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Neophyte
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well time might be running out in terms of having all day every day to ride, so I was hoping people could give suggestions of "must ride" routes in the Bay Area.

My normal stomping grounds are East Bay (Berkeley, Orinda, Pleasant Hill/Martinez) so I've covered just about all the ground around there.

Planned rides I have for the next week or two besides normal "training" are Mt. Diablo North Gate, Mines Rd to the Junction, and maybe Palomares in Castro Valley.

Is there anything fun further east, as in Antioch/Brentwood?

From what I've read, some of the Penninsula / South Bay stuff might be fun... Old La Honda or Kings Mountain? I've browsed through the forum and websites plenty but fresh ideas/opinions would be great.

Thanks!
 

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In terms of the Livermore area, Morgan Territory, Patterson Pass, Del Puerto Canyon, and Mines out to Hamilton all come to mind. You should definitely do Palomares if you haven't already, and an out and back to Milpitas from Sunol via Calaveras is worth doing. I don't think there is is all that much out in Antioch, but the week before last a few of us rode from the Martinez Amtrak station via Antioch and 160 up to Sacramento, then took the train back. It was flat, hot, and thankfully not too windy.
 

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jetdog9 said:
From what I've read, some of the Penninsula / South Bay stuff might be fun... Old La Honda or Kings Mountain? I've browsed through the forum and websites plenty but fresh ideas/opinions would be great.
It is hard to beat a ride from Woodside/Portola Valley out to the coast and back. There are many variants to choose from. One of the options would be: up east OLH, down west OLH, down 84, Stage Road, Highway 1, up Tunitas Creek and down King's Mountain.
 

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Cliff O said:
In terms of the Livermore area, Morgan Territory, Patterson Pass, Del Puerto Canyon, and Mines out to Hamilton all come to mind. You should definitely do Palomares if you haven't already, and an out and back to Milpitas from Sunol via Calaveras is worth doing. I don't think there is is all that much out in Antioch, but the week before last a few of us rode from the Martinez Amtrak station via Antioch and 160 up to Sacramento, then took the train back. It was flat, hot, and thankfully not too windy.
All good suggestions. I would warn you that if you do Mines to Hamilton, it can get very hot out there. The Junction is open again so you can count on them for food and water, but they don't open too early so be prepared.

A good loop is from Dublin to Sunol, west on Niles Canyon to Palomares, north on Palomares to Dublin Canyon, west to Crow Canyon, north on Crow Canyon to Bollinger Canyon, west to SR Valley Blvd back south to Dublin. Lots of climbing and probably around 40-50 miles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Thanks, I've been trying to take advantage of the cooler summer we've had lately. Did Diablo today, it was a ton of fun. Some time midweek I will hit Palomares with the suggestion somebody gave of taking Crow Canyon / Norris Canyon to lengthen the ride and add some better scenery (unless everybody suggests just staying on Crow Canyon is better).

Mines will work out for me soon because I'll have to drop my car off at the Livermore Subaru and will have some hours to kill on a Saturday... hopefully the weather stays reasonable. And I don't plan to go all the way to Hamilton... don't think I'm ready for that distance yet and I'll be riding solo in the middle of nowhere.
 

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jetdog9 said:
And I don't plan to go all the way to Hamilton... don't think I'm ready for that distance yet and I'll be riding solo in the middle of nowhere.
That is not a ride I would do solo, so that's a good call. I think the Junction Cafe opens around 10am and they should be open on a Saturday. If they're not available, there used to be a water hose at the fire station down the road from them where the water only tasted like it would kill you...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Cliff O said:
That is not a ride I would do solo, so that's a good call. I think the Junction Cafe opens around 10am and they should be open on a Saturday. If they're not available, there used to be a water hose at the fire station down the road from them where the water only tasted like it would kill you...
I was a little foolhardy and ended up doing the whole ride to the observatory solo, luckily nothing bad happened. Turned out to be my first century. It wasn't planned that way, I got to the Junction too early (they don't open until noon on weekdays and I got there at 11), so I just kept going. Weather for the entire ride was between 65-80 degrees, absolutely perfect. Hardly any cars (only got passed 3-4 times), sadly I only saw a few other riders by the Observatory and by del Valle. The San Antonio Valley Road part of the ride is gorgeous.

El Toyonal, Palomares, Mt. Diablo, Mines/Mt. Hamilton checked off... okay time to check out the Peninsula finally.
 

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jetdog9 said:
I was a little foolhardy and ended up doing the whole ride to the observatory solo, luckily nothing bad happened.
The East side of Hamilton is a nasty climb, and a nasty descent too. The last time I was out there on a bike, I went for a 50 mile ambulance ride to South San Jose. I was riding with friends, but even so I was very lucky, all things considered. Luckier than the motorcyclist who got a helicopter ride that day too (we got his ambulance turned around to collect me - he got seriously f'd up on a cattle grate and needed the helo).
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yeah, I'm very cautious by nature, especially on descents, but I could see how something could happen out there and it might not be a good thing. Would have been more fun to enjoy the ride with somebody else, too.
 

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I don't get it, why do people keep recommending 84 (Calavares) to/from Fremont from Sunol? It's absolutely terrifying in some sections where you have a 6" (if that) shoulder and cars are flying by at 60 mph on a single lane highway. I live in Fremont and still take Palomares up to Dublin over to Foothill and make my way back down to hit up the back reservoir side of Calavaras. It's only around 2-3 miles of the 6" shoulder, but still I'm surprised that so many people recommend this route considering the inherent danger of it all.

