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San Francisco to Sacramento tour

Old 05-06-15, 03:45 PM
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San Francisco to Sacramento tour

Hi,

I'm planning (along with a few friends) to do a two- or three-day tour from the Golden Gate Bridge to the suburbs east of Sacramento (in the Folsom area).

I 'm wondering if anyone has experience riding through that particular section of Northern California. What's your favorite route? We'd like to go through Napa, maybe Davis....

Any thoughts?

Thanks!
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Old 05-06-15, 05:15 PM
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AAA has good Maps .. paper..

Born, lived there for decades .. NHS class of 66.. I take the bike routes alongside 101,until, the turn off to Vallejo, it goes along the north Bay southern Sonoma county
then Turn north towards Napa. you'd probably motel there..


Silverado trail East side of the valley to the road that crosses the Lake Berryessa Dam then That goes down to where the start of the Davis double goes Up.

you can take the ferry from SF to Vallejo Too It Docks at fishemens wharf, part of SF..


I Havent been there in 15 years, even longer when I Lived there..

Last edited by fietsbob; 05-10-15 at 08:51 AM.
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Old 05-06-15, 09:22 PM
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Road 128 (through Napa, Lake Berryessa and Davis) is a beautiful ride. I'd strongly suggest stopping by Davis while you're in the area, there aren't many cities in the world that have the number of cyclists (per capita at least) that Davis has.

Berryessa Brewing Company is right on 128, and makes awesome beer, if that's your thing.

The Yolo Bypass, alongside 80 between Davis and Sacramento has great bird watching, if that's your thing.

I've also heard good things about Napa wine, but that's not really my thing.

If you're planning on riding north through Marin County, I really like Steep Ravine campground. It's one of the most beautiful established campsites I've stayed in, it might not work out in terms of mileage though.

You could also take Bart to Pitsburgh and ride up through the Delta to Sacramento. It's just a hair over 100 miles, not quite a tour, but a very nice long day.
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Old 05-06-15, 09:55 PM
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should be scenic, going that way. i assume you'll be heading North through Marin almost to Petaluma before turning east to Napa...

but to avoid the climb up to Berryessa or that incredibly busy two lane road out of Napa to Fairfield, i'd probably cycle to the Embarcadero, take Bart to Layfayette, then ride up through Benicia, to Fairfield and get on Pleasant's Valley Road to Winters. then to Davis, Sacramento and take the American River Trail to Folsom.

and the Delta, as mentioned could be great fun. up past Rio Vista, Isleton, Waltnut Grove, Courtland, Clarksburg, and into SouthWest Sacramento, assuming you can stay in one piece on route 160 north out of Antioch/Oakley . i'll wouldn't try it myself now, but there was a time...

sounds like fun! good luck.

and don't forget there is a ferry, i think, that runs from the Embarcadero directly to Vallejo.

Last edited by hueyhoolihan; 05-06-15 at 10:14 PM.
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Old 05-07-15, 12:25 AM
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San Francisco is the first part of the ACA Western Express route. I've ridden it as part of a ride from SF to Carson City, Neveda. Here is the journal entry for the day I rode from SF to Davis. Actually, I took the ferry to Vallejo and rode from there.

It was a nice ride. I did it again on the way back.

I've ridden up through Sonoma, as well, via the GG Bridge, Fairfax, Petaluma, and then Sonoma and parts north. Again, a very nice ride, though there are some sections between Fairfax and Petaluma on shoulder-less roads best ridden at non-commute hours.
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Old 05-07-15, 12:50 AM
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Originally Posted by fuzz2050
Road 128 (through Napa, Lake Berryessa and Davis) is a beautiful ride.
Just bear in mind that you get off hwy 128 a few miles east of Winters. Turn south on Pleasants Valley Rd and then east on Putah Creek Rd. Return to hwy 128 via Stevenson Bridge Rd; at that point there's a bike path into Davis.

