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  1. #1
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    Must do rides in SF and/or Monterey

    Taking the family to Monterey and SF in a few weeks for Spring Break and I want to get some rides in while I am there. The only route I have planned so far is over the GG and up Hawks Hill (and then who knows). If you have a favorite route (or a shop ride) that starts in SF (marina area) or Sausalito - or even in Monterey area - let me know or post a Strava or similar link please. Prefer 25 to 35 miles with 2k+ climbing. But the goal is really to experience the best rides the bay area has to offer!

    Thanks in advance for your help
    _______

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    I'm not yet familar with Monterey Bay, but SF, there are tons of rides....the thing is that 25-35 miles will really limit your ride...so many great rides in Marin in the 60+ mile range. With that mileage in mind, I think the best option is up to the top of Mt. Tamalpais (AKA Mt. Tam). From SF, you will take a route up to 4 corners, there are a couple ways to get up there (I take the Old Mill Park route). From there, you take the Panoramic Highway. Another: GG -Tiburon - Larkspur Ferry is a short jaunt, beautiful...much more urban and probably too easy with the option of taking the Larkspur Ferry back to the city. If you're up for longer rides, I highly recommend riding out to Pt. Reyes Lighthouse or at least Pt. Reyes Station....Nicasio Valley and Lucas Valley are both bike friendly and beautiful rides. If you like Oysters and Chowder, getting up Highway 1 around Tomales Bay is a must...there are a lot of different ways to get up there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by spencewine View Post
    I'm not yet familar with Monterey Bay, but SF, there are tons of rides....the thing is that 25-35 miles will really limit your ride...so many great rides in Marin in the 60+ mile range. With that mileage in mind, I think the best option is up to the top of Mt. Tamalpais (AKA Mt. Tam). From SF, you will take a route up to 4 corners, there are a couple ways to get up there (I take the Old Mill Park route). From there, you take the Panoramic Highway. Another: GG -Tiburon - Larkspur Ferry is a short jaunt, beautiful...much more urban and probably too easy with the option of taking the Larkspur Ferry back to the city. If you're up for longer rides, I highly recommend riding out to Pt. Reyes Lighthouse or at least Pt. Reyes Station....Nicasio Valley and Lucas Valley are both bike friendly and beautiful rides. If you like Oysters and Chowder, getting up Highway 1 around Tomales Bay is a must...there are a lot of different ways to get up there.
    Much appreciated! I hate to limit the distance to 25-30 miles, but if I leave my wife in a hotel room with 4 kids by herself for too long there will be trouble... I generally ride early (5 or 530) so I can put in 3+ hours before the rest of the crew is even looking for breakfast. So I may be able to squeeze in a 50 miler
    _______

  4. #4
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    You could take BART over to Berkeley and ride up several roads to Grizzly Peak and/pr Skyline roads. Or you could take BART to Walnut Creek and ride up Mt. Diablo.

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    Do the trifecta: Mount Hamilton, Mount Diablo, Mount Tamalpias. Not necessarily on the same day.

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    I did a fair amount of asking here and elsewhere and decided on the following loops for the first days of my USA riding holiday last year.

    Lots of great little climbs between Palo Alto and the Ocean. I rode up Old La Honda, looped around to Pescadero Creek road, Tunitas creek and also rode down and back up Kings Mountain road. Could easily put together a shorter loop...

    Old La Honda - Pescadero Creek rd - Tunitas Creek rd - Kings Mountain rd near Atherton

    The Climbing Lama: SF classics day one - Old La Honda, Tunitas ck rd and more 30th August

    Sierra rd and Mt Hamilton ridden on the same day with a quick stop back at the car.

