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Old 03-02-07, 04:23 PM   #1
TheSergeant
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Detailed/Safe Route from Santa Cruz to San Francisco

Hey all. I'm going to be riding my bike up to San Francisco from Santa Cruz this coming Monday. I planned on just taking Hwy 1 all the way up, but was wondering if anyone knew of any roads that run parallel that are less congested with cars. My main concern is the hilly section around Pacifica where there is little to no shoulder.

If there are alternative routes with less wind and cars, but are longer, I'm all hears. What do you guys think?

Has anyone done this ride going either direction? Any info would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks guys.
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Old 03-02-07, 06:15 PM   #2
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Yes, there is another way and it is a scenic and challenging ride. Highway 1 around Pacifica and Montara is (dare I use the word) scary. The alternate route is a challenge for me to describe here but I'll give it a try. Cycle North on hwy 1 to Tunitas then inland on Tunitas Creek Road. There's some climbing through beautiful Redwood forest. At the apex of the climb you will have a choice of turning left on CA 35 to CA 92 or continuing straight and descending four winding miles to the town of Woodside. From this point the route description gets a little longwinded but you can purchase a cycling map of the area from any bike shop in Santa Cruz.

Last edited by sisddwg; 06-15-11 at 01:44 PM.
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Old 03-02-07, 08:40 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by sisddwg
Yes, there is another way and it is a scenic and challenging ride. Highway 1 around Pacifica and Montera is (dare I use the word) scary. The alternate route is a challenge for me to describe here but I'll give it a try. Cycle North on hwy 1 to Tunitas then inland on Tunitas Creek Road. There's some climbing through beautiful Redwood forest. At the apex of the climb you will have a choice of turning left on CA 35 to CA 92 or continuing straight and descending four winding miles to the town of Woodside. From this point the route description gets a little longwinded but you can purchase a cycling map of the area from any bike shop in Santa Cruz.
Thanks so much for the info. I'm going to look into that route now and head into some LBS' around here and get their input. I love this forum! Thanks!
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Old 03-02-07, 08:58 PM   #4
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Take the left on Hwy 35 (Skyline Blvd) at the top of Tunitas Creek, follow it north to Hwy 92. Go Rt on Hwy 92, descend about 2 miles to the bottom of the hill. Just past the reservoir make a left at the light (be careful of traffic passing you here) and continue on Hwy 35 north. After a couple of miles it will cross the dam and you can continue on it or get on Sawyer camp Trail which is a beautiful 6 mile ride along the reservoir continuing in the direction that you want to go anyway. At the top of SCT you can continue on either surface streets or bike trails for several more miles, eventually you will have to get on Hwy 35 again (Skyline Blvd) and it will take you all the way up into the city, coming in near Lake Merced and the SF Zoo.
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Old 03-03-07, 09:36 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by mtnroads
Take the left on Hwy 35 (Skyline Blvd) at the top of Tunitas Creek, follow it north to Hwy 92. Go Rt on Hwy 92, descend about 2 miles to the bottom of the hill. Just past the reservoir make a left at the light (be careful of traffic passing you here) and continue on Hwy 35 north. After a couple of miles it will cross the dam and you can continue on it or get on Sawyer camp Trail which is a beautiful 6 mile ride along the reservoir continuing in the direction that you want to go anyway. At the top of SCT you can continue on either surface streets or bike trails for several more miles, eventually you will have to get on Hwy 35 again (Skyline Blvd) and it will take you all the way up into the city, coming in near Lake Merced and the SF Zoo.
I concur with mtnroads, this is a great route. Bring sufficient food and water. As best I can remember there are no handy, passby food outlets once past San Gregorio all the way to possibly to the entrance of Sawyer Camp Trail.
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Old 03-03-07, 08:18 PM   #6
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Awesome info guys, thanks. I'm looking forward to the ride, I'll let you all know how it goes. Thanks!
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Old 03-03-07, 08:52 PM   #7
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These guys probably know better than I do, but I've heard bad stories about hwy 92. If you don't mind a little off roading there is a mountain trail called Old Montara Road you can ride on to bypass devils slide. It is a bit of a climb, but we did it on fully loaded touring bikes and it was a fun jaunt through the mountains.
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Old 03-03-07, 09:32 PM   #8
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These guys probably know better than I do, but I've heard bad stories about hwy 92.
The bad stories you hear about Hwy 92 are probably about Hwy 92 west of Hwy 35 (Skyline Blvd.) Descending from Skyline eastbound isn't bad as you can usually keep up with traffic. In fact, you may have to slow down for them. The best bet is to follow a car and take the lane.
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Old 03-03-07, 11:27 PM   #9
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The bad stories you hear about Hwy 92 are probably about Hwy 92 west of Hwy 35 (Skyline Blvd.) Descending from Skyline eastbound isn't bad as you can usually keep up with traffic. In fact, you may have to slow down for them. The best bet is to follow a car and take the lane.
SteveE is exactly right.

Further, In my previous post I didn't mean to imply that there was a food outlet at the enterance to Sawyer Camp Trail. There isn't, but there might be a water supply.

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Old 03-04-07, 01:26 AM   #10
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I'm going to be riding my cyclocross bike with some 35c semi slicks at a pretty high PSI. So, if there is any off road trails that would be doable I'm completely game. Just thought I'd put that out there in case anyone has any suggestions. Thanks again everybody, I feel alot more comfortable doing the ride now that I've gotten some input and advice.
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Old 03-16-07, 03:12 PM   #11
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I just wanted to thank everyone for all the info. I really would have been completely lost without it.

The ride went relatively well. I got a late start in the morning and left around 9:00, which was a mistake. Thankfully the head wind wasn't too bad and I made it to Tunitas Creek Road in a little less than 2h30m. I made the mistake of keep riser bars on the bike rather than drops, so that made staying in an aero position difficult, but I managed.

After almost 50 miles of riding, Tunitas Creek was a little painful. Thankfully riding in the shade and through the trees helped makeup for it. I made the mistake of bringing only 2 water bottles and 5 protein bars. All of which went rather quickly. While the ride in is a mile or 2 the actual climb is only 6. There's a marked spray painted on the far right side "6 miles to top". The first 3 miles of that are where the real climbing is. At mile 4 it starts to flatten out some and after that even some briefs downhill (very brief).

Riding from Hwy 35 (Skyline) was very fast and Hwy 92 was even faster. No problems at all with traffic and the view was gorgeous. There was a restaurant at the top of Hwy 35 that was closed, but I was still able to use a garden hose to fill my bottles back up.

I took Sawyer Camp Trail, which was pretty congested with walkers, runners and mother pushing strollers. It's a 6 mile long trail that follows the water reserve. The view is worth the extra time. And the outlet takes you right to a gas station. Thank god for it too because I was hungry as all hell.

I did have to make a call to my girlfriend at one point for navigation help. After Sawyer Camp Trail you take a left on Skyline and follow it for about 5 minutes, but it ends abruptly with no sign as to where it continues. If you're in a car you simply hop onto the 280 for 2 exits and get back on, but on a bike, no can do. So I took a left under the overpass of the 280 and rode north on a bike path(?) for a mile or so. Then it starts to run parallel to the 35. I then hoped on the 35 and rode it the rest of the way.

Thanks again for the help and hopefully this post will end up helping someone else out.
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