Back when Davis was the Bike Capital of the World, you could ride any road in the area without concern. Those days are gone, and while there's still a few folks riding around you do have to pick your spots. As far as navigating through Davis to the causeway, cut through UC Davis just east of hwy 113; there's a new traffic circle on the bike path there. Then pop out along 1st St and get onto Olive Dr just after the RR track underpass. Olive Dr takes you to a bike path that brings you to Rd 32A, which takes you right up onto the causeway. (This was my commute for years back when the bike path for the causeway was underneath the causeway between the RR tracks and the freeway; it was much nicer that way, but did require one to ride on the freeway during rainy winters when the causeway flooded.)
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Old 05-07-15, 09:40 AM
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Central California Cycling has an SF to Sac. route, similar to the route fietsbob and fuzz2050 are describing:

SF to Sac Map

They also have a ferry option route, but that avoids Napa valley:

Sac to Val Map
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Old 05-10-15, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree
Just bear in mind that you get off hwy 128 a few miles east of Winters. Turn south on Pleasants Valley Rd and then east on Putah Creek Rd. Return to hwy 128 via Stevenson Bridge Rd; at that point there's a bike path into Davis.

Back when Davis was the Bike Capital of the World, you could ride any road in the area without concern. Those days are gone, and while there's still a few folks riding around you do have to pick your spots. As far as navigating through Davis to the causeway, cut through UC Davis just east of hwy 113; there's a new traffic circle on the bike path there. Then pop out along 1st St and get onto Olive Dr just after the RR track underpass. Olive Dr takes you to a bike path that brings you to Rd 32A, which takes you right up onto the causeway. (This was my commute for years back when the bike path for the causeway was underneath the causeway between the RR tracks and the freeway; it was much nicer that way, but did require one to ride on the freeway during rainy winters when the causeway flooded.)
+1 on Pleasants Valley Road. I'm from that area (Woodland, 10 miles from Davis) and am going to tour Sacramento/Woodland/Petaluma/Russian River in July (I've been living in Seattle for the past 20 years), but I'm choosing to take the more mountainous route, so I don't know if that's any help to you. FWIW, I'm planning on taking Wooden Valley Road instead of HWY 12, Dry Creek & Trinity Roads instead of 121, and Pressley Road instead of HWY 116. Like I said, I've purposefully chosen mountain roads for the challenge, quiet, and the scenery over highway shoulders, frontage roads, and busier roads, so if you consider taking any of these, be advised, and eyeball the topo maps. I found the ride reports on this blog to be very helpful in determining some of my routes:
Ride Chronicles | Cycling and hiking through the "Seasons of Life". Loving it, living it and sharing it!

A couple of years ago I cycle-camped from Sacramento to Clear Lake, and I have to say, I'd avoid taking 128. I was geared too high on that trip, but still, it would have been pretty brutal on any bike I think. At least westbound from Winters to Knoxville Road was very steep and had hill after hill, after hill.




(HWY 128, west of Markley's Cove)


.

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Old 05-10-15, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by mel2012
Central California Cycling has an SF to Sac. route, similar to the route fietsbob and fuzz2050 are describing:

SF to Sac Map

They also have a ferry option route, but that avoids Napa valley:

Sac to Val Map

Personally, I'd stick with Putah Creek Road for longer, instead of going over to Russell Boulevard/Covell Road, staying on the south side of Putah Creek until County Road 95a.

There's also another option here, when heading westbound from the Fairfield area, one can tack to the SW to Rio Vista and then make your way through the delta to Clarksburg/Sac.
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Old 05-10-15, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Medic Zero
Personally, I'd stick with Putah Creek Road for longer, instead of going over to Russell Boulevard/Covell Road, staying on the south side of Putah Creek until County Road 95a.

There's also another option here, when heading westbound from the Fairfield area, one can tack to the SW to Rio Vista and then make your way through the delta to Clarksburg/Sac.
i would also recommend staying on Putah Creek. It's a lot more pleasant. There's also a way to get on the bike trail at Old Sac rather than riding through Downtown/Midtown/East Sac.
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Old 05-10-15, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by caloso
i would also recommend staying on Putah Creek. It's a lot more pleasant.
There's also a way to get on the bike trail at Old Sac rather than riding through Downtown/Midtown/East Sac.
Oh? Do tell! I moved away a long time ago, but am going to be riding from the train station to Woodland for my first leg. Which, BTW, is a nicer ride than the causeway from Davis to Sac. Did that last time I cycled through a couple years ago. Very loud, wished I put my earplugs in. It's right alongside the highway, with 80+ MPH traffic, and merciless sun. Just to the east of the causeway I encountered goat heads and got a nasty puncture. When I stopped at the bike shop to replace the toasted tube, they told me the goatheads were really bad and sadly recommended I stay out of the dirt. I was led to believe that that particular issue varies from season to season, and that was a particularly bad year. I didn't have any more flats luckily.

