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Suggestions for 13 year old rides

Old 06-21-22, 01:16 PM
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jaycb74
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Suggestions for 13 year old rides

I'm down in SJ, my son (13) likes to ride, has a road bike but he doesn't like to be near cars. I know local places around here that are fairly traffic free - Los Altimos Creek Trail, IBM Hill area, Santa Teresa area along and up into foothills, yesterday we did a creek trail to Alviso in north SJ. I'd like to explore other areas with him but hard to find the trails and/or low traffic areas via strava. Any suggestions? He can climb just fine and we tend to do about 12-20 miles.

Thank you for any suggestions...
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Old 06-23-22, 10:54 AM
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any MUP

Coyote creek trail

bay trail

canada road on sunday - they close it down for no cars

Iron Horse trail
https://www.strava.com/activities/4244420292

from sf sportsbasement to hawk hill is a nice ride and is sheltered from cars. You have to come back the same way though. If you go down the back side of hawk hill ( very pretty ) you will now have to deal with cars on the road. No sheltered cones to separate you from the cars.

I would get a gravel or mnt bike if you want to stay away from cars.
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Old 06-23-22, 11:23 AM
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I can't help with trails, because I tend to avoid MUPs like the plague. But if he's okay with roads that have cars, but also nice wide bike lanes, plus some back roads with very few cars, I could make some suggestions.

The thing about Canada Road is that they only shut down 2 miles of it on Bicycle Sundays. BUT, it's got wide bike lanes the whole length from 92-84. It's about 7.5 miles from 92-84, so if you do out-and-back, it's 15. Rolling terrain, no real climbs. You could park at 92 at one end, or at Edgewood in the middle. I'd think parking in Woodside might be problem, but I've never tried.

Once you're in Woodside, you can take some of the back roads - Albion, Manzanita, Mountain Home, Tripp - they're MOSTLY accessible from roads with big bike lanes, or with maybe 1/2 mile riding without, but those roads themselves generally have very few cars.

Again, it depends just how cautious he is about cars. Mostly I find the drivers along those roads to be very polite and accommodating.
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Old 06-23-22, 03:05 PM
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This is really helpful, thanks. Yeah, we do some climbs down here that have traffic, just very little and generally there is enough of a shoulder to feel comfortable. I've heard of Canada Road from others so maybe that will be our next go. Will check out those other roads as well.
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Old 06-26-22, 08:33 PM
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I saw what looked to be a dad and a lanky teen on road bikes, turning from Kings Mountain onto Tripp Rd. this afternoon, and I thought, "I wonder if that's the guy who posted on BF?", but I wasn't about to chase them down and ask!
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Old 06-27-22, 03:30 PM
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Haha, not us, kept it local this weekend but will definitely check that area out.
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Old 06-27-22, 03:59 PM
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If you head out that way, you could go over Skyline and ride Pescadero Creek road, Butano, Cloverdale, Gazos Creek. Those are all low-traffic roads. Some farther south: Empire Grade (good length to it), Jamison Creek Road (ultimate twisties), Pine Flat, Bonny Dune...

Skyline Blvd is going to have some faster traffic on it on the weekends especially, but if you go south/east of Highway 17, where it's called Summit Road (goes toward Loma Prieta), that's pretty low traffic and since it follows the ridge, it's pretty flat. Also, north/west of 17, it forks to Bear Creek road, that's pretty low traffic.

On the East side, take Quimby Road up to Joseph Grant Park, or Alum Rock all the way east as it becomes Mount Hamilton Road. Grant Park is also on Hamilton Road a little south. The farther you go on Hamilton Road, the less traffic. If you get to the other side of Mt Hamilton, you can ride San Antonio Valley which is flatter, otherwise this area is obviously some climbing.

Further north, but still very near San Jose, Calaveras Road (around the reservoir), Marsh Road, Geary, Felter...

To the south east: Metcalf, San Felipe, Las Animas...

