I did two long-ish (by my standards – 60+ miles, 6K+ ft of elevation gain, 4+ hrs) rides during my most recent visit to Bay Area.
First day I started in Woodside, rode around Portola, went up Page Mill Road, crossed over Skyline and was descending down Alpine towards Pescadero, until one wrong turn took me into a (completely deserted) camping grounds in the middle of redwood forest.
So the first ride was fantastic until the disaster struck about half-way through, around mile 32 or so, I was a little lost and was climbing a dirt road that was at least 20% gradient steep, and my rear derailleur snapped in half! I stopped to examine the damage – luckily, the spokes and the wheel were ok, but derailleur was in two pieces. I was on a tiny road – a pedestrian path really – in a camping area, some 8 or so miles away from the main road (also quite deserted, but the one that has a car or two passing every 10 minutes or so). I tried converting my chain to single-speed, and after some struggling with getting the chain length just right, I was on my way. I was stuck with a fairly unfriendly, non-climbing gear ratio so I had to walk a few slopes steeper than 10%, and I also had to pedal like crazy on the flats and gentle downhills, as I was spinning out at 18mph.
Lucky for me, the single-speed setup survived just fine for 30 miles, till I got back to the car. A quick trip to a local Palo Alto bike store and I was an owner of new derailleur and chain, my Ritchey is back in business.
On the second day I rode up Old La Honda, then descended into Pescadero via Pescadero Creek Rd., then went up Stage Road via San Gregorio to the coastline by Half Moon Bay, and then back climbing via Tunitas Creek and descending down King Mountain Road. No technical problems the second day.
Both days had a fantastic weather, in the 70ies, bright sun and blue skies. Amazing views (see below), I wish I could ride even more.
My single-speed conversion. Beautifully Elegant, isn’t it?