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Need Some Bay Area Route Help!

Old 01-05-11, 09:56 AM
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Need Some Bay Area Route Help!

A friend of mine is planning to come out to the West Bay Area for a ride on Sunday the 16th (assuming the weather is good). I'm thinking of joining in, along with a large contingent of riders from this area (and of course, everyone is welcome to come along).

Here's the trick. We're not familiar with the area over there. We'd like a route to start in Marin and include Mt. Tam and Alpine Dam, along with enough other scenic miles to come to a 60 mi loop.

Anyone have suggestions they could plot out on RideWithGPS or some other mapping tool?

Thanks a bunch!
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Old 01-05-11, 11:47 AM
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Joel:

Don't have access to a mapping program at the moment, but what you want to do is very doable. Start in Mill Valley, warm up with the Cross-Marin street trail (surface streets up through Corte Madera and Larkspur, and then quiet street that parallel Sir Francis Drake Blvd) to Fairfax, head up and over the road towards Bolinas - that'll get you to Alpine Lake. Turn left on Ridgecrest and keep going - that'll get you to the final climb to the top of Mt. Tam. From there, it's an easy drop back to Mill Valley. I don't know the distance; it may less than the 60 miles you want. If so, it is easy to add the extra miles, perhaps with a drop down into, and climb back up form, Bolinas and a stop at local bakery. Or drop down to Muir Woods and climb back up. Check any paper map or Google Maps - the route should be pretty obvious.

One word of caution - do not try to ride Highway 1 between Stinson Beach and Mill Valley. That also means not taking the direct Hwy 1 route from Muir Woods back to Mill Valley. It is absolutely gorgeous, but the combination of twisty hilly road, narrow lanes, and lots of beach-bound tourist traffic make it a death trap for cyclists, especially on weekends. One of the ways down off of Mt. Tam puts you on the last downhill of Hwy 1 back into the Mill Valley area - that is okay, because you are able to go fast enough to take the lane and defend yourself. But any of the climbing areas in that stretch is an invitation to disaster
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Old 01-05-11, 01:54 PM
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Bikingshearer's route is 40 miles. It can be found here (in text.) I did this on my 49th (50 miles), except it was raining so bad I went down to Highway 1 and rode that stretch BikingShearer cautions and it isn't fun. Starting on Miller Ave by the Safeway in Mill Valley. You get a nice ride around Tiburon, then back into Corte Madera, following the marked "bike route" through various Marin cities to keep you off of the heavily trafficked Sir Francis Drake Blvd. Into Fairfax (Fairfax Scoop!) Up Bolinas-Fairfax road to Alpine Lake and the Dam, up the windy, wet, redwood forested mountain, across the dreaded Ridgecrest Blvd, to the summit and back and back into Mill Valley. I have a full route sheet for this somewhere. I would also note to avoid Muir Woods Road; nice road, nice climb, but on weekends jam packed with rental cars and tour buses.

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Old 01-05-11, 03:21 PM
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This is a fantastically scenic ride especially on a clear day with a bit of marine layer over the ocean below Panoramic Drive.
My favorite, which I call Pete's ride because taxi777 was the leader both times I went there, is starting from the Southern end of the Golden Gate Bridge. Ride the bridge and then along the bay through Sausalito and Mill Valley to Larkspur and then follow the described route to Fairfax and up Tam.

If you watch convertible car commercials you may recognize some scenes, Panoramic Drive is used by many car companies worldwide to shoot stunning spots.

Even bike commercials are shot there:

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Old 01-05-11, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by danec99
Bikingshearer's route is 40 miles. It can be found here (in text.)
Thanks for the added info, dane.

So, Joel, with that piece o' knowledge, I can suggest that you and your buddy drive to SF on a Sunday (free unrestricted parking!) and park somewhere along Filmore St b/w Marina and Lombard (or on a side street off of Filmore. Get there early-ish, and you'll find something. Then hop on your trusty steeds, head out along the Marina Green and through the Crissy Field area it was once an airfied, now it's a park), take the short climb up to Golden Gate Bridge, and ride across (watch out for the dangerous tourist newbies and equally dangerous Lance wannabes). I mean, everyone ought to do this at least once in their riding lives.

From there, take the plunge into and through Sausalito (mind your P's & Q's - the gendarmes have been ticket-happy of late - and along the bike path to Mill Valley and pick up the route I described (and dane mapped) above. Do that circuit, and retrace your route back to SF and your car. That should be pretty close to spot-on 60 miles, and you and your friend will remember it forever.

