Northern California - Hey Lamorinda, here I come.
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12-07-06, 11:02 AM
T-15 days until I and my fiancee will be in Orinda for the holidays. I can't tell you how many times I've rehearsed packing and unpacking my bike in preparation for the trip - this will be my first time at my parents' since I started riding and I can't WAIT to hit up the AWESOME bay area climbs! I live super close to the Dam Road, so I'll be doing the Three Bears loop often. My only other goal is to summit Mt. Diablo while I'm in town. Can anyone else recommend any good rides?
12-07-06, 02:19 PM
Can anyone else recommend any good rides?
Sorry in advance for the long post. You asked for it - so here it is.
You absolutely have to do the Wildcat-Pinehurst loop. Once on the Dam Road, go like you're heading to the Bears. At the traffic light, instead turning onto Bear Creek Road towards Papa Bear, turn the other way (left, based on your described location) and head immediately uphill up Wildcat Canyon Road. Prepare for 2.25 miles of some of the prettiest climbing around. Stay on Wildcat past the top (at Inpsiration Point) into Tilden Park, past the Brazil Bldg, past the turn for the Merry-Go-Round (still in Tilden Park), until you come to the end of the Park and the five-way stop sign. Turn left onto Grizzly Peak Blvd (two lanes, lots of bikes on any weekend). Continue to climb, eventually leaving houses behind. Crest our after 4 miles or so, having left houses behind, having some killer views of SF Bay and environs, and passing the steam trains, you crest out and have some great downhill and rolling terrain. (Be carefull of the stop sigh at the intersection with Claremont Ave/Fish Ranch Road - it'll be at the end of a fast descent just after the 180-degree right hand bend - trust me, you'll know what I mean.) Continue straight on Grizzly Peak until you have to come to a T-intersection (Skyline Blvd.) and turn left. Continue straight to Pinehurst Road on you left - you have to be looking for it, as the sign is easy to miss: the best thing is to look for Shepard Canyon Road on your right - Pinehurst is the road directly opposite Shepard that goes immediately down.
Actually, you have a choice at this point. Here is Option 1, which will end up being about a 25 mile total ride (give or take a couple miles). Turn left onto Pinehurst and enjoy a twisty, often damp, beautiful road (if you haven't done it before, keep your hands on the brake levers and be prepared for sharp, badly-engineered corners) that empties out into a wonderful canyon the culminates with several miles of redwood forrest. After 4 miles or so, turn left onto Canyon Rd, go over a short and annoying hill, drop into Moraga, turn left onto Moraga Way at the first stop light, and pedal straight back to Orinda and the Dam Road.
Option 2, for a 30-ish mile ride: Continue straight on Skyline Blvd past the Pinehurst/Shepard Canyon intersection, alternating between park land and houses. You will climb for maybe 2 or 3 milesm then begin a mile or two of screaming downhill. At the T-intersection (it has a stop light), turn left to stay on Skyline and head downhill again. At the next stop light, turn left onto Redwod Road. The next 3 miles or so are super-fun: downhill, steep enough to coast and gentle enough to pedal the whole way if prefer, and really, really pretty. Turn left onto Pinehurst Road (well-signed this time), climb about a mile and a quarter, drop down roughly the same distance (not as steep and not quite as twisty as the other end of Pinehurst), and turn right onto Canyon Road. Go over a short and annoying hill, drop into Moraga, turn left onto Moraga Way at the first stop light, and pedal straight back to Orinda and the Dam Road.
It's a great ride in reverse, too.
Another great ride that too often overlooked in the Palomares Canyon loop. The loop I'm describing is about 30 miles total - you can add to that distance by riding to the start point from Orinda or grabbing you folks' car and driving to Alamo, Danville, or San Ramon to add some miles.
Start just south of the Foothill Road off-ramp from I-580. (Drive down I-680, take I-580 west toward Oakland/SF - Foothill Road is the first exit. There are parking options a-plenty.) Start by going south on Foothill Road. This is the least pleasant part of the ride, as development as inflicted a major shopping center and a bunch of housing tracts along what was once a rural road. (Actually, it was a more dangerous ride when it was more rural, although it was prettier.) You will eventually ride out of the land of housing developments and McMansions. Stay on Foothill Road all the way into Sunol. You will have to turn left and then immediately right in what passes for Downtown Sunol to get onto the ramp onto Niles Canyon Road (State Highway 84 West), and I don't know the names of the streets, but it is easy to figure out, and Sunol is tiny so you can't poosibly be lost for more than about a minute and a half. Go west on Niles Canyon Rd - it is a fairly major two-lane highway, with shoulders that range from luxurious to barely adequate, but the scenery is good. Atfer 4 or 5 miles (I think - this could be off, but not by a lot), turn right onto Palomares Road. It will be fairly well marked, and comes just after a railroad overpass, but be prepared: the turn is sharp and Palomares immediately goes uphill, so be prepared to shift down quickly. Stay on Palomares all the way until it ends, roughly 10 miles total. About half of it is uphill, including some glorious climbing by a rock-filled creek in a narrow canyon, the other half downhill, starting with about a mile of 8% screaming fun. At the end of Palomares, turn right, and in less than a mile, turn right again just before the freeway onto the frontage road. Five or so miles of gentle up and gentle down (compared to Palomares, anyway), your back at Foothill Road looking for your car (or turning left to ride back to San Ramon, Danville or Alamo).
