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Favorite SF Bay Area rides?(13 posts)

Favorite SF Bay Area rides?mr_spin
Jul 25, 2001 8:33 AM
What are some of your favorite bay area rides? I live in the West Santa Clara Valley (better known as Silicon Valley), where there are plenty of great rides. My favorites, in no particular order:

1. Calaveras Road - Such a fun road to ride. Even better when combined with a loop up through Sunol and Pleasanton to Dublin Canyon (wind tunnel!), then back via Palomares.

2. Alpine Road/Pescadero Road - Great downhill on Alpine, if a little rough, and Pescadero Road is so amazing. Lots of redwood trees, too. Of course, the pink flamingo house is a sight not to be missed! These two roads make a great climb, as well. Just don't climb Alpine when it's 100 degrees. You'll die.

3. Eureka Canyon - Beautiful, mostly shaded, fairly mellow climb through the redwoods, with little traffic. We usually combine it with Uvas (see below), a trip over Hecker Pass, and Hazel Dell.

4. Uvas - The greater Uvas area around Calero, Uvas, and Chesbro Reservoirs (the roads Oak Glen, Sycamore, Willow Springs, Mckean, Llagas, Bailey) is great for rolling hills and wonderful scenery. No significant climbs makes it a great easy ride, although the long stretches of road always seem to cause pacelines to form and the speed to pick up!

5. Gilroy Hot Springs - Getting here is a pain (Don't die on Hwy 152!), but once you do, you realize you are in a completely different world than the one you just came from. It's a loop--either direction is fun.

6. Hwy 9 between Santa Cruz and Felton - an awe inspiring stretch of road, totally shaded by a canopy of redwood trees. After Felton, Hwy 9 just sucks! We usually take Zayante instead.

7. Hwy 1 - Riding along the ocean is always worth the trip. Out there on the bluffs north of Davenport is the best part.
re: Favorite SF Bay Area rides?DINOSAUR
Jul 25, 2001 8:58 AM
#4 was my one of my favorite spots when I lived in San Jose (Willow Glen) and was riding during the middle 70's. Light traffic, good roads, ideal weather. I used to like to ride out to Colero and watch the boats during the summer.

Another was Hicks Rd., either from the New Almaden side or approaching from Camden, which is pretty darn steep.

Hwy 9 was great too, especially the descent.

Mnt Hamilton Rd (which Cliff Oates can tell you about).

I'm sure the places I used to ride have changed a lot over the years. There was not much traffic back then. I hate to think what Mckean Rd looks like now. It used to be a two lane lightly traveled country road.

The Bay Area is a great place for cycling. A lot of good cycling shops also. Visit Shaw's bike shop in Santa Clara sometime, if you haven't already, and ask the owner Terry about tubing used for bikes, bring lunch...
Hicks!mr_spin
Jul 25, 2001 9:15 AM
I wouldn't call Hicks a favorite, but it is definitely a challenge. The grade is 12-14% for at least a mile on the Camden side (plus the trip up the dam before you get there!). The other side averages lower, but parts are definitely in the 12% range. Sometimes I start in Los Gatos, ride up and over, out to New Almaden, then turn around and ride back over it. In a 39x23. That will make a climber out of you. I think Metcalf Road is even more brutal.

There is more traffic on McKean getting to Calero, with all the boys and their toys hauling boats and jet skis, and commuters trying to avoid 101. I don't ride out there in the evenings anymore because the commuters are idiots. On weekends, the boating crowd is a lot more well behaved. Most seem to accept the fact that cyclists are everywhere around there.
Hicks!DINOSAUR
Jul 25, 2001 10:58 AM
Just reading your post brings back a lot of fond memories. I started climbing Hicks when I had an old Motobecane touring bike that had a 32 gear. Even climbing from the Camden side I had to stand up otherwise I would fall over.

I enjoyed the New Almaden side more. I worked swing shift so I could ride in the mornings and I seldom saw a car on Hicks, until I got around Shannon Rd. Nothing but silence and the cows up near Mt Umumnum (another favorite spot).

Riding up here in the Auburn area is similar to riding the Santa Cruz mountains, Los Gatos area 25 years ago. It just gets hotter in the summer and colder in the winter.

Unfortunately, nothing stays the same forever, including old roadies.

Someday I'll venture down there and see if I can make in up Hicks again.

Ride safe
I grew up in Oakland and...MrCelloBoy
Jul 25, 2001 9:34 AM
rode quite a bit on Skyline Blvd, Tunnel Rd. Grizzly Peak and into the hils beyond, through Orinda/Moraga, out to Mt. Diablo, Etc.
There's the route over Mt. Hamilton used on the "Mt. Hamilton Challenge" (not sure if this is still put on) that looped out through Livermore from the back. That was a great ride.
I also enjoy taking the Larkspur ferry (parking my car there) to S.F., biking around the city, then back across the Golden Gate, down through Sausalito and back via the bike paths to Larkspur.Some great road rides up and about Mt. Tam from the Fairfax area.
re: Favorite SF Bay Area rides?Cliff Oates
Jul 25, 2001 10:15 AM
My favorites are over in the East Bay where I live:

- Palomares is fun, especially if you are heading South on it. The last mile before the top is 14%. I ferquently do this as an out and back starting in Pleasanton and heading down to Niles Canyon and back again.