Due south: Hicks road

Last edited by greatbasin; 06-27-22 at 04:05 PM.
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Old 06-29-22, 12:13 PM
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Two MUP trails that I ride with my kids quite often:
Stevens Creek trail to Shoreline Park and beyond: 7.2 mile one way:
https://goo.gl/maps/wjks3An8aE4HWF6F9
Los Gatos Creek trail from Willow Glen to Los Gatos, through Vasona Park 8.1 mile each way:
https://goo.gl/maps/K4tAaSyRBn5qia1s7
Alameda Creek Trail, Niles to the sea 11.2 mile each way:
https://goo.gl/maps/YKbnSDBmgN5SSjT69
Coming back, there is usually a tail wind pushing you to ridiculous speeds!

A few that I want to try:
Berkeley Aquatic Park to Rosie the Riveter Park 7.6 mile each way:
https://goo.gl/maps/vc4HufzpvndRZu447
detour to the Albany Bulb wasteland - the 13 yo will like that

Crossing Dumbarton Bridge 7.5 mile:
https://goo.gl/maps/y4FZBmaax8o9JLeB7
The last part is technically a bike lane and not a protected trail, but I doubt you'll encounter many cars here.

San Francisco Ocean Beach and Golden Gate Park: 5.8 mile
https://goo.gl/maps/taG3sgRGsjVrcxgu7
The Great Highway, JFK Drive and MLK Dr are all closed to car traffic on Sundays. Tons of things to see and do in GG Park for the kid and dad.
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Old 07-06-22, 10:21 PM
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Along Canada...

A nice choice would be to set the northern end of Canada Rd as your turn-around, and do an out-and-back along that S-N-S corridor.

I do so with my kids (youngest 12) but the other way, starting either at Canada and 92, or riding there to add mileage. My turnaround is Roberts market (hence, halfway), buy a treat, ride to Pulgas water temple(2/3 or 3/4 of the total), eat, then complete.
Woodside Roberts to Canada bike parking is 7.8 one-way, the Alpine Rd Roberts Mkt to Canada is 13ish each way, all more rolling than 'climbs' as cyclists know them. There are various other branches and places to park in-between. You could reset your start as far down at Foothill for ~20 miles each way. Google maps and look for the various parks, shops and whatnot for the options to start/end in between.

Once you've got 40 miles of that rolling hills as something do-able, any of the other Peninsula rides like OLH are in play.
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Old 07-06-22, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by greatbasin View Post
Empire Grade (good length to it), Jamison Creek Road (ultimate twisties), Pine Flat, Bonny Dune...
Empire Grade has so much traffic, I typically avoid it when commuting. It is even worse now after the fire, with all the recovery and construction, etc. Pine Flat and Bonny Doon Road tend to have quite a bit. Jamison is very steep (nearly as steep as Alba) and was completely incinerated. Smith Grade, on the other hand, is very low traffic and largely unscathed.

@jaycb74
My suggestion is UCSC on a weekend in the summer. There will be very little traffic there, and there is a bike path as well. There is plenty of climibing, and many fire-roads. If you are feeling ambitious, there is also Wilder Ranch, and Smith Grade is close by. I can give more details and suggest routes if you are interested.
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Old 07-11-22, 01:13 PM
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It was perfect on Saturday Jul 9th. No traffic at UCSC, and almost no mountain bike activity in Wilder, because it was horse day (I saw maybe 5).
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Old 08-03-22, 05:55 PM
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All very good suggestions. Stevens Creek Trail and Los Gatos Creek are real gems because they're mostly shaded and the former gets you to Shoreline and Bay Trail and the latter gets you to/through Vasona and to Lexington Reservoir.

Two other multi-use trails are Coyote Creek Trail and San Tomas Aquino Trail. The former is good for flat distance, going all the way down to Lake Anderson, and seems that the city has been extending it all the way to the north, though it's unclear how uninterrupted the trail is on the northern stretch, at first glance. San Tomas Aquino Trail follows the namesake creek which also means mostly following San Tomas Expressway. So not really pleasant from its southern start at Homestead and San Tomas, but is more pleasant when the creek surfaces around the intersection of Monroe. And then like Stevens Creek and Guadalupe River trails, will get you to the Bay Trail.

Any of the ways you can get to the Bay Trail will get you access to a lot of car-free mileage because you can take the Bay Trail all the way up to the western side of the Dumbarton Bridge.

​​​​icemilkcoffee : the ride over the Dumbarton isn't nice, but it's definitely a novelty to check off. On the eastern side, there are trails to ride out onto the levees and around the marshlands, including a crossing over the Dumbarton toll booths.

