Oakland to Pleasanton, and the Hayward Japanese Garden


Today I got back on the road, covering about 31 miles. I got a late-ish start, and there was some direct sun and elevation to be had as I traveled from Oakland to Pleasanton.

My wonderful Oakland host saw me off today (with the below pic she took of me) with some vegan chocolate chip cookies and banana bread she had baked. (Jessica, if you’re reading this, I enjoyed some of them this evening—yum!)

I headed out of Oakland on the route she suggested, going along a beautiful waterway on a designated bike path, after the industrial edges of Oakland.

Before too long, after another industrial stretch, I found myself heading into the small community of Hayward. I had heard about its Japanese garden, and had wanted to visit there my last time in the Bay Area, in September of 2019. The garden’s limited hours, and my very limited time, precluded that then, but I arrived today in time to enjoy its very rounded and green aesthetic. I enjoyed my time there.

Then I needed some fortifications and a rest stop, as well as a place to charge my phone, so I found my way to a nearby Chipotle. That journey took me across the freeway on a cool-looking bike-and-ped bridge.

After lunch, there were some hills to climb in the sun! (See the top pic.) Luckily the high temperature was in the low 70s, and the hills weren’t that steep; they were just long. I rested in almost every shady spot I could find, as cars sped past on the multi-lane highway. It felt safe enough, but admittedly not as pleasant as some of my other recent rides.

As the sun began to drop, I reached Pleasanton, which—true to its name—was filled with pleasant houses on wide, shady streets. The space felt welcoming.

As I climbed a few more short hills on the way to my new host’s apartment, I took in some beautiful near-sunset views of trees in the hilly fields. I believe that’s where I’ll be hiking with a friend tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to it.

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