The alternative to the causeway from Davis to Sac is to detour slightly through Woodland and go through the aforementioned bird preserve and alongside the river on the river road. SO much more pleasant. Try not to be on the river road at rush hour though.

I do love riding the county roads in my home (Yolo) county. They're all nicely pastoral, used to tractor speed traffic and cyclists, and the roads are generally very well maintained. All the quiet numbered roads are good. To the OP, if you want to take any of those backroads, let me know and I can tell you exactly what those roads (#'d, surrounding Woodland) are like. I rode and drove them recently and grew up on them. A few are busy and to be avoided, which is easy, as every mile on every direction, there's another road, it's really a grid. Avoid 102.

Come to think of it, you might be able to stay in Yolo county for a while longer and avoid some of Sacramento if you wanted to. You could head towards Knights Landing (IIRC) and then turn east towards Folsom. There are limited river crossings though, I don't remember where the next place to cross is, but pretty sure it's in that tiny town. They filmed a movie there.

Last edited by Medic Zero; 05-10-15 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 05-10-15, 11:08 AM
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.

Also, unless I missed it, no one mentioned the American River Bike Trail. I've only taken it from the train station in Sacramento to North Natomas, (and south towards Davis and the zoo) but I believe it continues to run to the north (roughly towards Folsom, the OP's destination), alongside the river. The stretch I took north from the train station was mostly very nice and alongside the river and part of the time alongside an agriculture slough, albeit with some nice birds, but be advised there are a couple of narrow gates on the levee. IIRC, one was super tight with wide panniers, and the other I pulled one front pannier off to squeeze through, rubber side down. The river trail is the best way to go, although some Sac city streets have superb bike lanes with huge buffers and smooth, sweet smooth asphalt. So nice. Surface streets through the city would be my choice if light was failing or you wanted to hustle through the last few miles to get there, but the trail is really nice during the day.

Last edited by Medic Zero; 05-10-15 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 05-10-15, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Medic Zero
Oh? Do tell! I moved away a long time ago, but am going to be riding from the train station to Woodland for my first leg. Which, BTW, is a nicer ride than the causeway from Davis to Sac. Did that last time I cycled through a couple years ago. Very loud, wished I put my earplugs in. It's right alongside the highway, with 80+ MPH traffic, and merciless sun. Just to the east of the causeway I encountered goat heads and got a nasty puncture. When I stopped at the bike shop to replace the toasted tube, they told me the goatheads were really bad and sadly recommended I stay out of the dirt. I was led to believe that that particular issue varies from season to season, and that was a particularly bad year. I didn't have any more flats luckily.

The alternative to the causeway from Davis to Sac is to detour slightly through Woodland and go through the aforementioned bird preserve and alongside the river on the river road. SO much more pleasant. Try not to be on the river road at rush hour though.

I do love riding the county roads in my home (Yolo) county. They're all nicely pastoral, used to tractor speed traffic and cyclists, and the roads are generally very well maintained. All the quiet numbered roads are good. To the OP, if you want to take any of those backroads, let me know and I can tell you exactly what those roads (#'d, surrounding Woodland) are like. I rode and drove them recently and grew up on them. A few are busy and to be avoided, which is easy, as every mile on every direction, there's another road, it's really a grid. Avoid 102.

Come to think of it, you might be able to stay in Yolo county for a while longer and avoid some of Sacramento if you wanted to. You could head towards Knights Landing (IIRC) and then turn east towards Folsom. There are limited river crossings though, I don't remember where the next place to cross is, but pretty sure it's in that tiny town. They filmed a movie there.
As soon as you cross the Tower Bridge, go left (north) onto the boardwalk at Old Sac. https://goo.gl/maps/ErfCy
Follow it past the train barns, until it turns into pavement. When you get to the green Jiboom St. Bridge, cross the river to the north side of the American. https://goo.gl/maps/vVXfj

From there, the ARBT will take you all the way to Folsom.
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Old 05-10-15, 05:58 PM
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The ARBT goes all the way past old Folsom to Beal's Point on Folsom Lake, and a bit further to Rocklin and a MTB area if you don't mind dirt roads. You can ride on either side of Lake Natoma. This is my daily stomping grounds, it's nice. I can't really say much about what's west of the Fair Oaks bridge, I've tubed it and ridden the light rail but never the bike path all the way.

