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Best of 2000: Best Place For A Cyclist To Be Run Down Like A Dog On The Road

Highway 78 from Ramona to the San Pasqual Valley

Pedaling north on Pine Street from Highway 67 in Ramona, it looks like it's going to be a nice ride. Once you pass EPS Lumber and Alamo Self Storage, you're out into rolling meadows on a smooth, wide shoulder. A half mile or so past Haverford Road, the white line defining your bike lane starts cheating toward the right edge of the pavement. The road itself narrows and begins its serpentine descent down the mountain. At this point they should've slapped up a big "No bicycles beyond this point" sign and been done with it. Instead they decided to see how close they could paint the white line to the edge of the asphalt without leaving it. At mile 4, the road steepens and switches back. You can't squeeze a bike tire between the white line and the road's edge. SUVs barrel by, nearly grazing your left shoulder. The blast of breeze in their wake threatens to send you hundreds of feet down the sheer cliff to your right onto the tumbles of boulders below. For long stretches there's not even a guardrail between you and screaming oblivion. There are a couple of turnouts where you can stop. At six and a half miles, when you're this close to pulling an Evel Knievel into the abyss just to end it, you round a bend and the valley floor can be seen past the sides of the gorge. The road straightens, and in another mile you're safe on the valley floor.

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Highway 78 from Ramona to the San Pasqual Valley

Pedaling north on Pine Street from Highway 67 in Ramona, it looks like it's going to be a nice ride. Once you pass EPS Lumber and Alamo Self Storage, you're out into rolling meadows on a smooth, wide shoulder. A half mile or so past Haverford Road, the white line defining your bike lane starts cheating toward the right edge of the pavement. The road itself narrows and begins its serpentine descent down the mountain. At this point they should've slapped up a big "No bicycles beyond this point" sign and been done with it. Instead they decided to see how close they could paint the white line to the edge of the asphalt without leaving it. At mile 4, the road steepens and switches back. You can't squeeze a bike tire between the white line and the road's edge. SUVs barrel by, nearly grazing your left shoulder. The blast of breeze in their wake threatens to send you hundreds of feet down the sheer cliff to your right onto the tumbles of boulders below. For long stretches there's not even a guardrail between you and screaming oblivion. There are a couple of turnouts where you can stop. At six and a half miles, when you're this close to pulling an Evel Knievel into the abyss just to end it, you round a bend and the valley floor can be seen past the sides of the gorge. The road straightens, and in another mile you're safe on the valley floor.

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Bob McPhail wrote about illnesses, finally dies of them

With Reader from 1987 to 2018
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