Shadow Dance

Yesterday was the shortest day of the year and I took a long bike ride. The light was fantastic! All day it seemed around 3 pm and it was a warm 64 degrees with bright sunlight not at all winter-like. Made me break out in a happy shadow dance!

Shadow Dance was me dancing to a song (playwright protected so not used) with my shadow. I had no idea James was filming me until I turned around. James rode with me on Wednesday, when this was filmed and I rode again the next day (yesterday) by myself taking advantage of the weather. I was just having fun and the music I used instead is hilarious.

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There was more shadow play during those rides. The texture of the mud at low tide is wonderful and varied.

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Near the 19 hole golf course, the frogs are making a comeback. We’ve had tons of rain that is washing the drought away. The grass is sparkling.

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There was no water here just months ago. This field is across from the wetlands, on the other side of this fenced-in area there’s a park and this area fills up with rainwater only. There will be a lot more water soon.

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This is another area across from the bay that fills with rainwater and city run-off. The water used to stay but it’s been drying out during the summer. I love to sit on this bench and listen to the frogs that mysteriously appear along with the return of the water. They give a good concert if you take the time.

Notice my bike shadow. Nice!

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San Francisco is my riding buddy as I zoom along the Bay Trail.

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The sun shines on my path in the distance. You can see where the water is still not full up on the left behind the fence.

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Looking South towards the San Mateo Bridge, Highway 92. I ride under and past that bridge on a normal ride day.

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This is low tide with San Francisco in view. San Francisco is down the peninsula from San Mateo, not across the bay as these photos might suggest. These major areas are points that were picked because they stick out along the coastline. The airport is in-between us and the city.

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The city in the distance, surrounded by mud and water. The colors of blue, brown and sometimes green are amazing. The water is the color of the sky, reflections in the calm water, and deep winter shadows make for great sights! When the tide comes in this will all be covered with water again.

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I’ll be biking again tomorrow unless it’s pouring rain. I’m excited to be nearing a year riding my vintage bicycle on the Bay Trail. I started last year around February 20th riding my bike after starting a diet. When I found it enjoyable and found it working I decided to try and ride every other day.

Riding every other day has so many advantages over planning 3 workouts a week or such. A day to rest and get things done and a workout day. If something comes up skip it and go the next day, this keeps you regular so you don’t quit. Your body will shape up faster and regular workouts will make your body healthy giving you surprising energy reserves.

Today I’m proud to say I’ve fulfilled that schedule only missing occasionally due to illness, injury or terrible weather to start again. It’s not as hard as it seems but you must keep your motivation going when it’s low and it will be at times. I keep my eye on the prize (my figure and health) and work through it. Can’t wait to celebrate a year soon.

Do it, be it and enjoy it!

 

San Francisco From A Bike Seat

Biking the Bay Trail from the San Mateo side of the San Francisco Bay is wonderful for I get to see San Francisco when I ride. I have now seen it in 3 seasons and all kinds of weather from the seat of my bike. I hope you enjoy the view.

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They don’t call it “the city by the bay” for nothing. This is the view from Coyote Point, the city looks quite close from here.

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This is in Foster City near 3rd Avenue on the bridge. The land mass to the left is part of the Bay Trail in San Mateo.

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Windsurfers Beach is this patch of beach used by the windsurfers when the wind is up. I like to watch these guys out on the bay and when they “get air.”

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San Francisco is not always visible on rainy days sometimes it disappears completely. The tide is out making it look like SF is sitting in a giant mud flat. I ride in all weather.

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SF in the background on a very windy hot day. You can almost see SF shimmering on the horizon.

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At high tide SF seems to be floating on the waves under the fog bank.

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A close up of SF from Coyote Point which is a good place to view the city by the bay.

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On a cloudy day at the beginning of my ride, the tide is out. See the bicycle in the foreground on the right? It’s been there forever and is a full bicycle someone left behind. Unfortunately, this area has its share of litter and dumping that can be seen when the tide is out.

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SF is almost more interesting when the weather changes which can happen fast around the bay. The water has many looks and personalities.

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Amongst spring flowers, SF looks like it’s next to the Coyote Point boat harbor from this view but it’s behind it across the bay.

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They have put rocks like this around most of the bay. SF is in the background on a crisp day.

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San Francisco can be seen from the San Mateo side of the Bay Trail all the way to the San Mateo Bridge. It’s wonderful to see it all kinds of weather and seasons I’m a lucky person to be able to bike here daily. The only season left for me is Fall and I can’t wait!

These pictures were taken with a Nikon Coolpix digital camera and a Samsung Galaxy s7 cell phone camera. The moving pictures were taken with the Animated GIF Mode on my s7.

I recommend the Samsung Galaxy s7’s camera, with all of the modes included it’s one of the best cameras I’ve ever used which is saying a lot for a cell phone camera. I now use the S7’s camera for all my photography.

I hope you liked my photographs! Riding a bike is the best way to see and photograph the world in my opinion. Happy riding!

Everything is better on a bicycle seat!

Just My Bike And Me

Wetlands passing by
the waterbirds feed
it’s a very good day
on San Francisco Bay.

To be out of the city
yet see it ‘cross the bay
even foggy days
it’s there on display.

Wind in my hair
just a gentle breeze
sun hot on my back
as I follow the bike track.

The sharp salt smell
clicking of the gears
the songbirds sing
colors on the wing.

Drifting down the trail
I feel like I’m flying
at peace so quietly
just my bike and me.

© Rebecca Sanchez 2016

I am very lucky to be able to bike the Bay Trail up close and personal at this time. Sharing my photographs and poetry is one way I can show you just how special this area is to me and why we should keep it as pristine as we can. The animals who live here and nature depend on us.

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The featured image is San Francisco with the fog coming in as seen from Coyote Point. This image is the San Mateo Bridge, Highway 92, looking from Foster City towards San Mateo. The tide is out so the wetlands are exposed but when the tide comes back in the waters of the San Francisco Bay will be all the way up to these rocks and beaches.

Earth Day

As bike riders, we have seen pollution first hand, up close and personal. If you ride in the city it’s in the gutters of the bike lanes, in the parks (despite the many garbage cans) you see bottles and trash all over the ground. I always ask myself, “What’s wrong with people?” But there is no answer.

Riding in the country is no picnic either. Dumping is done anywhere and everywhere. There can’t be trash cans placed all over the earth and it’s really not that hard to carry your trash back home. Then why can’t people do it?

There are recycling centers and places to dump any kind of garbage you can produce and yet people just don’t have the time or inclination to do it. I’ve seen every type of person out there chuck garbage. Parents littering with their children are teaching another generation not to respect our planet. I hate to say this but people are just that selfish.

We are creatures that want fulfillment instantly. If we don’t feel it’s going to benefit us immediately we’re probably not going to do it. We are a short-sighted race with limited intelligence for all of our so-called smarts. I notice many people can look at a nature area covered in litter and not even see it. That kind of thing chills me to the bone.

To me, there’s nothing worse then riding the beautiful Bay Trail and seeing the trash and dumping that’s still going on. There are trash cans all along the trail and sometimes there’s trash on the ground right by the can taking laziness to new heights.

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Looking towards San Francisco during low tide you can pick out all kinds of trash in the mud including a whole bicycle that’s been out there since I’ve been riding. Tires are numerous and I’ve seen shopping carts. I’m not surprised by anything anymore.

I try not to include the trash in my daily photos of the Bay Area but the birds pick at cigarette butts, the fish are swimming in god knows what and it makes me sick. One part of the trail has a large tidal pond where I take pictures of white herons, ducks and other large waterbirds feeding when the tide is low and there are tied bags of trash floating amongst them. San Mateo residents should be ashamed.

There’s not much that can be done about controlling other people’s littering. Shaming doesn’t work and education is falling short of making a difference. I’m usually a positive person seeking answers but each year when Earth Day comes around I find myself a little sadder. Talking about it once a year is not enough when it’s a daily problem.

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Make A Difference-Don’t Add To The Problem

We can make a difference by making sure we don’t add to the problem. I will even pick up other people’s trash if I find a plastic bottle or yogurt container at my favorite bench and have a place to carry it. There’s always a trash can ahead or at home. In our own lives, we must be proactive and pick up our messes. By doing so we are helping the planet by being responsible and it adds up.

When we control our own trash it never turns into a problem for someone else to handle. We can be proud that we are doing the right thing keeping the earth clean and our trash away from wildlife. They don’t know any better but we do!