    Sierra Rd, San Jose, CA near San Jose
    Mt Hamilton, San Jose, CA near San Jose

    The Climbing Lama: SF classics day two - Sierra road and Mt Hamilton 31st August

    Mt Diablo via North Gate in the morning

    Mt Diablo via North Gate, Walnut Creek, CA near Walnut Creek

    Then drove across to Fairfax and rode a loop over Mt Tamalpais

    Alpine Dam loop, Fairfax, CA near Fairfax

    The Climbing Lama: SF classics day three - Mt Diablo and Alpine Dam loop 1st September
    http://climbinglama.blogspot.com.au

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    @Dalai - thanks for the links, great info!
    A friend did Nacimiento Fergusson Road in BIg Sur - not a long ride, but a tough climb (by my standards anyway) and apparently some great views.
    Hoping to hit that on the drive up!
    Appreciate the tips
    _______

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimxyz View Post
    Nacimiento Fergusson Road in BIg Sur
    Would love to hear about it if you do ride this. Heard great things about this climb myself, unfortunately was in the opposite direction from the Eastern Sierra where I was headed. It is definitely on the bucket list!
    http://climbinglama.blogspot.com.au

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    Seems like a lot of people posting suggestions are not reading your requirements. Take BART to the east bay to ride at 5:30am while leaving your family in a hotel room in the Marina? I don't think so. I am very familiar with what you are trying to do -- I usually start my rides at sunrise or just before so as to bang out 3 hours or so before the family wakes up. especially on a family vacation!

    Anyway, if you are starting in the Marina, you have some of the best of Marin county at your doorstep, and access to the GG Bridge is very easy. No reason to go elsewhere.

    #1 The quick headlands loop you describe is a great option, but it is a little short. Ride over the bridge and up Conzelman to the top of Hawk Hill. Descend STEEPLY off the backside towards Point Bonita. This is a stunning stretch of road and you will feel like you are riding off the edge of the world (see pic -- http://cdn.uptownalmanac.com/preset_...ll_reopens.jpg). Ride towards Rodeo Lagoon, and you can take an optional loop from there up and over the Coastal Trail, past the old WW2 Battery Townsley, and back down to Bunker Rd. This little extension of the loop has some well packed dirt and partially paved sections, but easily rideable on a road bike (I do this on my commute home a lot, with 23mm slicks). Views are magnificent. Return by climbing via McCullough back to Conzelman for a 16mile-ish loop. You can extend it by riding Alexander Dr. down the hill into Sausalito, then into Mill Valley on the bike path until you hit your turnaround time. Here's a strava map showing most of this ride. Bike Ride Profile | 23 miles near San Francisco | Times and Records | Strava

    #2 : Stinson-Muir Beach Loop. At about 40 miles, this is a bit longer than your stated preference (with more climbing), but a fit rider should be able to bang it out in less than 3 hours, and you really owe it to yourself to do this ride. It is spectacular. Cross the GGB and descend to Sausalito. Take Bridgeway to the end, and gain the bike path (just right of the 101 onramp at Marin City). Take the bike path to Mill Valley, exiting the path left at Sycamore (at the middle school), then take Sycamore to La Goma, turn left. Follow La Goma/Montford/Molino/Edgewood/Sequoia Valley Rd. (all the same road) to "Four Corners". Turn right on Panoramic Hwy and climb to Pantoll Gap, descend to Stinson Beach, turn left on Shoreline Hwy (1), ride the AWESOME coast to Muir Beach (a few steep hills here) and then climb back over to Mill Valley (either through Muir Woods - preferred - or shorter and quicker via Hwy 1). Retrace your steps from Mill Valley to SF. This is my standard 2 hour loop from home -- I never tire of it. This shows most of the route (starting from the Marin side though). Bike Ride Profile | Stinson - Muir Loop near Belvedere Tiburon | Times and Records | Strava

    If #2 is too long, you can shorten it by doing the first part of the ride up to Four Corners, then descend Muir Beach road to Hwy 1 and pick the route up from there. This is still a great ride, but it does omit the best parts of the ride (descent to Stinson Beach, and the ride along the coast from Stinson to Muir).

    I'll let others comment on Monterey area.

  11. #11
    Senior Member budkid's Avatar
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    Theres a lot of good input for rides in the Bay Area. I have some for the Monterey/Carmel area.

