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Old 05-26-12, 10:38 AM   #1
mntbikedude
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San Francisco Airport to Half Moon Bay best route

My son and I will be flying in to SFO next month and doing a short trip to LA or San Deigo. We have cycled thru SF twice before and loved it but we don't think we want to bike back up into the city. So we basically just want to safest easiest route to get over the coast to start our ride down the coast.
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Old 05-26-12, 10:59 AM   #2
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it'd be cool if you could figure out a way to ride over Sweeney Ridge and thru the southern part of the GGNRA and the watershed there, but I don't know of any solid route.

Sweeney Ridge is notable for being where San Francisco Bay was first seen and discovered by the Spanish.



I know if you go thru Pacifica the 'planet of the apes' ride along the old pacific coast highway between Pacifica and Montera is a very scenic and enjoyable ride that avoids Devils' Slide.

I hope someone chimes in with a good route, I've often looked at riding that Southern San Francisco more thoroughly but haven't yet had the chance to. Theres got to be a way to get to HMB across the SF peninsula without riding the 92!

Golden Gate National Recreation Area Sweeney Ridge fact sheet

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Old 05-26-12, 11:10 AM   #3
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it'd be cool if you could figure out a way to ride over Sweeney Ridge and thru the southern part of the GGNRA but I don't know of any good ways to do that ride.

I think it's very possible to be able to link the ride across Sweeney Ridge and thru the watershed? and the fish and game refuge to come out close to Half Moon Bay . Maybe someone with more local knowledge of that area?

I know if you go thru Pacifica the 'planet of the apes' ride along the old pacific coast highway between Pacifica and Montera is a very scenic and enjoyable ride that avoids Devils' Slide.

I hope someone chimes in with a good route, I've often looked at riding that Southern San Francisco more thoroughly but haven't yet had the chance to.

Golden Gate National Recreation Area Sweeney Ridge fact sheet
Funny we actually just watched the original Planet of the Apes movie last night. lol anyway Whatever route we take I would prefer to bi-pass devils slid area.
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Old 05-26-12, 11:13 AM   #4
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...just did a little editing in my post above!

i think if you google 'planet of the apes ride' you can find the link to the guidebook description. Its' a great ride. But hopefully someone can link a route across the SF watershed for you.

Its well described in the book 'Short bike rides in and around San Francisco' by Henry Kingman, and is online.
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Old 05-26-12, 04:39 PM   #5
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bump for more input
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Old 05-26-12, 06:25 PM   #6
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bump for more input
If you can get on maps.google.com and zoom in on the satellite images, starting at SFO, the following will make more sense.

Start by getting over near the bay. There are some small roads and paths and parks running right along the water's edge, just south of the airport.

There are several choices for going up into the hills from there. The one with the least climbing is farther south. The road runs along a creek through a small canyon, and takes you up to 280 and two long, narrow reservoirs. There is a beautiful bike path along those reservoirs. If you take one of the other, earlier routes up, you can ride more of that bike path. It's extra climbing, but not a lot, maybe a few hundred feet.

Then the idea is to head south, taking the road that connects the end of the bike path with Mountain Home Road in Woodside, near Robert's Market (great food there). Mountain Home Road connects with Sand Hill Road, which connects with Old La Honda Road, which takes you up to Skyline. Take Skyline south to the intersection with Alpine Road. Turn right, toward Portola State Park, Pescadero, and the Pacific Ocean. The route through Loma Mar is scenic but hillier than the more direct route to Hwy 1 and the ocean.

There are other roads over the mountains, between the bay side of the SF Peninsula and the ocean, and I've done them; but this would be my first choice.

There are additional details on an old thread. If you google 'Old La Honda Road, Robert's Market, Woodside site:bikeforums.net,' it should show up.

Hope that is useful, and that the ride is an enjoyable one (And please excuse any typos; the device I'm using presently is being a bit difficult at the moment.)
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Old 05-26-12, 07:20 PM   #7
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My son and I will be flying in to SFO next month and doing a short trip to LA or San Deigo. We have cycled thru SF twice before and loved it but we don't think we want to bike back up into the city. So we basically just want to safest easiest route to get over the coast to start our ride down the coast.
Do you want to stop in Half Moon Bay? Or just get to the coast? If it were me, I'd take take BART to CalTrain, then CalTrain to the California Ave. stop in Palo Alto. From there, I'd take Page Mill to Junipero Serra Blvd to Sand Hill Road.

