Thursday, July 2, 2009

Woodside cops harass charity ride

Sent by a reader. By the way, the previous post included mostly stuff sent by
a reader :)

Anyway, I came across a scene last Saturday that had me boiling...

I usually ride Sunday mornings, and the ride usually includes some
portion of the Portola Valley Loop. This past weekend, schedule
commitments dictated that I ride Saturday morning instead. A friend
and I rode The Loop clockwise, starting up Portola Road. We noticed
arrows on the road, and a LOT of riders around. Seems there was an
organized ride, some kind of "Giro de Peninsula", sponsored by the San
Mateo Italian Association (or similar). Anyhoo, there were a LOT of
these folks riding, and it seemed to be generally the more hobbyist
rider, at least when we passed through.
Now, the Portola Valley Fire Station is a regular water stop for
us, and as we approached, we noticed at least 50 people there, as this
was an official Rest Stop on their route. What surprised me, though,
was that less than 100 yards before the clearly visible rest stop (at
the top of what may have been a tough hill for many of these riders),
the Portola Valley/Woodside police were ticketing cyclists who rolled
through the stop sign in their eagerness to get to the rest stop. I
stopped (I usually do), and proceeded through the intersection,
turning right onto Portola Road, when a woman in a minivan came around
behind me, pulled into the bike lane/shoulder, and just stopped
short! I signaled to the Policeman standing right there, indicating
"What's up with that?", but he was too busy writing tickets to those
dangerous renegade cyclists who rolled through the stop sign.

This disturbed me.

After stopping for water (it was pretty hot already), we proceeded
around The Loop clockwise. When we approached the intersection of
Portola Road and Sand Hill Road, what to our wondering eyes should
appear but a Police car and a Police motorcycle, lying in wait for
cyclists turning from Portola onto Sand Hill.

Talk about shooting fish in a barrel! It's one thing to
legitimately enforce real laws. If they did this regularly, like
every week or every month, I wouldn't even be too annoyed. However,
to wait for an *organized ride* that guided hundreds of cyclists
through town, just to selectively enforce really rubbed me the wrong

One hopes karma comes into play down the line...


Maybe Woodside is trying to get such a bad repuation amongst the organized charity rides that nobody runs them in their neighborhood anymore. Note that there is one that benefits the "Woodside School". Cyclists tried to organize a boycott of this one before when Woodside was refusing permits to organized rides, the School cried that it isn't even in Woodside (it's next to Woodside and services people in Woodside, but who's picking nits here).

The problem, besides this School, and maybe Robert's Market, who in Woodside really gives a rats ass if their community suffers an image problem. It's not like they will suffer from a dramatic loss in tourism dollars. The San Gregorio Store is very nice to cyclists - only asking that you take your cleats off because they have new hardwood floors. This is because the cyclists are a major revenue stream out there in the cuts. Woodside doesn't need your money.

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