You don't have to stay in hotels -- unless you want to. I did most of the Bay Trail a couple of summers ago, and was able to return home by public transit every night, and return by public transit the next available day. Of course, it's easier from SF than the South Bay, but if you cut your trip into slightly shorter pieces, it's not that far from Fremont BART to Campbell!
The highlight of the Bay Trail: Everyone knows Paradise Loop in Tiburon, a delightful ride which is overrun by training road-bikers, but I very rarely see more than a couple of other riders on the Carquinez Scenic Byway, a not-to-be-missed delight that I try to ride (Richmond BART to Pleasant Hill or Pleasanton BART) every month. The road fell down a cliff some time ago, and rather than repair the slide, about 5 miles have been turned into a pedestrians' and cyclists' trail. There's a lot of up and down, but no major climbs, so it's a lot of fun. The pavement is awful, so you can't go fast, but I am usually so busy watching the changing seasons, the hawks and other wildlife, and the strait that I don't care. (It's not too awful for narrow tires, though, except perhaps for about 20 feet.)
I checked the new maps, and still don't see a solution to the Highway 37 problem: I don't know whether bikes are allowed on 37. I'll ride almost anywhere, but I won't ride on 37: not enough shoulder, and lots of traffic at freeway speeds. Post if you find a solution!
I never take the Bay Trail route across the city; I find riding the Embarcadero unpleasant. If I were doing your ride, I'd probably go over the shoulder of San Bruno Mountain on Guadeloupe Canyon Rd, then along Lake Merced and out to the Beach, to the Golden Gate Bridge. There's a little traffic in Daly City, but other than that you're mostly on untrafficed roads with wide shoulders, or on trails.
Be alert: Everywhere on the Bay Trail, you have to watch out for fragile, deaf, old folks, wobbly new bicycle riders, kiddies who don't know to keep to the right, clueless skaters with wires in their ears, rude roadies who think a mixed use path is an appropriate place for a time trial, and off-leash dogs and clueless owners -- or even worse, too-long leashes. I'd invest in a pleasant bell!
I prefer to go north to south down the peninsula, as you are just west of the main approach path to SFO, and it's easier to see the big jets line up.
Have fun. I love the Bay Trail! It's what got me back into cycling after 25 years away.
Originally Posted by SeanBlader
The Bay Trail site has been updated with new interactive maps, very slick, all integrated with OpenStreetMap.org. And if you have a high end device, the mobile version is pretty good, at least on my One with Firefox or the stock browser.
I'm thinking about riding all the way around this summer sometime when I can get 2 weeks off, one to ride, and one to recover. The idea is to always have a hotel room to stay at, be able to buy food along the way anytime I need, and ride between 50 and 70 miles per day, or more if I build up to it. I figure I'll ride north on the peninsula from the Campbell/Los Gatos area and circle clockwise around the bay, sticking as much to paved trails as much as I can. I'll be in least familiar territory in the north and east bays, where I'll be at the will of Google and baytrail.org.
Anyone ride any pieces of it recently and have any tips or safety advice?