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Looking for hills for road bikes in southern Marin or SF

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Looking for hills for road bikes in southern Marin or SF

Old 08-22-23, 07:42 AM
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Looking for hills for road bikes in southern Marin or SF

Hi,
I just moved to SF from Orinda. In the East Bay I had this amazing loop up many long steep hills, off in nature under the redwoods. Since moving, I've been riding through GG Park, the Presidio, across the bridge and a loop at the Marin headlands. Although it is a stunning ride, I'm not getting the level of exhaustion I got from my steeper hill climbs in the East Bay. Does anyone know great hills in SF or Southern Marin to thoroughly exhaust myself on?
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Old 08-23-23, 09:28 AM
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As for Marin, get this map - lots of bike shops have it. It will give you lots of roads and trails to explore. If you go a little further afield into Marin (you'll need a car unless you are planning on a 100 mile ride), anything that includes the western part of Marshall-Petaluma Road (the "Marshall Wall") will get you juices flowing. Same with Wilson Hill Road, which is the same road as Marshall-Petaluma but further east. Other roads to look up are Bolinas-Fairfax Rd, Ridgecrest, and the roads around Muir Woods. Plenty of pain and scenery to be had there. Personally, I would not do Hwy 1 between Mill Valley and Stinson Beach because of the combination of steep, twisty and trafficky - take away the traffic and it would be awesome, but with the traffic . . . . Going up and over Bolinas-Fairfax Rd from Fairfax to (wait for it) Bolinas and back is pretty much non-stop up and down

Don't forget about BART. For example, you can take BART to the Orinda station and do your normal loops. Or go to the Walnut Creek station and go up Mt. Diablo - just be sure North Gate Rd is open again before you head up that way. Riding to Alamo or Danville and then going up South Gate is also an option. In either case, Summit Rd (where North Gate and South Gate meet) to top will offer plenty of steepness, especially the last 250 meters or so to the very top.

If you are really jonesing for pain and suffering, take BART to Berkeley or North Berkeley and ride Marin Ave from the Circle (obvious on a map; it's where Marin and Los Angeles St. meet) to Grizzly Peak Road. I have never done it, never will and don't know anyone who has. It is stupid steep. Let us know if you conquer it.
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Old 08-23-23, 09:31 AM
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Ride longer.
When I lived in SF ~40 years ago the weekend ride was to the top of Mt Tam or to Stinson Beach (via Panoramic Hwy).
Out to sausilito, mill valley, up Edgewood (and others) to Panoramic.
The only Hwy 1 stretch we did was returning - from Panoramic down to the bay.
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Old 08-23-23, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by bikingshearer
ride Marin Ave from the Circle (obvious on a map; it's where Marin and Los Angeles St. meet) to Grizzly Peak Road. I have never done it, never will and don't know anyone who has.
Yes you do. 27% is SAF.
It's less than 1 mile though.
https://www.strava.com/segments/6964683

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Old 08-23-23, 01:44 PM
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I used to do that hill a lot when in grad school. It is a 16 to 20% grade (it gets steeper as you climb). But it is nothing that unusual, and I certainly wasn't anything exceptional.

This is a good resource for finding hills: https://pjammcycling.com
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Old 08-23-23, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by neillhowell
Hi,
I just moved to SF from Orinda. In the East Bay I had this amazing loop up many long steep hills, off in nature under the redwoods. Since moving, I've been riding through GG Park, the Presidio, across the bridge and a loop at the Marin headlands. Although it is a stunning ride, I'm not getting the level of exhaustion I got from my steeper hill climbs in the East Bay. Does anyone know great hills in SF or Southern Marin to thoroughly exhaust myself on?
the two most common climby rides from SF into Marin are either the alpine dam loop, counterclockwise (Sf to fairfax to ridgecrest and down into Sausalito), about 4,500 feet of climbing if you skip mount tam, and 56miles. Miles 23 through 35 or so are the climby bits, or Sf to mill valley up to tam itself, then back down either the way you came or make a loop over to the coast and back up south of Stinson. 6,100 feet in 64 miles.

tam plus the coast:



alpine dam loop without tam:


in SF proper, or directly adjacent, twin peaks is a nice mellow climb from the west (850 feet, very gradual) and San Bruno mountain to the top via Guadalupe canyon and radio road (about 1,100 feet, top couple hundred are steeper) is fun too. from my Strava heat map :





my multiple-times-a-week quick loop is from SF a to the top of conzelman, down to the west, around rodeo and then back out through the tunnel. takes me 1:20 with 1,600 feet of climbing in 21 miles. that’s probably what you’re doing in the headlands?
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Old 08-24-23, 01:26 AM
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mount tam and environs aren't doing it for you?!?!
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Old 08-25-23, 04:03 PM
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Great ride!