If You Have To Smoke-Take Your Butts With You

Both of my parents smoked around me growing up, I was lucky enough to be turned off by it and never start. I know people who religiously pick up their litter but never think about what they do with their spent cigarettes. They don’t disintegrate or go away and the filters last forever. I see them everywhere on the bike trails it’s a disgusting habit. Hurt your own health but don’t ruin my view!  Please don’t empty ashtrays on the ground near your vehicle either take it back home.

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I’m a poet and can’t let Earth Day go by without writing about it. Hope you like it.

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Believe

Believe in a better tomorrow
believe that the air is pristine
believe that there’s nothing endangered
the future remains to be seen.

Believe in a world that is caring
believe that the oceans are clean
believe companies are recycling
the future remains to be seen.

Believe in a healthier planet
believe if together we lean
believe we can all do what’s needed
the future deserves to be green.

© Rebecca Sanchez 2016

Artwork: Earth Day by Dana Gray

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Have a great Earth Day! When you ride your bike pick up your litter!

Earth Day is every day-your actions make the difference!

I’m A Jawbone Ambassador

I have worn a Jawbone UP3 health band since Oct. 11th, 2015, (see my wrist) and lost (as of now) 40 pounds. They had a contest to tell your story about how owning a Jawbone band has improved your health and I entered. I was thrilled at the beginning of the year when Shannon Sweetser called and told me I was picked!

Jawbone’s main office is in San Francisco so most of us picked already live in the Bay Area. We were invited to come in for a photoshoot, get videotaped, lunch, a tour and more. I was so nervous!

This was before I started biking I lost the first 30 pounds by logging my food every day, staying on 1,200 calories and counting my steps. I am disabled so walking was my “go to” exercise. I needed a stronger heart, I was a fat ass that had insomnia, depression and was always feeling sorry for myself. It had to stop!

I wasn’t always like this before my knees were bad I jogged and did a lot of sports including outdoor roller skating. I was living in Madison, Wisconsin when outdoor skating (showing my age) became popular. Before these new skates for outdoors it was rink skating indoors and there were no inline skates invented yet. I remember as a kid I had “steelies” those metal skates with metal wheels that you clamped on your feet with a skate key. Not the same experience at all!

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My now X husband bought us the skates on my birthday and because there weren’t many people out using them yet the newspapers got interested in us one day when we were skating through the zoo. It was pretty cool.

Of course around 1990 I had to give up skating and my options for exercise were few by 2015. I decided a health overhaul was the answer so I bought my UP3 to help me track. I picked the UP3 because it does heart rate, monitors sleep, steps, exercise, weight, food and more. The smart coach crunches numbers and gives me an overview of how I’m doing along with suggestions/articles that were a big help. When I turned in my application to be a Jawbone Ambassador and told them my story they liked it enough to use me.

When I got to Jawbone’s office in San Francisco they directed us (I brought along a friend) upstairs where a makeup artist/hair stylist was waiting for me. We had a whole floor for this day. It was so awesome the woman was very reassuring and made me look amazing!

Next, I was taken to wardrobe where they picked 2 outfits for me to wear adding a UP3 band. I was ready for my interview and photoshoot. At the interview, Shannon asked me a series of questions about how I use my UP3 and I felt stupid answering them. Let me say here that I never did anything like this before and had stage fright. The guys doing the videotaping were very sweet and made me feel at home telling me not to worry they can make me look great in the final take.

It was time for lunch so I sat down with some Jawbone employees and we talked. Everyone at Jawbone I had contact with was supportive and I had a good time with them. We talked about social networking and all kinds of things. We watched another ambassador having her photoshoot (we could see the output on a screen) it was good to see what to expect. Soon it was my turn.

It was intimidating but the photographer was very good at her job telling me how beautiful I looked, talking me up and even playing music that I picked out. Once I relaxed it was fun. I could see my photos on a screen and some of the faces I made were really bad. I was embarrassed but the crew made me feel like a million bucks and it started to show. I looked like a movie star! They took a lot of photos.

They gave my friend and I brand new UP bands of our choice and the day was over. I was told the promotion would last a month and it would come out in March. Shannon Sweetser, heading up the promotion said that there would be a main story and maybe soundbites and quotes later on the Jawbone site and social networks. It was an amazing, positive experience and I’m so glad I was one of the people they choose to use.

