I woke up early on the train, just as the sun was coming up, and a little after 8:00, I disembarked at Emeryville. I had intended to continue through to Jack London Square in Oakland, but then realized that Emeryville was actually closer to my host’s house, so I decided to get off there.
While putting my rig back together on the platform, I was approached by a couple in their 50s or early 60s:
“We tour on our Bromptons too! Is that one of those Dutch trailers?”
“Oh, cool! We wanted to get one of those for this trip, but the distributor in Boulder was out of stock.”
Once again, I felt lucky for my timing: I had bought both the bike and the trailer before the COVID-related shortages hit. How differently this year would be unfolding for me right now if I hadn’t been able to get this trailer.
I asked if they were local Oaklanders.
“Oh, no! We’re from the DC area. I’m from Falls Church, and she’s from Alexandria.”
“Oh, wow… I grew up in Loudoun County!”
They expressed surprise, and the woman added, “I used to live in Ashburn!”
We all marveled at the small-world-ness of it all.
“Where are you from in Loudoun?” they asked.
I said it matter-of-factly, but expected to be met by blank stares; even people near Loudoun County aren’t always aware of that tiny historic hamlet.
“Oh, Waterford! What a great little town… we’ve done some great gravel bicycling out there!”
Wow. Small world indeed.
From there, I pedaled about a mile to my host’s charming tiny house, an ADU in the backyard of a classic house in a lovely old Oakland neighborhood. She and her two fluffy cats greeted me. After I got settled, her friend came over from across the street, and we all headed out on our bikes to the local Brompton-friendly bike shop, also about a mile away, because a small screw had worked its way out of my front fender and I wanted to get it repaired when I was still in a Brompton-friendly city. (There aren’t many authorized dealerships in the US.) The repair was quick and inexpensive, and we were on our way to a wonderful vegan soul-food restaurant, Souley Vegan, that I had visited once years ago and had always wanted to revisit. Along the way, I was thoroughly impressed by the extensive bicycle infrastructure in Oakland: miles of separated bikeways, and copious pavement markings.
The brunch was delicious. Afterward, they led me on a scenic route back to the neighborhood, where the lively annual block party was underway right in front of the house! We made margaritas and vegan chocolate chip cookies to contribute to the potluck spread, and then watched neighbors play ping-pong, volleyball, and various other games in the blocked-off street. I chatted with several neighbors—including one who was intrigued by my hybrid bike-and-train trip, and another who was deep-frying delicious falafel he had made from scratch—and later, I even got to jump in a bouncy house!
After the party, we felt very tired, so we’re calling it an early night tonight.
Tomorrow I hope to do some walking in a nature park, and then meet a friend for dinner at another nearby vegan restaurant.
But now, it’s time for sleep, with a big fluffy cat to keep me warm!
Do you have your own dream or project, and would like some support or collaborative brainstorming about it? Use the green “contact” button above to schedule a one-hour phone or video call with me!
Want to be notified of future blog posts? Use the green “sign up” button to subscribe!
Want to support my vision financially? I am in the process of manifesting $50,000 in lieu of a “salary” for the year of this journey. You can make a one-time or monthly contribution, or even become a fairy godfunder! (Heartfelt thanks to all my patrons and supporters!)