Also, if you get back to Sausalito and decide you are too pooped to recorss the Bridge, take the ferry back to SF. That will require a flat and and sometimes crowded ride along the Embarcadero plus a small climb through a park back to Filmore Street, but the ferry ride has charms all its own and lops 8 or 10 miles off the end of the ride.

Another variation of this is to park at an Esat Bay BART station, take BART to the Embarcadero Station, and start and end your ride at the Ferry Building. That'll make it more like a 65-68 mile ride, unless you take the Sausalito-to-SF ferry option. Any way you do it, riding around Tam sounds like just what you ordered.
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Old 01-05-11, 08:34 PM
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I have to admit, I am extremely loath to actually enter the city. I think we're planning to park on the other side of the water. There's a big group planning to go. Like over 30 riders.
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Old 01-05-11, 09:34 PM
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Always been lucky and found some free long term parking on Storey Ave., about 300 yards from the bridge.

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Old 01-05-11, 11:10 PM
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Yes, I forgot. Listen to Bikingshearer. Marin may seem like a hip, eco-friendly, granola lovin' area - but they are not bike friendly. Beware and be aware of all stop signs until you clear Fairfax. This is the area you read about "30 riders cited for ..." This goes doubly for Tiburon.
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Old 01-06-11, 08:57 PM
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Hey, glad you are heading over to Marin. I ride there every weekend from the City with the Sports Basement Sunday ride out of the Presidio, leaves every Sunday at 9 AM. Two places to start one is the SB parking lot in San Francisco, you to ride over the Golden Gate Bridge, which is lot of fun, or two park at Mike's Bike in Sausalito and get on the bike path behind the store. At any rate you just ride straight on the bike path to Camino Alto then straight on to Fairfax, be sure and stop at the coffee shop with the big parking lot you see tons of cyclists. Go up a little futher and turn left on the Bolinas Rd. and start climbing some folks think this is the hardest part of the climb (personally I think it's climbing out of Alpine Dam). Once you get to Alpine Dam take a break then you'll climb out of Alpine Dam 3.6 miles of hard hard climbing no breaks, at the top you come to W. Ridgecrest take another break you are about to hit the "Seven Sisters" all uphill each one a little steeper than the last one. A word to the wise this is not a ride for girliemen or girliewomen for that matter. Continue on Ridgecrest to Mt. Tam Parking lot if you are mu macho you can climb up to the east peak which is the top of Tam https://www.bing.com/maps/default.asp...n-US&FORM=BYFD, we usually head down to Pan Toll then back to the city. Coming down is the fun part. Don't worry about getting lost there are tons of cyclist in Marin very friendly and helpful. There's bike shops in every town and they are open in Sundays! Have fun it's a great ride we do it every couple of months (best if you are in shape) but if you're not you can still make it. It takes about two hours to get up to Tam and about 45 min to an hour to get back.

Have fun check out the SportyB for their Sunday ride and bring a jacket coming down from Tam you really bomb and get up to some serious speed. Motorist are very cool as a lot of them are cyclist themselves. I think Marin has some of the best cycling in the country. Enjoy yourself.

PS There are some that think SF to Pantoll to Alpine Dam is the correct way(read direction) to do it. It is easier, but when you come out you're in Fairfax and have a long ride back to the city.

PSS Here is the Ride with GPS route https://ridewithgps.com/routes/48959

PSSS Here is the SB web site https://community.sportsbasement.com/calendar/

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Old 01-07-11, 02:41 PM
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Thanks folks. My friend is going to do the route from Sports Basement. I'm undecided about joining in. I really don't like cities.
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Old 01-07-11, 03:13 PM
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Don't worry it's not much city riding, the store is right next to the Crissy Field bike trail that brings you directly to the bridge. The only city riding will be in Sausalito and the following small towns where the route takes small streets parallel to the main arteries. And if you have never ridden across the bridge it's the cherry on the cake, a must do.
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Old 01-07-11, 03:34 PM
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It's not city riding that's the problem. It's a mass of other issues. Suffice it to say that I am not a city person. I'm happiest out in the country in the middle of nowhere.
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Old 01-07-11, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by JoelS
It's not city riding that's the problem. It's a mass of other issues. Suffice it to say that I am not a city person. I'm happiest out in the country in the middle of nowhere.
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Old 01-08-11, 02:36 PM
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Joel, if you just want to do Alpine Dam and Tam you can drive to Fairfax, no parking issues there is a big empty parking lot with lots of free parking as you enter town (former supermarket that has been closed for a while) you can meet up with you buddies there. Fairfax for me at least living in San Francisco is out in the middle of no where! All the best - Phil
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