Shannon emailed me in March telling me my story would come out in April and that it was such a good experience for Jawbone that the promotion was extended for more time, maybe permanently. I’m going to include my story here but if you want to read it and the other Jawbone Ambassador’s stories on the site here’s the link: #GetUPTogether.

Here’s my story:

REBECCA FINDS HER STRIDE WITH UP3™

Rebecca Sanchez

UP3 Silver Cross

I’m disabled, and it’s very important for me to stay active. I don’t have much of a medical support system—that’s why the UP means so much to me. The UP is my doctor.

“I don’t think I could have lost 30 lbs this quickly, and I am still losing weight,” says 61-year-old Rebecca Sanchez, a writer and UP3™ wearer since October of 2015. She finishes her thought with a smile, “As a matter of fact, I just lost about 3 more pounds recently. I couldn’t have done it without the UP. It just gives me the information I need.”

Living with a bone and joint disability commonly referred to as windswept knees, Rebecca was crestfallen to give up her favorite outdoor activity: rollerskating. Fortunately, she’s found a new way to fill the void and stay healthy. She’s been using UP® to track her steps. “Because of my disability, I walk a lot,” she says with emphasis. “That’s my best work out. Every day I get up and go out somewhere really pretty to walk and just be at one with nature, I love nature.”

With her positive outlook, Rebecca has lost 30 lbs, and doesn’t plan on stopping there. “Now that I have lost 30 lbs, what a difference. I can move better, I have more energy, I feel better—there’s not one negative thing about it,” she says laughing, “The fact that I haven’t gained anything back and I am still losing—it keeps me hopeful for the future.”

As a writer and avid reader, Rebecca was immediately drawn to the data-inspired health tips Smart Coach gave her in the UP® App. “I had such bad problems with sleep and insomnia,” she explains. “But, by going to bed at the same time every night, and doing things that I learned from reading all the great links [in the UP App], my sleep has improved so much. I get enough deep sleep that repairs the body, and I get enough REM sleep that repairs the mind. I just can’t believe it—UP tells me how much time it takes to fall asleep now, and it takes no time whatsoever. I’m out like a light.”

It’s all a journey, and Rebecca acknowledges the ups and downs, “Failures are hard to bounce back from,” but her positivity always triumphs, “I say, ‘Well, I failed on this day, but tomorrow I don’t have to fail. Tomorrow I can correct it.’”

Want to become a Jawbone Ambassador? You can share your own story just follow the link for mine and you’ll see the offer on the same page along with all kinds of info about the different UP bands, what they do and the Jawbone company in general.

I hate talking about my age but now I’m rather proud of looking and feeling so good at 61. I tell my friends 60 is the new 50, maybe even a little younger. Good health is the key. I answered a group of questions that tell you your real age and mine was 59.7.  I’ll be 62 May 11th, so I’ll take all the help I can get.

My biking has done nothing but put icing on the health cake and besides being totally enjoyable, aerobically it’s a really good way to lose weight and tone the whole body. Even my waistline has shrunk it’s not true that it only helps the legs but you will get stunning legs in the deal.

No matter what tools you use to help you in your quest for better health and fitness you must want it bad enough for it to work. Wearing a health band is not magical, you have to put in the effort, log in results daily, and do the exercise! No excuses, you will fuck up but when you do, you start again and do it right the next time. It will add up to sweet success.

Enough rights will overcome any wrong.

Look What I Found On My Ride

Yesterday when I was on the return leg of my trip I saw something dark on the trail ahead. As I pulled up I saw it was a young seal! It was right in the middle of the trail and I saw a cyclist stopped nearby talking on his cell phone. He was calling the Marine Mammal Rescue Center in Sausalito so I pulled over to assist.

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Seal in danger! Cyclist’s and even state vehicles pass through here.

I found out his name was Luke and he was talking to the rescue people. While I waited to find out what they said I dialed a few numbers. The Humane Society was not helpful at all telling me they “didn’t do marine mammals.” I found them cold and not willing to even give me a phone number that would help. In fact, everyone was passing the buck. It made me sad.

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I carefully herded him into the grass on the side of the trail. Look at how much his coat shines in the sun.

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Once in the grass, he looked at me and seemed curious. It was lucky he was young because full grown, these seals can be vicious even attacking people.