If you want to end up in Half Moon Bay, take San Hill to Whiskey Hill Rd. to Woodside Rd to Kings Mountain Road. Cross Highway 35/Skyline Blvd heading down toward the coast on Tunitas Creek Rd. Once you hit Highway 1, turn north and backtrack to Half Moon Bay.

If you'd planning to head south, it's better to take Sand Hill to Old LaHonda Rd. Cross Highway 35/Skyline and continue down toward the coast on Old LaHonda Rd. When Old LaHonda ends, merge with Highway 84/LaHonda Rd. and continue toward the coast. Follow Pescadero Rd. to Pescadero Creek Rd. Norm's Market and Duarte's in Pescadero are good places to eat or grab provisions. Take Cloverdale Rd. to Gazos Creek Rd. to Highway 1. There used to be camping at Butano State Park and Costanoa also has camping.
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Old 05-26-12, 08:19 PM   #8
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If you can get on maps.google.com and zoom in on the satellite images, starting at SFO, the following will make more sense.

Start by getting over near the bay. There are some small roads and paths and parks running right along the water's edge, just south of the airport.

There are several choices for going up into the hills from there. The one with the least climbing is farther south. The road runs along a creek through a small canyon, and takes you up to 280 and two long, narrow reservoirs. There is a beautiful bike path along those reservoirs. If you take one of the other, earlier routes up, you can ride more of that bike path. It's extra climbing, but not a lot, maybe a few hundred feet.

Then the idea is to head south, taking the road that connects the end of the bike path with Mountain Home Road in Woodside, near Robert's Market (great food there). Mountain Home Road connects with Sand Hill Road, which connects with Old La Honda Road, which takes you up to Skyline. Take Skyline south to the intersection with Alpine Road. Turn right, toward Portola State Park, Pescadero, and the Pacific Ocean. The route through Loma Mar is scenic but hillier than the more direct route to Hwy 1 and the ocean.

There are other roads over the mountains, between the bay side of the SF Peninsula and the ocean, and I've done them; but this would be my first choice.

There are additional details on an old thread. If you google 'Old La Honda Road, Robert's Market, Woodside site:bikeforums.net,' it should show up.

Hope that is useful, and that the ride is an enjoyable one (And please excuse any typos; the device I'm using presently is being a bit difficult at the moment.)
Thanks that's all helpful information.
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Old 05-26-12, 08:21 PM   #9
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Do you want to stop in Half Moon Bay? Or just get to the coast? If it were me, I'd take take BART to CalTrain, then CalTrain to the California Ave. stop in Palo Alto. From there, I'd take Page Mill to Junipero Serra Blvd to Sand Hill Road.

If you want to end up in Half Moon Bay, take San Hill to Whiskey Hill Rd. to Woodside Rd to Kings Mountain Road. Cross Highway 35/Skyline Blvd heading down toward the coast on Tunitas Creek Rd. Once you hit Highway 1, turn north and backtrack to Half Moon Bay.

If you'd planning to head south, it's better to take Sand Hill to Old LaHonda Rd. Cross Highway 35/Skyline and continue down toward the coast on Old LaHonda Rd. When Old LaHonda ends, merge with Highway 84/LaHonda Rd. and continue toward the coast. Follow Pescadero Rd. to Pescadero Creek Rd. Norm's Market and Duarte's in Pescadero are good places to eat or grab provisions. Take Cloverdale Rd. to Gazos Creek Rd. to Highway 1. There used to be camping at Butano State Park and Costanoa also has camping.
We aren't set on camping at Half Moon Bay, it just didn't seem like there was many places after you leave there. But it sounds like there is other places that you mentioned. Thanks that gives me some good options.
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Old 05-26-12, 09:09 PM   #10
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We aren't set on camping at Half Moon Bay, it just didn't seem like there was many places after you leave there. But it sounds like there is other places that you mentioned. Thanks that gives me some good options.
There's also camping an Memorial County Park off Pescadero Rd. and I think that at least one of the other parks in that area allows camping. Maybe Sam McDonald County Park? No idea what they're like, how difficult it is to get reservations, etc.
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Old 05-26-12, 09:16 PM   #11
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Here's a link for a local bike mapper website which may help you find a good route. We used this site to find a route from San Fransisco Airport to the Coast. We wanted to get to the coast as fast as possible so elected to head West to Pacifica, then we headed South on Hwy 1. Fortunately, traffic was light when we climbed Devil's Slide.

