old Paradise Pizza place may become a Mexican restaurant. Uggghh — We have five coffee shops, three Mexican restaurants, three florists, three candy shops, two juice places, etc. Can’t the Montclair merchants think out of the box?” he asks.
And reader Adam Herbert responds to my Jan. 7 column on stray cats with word of an ongoing cat abandonment problem near the Montclair Golf Restaurant: “My mother, Nancy Herbert, was one compassionate individual who took it upon herself to rescue a stray named “Sylvester”, and take him to the Lake Veterinary Hospital for emergency medical care after a run-in with a suspected raccoon,” he says, adding Sylvester was near death but has since been adopted into a warm, loving home. It’s hard to believe that anyone could be so cruel as to dump their family pet in the hills, leaving them to fend for themselves. With dogs and raccoons and other wild animals, it really is a jungle out there.”
TIM-BER: As the towering eucalyptus trees come tumbling down, you may be wondering what the future holds for Shepherd Canyon Park. More parking, for one thing, as crews push to accommodate the throngs of soccer players that descend upon the area most weekends. The Shepherd Canyon Homeowners Association has worked long and hard on a plan for the park, which includes replanting native trees in the area. Thanks SCHA!
DUTY CALLING: When nature calls during class time, teachers don’t always answer. But a local high school Spanish teacher has come up with a way to limit those disruptive bathroom breaks by students. Anyone needing to leave the room must first don a sombrero. It’s amazing how many students stay in their seats till class has ended.