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Old 12-15-09, 03:10 PM   #1
thdave
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Bike Rental and Commuting in Moffett Field, CA

Need some help.

On my last business trip, I went to Boulder, CO and enjoyed renting a bike instead of a car. I tooled all around town and had a blast.

Come Jan 11th, I'm travelling to Moffett Field, CA (NASA Ames) and I'd like to rent a bike again. I'm looking for advise and I'm hoping to make this work. I'll be travelling with my grocery pannier, which has a cover and is big enough for my 4 days of luggage, as well as my laptop, which I bungy to the other side of the bike rack.

I'm flying into San Francisco airport. I'll have to take public transportation down to somewhere close to Mountain View, and from there find my way to a bike store that rents bikes. Then I need to bike to my hotel--I'm tentatively staying at the Hampton Inn Mountain View--but I really don't know how far that is from NASA. I know there's a MUP near the railroad tracks--so I should try and get a hotel near there.

My biggest problem might be my return trip, as my tentative travel plans call for a 7am flight. Not sure how to pull that off--I'll likely need to return the bike Thursday evening and take a bus/train or taxi back to my hotel, and again take a taxi to the train Friday morning.

Any thoughts or advice? Don't worry about the weather--I'm used to commuting in Ohio in January and I'm certain I'll enjoy the climate.

Many thanks!
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Old 12-15-09, 04:51 PM   #2
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I think your idea is awesome. I am a big fan of alternative/crazy transportation plans

The first place that comes to my mind for renting a bike is Stanford Campus Bike Shop. I don't have any personal experience with them but one of my roommates once did a long-term rental from them (like 3-4 months) and got a pretty slick commuter bike that was in very good condition. According to their web site they will let you return a bike outside of their business hours.

For public transportation you'd probably need some combination of these:

BART - direct service to SFO but doesn't go to Mt. View
Caltrain - runs up and down the peninsula and will get you to Palo Alto and Mt. View. Connects to BART at the Millbrae station.
Marguerite Shuttle - Takes you from Palo Alto Caltrain station to Stanford campus. This is only 1.5 miles and could be walkable but hey, the shuttle is free.

As for your return trip, you could get up super early on Friday and drop the bike off at Stanford. Then walk the 1.5 miles to Caltrain (shuttle doesn't run this early), catch the 5:01am train northbound, transfer to BART at Millbrae station, and finally arrive at SFO at 5:57am which may be enough time to catch a 7am flight. Whew!

Are you planning to do any recreational cycling while you're out here or just commuting?
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Old 12-15-09, 05:06 PM   #3
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Hampton Inn in MTV is on Moffett Blvd between Central Expressway and Middlefield. I pass it in the morning. Definitely walkable from the CalTrain station, somewhat longer to the front gate at Moffett, but they're all on the same street.

If you want a road bike or something really nice, you'd have to go somewhere other than the Campus Bike Shop. They mostly do commuter/urban/student hardware.

To get to the Campus bike shop from SFO, do the AirTrain-Bart shuffle TO Millbrae, then get a southbound train in Millbrae and get off at Palo Alto, take the free shuttle (either B-line will do) to Tresidder Union.

(and I don't think this disagrees with what I had in the email earlier )
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Old 12-15-09, 05:54 PM   #4
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What size bike do you need?
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Old 12-15-09, 11:17 PM   #5
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Menlo Velo rents road bikes. http://menlovelobicycles.com/article...ation-pg61.htm
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Old 12-16-09, 07:17 AM   #6
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Yeah, Hampton Inn is right on Moffett Blvd, a short distance from the Mt View Caltrain station. You can also hit NASA going the opposite direction on Moffett Blvd. It's within reasonable walking distance, but since this is a biking forum , it'll be a really short ride hotel to Moffett Field front gate.
Stanford Campus bike shop will have a bike with racks to accomodate your panniers.
ps - check out downtown Mountain View on Castro Street for dinner, couple of good eats to be had. My recommendation: Xahn which is catty corner to the train station.
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Old 12-16-09, 08:29 AM   #7
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Thank you for your responses.

