What are some good beginner-to-intermediate biking routes in the San Francisco Bay Area?

My answer to this Quora question.

From Berkeley, my favorite rides are:

(1) Up old Tunnel Road (Ashby/13), a winding ~10 mile ride that is a moderate climb most of the way.  You can return to Berkeley either via Claremont Ave, or for a longer ride go up to Grizzly Peak and drop out on Centennial Ave.  Both are steep — make sure your brakes are in good order!

(2) The Bay Trail segment starting from the Berkeley Marina (over the pedestrian bridge, by the Seabreeze Market) heading north to Richmond by the dog park and CostCo.

(3) The Three Bears Loop near Orinda.

The Grizzly Peak Cyclists cue sheet page is incredibly helpful and has lots of rides rated by difficulty and length.  Many are hard, but not all of them.  Check out their ratings system.  If you want other people to ride with, their organized rides are also worth looking into.

Why is cycling much more popular in Europe than the USA?

From a Quora answer I wrote in response to this question:

I spent two months of the summer of 2012 cycling around Europe and thought about this a lot.  Here’s what I have:

(1) Urban Layout.  European cities were designed before the advent of the automobile, so they all are arranged around a central point, usually the church or cathedral.  That means narrower streets that are often unsuitable for cars, more pedestrian zones, and more people living within cycling distance of a city center.
Continue reading Why is cycling much more popular in Europe than the USA?

Yes on 37

Michael Pollan: “[M]any of America’s biggest food and beverage makers — including PepsiCo, Nestlé, Coca-Cola and General Mills — have together ponied up tens of millions of dollars to, in effect, fight transparency about their products.” (Vote Yes on 37, Californians).

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/14/magazine/why-californias-proposition-37-should-matter-to-anyone-who-cares-about-food.html