Originally Posted by bikingshearer
As for Marin, - lots of bike shops have it. It will give you lots of roads and trails to explore. If you go a little further afield into Marin (you'll need a car unless you are planning on a 100 mile ride), anything that includes the western part of Marshall-Petaluma Road (the "Marshall Wall") will get you juices flowing. Same with Wilson Hill Road, which is the same road as Marshall-Petaluma but further east. Other roads to look up are Bolinas-Fairfax Rd, Ridgecrest, and the roads around Muir Woods. Plenty of pain and scenery to be had there. Personally, I would not do Hwy 1 between Mill Valley and Stinson Beach because of the combination of steep, twisty and trafficky - take away the traffic and it would be awesome, but with the traffic . . . . Going up and over Bolinas-Fairfax Rd from Fairfax to (wait for it) Bolinas and back is pretty much non-stop up and down

Don't forget about BART. For example, you can take BART to the Orinda station and do your normal loops. Or go to the Walnut Creek station and go up Mt. Diablo - just be sure North Gate Rd is open again before you head up that way. Riding to Alamo or Danville and then going up South Gate is also an option. In either case, Summit Rd (where North Gate and South Gate meet) to top will offer plenty of steepness, especially the last 250 meters or so to the very top.

If you are really jonesing for pain and suffering, take BART to Berkeley or North Berkeley and ride Marin Ave from the Circle (obvious on a map; it's where Marin and Los Angeles St. meet) to Grizzly Peak Road. I have never done it, never will and don't know anyone who has. It is stupid steep. Let us know if you conquer it.
OMG! Thank you for the idea!
I went over to the Circle on Marin Ave in Berkeley/Albany and rode up Marin to Grizzly Peak, then over to Pinehurst, down to Moraga Road, across to El Toyanal and up to Grizzly Peak and back to the circle on Marin Ave this morning- even better than my old ride. Marin Ave is my new favorite. really got the heart and lungs working, something my GG bridge, tunnel, Conselman loop didn't. Realized that it's the grade of hill more than total climb I'm looking for.
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Old 08-25-23, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by neillhowell
OMG! Thank you for the idea!
I went over to the Circle on Marin Ave in Berkeley/Albany and rode up Marin to Grizzly Peak, then over to Pinehurst, down to Moraga Road, across to El Toyanal and up to Grizzly Peak and back to the circle on Marin Ave this morning- even better than my old ride. Marin Ave is my new favorite. really got the heart and lungs working, something my GG bridge, tunnel, Conselman loop didn't. Realized that it's the grade of hill more than total climb I'm looking for.
You are a crazy person. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.

Glad I could help. If you like Marin and El Toyanal, you'll like the final 250 or so meters to the top of Mt. Diablo. Just what the doctor ordered after ten miles of virtually non-stop climbing. Or, in my case, not what the doctor ordered.
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Old 08-25-23, 06:47 PM
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After posting, I also remembered I got a traffic ticket for riding my bike through that tunnel.
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Old 08-25-23, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by neillhowell
OMG! Thank you for the idea!
I went over to the Circle on Marin Ave in Berkeley/Albany and rode up Marin to Grizzly Peak, then over to Pinehurst, down to Moraga Road, across to El Toyanal and up to Grizzly Peak and back to the circle on Marin Ave this morning- even better than my old ride. Marin Ave is my new favorite. really got the heart and lungs working, something my GG bridge, tunnel, Conselman loop didn't. Realized that it's the grade of hill more than total climb I'm looking for.
if the absolute grade, rather than the sustained climb, is of interest, just ride straight up Potrero hill, Telegraph hill, Russian hill, Pac heights, etc. there are many full and consecutive blocks of 20% plus. Sane people on bikes tend to avoid them but .
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