Bay Farm Blog: A journey along the Bay Trail

Bay Farm Blog: A journey along the Bay Trail

Bill Pai

“Get a bicycle. You will not regret it. If you live.” – Mark Twain

Bay Farm Island is encircled by a picturesque, multipurpose path that’s more than six miles long. It’s part of the San Francisco Bay Trail. Every day, joggers, cyclists, dog walkers and parents pushing baby strollers gambol along its route.

A journey around the entire circuit can evoke a multitude of thoughts and emotions, inspired by what is visible along the way.

A cyclist first encounters the Harbor Bay path upon crossing over the San Leandro Channel Bridge from the main Island. Turning right and heading along the east-west section of Shoreline Park, she is greeted by a sweeping view of the cluttered Berkeley Hills, the Bay Bridge and San Francisco. The panorama reminds her of humanity’s eternal ambition to impose order upon nature.

Quickly passing by the northern endpoint of the long saltwater lagoon, the rider continues onward as she glances across the channel at the small craft stranded in the shallow water. The sight symbolizes man’s technological hubris. It also appeals to her sense of avarice, as she considers opening a concession stand that caters to stranded boaters at inflated prices.

Next, the rider’s gaze is drawn inland, captured by the unique structures in the Promontory Association. This series of expensive homes arouses her sense of envy, which she attempts to surmount by recalling Balzac’s adage, “Behind every great fortune there is a crime.” Still, she admits to herself that she would love to live in one of those homes someday.

Reaching full acceleration, our voyager leaves startled pedestrians and scattered Canadian geese in her wake. Continuing onward along Shoreline Park, she muses on what past disaster led a large ship to run aground, leaving only the shattered remnants of its prow and crow’s nest. Was it lured to its doom by the long-vanished aboriginal Tribe of the Alamedia?

The wind in her face eases as the path breaks south around the tip of Bay Farm Island, shunting her past the long saltwater lagoon’s western endpoint and the ferry terminal. To her left, the rider sees the short saltwater lagoon. Across the bay to her right stretches the San Mateo Bridge and the Peninsula.

Switching over from the bike path to the walkway along the water, she indulges her killer instincts by attempting to run down the squirrels infesting the area.

Soon afterward, the path dovetails with Harbor Bay Parkway, which takes the rider through the business park and its farrago of offices and warehouses. She glimpses the headquarters of the Oakland Raiders, then dodges errant golf balls and low-hanging trees as she skirts the back side of the Chuck Corica Golf Complex.

Crossing Doolittle Drive, our intrepid traveler keeps low to avoid decapitation as she dashes past the model airplane park, then cruises alongside San Leandro Bay. Returning to the Channel Bridge, the rider completes the circuit, and her experience of one of the highlights of Bay Farm Island.

“The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust