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Two Decades of Kids and Counting

By Sally Torbey

About this blog: About this blog: I have enjoyed parenting five children in Palo Alto for the past two decades and have opinions about everything to do with parenting kids (and dogs). The goal of my blog is to share the good times and discuss the ...  (More)

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The Cinderella ride

Uploaded: Apr 20, 2014

Despite all the compelling reasons local marathon runners share in a recent Palo Alto Weekly cover story as to why they run, I am completely confident that running a marathon is something I will never do. My excuse is that whatever willpower I might have once had for such an endurance event was depleted in multiple rounds of natural childbirth. But I embrace all the reasons the marathoners' cite for running: improving health, the joy of "moving the body in nature," training with a goal, and the benefits of longer exercise sessions for reflection and meditation. Fortunately there are alternative exercise opportunities that are considerably less strenuous than a marathon but can provide these benefits for the rest of us!

Two weeks ago on a gorgeous spring morning, air fresh and fields lush from recent rains, I had the pleasure, along with my friend, Lisa, and 2500 other women, of riding in the 38th Cinderella Classic, a bike tour hosted by the Valley Spokesmen Bicycle Touring Club every April. The 65-mile ride begins and ends at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, and winds its way counter clockwise through Livermore, Danville, and San Ramon. The route passes through residential neighborhoods and strip malls, but most of the route is rural with farmhouses, pastures, vineyards, and bucolic views of the surrounding green hills.

It is not a race, nor a fundraiser, just a wonderful opportunity to ride some distance with an enthusiastic, friendly and festive group of women while following a trail of painted pink arrows. Biking is the perfect pace at which to appreciate the landscape and wave at the cows and sheep.

There are women of all shapes, sizes and ages on the ride. We were inspired by a woman celebrating her 70th birthday on her bike, and a woman pedaling confidently with her artificial leg. Pink and purple are the colors of the day. One group in matching grape jelly-colored jerseys looked intent on besting their previous ride times, but most participants are decidedly more relaxed in demeanor and dress. Sequined helmets, tulle tutus and feather boas are popular choices for coordinating outfits. Lisa and I couldn't imagine biking that distance wearing flapping or itchy costumes, but next year we might at least wear some whacky socks so we do not feel so woefully underdressed! There were also bikes with bright pink tires, and one bike painted black and white like a Holstein dairy cow with a pink udder attached.

The route is mostly flat, although there are two gradual ascents with a total elevation gain of just over 1900 ft. An optional additional challenge loop over Altamont pass increases the mileage and elevation gain considerably. The challenge loop is also something I am pretty certain I will never do.

The $48 registration fee covers coffee and bagels at the start, hot soup at the finish, and three rest stops in between stocked with healthy snacks, drinks, and wraps for lunch, all served by smiling volunteers. There are plenty of port-a-potties, and SAG (support and gear) vehicles patrol the route to assist in minor repairs. Police are also a visible presence, one on a motorcycle got us laughing by kindly covering his eyes with his hands allowing us to cruise through a stop sign without losing our downhill momentum.

We finished the ride feeling elated and rejuvenated, but tired and sore enough to have earned the pleasure of a day spent pedaling under blue skies and fluffy clouds!

What is it worth to you?


Posted by LJ, a resident of another community,
on Apr 21, 2014 at 7:16 am

Got a love that policeman! Makes me want to wear their uniform just to help people have fun breaking rules safely. Fun piece, Sally!!

Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Apr 21, 2014 at 7:39 am

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

Hi LJ,
With his hands over his eyes, he reminded me of the "see no evil" monkey statue. Thanks for reading and commenting!

Posted by MemberMomOfThree, a resident of Evergreen Park,
on Apr 21, 2014 at 4:41 pm

It was delightful to hear about the Cinderella ride. I can't wait to do it next year. Very motivational!

Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Apr 21, 2014 at 5:16 pm

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

Dear MemberMomOfThree,
See you there!

Posted by Margaret T, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive,
on Apr 22, 2014 at 7:17 am

So nice to see a completely NON competitive event. There is already too much stress in the bay area and I even feel it around weekend this take on exercise and group activity is perfect.

Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Apr 22, 2014 at 7:28 am

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

Hi Margaret T,
It provides a very supportive atmosphere for women of all fitness levels. Thanks for reading and commenting!

Posted by parent, a resident of Midtown,
on Apr 22, 2014 at 9:14 am

@MargaretT - the vast majority of bicycling events in the Bay Area are completely non-competitive. That includes club rides, school and community events, local charity rides, and national fundraisers. Women-only events are a rarity, but most of the others have separate groups for different fitness levels, so everyone can fit in. Bicycling is a great all-ages activity that anyone can participate in to improve their health and (since this is Earth Day) to improve out community.

Posted by GC, a resident of Community Center,
on Apr 22, 2014 at 11:52 am

Thank you for sharing. Never knew this kind of event was out there. Fun, mellow and with SAG support. Well done for completing!

Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Apr 22, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

Dear parent,
Thanks for the reminder what a vibrant biking scene we have in the Bay Area. Mountain View blogger Janet Lafleur has a posting about other such bike tours, and her readers contribute more ideas in the comments section. She also has posts of tips on how to incorporate bikes into our daily lives for both transportation and recreation.
Happy Earth Day!

Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Apr 22, 2014 at 1:59 pm

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

Thanks, GC!

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