Extra note: the Tour of California travelled along Niles Canyon and Palomares Roads last February, but in the opposite direction.
Okay, I'll stop now - I have to get some work done today, after all.:rolleyes: PM me if you want some more ideas.
Here is a link to the Bay area Velogirls web site that provides excellent bike routes throughout the bay area. http://www.velogirls.com/resources/routes.php#east. My wife and I are new to the area and live on the Peninsula. We use this link for finding routes. There are some epic climbs and descents going from the bay to the Pacific Ocean to Santa Cruz. Also, check out cycling in Marin. Good luck and have fun.
12-07-06, 05:08 PM
shearer: Those are awesome! I can totally visualize the Wildcat-Pinehurst loop, as I have driven many of those roads back in my high school days. The Brazil building has some unfortunate memories associated with it (funeral), but I'm very familiar with the area. Do you, perchance, need a riding partner over the holidays? :)
Before the forum hiccuped I had a thread here about LaMo riding and my holiday visit, and some people had talked about organizing a BF summit of Diablo. Anyone interested in that?
Count me in for Diablo, Pinehurst, the Bears, etc.
12-07-06, 06:02 PM
I live super close to the Dam Road, so I'll be doing the Three Bears loop often. My only other goal is to summit Mt. Diablo while I'm in town. Can anyone else recommend any good rides?
Don't miss Pig Farm - at the north end of Bear Creek turn right on Alhambra and head toward Martinez/Pleasant Hill. If it's too far out of the way to come back through Walnut Creek you can turn around when you see the Pigs For Sale sign. no wait - go back down the other side first so you can do the climb from both directions.
12-07-06, 06:02 PM
If anyone is interested in rides, shoot me a PM with your email address and I'll send out emails before I go out for rides.
12-07-06, 06:07 PM
Do you, perchance, need a riding partner over the holidays? :)
Yo, bd: If you can stand the idea of riding with an overweight, slow-climbing 49 year old who (ugh) has to work for a living (put that off as loooooong as you can, my friend) and likes to wear wool jerseys, I'd be delighted. What days will you be in town? I live in Moraga (close to the Rheem shopping center), so assuming timing works out, logistics should be a breeze. Depending on the day, I may be able to get one or more of my Old Phart riding buddies to tag along. You might even get us to take on Mt. Diablo. Or, maybe not. You can also try getting in touch with bigbossman. He lives over in San Ramon, and has a passel of centuries under his belt in 2006. (I just have a passel of me under my belt in 2006:eek: )
If you would rather ride with a faster crew (I truly won't be offended), I'll see what I can roust up for you. Your best bet would probably be to check in with Sharp's Bike Shop in Lafayette and see if they can hook you up with one or more folks - that's where I would start. Or, if racing-type rides are what you are after, I can try to hook you up with the Berkeley Wheelman - you see them in the Lamorinda neck of the woods all the time. Just let me know, and I'll try to set you up.
It's supposed to rain this weekend and into next week. With any luck, maybe you can bring some government surplus hot air with you from DC when you come out.:D
12-07-06, 06:22 PM
I live off Moraga Blvd, right by Miramonte HS and OIS, so we're close. I'll be in town from the 22nd - Jan 6, more details to come!
12-09-06, 09:14 AM
With any luck, maybe you can bring some government surplus hot air with you from DC when you come out.:D
Isn't it hovering in the 50s this week? Out here in DC, today it was 12 degrees.
OK, Team- how about a ride this Saturday morning (12/23)? Burn off some calories, enjoy the brrrrrisk weather, and meet some fellow BFers. Start in Orinda for our guest's benefit and ride maybe 40 miles or so? Who is in?
12-19-06, 08:04 AM
I'm down for some light riding - 40 miles may be a bit much (don't think I have that much time on Saturday) but I'm definitely down for a ride.
12-19-06, 07:04 PM
just wanted to share this link: http://cycling.berkeley.edu/routes.php
Cal Berkeley's cyling club has some good ride descriptions w/ maps. Have fun!
12-21-06, 10:44 AM
Just an update, there are murmurings of a Mt. Diablo ride on Sunday :) Check out the Road forum for the post.
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