http://511contracosta.org/bike/

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Old 05-26-12, 10:15 PM   #12
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i would totally NOT descend Tunitas Creek Road on a loaded tour bike. Or otherwise. Steepy-steep! (down)
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Old 05-26-12, 10:24 PM   #13
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when i flew into SFO with my bike to start a long tour in '95, i took San Bruno Ave W. to the end where it dead ends into 35. right (north) on 35 to Sharp Park Rd. left (west) on Sharp Park Road to the coast (downhill!).

as an alternative, you can turn left off of 35 onto College Drive before you get to Sharp Park Road. it eventually runs into College Road (turn right onto it) and IT runs into Sharp Park (left on Sharp Park). see google maps.

BTW, that first night out i stayed at the hostel at pigeon point lighthouse. i don't know if it still exists. but it was pretty nice in early december of '95. had it all to myself. kitchen, bunks, showers... nice.

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Old 05-26-12, 11:37 PM   #14
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i would totally NOT descend Tunitas Creek Road on a loaded tour bike. Or otherwise. Steepy-steep! (down)
Lots of people ride up and down Tunitas Creek every weekend. It's really not much worse than Old LaHonda Road or anything else that leads to/from Skyline. The pavement used to be in pretty bad shape in places, but they made some improvements in preparation for the Tour of California a couple of years ago. I haven't ridden it in a couple of years, but I certainly wouldn't hesitate to.

One word of caution: one Sunday a month Doc Wong leads large group motorcycle rides down Tunitas Creek Road. Best to avoid Tunitas Creek on those days...
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Old 05-27-12, 07:46 AM   #15
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This is all really helpful information.
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Old 05-27-12, 08:27 AM   #16
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Do you want to stop in Half Moon Bay? Or just get to the coast? If it were me, I'd take take BART to CalTrain, then CalTrain to the California Ave. stop in Palo Alto. From there, I'd take Page Mill to Junipero Serra Blvd to Sand Hill Road.
I agree. Leaving from Palo Alto you'll have several options for getting to the coast, all of them safer and prettier than riding through or around SF. Old La Honda Road is the easiest way to get up Skyline. You can head south on Skyline from there and descend Alpine Road (technical but beautiful). There's camping at Memorial Park, but my wife and I much prefer Butano State Park. The town of Pescadero has several tasty food options, including a general store with a wood burning pizza oven. Have a delicious pizza and then head over to Butano for a good night's rest.
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Old 05-27-12, 08:35 AM   #17
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You might check out this previous thread: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...-start-of-tour

It has much of the same information but has other suggestions, as well.
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Old 05-27-12, 04:52 PM   #18
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when i flew into SFO with my bike to start a long tour in '95, i took San Bruno Ave W. to the end where it dead ends into 35. right (north) on 35 to Sharp Park Rd. left (west) on Sharp Park Road to the coast (downhill!).

as an alternative, you can turn left off of 35 onto College Drive before you get to Sharp Park Road. it eventually runs into College Road (turn right onto it) and IT runs into Sharp Park (left on Sharp Park). see google maps.

BTW, that first night out i stayed at the hostel at pigeon point lighthouse. i don't know if it still exists. but it was pretty nice in early december of '95. had it all to myself. kitchen, bunks, showers... nice.
The light house sounds really run, thanks for the suggestion.
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Old 05-28-12, 09:59 AM   #19
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We aren't set on camping at Half Moon Bay, it just didn't seem like there was many places after you leave there. But it sounds like there is other places that you mentioned. Thanks that gives me some good options.
There is an excellent hostel in Montara. You aren't going to touch a hotel room in that area for what you pay for the hostel.