    Bike Ride Profile | Weaving through tourists near Carmel | Times and Records | Strava
    Pretty much a great scenic ride. I started off in the small town of Carmel at the Mission and 8th Parking lot. Theres a lot of free parking at the beach area. But you could do this ride either starting from Monterey or Carmel. Its an out and back ride that takes you through Carmel Beach, 17 Mile drive, Asilomar, and Monterey. Theres a nice bike path, but as you seee from the title, you will be weaving through tourists.

    Bike Ride Profile | 17 mile Dr. quickie lap near Carmel | Times and Records | Strava
    Alternative loop if you want some climbing.

    Bike Ride Profile | Home sweet home..Monterey Metric while dodging tourists near Carmel | Times and Records | Strava
    If you want some serious miles, you could ride from Monterey all the way to Castroville. Its a pretty flat ride.

    Bike Ride Profile | Laureles Grade...you always kick my butt. near Carmel | Times and Records | Strava
    If you want some climbing, hit up Laureles Grade.

    Riding down Hwy 1 from Carmel to Big Sur is also nice but it could get very busy on the weekends. I would suggest riding out very early in the morning to beat the tourist traffic.
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    Rich/Darren - thanks for the great ride ideas and for the Strava links. That is exactly what I was looking for. Now I can program my Garmin and not get lost! Much appreciated.
    _______

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    Jim, here is the ride I've done twice this past week while here on vacation. Sounds like what you are looking for.
    Bike Ride Profile | Hills and Hypothermia near San Francisco | Times and Records | Strava
    Be happy to help as best I can with any questions or advice.
    -John
    -enjoy yours!!
    John
    -the OP's too stupid to own a bike, he should chuck it in the nearest river and take up jogging

  14. #14
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    John - Thanks! Another great ride and exactly the type I am looking for.
    Jim
    _______

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    socal native here heading up to sf for a few days and 2 rides with a bay area native whom i've ridden with a few times in san diego. he's got two routes planned-one day in the east bay/oakland hills
    and a longer day encompassing alpine dam/mt tam/stinson beach areas starting in the san rafael area. i'll be riding along the waterfront/fort mason/crissy field and across the gg bridge to start/end the
    longer day and possibly make the ride into a century. be out and about in the bay area sat/sun april 5-6 and can't wait. a little bit bored with san diego county.
    i'd rather be alive wrong than dead right

  16. #16
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    Monterey has the ocean/bay on one side and mountains (technically, more like hills) on the other, so it is hard to carve out a good ride with elevation since there are not many roads in the hills. No rolling hills, it is either flat or a climb.

    The rec trail south of Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey is too congested with tourists and I would not recommend riding it unless you go really early or ride slow. North of the wharf is fine. The entire rec trail/17 Mile Drive is pretty flat. Traffic in Monterey is pretty calm, so I would not worry about riding in the road except for a few specific places.

    I really like budkid's suggestion for Carmel Valley and over Laureles Grade: Bike Ride Profile | Laureles Grade...you always kick my butt. near Carmel | Times and Records | Strava

    The climbs here are not long and "the grade" is probably one of the hardest (still not that hard). There is no shoulder on the upper half, so you need to be careful. Getting to Carmel Valley Road can be problematic depending on where you start from since you can't ride down Highway 1. Extremey annoying.

    Another good climb is Jack's Peak. Here is a recent ride where I went up Jack's Peak and Veteran's Park:
    Bike Ride Profile | Forgot my water bottle, took it easy near Monterey | Times and Records | Strava

    Fort Ord is great for biking since it is closed to vehicles. There are a few roads you can take. Here are some of the ones I do:
    Bike Ride Profile | Lunch Ride near Monterey | Times and Records | Strava
    Bike Ride Profile | Lunch Ride near Monterey | Times and Records | Strava

    Most riders actually start out near the entrances on Gigling Rd/Eight Ave or Normandy Rd/Parker Flats (both in the northeast corner). You might pass the occasional employee driving, but if not, open roads. The climb to do is Barloy Canyon up to Laguna Seca: Strava Segment | Barloy Cyn from Eucalyptus to Summit. Black Death is another, but it is an out-n-back climb since you cannot bike after a certain point (dirt roads):
    Strava Segment | Black Death Climb
    Strava Segment | Black Death
    Last edited by Tycho Brahe; 04-07-14 at 12:33 PM.