But there's plenty of rides in the Bay Area especially more so since you're in the east bay and have access to BART so you don't really need to drive anywhere. I've done stuff on the north side of the GG bridge like 7 sisters, alpine dam, mt tam, or stuff on the east bay like redwood rd, morgin territory, cull canyon, norris canyon, etc. Or you can always jsut BART it to Fremont and ride over the dumbarton to do Old La Honda, 84, tunitas, mt eden, canada rd, etc if you want to ride to your rides.

One thing I can say though, the peninsula has a LOT more cover and is a lot prettier in general. Be prepared for trees and green vs the cows and grass you see on the eastern side of the bay.
 

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I didn't see anyone recommending that. Calaveras is not 84. And when you take 84 to Sunol (from calaveras) you don't go by the the hairy areas of Niles Canyon. I don't think Niles Canyon is that bad, EXCEPT for the bridges. Looks much worse when you drive it thinking "who the eff would ride this?".

makeitso said:
I don't get it, why do people keep recommending 84 (Calavares) to/from Fremont from Sunol? It's absolutely terrifying in some sections where you have a 6" (if that) shoulder and cars are flying by at 60 mph on a single lane highway. I live in Fremont and still take Palomares up to Dublin over to Foothill and make my way back down to hit up the back reservoir side of Calavaras. It's only around 2-3 miles of the 6" shoulder, but still I'm surprised that so many people recommend this route considering the inherent danger of it all.

But there's plenty of rides in the Bay Area especially more so since you're in the east bay and have access to BART so you don't really need to drive anywhere. I've done stuff on the north side of the GG bridge like 7 sisters, alpine dam, mt tam, or stuff on the east bay like redwood rd, morgin territory, cull canyon, norris canyon, etc. Or you can always jsut BART it to Fremont and ride over the dumbarton to do Old La Honda, 84, tunitas, mt eden, canada rd, etc if you want to ride to your rides.

One thing I can say though, the peninsula has a LOT more cover and is a lot prettier in general. Be prepared for trees and green vs the cows and grass you see on the eastern side of the bay.
 

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Tort recommended the westwardly route from Sunol to Palomares via Calavaras/84 earlier in the thread. In any case I just wanted to point out that it's pretty hairy as you will get cars and occasionally semi's flying by at 50mph with a foot to spare. Lean the wrong way after a large semi passes you the suction could put you on the ground because they pass so close. I actually don't mind the bridges as I just take the whole lane and sprint across them and hope my superflash keeps the cars at bay. But the area where there's a 2 ft ditch off the side of the road and you only have 6" of shoulder and every car buzzes you to not cross the double yellows for 2 miles that's just high stress for me. I've done it twice and will now always go up palomares and back down foothill vs trying to go though now.

If you want a list of climbs here's a good collection.
http://www.oaklandyellowjackets.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=54&Itemid=98
 

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The only way to get to/from Palomares is via 84/Niles Canyon. I would definitely avoid it during the commute hours. I have ridden the section from Sunol to Palomares many a time on the weekend and it's ok. There are sections where there are no shoulders so you have to be careful. It looks like the road is going to be widened soon: http://www.ebbc.org/?q=node/7376
 

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Yep, my bad. Didn't see the Palomares suggestion. Was writing late at night, today looks like I sounded more accusatory than I intended.
 

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Yeah, big rigs are what make Niles Canyon the most dangerous. They won't cross the line like cars, AND they are wider.

I used to take Niles from Sunol to Freemont as part of my weekday commute to work. It was not too bad early in the morning, except for the big rigs. On the bridge, cars usually didn't even try/want to pass. Also, you have to watch out for the sunken drain gates near the first underpass. Either take the lane, or bunny hop.
 

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Bump.

I'm going to be in town this weekend and am thinking about doing Mt. Tam.

How are Panoramic Hwy., Muir Woods Rd., and the section of Hwy. 1 between Muir Beach and where it merges onto 101? I'm mostly interested in not being on a tiny shoulder with 45mph traffic blowing by constantly.
 

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Hwy 1 between panoramic and 101 is downhill east bound. You take the lane and can ride with traffic. Have never done it the other way.
 

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I agree that taking 84 Niles Canyon to Fremont is sketchy. If riding from Pleasanton area I would take Foothill all the way down and turn left on 84 East towards the Calaveras loop and that will take you to Fremont. Calaveras loop is a nice ride with hardly any cars and plenty of cyslists on the weekends. Just watch the switchbacks for people riding around the corner. Once in Fremont and you want to get back you do have to take Niles for a short distance but there is a wide enough bike lane and left to Palomares Rd to the Dublin grade and back to Pleasanton. I think it's about a 65 mile loop.

Peninsula rides are great. During summer the weather is cooler and plenty of shade. Old La Honda and King's Mt are fun time trialing climbs. Crystal Springs has a nice view.

San Francisco ride through Paradise loop is also a recommended scenic route. However, if you take the left up the hill after the Golden Gate bridge, I think halfway up it is still closed but you can take a right at the shortcut where the road closed signs are located. Descend down through the tunnel and straight and make a left into Sausalito and beyond.
 
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