There is a yearly Sacramento to SF event but it's name escapes me at the moment and brief Googling didn't help
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Old 08-04-15, 05:35 PM
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Thanks for all the responses. I used a combination of advice you all gave, taking into consideration the limits and riding preferences of everyone going on the trip, and have come up with a pretty good route.

We are going to ride to Petaluma, then make our way toward Davis via lots of small, flat farm roads (trying to avoid busy roads that have no shoulder). Google Street View is perfect for this type of planning. We are going to skip the Lake Berryessa area (due to us not being as comfortable as some of you experts on roads like that...!), instead taking a more southerly route.

Besides those farm roads, we're using: Fairfield Linear Bike Path through the Fairfield area; UC Davis campus bike paths to the Putah Creek trail; then we will brave the causeway (it'll be early morning hopefully at that point, since we are staying in Davis); then American River Bike Trail most of the way to Folsom.

Looking forward to this trip! Thanks for your input!
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Old 08-04-15, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by closetotheedge
Thanks for all the responses. I used a combination of advice you all gave, taking into consideration the limits and riding preferences of everyone going on the trip, and have come up with a pretty good route.

We are going to ride to Petaluma, then make our way toward Davis via lots of small, flat farm roads (trying to avoid busy roads that have no shoulder). Google Street View is perfect for this type of planning. We are going to skip the Lake Berryessa area (due to us not being as comfortable as some of you experts on roads like that...!), instead taking a more southerly route.

Besides those farm roads, we're using: Fairfield Linear Bike Path through the Fairfield area; UC Davis campus bike paths to the Putah Creek trail; then we will brave the causeway (it'll be early morning hopefully at that point, since we are staying in Davis); then American River Bike Trail most of the way to Folsom.

Looking forward to this trip! Thanks for your input!
No one "braves" the causeway anymore. Now there's a bike path on it separated from the freeway shoulder by concrete. (Unfortunately it is on the north side and the prevailing wind, and only wind in the summer, is from the delta to the south, so you get to snort six lanes of fumes.) Anyway, back when I was young the bike path was under the causeway. In the winter, one rode on the causeway because the path was underwater (yes, it sometimes rained back then). That was "braving" the causeway, especially considering our lame lights and the preponderance of fog (also no longer happening in the valley). At least the trucks created a constant tail wind.

All kidding aside, have a fun trip. The traffic on the way to the causeway can be heavy from 7:00 AM to 8:30 AM, so earlier is better. I'm not sure why these folks don't just get on the freeway further west, but there's always a bunch of them there at that time.
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Old 08-04-15, 10:45 PM
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Oh, gotcha! Yeah, it didn't look too bad on Google Street View!

Thanks.
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Old 08-05-15, 08:08 AM
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I think you have a great trip planned out. I wouldn't be too concerned about the riding on the bike trail on the causeway. If you are overnighting in Davis, there is a good chance that the wind will be still in the morning. It usually kicks up later in the morning and afternoon. When I lived in Woodland, I rode the causeway several times into Sacramento. Unless I could get a very early start on the ride, I would wait until most of the morning rush was over as it made the ride a little more enjoyable. Taking the less traveled farm roads is a good idea, just make sure the last rider in the group is wearing bright colors and has a bright flashing light so they can be seen early.

Have fun and let us know how the ride went....pictures are always good.
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Old 08-05-15, 09:34 AM
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May have to wait till the fire crews put out the big fires going there, now .

Rocky Fire jumps Highway 20, now 20 percent contained

Rocky Fire General Information..

A Native of Napa. the route up from Davis for the Double Century uses the road across the Berryessa Dam .

Dam was built just across the line in Solano County.. There is some political history to that, I won't rehash here.
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