With record-breaking rainfall throughout Northern California abating for now, a bunch of us will be tempted to hit the roads on our bikes. Several favorite road cycling roads are closed, including Mount Hamilton Road, Niles Canyon, Soquel-San Jose, and more.
- Santa Cruz County Road Closures list is updated throughout the day and seems to be mostly accurate.
- Santa Clara County now publishes an online road closure list. Updates seem to happen each morning.
- Closed roads in Alameda County, also updated each morning.
These lists show county-maintained roads only; city roads are the responsibility of their respective cities. Numerous state highways have also been impacted by the storms; online traffic maps seem to mostly track those fairly well, or you can go straight to the source at Caltrans Quickmap.
Even if roads are thought to be open, keep your eyes peeled for hazards. While riding in the Santa Cruz Mountains two weekends ago, a tree feel in front of me as I descended Glenwood Road at about 30 MPH. I grabbed brakes and stopped in time, but the next thing I know power lines are hanging on either side of me. That was incredibly sketchy, as was gingerly threading my way out of that web like a jewel thief maneuvering a bicycle-shaped treasure through a laser-protected vault.
Conversely, some closed roads are vaguely bike-passable, though you may need to portage your bike across chasms, creeks, and downed trees on occasion. If you’re tempted to schlep through mud to get past a road, consider this (slightly grody) cautionary tale from Janeen, who bikes most days from Santa Cruz to work in Morgan Hill.
Gross picture alert. This is a public service announcement for people who live in Poison Oak country. If you see a mudslide, walk through it and sink up to mid calf, when you get home scrub yourself with Tecnu or Dawn or whatever.de-radiation exposure technique you favor: Picture 1 (top left): The cause. A fun rad road ride, with the gang! We scrambled across three mudslides on Highland (this was four weekends ago) and laughed at how muddy we got. Not once did it occur to me that the mud was dosed with poison oak oils. Picture not shown between 1 and 2: I have a picture of my oak reaction at its height. That was when I was stuck in snow up at Shaver Lake. It's… bubbly. Let's just leave it at that. Picture 2 (top right): I never go to doctors. Not willingly. On this day I woke up and said "This…. doesn't look right." Turns out the oak was infected and my legs were swollen and on fire. I went to the doctors. Three shots in the butt, steroids and antibiotics. I did not be wear shoes for the next 7 days (flip flops ftw). Could not bear it. I would like to take the time to apologize to my work colleagues for my constant complaining and having to catch glimpses of my struggle. Picture 3 just shows how fat my ankle(s) was the day I went to the doctors. Picture 4: Six days later and I have ankles again! Maybe 6 days after that, I was able to wear shoes again. It's sort of better now. I look like I'm wearing red socks, lol, but doctor said scarring should eventually clear. I'm terrified of poison oak, and I hope y'all know why now. It was still a great ride. I've just learned an important lesson in a very painful way.
Every South Bay bike path I track here is currently unusable due to flooding. Even Stevens Creek, which normally stays fairly dry, is impassable under Highway 101. Portions of the trail along Coyote Creek are completely inundated along with U.S. Highway 101 in Morgan Hill.
I’ll try to update my own local road closure map sometime Tuesday night. Weather should remain clear Wednesday through Friday, with another atmospheric river expected this Saturday afternoon.
I’m biking over the Santa Cruz Mountains Wednesday morning (via Mountain Charlie and Old Santa Cruz Highway, both of which are reported as open) and will give a report.