Iron Horse Trail XIII

On most Sundays, my brother Mark and I wake before dawn to take an early morning bicycle ride. Today we waited until the afternoon to ride our bicycles because Mark wanted to watch the Oakland Raiders game at 10:00 AM, and because I wanted to use my new GoPro Hero 6 handlebar-mounted camera to record today’s ride during daytime light conditions.

This afternoon we rode on the Iron Horse Trail, again. As we’ve done several times in recent weeks, we began our ride where the trail intersects with Crow Canyon Road in San Ramon. We pedaled north for 8.5 miles on the Iron Horse Trail through San Ramon, Danville, and Alamo to the point where the trail enters Walnut Creek. Then we turned around and rode south on the same trail to return to our starting point in San Ramon.

I’m sharing 2 videos of our ride today, along with a map of our route. Both video clips are approximately 40 minutes in duration. The first video is the northbound ride from San Ramon to Walnut Creek. The second video is the southbound return trip on the same trail from Walnut Creek to San Ramon.

The video footage is unedited, so the low lighting or shade or direct sunlight that comes through in the video is an accurate representation of the conditions we experienced during today’s ride. In the audio, you’ll hear quite a bit of clicking. Sometimes those clicking sounds are caused by my gear shifting, but at other times it is just the vibration of my bike frame, chain, wheels, or bike cables gently thumping against my frame. When you ride a bicycle it does tend to make some noise, and I did not edit the audio in these 2 video clips. If you find the audio annoying then you can turn your volume down when watching the video.

At various times during the bicycle ride, you’ll hear a bell ringing as I’m about to pass people on the trail. That might seem rude, as if I’m demanding that others get out of my way, but the use of the bell is actually proper trail etiquette. When bike riding on a trail and approaching other bicyclists or pedestrians from behind, you are supposed to ring a bell (or call out to them) to let them know that you’re approaching and you’re about to pass them. You don’t want to catch them by surprise as you approach. Someone could get hurt if you don’t give others enough time to react to your presence.

The sound of the bell is intended as a polite safety warning. Correctly interpreted, the sound of the bell means, “In case you hadn’t already noticed, I’m coming up behind you and in a few moments I’m going to pass you on your left. If you’re in the middle of the trail now, please move to the right immediately to give me room to pass safely on your left – and please keep to the right until I finish passing you.” Experienced trail users understand this and appreciate the warning from your bell. On many public trails, if you pass someone without sounding a bell or calling out then you can be cited and fined by a park ranger. On some trails, you can be cited and fined for simply riding a bicycle that is not equipped with a bell.

These 2 video clips represent my first attempts to record video during a bicycle ride on a trail. I thought the video clips came out pretty well, especially when you consider my lack of experience with the GoPro Hero 6 camera. I’m thinking about recording a time-lapse video of my next ride, so the results will be quicker to watch.

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