On the note of bridge crossings, if you didn't know, they opened the bike/ped path on the Richmond - San Rafael Bridge and you could combo that onto the end of the Berkeley to Richmond ride. The bridge crossing and approach are multi-use paths separated from auto traffic but there will be streets involved between Rosie the Riveter and the bridge. But also there's interesting riding around to do on Point Potrero / Point Richmond.
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Old 08-04-22, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Chester View Post
Any of the ways you can get to the Bay Trail will get you access to a lot of car-free mileage because you can take the Bay Trail all the way up to the western side of the Dumbarton Bridge.
Do you have to go on regular streets? On the map the trail seems to turn into dirt and then ends somewhere in East Palo Alto.

Originally Posted by Chester View Post
On the note of bridge crossings, if you didn't know, they opened the bike/ped path on the Richmond - San Rafael Bridge and you could combo that onto the end of the Berkeley to Richmond ride. The bridge crossing and approach are multi-use paths separated from auto traffic but there will be streets involved between Rosie the Riveter and the bridge. But also there's interesting riding around to do on Point Potrero / Point Richmond.
That is a great idea. The bridge by itself is a good 5.5mile each way. Too bad there are no bike lanes to the San Quentin prison- the kids would love to see that!
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Old 08-05-22, 10:40 PM
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There's also Stevens Canyon Road above Cupertino, which doesn't get much vehicle traffic on the weekends. It ends at a locked gate, so there's no through traffic. Quiet, shady, and a gradual climb to about 1,000 feet.

For a climbing challenge, you can detour up Montebello Road, which also ends at a locked gate. About 2,000 feet of climbing in 5 miles.
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Old 08-05-22, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by jaycb74 View Post
...he doesn't like to be near cars.

Smart Kid!!!

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Old 08-09-22, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by icemilkcoffee View Post
Do you have to go on regular streets? On the map the trail seems to turn into dirt and then ends somewhere in East Palo Alto.
Not sure exactly where you're talking about, but if you use Google Maps and drop a satellite view layer on it you can see the pathways more clearly sometimes. And sometimes Google Maps has an outdated satellite view, it seems.

If you start from Shoreline Lake...
  • Bay Trail to Adobe Creek Loop Trail.
  • Adobe Creek Loop Trail out toward Bay and all the way around to Byxbee Park.
  • Unless you want to take ACLT all the way around Byxbee Park you can "shortcut" by taking direct path past the Byxbee parking lot.
  • Bay Trail past Byxbee parking lot and northward alongside Embarcadero Road, and then left on San Francisquito Creek Trail past the Lucy Evans Baylands Nature Interpretive Center.
  • Trail doglegs right, at perimeter of Palo Alto Airport.
  • Then left past the northern end of Baylands Golf Links.
  • Bridge cutting northwest to stay on Bay Trail heading north.
  • Street crossing across Bay Road and then little bridge crossing to continue north.
  • (Think it's here where the trail seems like it might just end. But if you use the Map View for Google Maps or look at the official Bay Trail Navigation Map then there is supposed to be a pathway/bridge to cut across the marshland from perimeter of Ravenswood Preserve to, sort of, the East Palo Alto street grid. Also shows in the official Ravenswood online map. I haven't ridden onto the Dumbarton this way before so I don't know but I assume it's there and for whatever reason, Google Maps Satellite view doesn't show it. If you look on Bing Maps Satellite View, you can see it. Appears to be a wooden elevated pathway.)
  • So take that to the bike path alongside University Avenue and onto the Dumbarton Bridge.
Unfortunately, from the Fremont side of the Dumbarton, it doesn't seem like there is any way to take the paths along the sloughs/levees to reconnect with the Bay Trail around Sunnyvale and then head south on either Guadalupe or San Tomas Aquino Creek Trails.

The County, I think, has been examining a "Bicycle Highway" or some euphemism for a route that would run East-West and potentially link the aforementioned two trails, maybe with Stevens Creek Trail. That would be amazing but I wouldn't be surprised if that takes over a decade, if it's built at all.

Instead of heading east on the Dumbarton, could also continue north to Bedwell Bayfront Park and beyond that if you want to pick your way through disjointed sections.
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Old 08-09-22, 04:38 PM
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thanks for all the suggestions
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