Bike Tour For Los Altos' 60th Paired History & Fun

Where else could you have heard the tale of the missing Canary Island Palm at the Farnsworth Farm House and how Redwood Grove was saved from development by a single vote?


By Gary Hedden

Led by GreenTown Los Altos, 75 bike riders of all ages joined in the inaugural Historic Bike Tour of Los Altos, Saturday, Sept. 29. 

Held in honor of the city’s 60th Anniversary and co-sponored by the city and the History Museum, the riders visited old farmhouses, historic mansions and modern new “history-in-the-making” structures like the Packard Foundation Building.  

Riders were split into three groups and led by Gary Hedden, Jim Thurber and Margie Suozzo.  The groups heard lots of good stories: how the Neutra House was saved from destruction, the tale of the missing Canary Island Palm at the Farnsworth Farm House and how Redwood Grove was saved from development by a single vote.  

One of the highlights of the tour was the visit to the Marini House and the chance to see the beautiful gardens that extend across Adobe Creek.  There were lots of stories about the early owners, wealthy bankers, railroad and oil executives, who lived in San Francisco and had summer property in Los Altos.  We still have important families, only the brands have changed. Now it’s Adobe, Apple, Facebook and Google.  

The tour finished with lunch at the Bleibler House, a house built in 1913 by Herman Bleibler and still occupied by his grandson, Armond King.  Everyone seemed to enjoy the tour.

“It was wonderful, we learned so much,” said Amy Franzblau. Another pleased rider, Chris Keller, said “The kids loved it.  We’d definitely do it again and bring other families.”  Participant Lee Hartley said, “It’s the best family day we’ve had in a while.”  

Peg Champion summed it up well: “A magnificent day to ride and learn some history - Happy Birthday, Los Altos!”

Lunch was great with sandwiches from Le Boulanger, apples from De Martini, other treats from Andronico’s, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods and even home baked cookies.  As if that wasn’t enough, there were also raffle prizes from the two bike shops in town, Bicycle Outfitter and Chain Reaction.

GreenTown has no specific plans to host the trip next year, but with 21 people left on the waiting list, there appears to be plenty of interest.


Gary Hedden is the event organizer and a member of the GreenTown Los Altos Leadership Team.


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