Luke was instructed to take a photo of the seal to send to the rescue center. He did so and was told they’d send someone out. Sausalito California is far away but they said they’d find a local volunteer.

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Look at that face!

I called the same rescue center myself for good measure. They acted like they didn’t know about it even though Luke had called and sent a photo. They told us they’d send someone out. I had to be somewhere by 6pm so I had time to wait. Luke had to go back to work so I sat on a nearby bench watching.

Many people passed by not even seeing this little guy. A few people stopped and one guy was touching him. I asked him to stop telling him it was vicious and would bite him. I was just stretching the truth a little to make him leave the poor thing alone. He backed off. I can’t believe how ignorant and selfish people can be. You should never touch a wild animal unless you have to.

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I figured out that he went up the walkway (see map) and ended up on the trail. These rocks are big and sharp he wouldn’t have made it over them otherwise. You can see the bench I sat on.

I was worried because 3rd street (in Foster City) is not far away. I have to hope the seal just went back the way it came after sunning itself. After waiting over an hour taking videos and photos no one came to even check it out and make sure it wasn’t sick. They may have shown up after I left but I don’t think so they just didn’t seem interested.

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I think this seal was a little girl. Once she fell asleep she was unconcerned about the lack of care or the problems of the human world.

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What looks clumsy on land makes seals acrobats in the water.

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The seal checks me out as I check her out. You can see the city street behind us. In many areas the Bay Trail is close to city streets and highways.

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Begrudgingly I left to go home missing one of my afternoon appointments but what a story and experience.

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It was an extremely windy day going home with gusts up to 26 miles an hour making whitecaps on the water. The wind surfers were out in force if you look closely you can see them “making air” with San Francisco in the background. I almost got blown off of my bike and had quite a workout!

Seals showing up in people’s yards and in city streets is just a part of the spring season when they have pups and seek out places to keep them safe not realizing these places are inhabited. There was a story on TV this week about a small California fur seal pup being found in a front yard in Fremont. This young seal is the same kind.

It was such a precious experience yesterday, one I could never have had without my bicycle. I’ve seen the sea lions that hang around Fisherman’s Wharf but never see the seals especially up close. I’ll never forget this day and hope the young, unnamed seal is swimming in the bay and happy.

My videos from my cell phone aren’t the best but I uploaded the seal videos I took to YouTube. Check them out on my channel.

Marine Mammal Rescue Center, 415-289-7325 (seal), you should be ashamed of yourselves! Telling us you would send someone out and then not following up. At the very least, you could have called me back to update the situation. There’s no excuse.

When the wind works against you get a sail.

Riding On The Bay Trail

One of the great things about riding my bike for me besides the health benefits is the beauty of the Bay Trail. Although I travel the same route each day there’s always something different to see and depending on the weather the San Francisco Bay has different moods and looks.

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Leaving the home unit and ready for take-off! (Yes, I’m a big geek!)

My last ride was March 22nd (Tuesday) and as soon as I got to the trail I noticed the clouds. Puffy and dense enough to block the sun at times looking like huge cotton balls.

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A lone runner stretches before a run on the Bay Trail.

This is my view of the trail right before I get on it. I’m very lucky to live several blocks away so I can ride my bike from home. Coyote Point and the boat harbor is to the left it’s a dead end where people fish and San Francisco across the bay is closest.

To the right is my almost 20-mile round trip ride through all kinds of landscapes ending up at Highway 101 where the trail ends. If you consult the map of the Bay Trail on the bottom of my site it may look like one can bike all the way around the bay but unfortunately, many of those paths are dotted meaning they are planned and not yet connected.

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Looking towards Seal Point and the San Mateo Bridge.

I bike around that point, past the Golf Course, to the bridge and under it to the other side. Just look at those clouds! The bay was choppy but I was going with the wind on the first half of my ride.

The winds coming off of the bay on this side of the bridge can be very strong, sometimes incredibly strong. No one day is like the next when it comes to the wind. If the winds clock over 15 miles an hour it’s going to be hell biking into them. If they go beyond that it’s insanity. Those are the days I come home tired and sometimes sore. (After all, it is called exercise for a reason.) Once on the other side of the bridge, the trail meanders off of the bay and the wetlands are a pleasant ride.

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Taking a break to hear the frogs.

There are benches all along the trail I like to stop and sit at but I always stop at this one near the Golf Course because this is where the frogs are. I used to sit and listen to their funny noises on the first leg of my ride but because of the drought, it’s been pretty quiet. Only when I get stuck in the rain do I hear a few frogs and it makes me sad. Even though we’ve been getting more rain this year it hasn’t brought them back fully.

You can’t see it here but there’s water in those reeds and it’s a perfect place for frogs. I’m hoping I’ll be hearing them soon perhaps they are mating and increasing their numbers as I speak. The more rain we get the better for California’s waterways.

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Canadian Geese land to visit with me as I do a frog check.

You can see some of the water but there used to be much more. This is the only place on my ride that’s close to the trail and marsh-like although there are other spots along the ride perfect for frogs and creatures like them. This marsh is across the trail from the bay.

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The Belmont Slough.

Once I get away from the bay into Foster City towards Belmont, I follow the Belmont Slough. Let me state here that although I log and track my workouts I don’t ride to best my time. I like to stop and smell the flowers and sit on benches along the way. I haven’t used the top 5 speeds on my bike yet and I wear my camera around my neck so I can stop and snap if need be. It feels so good when I’m on the trail, too good to rush.

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As I sat to eat my Golden Delicious Apple this guy came to visit.

There were 2 of these spiders and they were curious about me. You’d think something as big as me would send them scurrying but these guys approached me with a swagger.

I don’t know what kind of spider this is but he’s awfully cute! Looks like a little crab. I left them a few drops of water on the picnic table which they checked out before I left.

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Looking towards the bay (hidden here) near Bat Ray Island.

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From the same bench, a flock of birds soar by making wonderful noises.

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These flowers have the prettiest patterns on them and bloomed early. They’re already fading littering the trail with petals.

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I love going under this overpass! Highway 101 is not far now.

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On such a perfect day I had no idea that the winds were waiting to ambush me on the other side of the San Mateo Bridge when I went back.

The camera taking all these beautiful pictures is a Nikon Coolpix, one of the first compact all digital camera made by Nikon. My roommate found it in our garbage when some people moved away. Why they did that I don’t know besides being a little beat up it takes amazing pictures and is so small I can wear it around my neck while I ride. It takes .avi movies and records sound. I tend to take terrible pictures because I always move and this makes me look like I know what I’m doing!

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Highway 101 marks my turn-around point about 10 miles out the first leg of my ride.

The Bay Trail loops around back onto itself here, taking me back the way I came. I live on Bayshore Blvd., by Highway 101 so I’ve made a big circle on the trail back to 101 only further south. If the trail went along 101 I could ride back home making a complete trip. I wouldn’t get to see the great view on the way back so I don’t mind.

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As I sit and take a break some ducks are having a great time!

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This cloud looks like it’s balancing on the tower. I enjoy clouds and take photos of them as you can see.

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The ice plants are natural but most of these flowers, trees and bushes are landscaping for all the expensive homes that line this part of the trail.

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Once back on the San Francisco Bay, it’s all blue sky and beaches on the Foster City/Belmont side until the Belmont Slough.

I have questioned myself as to whether these beaches are man-made or not and I promise to look it up. Some of the beaches are sand and some are gravel but they’re all beautiful. When on the bay it’s usually rocks on the shore so these beaches were a nice surprise.

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Looking back towards the San Mateo Bridge.

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The sun is coming out from behind a cloud as a man fishes near the windsock looking towards Mariners Point. That windsock comes in handy!

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Coyote Point, San Francisco in the distance, and the boat harbor are all signs that I’m almost home.

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On the way to my apartment I pass through neighborhoods and this house is one of my favorites with a Lilac Bush expertly trained along the front windows.

I hope you enjoyed photographs from my ride. I take them every time so I’m looking for the best way to show them off on this site so you can see all of them. Even if I repeat an area it looks different in every photo depending on the light and weather. The Bay Trail is incredibly beautiful and I consider myself lucky to live nearby so I can bike from home and take advantage.

Biking is fun, keep at it and you will be successful. Biking is low impact, aerobic and just fun. It burns an amazing amount of calories. Most of you should remember riding and having a bike when you were younger and you can feel those feelings once again.

Please leave some comments and let’s start the conversation. I look forward to hearing from you. Don’t be shy, let’s talk! I’m here to help and listen.

Get moving, keep moving and your life will move…forward!