I'm with sstorkel. I would take BART, But I might consider starting in San Francisco itself. There is lots to see there.
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Old 05-28-12, 10:55 AM   #20
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used to live in SF, 20 years ago.. the hill to the west goes into the south SF area,
Then, I'd cut Over to the Coast road via west bound streets..
you don't have to go that far North.
i have un boxed my bike a couple times at SFO and rode home that route.
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Old 05-28-12, 02:16 PM   #21
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I live 5 minutes away from SFO (in Burlingame).
If you take sstorkel's route, instead of taking Bart and Caltrain, you can ride out of the airport south on S McDonnell Rd. About .5 mile away (at Broadway), there's a flat, nice 10 mile offroad bike path that goes along the bayfront to Redwood Shores. It's nice. From Marine Parkway you an take the ped bridge to Industrial Ave-> Brewster-> Alameda de las Pulgas... (continue on sstorkel's path). Email me an I might be able to escort yous depending on my sched.
If you go to SF, take Bart, no doubt about it.
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Old 05-28-12, 06:37 PM   #22
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My son and I will be flying in to SFO next month and doing a short trip to LA or San Deigo. We have cycled thru SF twice before and loved it but we don't think we want to bike back up into the city. So we basically just want to safest easiest route to get over the coast to start our ride down the coast.
Safest and easiest way might be to take Caltrain from the Millbrae station (which is near the airport) all the way to Gilroy. Then you could even catch a bus or shuttle to Monterey, and stay at the beautiful campground up on top of the hill there for the first night.

You would avoid a lot of traffic and be able to spend more time enjoying the Big Sur coast, or choice side trips.

This option might be a good one for some people. Others would lean toward some of the other options.

Trains depart Millbrae at 3:31PM and arrive Gilroy at 5:30 weekdays. The later trains will be more crowded.

* * * * * * *
Also, some of the other, previous options involve less traffic than others. And some are more scenic than others.

There are also additional Caltrain options besides those already mentioned.
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Old 05-28-12, 07:27 PM   #23
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Safest and easiest way might be to take Caltrain from the Millbrae station (which is near the airport) all the way to Gilroy. Then you could even catch a bus or shuttle to Monterey, and stay at the beautiful campground up on top of the hill there for the first night.

You would avoid a lot of traffic and be able to spend more time enjoying the Big Sur coast, or choice side trips.

This option might be a good one for some people. Others would lean toward some of the other options.

Trains depart Millbrae at 3:31PM and arrive Gilroy at 5:30 weekdays. The later trains will be more crowded.

* * * * * * *
Also, some of the other, previous options involve less traffic than others. And some are more scenic than others.

There are also additional Caltrain options besides those already mentioned.
The first time we biked thru SF was summer of 2006 my son was just 13 and devils slide was closed. I decided it just wasn't worth the risk to go the proposed alternate route and so we rented a truck and and drove to Monterey. In 2008 we didn't miss any of the coastline and tho the campground is nice at Monterey I really enjoyed riding into Santa Cruz and making our way along the boardwalk to the campground. I don't mind bypassing devils slide again but I don't think I want to miss much more than that.
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Old 05-28-12, 07:33 PM   #24
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If you choose to take Caltrain to the Palo Alto area, and ride from there, getting off at the Stanford stop, when available, would be my first choice, and then riding bike paths through Stanford University and seeing some of the campus, and then getting onto Alpine Road or Sand Hill Road for the ride to Old La Honda Road.The adjacent stations would allow you to do the same thing fairly easily. North is the Menlo Park Station, south is Palo Alto/University Avenue. Palo Alto and Stanford have a good, well developed network of bike paths and routes. One of the bike shops or other cyclists in the area could point the way. Or you could just watch, look, see....It's a beautiful campus, with some good bike paths.
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Old 05-28-12, 11:02 PM   #25
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hey, it's all of six miles from the airport to hwy 1, and 2 or 3 of that is clutter around SFO and the last 3 are all downhill with the ocean to the west. how much scenic riding is there to do? less than two miles? i say get to hwy 1 as soon as you can, THEN enjoy the much better scenery on the coast, IMHO.

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