By AJ Jacobsen
In California we are blessed with a wide variety of mountain roads, with pavement, trails, and tracks that can appeal to pretty much any riding style. As part of my riding club, Curve Unit, we host monthly rides in various areas, providing members and attendees with new scenery and different roads throughout the year.
Our January ride this year was chosen by a long time member, Tina, and we tried something new to the club, venturing into the San Francisco East Bay area outside of Livermore, CA. As the weather in January can be a bit unpredictable, our planner chose to make this an all-women only ride, so just the ladies would be participating (which also tends to make the groups a bit easier to manage).
Fifteen riders (including members) met up for a delicious breakfast in Livermore while things warmed up, and then headed out of town. Very quickly we were on two lane back roads, and heading to the main part of the ride, a road called “Morgan Territory.” This road is a narrow, rather bumpy excursion through some beautiful countryside near the base of Mount Diablo.
Due to the secluded nature of the road, traffic is pretty minimal, but it offers some unique challenges to riders with the bumps, tight turn, switchbacks, and even the occasional cow or turkey wandering in the road. The occasional car isn’t too bad for a bike to get past, although a bit more challenging for anyone who happens to be in another car. Morgan Territory also presents some extra challenges in terms of road surface, as it is pretty bumpy and rough, and recent rains ensured there was mud and puddles to also navigate.
The group made it through the narrow, twisting road to our next turn onto Marsh Creek. Here we met a two-lane road with slightly more open traffic and wider views. Those of us inclined to do so were able to pick up the pace a bit and enjoy the slightly faster corners. We eventually turned off Marsh Creek heading back into Livermore, onto Vasco road. Vasco offered yet another flavor of big, wide open sweeping corners and smoother pavement, a place where the sport bikes could really stretch their legs.
The entire group then wrapped up the ride at another restaurant/pub in Livermore, giving everyone a chance to rest and relax before heading their separate ways. Curve Unit always hosts our meeting right after lunch, so members hung around to complete club business.
Overall this was a very interesting route with something for pretty much everyone. While Morgan Territory was a bit of a challenge on the sport bikes, Marsh Creek and Vasco let them shine. Our adventure riders of course loved Morgan Territory, and a couple attendees on cruisers experienced some new roads as well. If you are in the area and looking for a short route (~54 miles), this is a great way to see some of the California country side and a unique view of the area, while getting a small taste of what you can find in further explorations of this state.