- Mt. Diablo, of course. Going up via North Gate is more work than South Gate. Laps on the mountain if you're looking for Death Ride training.

- Morgan Territory is a blast. One lane rutted road climbing 2000' up to the top of a ridge followed by a 50 mph descent down the other side.

- Climbing up the East side of Hamilton was pretty grueling.

- Norris Canyon is a nice climb and a nice descent, though I've only done it from my home in San Ramon heading west towards Castro Valley.
Bohlman Road - On Orbit Lane...Biking Viking
Jul 25, 2001 11:19 AM
...NOT. Good challenge with some 22% sections but not a favorite.

Did one of my favorites this morning before work. Am I privileged to live in this place, or not?

BV
Nice picturesmr_spin
Jul 25, 2001 11:51 AM
Those pictures show why I love Alpine. Must have been cold up there this morning. I climbed it once all the way from Pescadero when it was 105 degrees. Talk about suffering. And there was no wind or breeze whatsoever, so the heat just hung there and it was like riding in an oven. Was totally out of water at the top, but I knew a fast run down Page Mill would cool me off. I love bombing down Page Mill!

Bohlman Road - On Orbit is insane. I've only gone up it on a mountain bike. There are some 18-19% sections before you even get to the 22%. I've come down it many times on a mountain bike, too. Scary blind corners. Sometimes we take the Montevina trail (El Sereno OSP) out of Los Gatos, which comes out at the top of Bohlman. In the winter, they sand the road at the top to combat ice, so when the wind gets going up there, you get sand blasted. It hurts!
It wasn't that cool - the fog just makes that impression...Biking Viking
Jul 25, 2001 12:34 PM
Coming down 84, it was good to wear arm warmers. Then once we got above the fog, you get the effect of the marine inversion and it gets really warm - not 105, but in the 70's.

Yes, Page Mill is a blast - to the point where road riding is almost as fun as mountain biking.

I've done Bohlman - On Orbit in a 39/25. I swear that on On Orbit, my bike literally stopped in-between each pedal stroke. I pulled so hard on the bars I was afraid they would snap off.

BV
re: Favorite SF Bay Area rides?Masi3V
Jul 25, 2001 12:54 PM
Don't forget Tunnitas Creek Road. Long, lonely sometimes steep climb on the western side of the hills above Woodside. Great, great climb.

Also the up Old La Honda down the backside of Old La Honda. The frontside of this road is a very popular climb, but the backside is another great (but short) lonely road.

And just so we're clear, the side of Alpine Road that's facing the bay is a dirt road ending on Page Mill, but backside Alpine is very nice.
re: Favorite SF Bay Area rides?mr_spin
Jul 25, 2001 3:51 PM
Yes, Tunitas Creek, a fantastic climb and the valley side is good too, Kings Mountain. Riding Skyline from the top to Hwy 84 is a blast, especially if you go down 84. It's like a 12 mile high-speed descent. You do some climbing until Skeggs Point, then hold on!

Old La Honda, the benchmark climb. I rarely see anyone on the ocean side, probably because the entrance off Hwy 84 isn't real obvious. It sure beats taking Hwy 84 all the way back to Skyline!

A bit of trivial information for you. The top of Page Mill is actually Alpine Road. Page Mill starts/ends where the entrance to dirt Alpine is. From there to Skyline on the paved road is Alpine Road.
Alpine, Kings Mountain, Page Mill Old La Honda....DAS
Jul 25, 2001 3:54 PM
I like going up Old La Honda (East). Nice and shady and hardly any cars. Page Mill, Kings Mountain, Alpine West...all classics.
Diablo/Livermore Valley RidesJerry Gardner
Jul 26, 2001 3:50 PM
Here are my favorite day rides from my home in San Ramon:

1) Morgan Territory - This is a one-lane road in pretty bad shape that climbs 2000' to a regional preserve. It can be hot in the summer, but there're plenty of oaks for shade. The south side is in much better shape and makes a great descent since forward visability is so good.

2) Patterson Pass and Corral Hollow Road - Both of these are out in the Altamont Pass area east of Livermore. Both are brutal on a typical 100 degree summer day. You are not likely to encounter anyone else on either of these roads.

3) Palomares Road - Nice out-of-the-way road between Walpert Ridge and Sunol Ridge. Little traffic. Passes a few obscure wineries. South-to-north is easier than north-to-south. About 10 miles with 1/2 climbing, 1/2 descending.

4) Mt. Diablo - 11 mile climb with grades averaging about 6% on the bottom half and 7% on the top half. The last 0.1 mile is one-way, about 19%, and usually covered with loose gravel - nasty. The view from the top is great on a clear day. One of the most popular East Bay climbs.

5) Calaveras Road - Takes you from Sunol to downtown Milpitas past the Calaveras reservoir. Most of this road is a mild grade except for the section near the county park and golf course on the Milpitas side. Can be hot in the summer since there's little shade.

6) Norris Canyon - Nice, but short, climb between San Ramon and Castro Valley. West-to-east is a longer, but more gradual climb than east-to-west. Hot on a midsummer day. Avoid connecting Crow Canyon Rd during the commute hours.