Looks like Stanford Campus bike is the way to go. I checked the maps on line and that appears to be 8 miles from NASA, and a little less from Mountain View. Not bad at all. They have rental bikes with racks, which I need, and they provide a helmet. I'll bring lights with me. It's a big plus that I can take public transportation right to the campus.

The hotel may be a different matter. Thinking this through, I would prefer to drop the bike off Thursday evening and make my way back to my hotel sans luggage. Then I'd walk very early Friday morning from the hotel to the train. I'd like to be very close to the train station, as my pannier and laptop briefcase is a bit of a pain to carry together. If I can't get that close, I'll schedule a taxi, but that can be risky at 5am.

What hotel is closest to this train station? I've been to Moffett Field a half dozen times, so I'm pretty familiar but not certain as to the location of the train station. Is this train station the one right on the edge of downtown, on the NASA side of Mountainview? What road is it on?

My other option is packing up Thursday morning and leave NASA late that afternoon and take the bus and train to an airport hotel. Then I could lodge there for the night, get up and catch my flight. Would that make sense?
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Old 12-16-09, 08:47 AM   #8
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Also, what's most bike friendly or most scenic way to enter NASA via bike? Can I bike on Moffett blvd? As I recall it looks more like a highway on/off ramp than a road. I'm not worried about it, if it's legal to bike, but I know there's Steven's Creek trail, which I'd like to take, that follows hwy 85--is there an entrance off of it? For that matter, is there a hotel off of it?
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Old 12-16-09, 10:53 AM   #9
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You can bike through on Moffett. It looks like an onramp because the 101/Moffett exit is right there, but it's fine to bike across if you're careful.

Here's my recommended way to get from campus to MV: http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path...ew-to-Stanford
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Old 12-16-09, 11:58 AM   #10
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The absolute closest hotel to the train station is the Pacific Euro Hotel on Evelyn. But it has a lot of bad reviews on TripAdvisor. Other than that, the Hampton on Moffett is the closest to Caltrain.

And there are only two entrances to NASA/Ames. Ellis St. and Moffett Blvd. No trail entrances. The Ellis gate is only open 0700-0900 and 1500-1800 or something like that. I see people riding Moffett onto the property all the time, so it can't be all that unsafe.

As to a Stanford-MTV route, I used to take Ygduf's route... until I got cut off and hit at Middlefield at San Antonio. I avoid that intersection at all costs. Middlefield has bike lanes all the way along except for around San Antonio, and it's kind of narrow and heavily trafficked. I recommend Serra-Park-Charleston-Wilkie-(ped bridge)-Miller-California to get into downtown Mountain View.

Here's that route in Bikely: http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path...-mountain-view
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Old 12-16-09, 01:58 PM   #11
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Hey, that is a better route. I've had a couple of close scapes at that San Antonio section as well. Never figured out the work around, besides taking the lane, sprinting and hoping.
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Old 12-16-09, 03:08 PM   #12
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I have no experience with the Stanford Campus bike shop. I know a few people who have had good experiences renting from Bike Connection. They are across the street from Stanford, a few blocks from the California Ave. Caltrain station. http://bikeconnection.net/articles/r...ation-pg66.htm
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Old 12-16-09, 04:13 PM   #13
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Hey, that is a better route. I've had a couple of close scapes at that San Antonio section as well. Never figured out the work around, besides taking the lane, sprinting and hoping.
Yeah, taking the lane gets you at least honked at and more likely worse, and sprinting and hoping were my faves.

Either take Bryant and cross San Antonio at Nita or take Park and cross San Antonio at California (my preference, I'm not that big a fan of Bryant). Check it out!
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Old 12-16-09, 06:00 PM   #14
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Hi-jacking the thread a bit as this could become my new commute route: how does that Villa Street connect to W. Evelyn Avenue? Thanks.
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Old 12-17-09, 11:01 AM   #15
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Hi-jacking the thread a bit as this could become my new commute route: how does that Villa Street connect to W. Evelyn Avenue? Thanks.
Mostly-empty office parking lot. Take the last left before Villa hits Shoreline, enter the parking lot... you will see that Evelyn dead-ends into the other side of the parking lot beneath Shoreline. I'll bet it's visible in the satellite view.
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