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    That Jack's Peak climb looks like it has some 20+ sections - that should be a good challenge. I also like the Fort Ord option - thanks!
    _______

  18. #18
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    just got back from the area and here are three i truly enjoyed. one is a little longer but the area is spectacular around mt. tam and you really can't go wrong-esp ridgecrest blvd.
    the 17 mile drive in monterey/pebble beach actually has some decent climbing on the east side of highway 1. the flattish parts are the most scenic and the best known however.
    hills in the east bay near berkeley/orinda were beautiful and mostly cycling traffic on the weekend.

    Bike Ride Profile | East Bay HIlls w/Man U near Orinda | Times and Records | Strava

    Bike Ride Profile | Majestrix Summoned Me And "Poof!" Went The Century near San Francisco | Times and Records | Strava

    Bike Ride Profile | 17 Mile Drive-Monterey/Pebble Beach/Carmel, CA near Carmel | Times and Records | Strava
    i'd rather be alive wrong than dead right

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ooga-booga View Post
    the 17 mile drive in monterey/pebble beach actually has some decent climbing on the east side of highway 1. the flattish parts are the most scenic and the best known however.
    I do forget that there is more than biking sometimes and take things for granted. 17 Mile Drive is indeed incredibly scenic. Full of tourists, very windy, but still a marvel to look at. I like ooga-booga's route which only does 17 Mile Drive in one direction while in Carmel. The hills in Pebble Beach can get tricky, but just try to stick to the biggest road. Look for signs like Highway 1 Gate or Pacific Grove Gate. There are only a few entrances into Pebble Beach, which is free for cyclists, $9.75 for cars.

    If you are coming this weekend, keep in mind that the Sea Otter Classic is happening. Skip the rec trail and even Fort Ord. If you do Jack's Peak, you should continue to the right after the shack for the main climb.

  20. #20
    lead on macduff!
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    ^i was incorrect on my 17 mile drive comment. 17 mile drive does not cross highway 1 but seems like it crosses over some obvious traffic on hwy 68.
    my point was that the eastern half of the drive/ride has some decent climbing. don't worry about getting lost because 17 mile drive has a broken red strip
    painted in between the usual yellow/white road dividers so it makes it relatively easy to follow-plus it's signed pretty well. only place i ran into confusion was at
    the pacific grove gate. the red strip ran out just past the gate so i had to double back about 200 yards and make a right to the coast and the most scenic part.
    i did it on a weekday starting at sunrise and finishing by 8:15am or so. there were more cyclists than cars and i could have counted the cars in either direction on 2 hands.
    i'd rather be alive wrong than dead right

  21. #21
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    We just updated our Routes list today for SF and Marin. You are right Hawk's Hill is a classic. Tiburon/Paradise Loop is great for any ability.
    Marshall Wall takes you through West Marin dairy farms with minimal traffic or stops, then down the coast.
    Or you can cut it shorter to Pt. Reyes. And the gem of Tam is Alpine Dam. Check out our routes for more info, and some group ride info as well.

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    Thanks to everyone for the ride tips, I got some great rides in including Mt Tam, Hawk Hill and 17 mile drive loop with bonus miles down Hwy 1 - and all before the wife and kids woke up and wanted breakfast. It was amazing to see so many bikes at the top of Hawk Hill before 6:00 am on a weekday!
    _______

  23. #23
    lead on macduff!
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    awesome! i had a blast riding some of the same roads on vacation last week.
    always nice to roll on unfamiliar roads with stunning scenery.

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    Nice jimxyz!
    http://climbinglama.blogspot.com.au

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