Tunnel Road: The fountain.

Not a great picture, but this is a drinking fountain up along Skyline Drive, just above Tunnel Road, in the Oakland Hills. Here’s what’s unique about the fountain: It’s set up on the shoulder of the road in a place that seems meant to be of maximum use for cyclists. The road is one of the most popular climbs in the East Bay Hills, an almost leisurely ascent that invites you to spin your way up and then gets a little more serious about halfway up the roughly four-mile climb. I’d guess that hundreds of cyclists ride past this fountain on their way up every day; a few locals may stroll here, too, but the road and shoulders are narrow and you certainly don’t see many of them as you pedal through here.  

I went up here about 2 p.m. or so. A nearby weather station recorded the temperature as 95 degrees. I’ve ridden so little of late that even a relatively relaxed climb like this one has become an index of my lack of fitness. Didn’t hurt too much, though, and the reward came on the fun descent from the top of Grizzly Peak Boulevard back into Berkeley.

Anyway, the fountain: I passed it, then remembered a nice little New York Times feature from a month or so back that talked about public drinking fountains and what they represent. I turned around to use this one, and noticed many sets of bike-tire tracks in the dirt at its base. An oasis on a hot day.

3 Replies to “Oasis”

  1. I just went and checked my spreadsheet to find I rode up Old Tunnel 18 times in 2008 before I moved back home in June. I never saw that fountain even though the house in the background seems familiar. It’s distressing to be so unobservant. I did semi-regularly stop at a fountain on skyline between grizzly peak blvd and pinehurst, but that was a traditional location by a parking lot.
    By the way, the fountain reminds me that one more reason to savor living in Berkeley is that the drinking water is about 10x better than central NJ.

  2. You know, that fountain is right out in the open, but it doesn’t really stand out. That weathered wood tends to blend in with the surroundings, I guess. Also: you’re climbing and about to go around a left-hand bend at this point, and I think that keeps people focused on the road.
    That next fountain you’re talking about is next to the Sibley Regional Park parking lot. If I need water, that’s where I usually stop.

  3. This is the Jack Gershon Memorial Fountain. I can tell you a lot abt him. I just received this note:
    I knew Jack in Angola and was with him only a few days before he died in early 1995. He took his bike with him to Africa and rode all over; a road bike with drop-down handlebars, toeclips and panniers. Even in 110-degree heat he would take a spin in the small, war-torn town where we lived. He was great with computers and was the first person I knew with Microsoft Windows on his laptop. The last time I saw him he came to my office in Luanda just to chat. The guy was full of life and energy, had a detailed knowledge of international aid work, and had a great sense of humor. I was astounded when I learned a week later that he had died. I remember him with fondness, and regret that I never took his photo.

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