Last weekend I was the event host for a trip from San Francisco to Point Reyes with the NorCal Bicycle Touring and Camping Meetup. We ended up getting six people together for the trip, all from San Francisco and Berkeley, except one coming in from Sacramento. I had picked up a camping permit for Sky Camp at Recreation.gov about two months earlier. It is still the rainy season in San Francisco in March, so we felt lucky to have a weekend of sunny weather predicted.
I planned the route, which was to go out on Highway 1 and back via Sir Francis Drake (Google Maps or Map My Ride; during the trip, we used the Marin County Bike Coalition’s map, which was up-to-date and accurate, $12 including shipping). The wind is usually from the north along the coast, so ideally we would have gone out Sir Francis Drake and back on Highway 1, but the ferry schedule didn’t really have a good Saturday morning option, so I had to go with the reverse route.
One of my favorite rides — looking forward to doing this again when my broken wrist is healed. There’s a lot of great parks that line the Bay, and it is fun to see the whole SF Bay area in a day. I often stay closer to the East Bay shore, going through Oyster Bay and Hayward Regional Shorelines. I also tend to think it works better in reverse, since either way you are going into the wind in the afternoon and the winds seem to be lighter on the East Bay side. I recommend bringing a lot of water and food (you’re in the Bay Area, but there are 10-20 mile stretches where there are no drinking fountains or convenience stores) and either a good map or a GPS-enabled phone (perhaps both).
This summer (2012) my wife and I flew with our bicycles from San Francisco to Dublin, rode around Europe for the summer, and flew back from Copenhagen to SF. We used British Airways, and they were complete rock stars about it. Free, no hassles. My bike has Ritchey Breakaway couplers in it, similar to (but better than, IMHO) S&S couplers. But I just left it together because it was more of a hassle to have to deal with the Ritchey case at our destination and the additional disassembly/reassembly. Continue reading What to do when flying with bikes.→
(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.
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?→