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A wee tour from San Francisco to Napa

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A wee tour from San Francisco to Napa

Old 03-16-09, 10:22 PM
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A wee tour from San Francisco to Napa

I have attend a conference in Napa in mid-May. I'm looking for a good route from San Francisco to Napa. Here's my plan:

Pack up my Bike Friday New World Tourist. Fly out to SFO, and arrive late. Stay in a hotel, and depart first thing in the morning. I'll be pulling that Bike Friday suitcase/trailer, but I'll be traveling fairly light.

My preferred route would take me over the Golden Gate Bridge (rather than taking the ferry to Vallejo). It looks like there's a ton of climbing once you get to the other side!

Looking at Google maps is pretty daunting. I'm not sure if it's legal or even desirable to ride along Hwy 101, which is obviously the way you would drive. Anyway, I've got all day to go 60-70 miles.

For the return, I'll be much more pressed for time (a 3pm flight out of SFO), so I'll be leaving first thing in the morning and heading for the ferry in Vallejo, packing up the bike, and maybe taking BART to SFO.

Anybody have any route suggestions? Thanks!
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Old 03-16-09, 11:23 PM
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Well it wouldn't be my first choice to bike from SFO to Napa - it will be a very long day, somewhat dangerous, and the scenery won't really be worth it. Lot's of traffic, hills and wind. You'd be better off renting a car, driving over to Muir Woods and Stinson Beach the first day, then use your other extra day to bike around in the Napa area. Or take the ferry to Vallejo and a shuttle up Hwy 29 - that's what I would do if it were me.

However, if you really wanted to bike it - the easiest part is getting from SFO to Marin County. You could ride from SFO up through Millbrae or San Bruno to Skyline Blvd, then north to the Great Highway, along the ocean to the Presidio, then over the GG Bridge. After the GG Bridge, take the road to Sausalito to avoid climbing over that huge hill, then you have easy (but time-consuming) back roads into San Rafael. At that point rent a car as you will be tired and not even half way.

The bigger problem is there's no quick way from San Rafael to Novato - there are all kinds of land and water barriers and I don't really know how to do it. From Novato you have a long, fairly flat ride on Hwy 37 (high-speed multi-lane), but the wind will be behind you, especially once you turn north on 121 as you will have the afternoon breeze off the bay. Once on 121/12/121 the scenery is nicer, but it's still a pretty long way and you have some hills and narrow shoulders as I recall.

Good luck if you decide to try it.
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Old 03-16-09, 11:30 PM
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And to answer one of your questions, no bikes on the major highways (like 101).
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Old 03-16-09, 11:50 PM
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Thanks, that's all extremely helpful!

I found this route, which looks reasonable.
https://www.mapmyride.com/ride/united...o/347550111618

75 miles (if I get a hotel well in the city center), ascending about 2400 feet.

I would prefer not to go all the way to Petaluma, but highway 37 out of Novato sounds like craziness. Has anybody ever tried that?

Anyway, I've got the whole day, and I'd rather not rent a car. If the weather stinks, I can always take the ferry to Vallejo. I'll probably be stuck inside a hotel for two solid days afterward, so I'd like to get as much quality outside time as possible.
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Old 03-17-09, 12:21 AM
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Is there some reason you want to ride to Napa or is some other quality 2-day ride out of San Francisco of interest to you?

Napa is a reasonably large, urban town. It is more interesting if you go further toward St. Helena or Calistoga or even further afield.

While the ride over the GG Bridge from SF to Marin is exciting (the first few times), after that you will have to have fairly specific instructions to find your way through Marin County. There is a Marin County bike map that you can get for about $10 that will be well worth it if you do decide to do this route. Here is a (unprintable) .pdf file of one side of the map: https://www.marinbike.org/Map/SideA2008.pdf .

Frankly, I would take the ferry to Vallejo and map out a loop that took you through Napa Valley, say up to Calistoga, and that ended up back in Vallejo in time to get back to catch your flight.

As for climbing once past the GG Bridge, the only way a bike can go north from the GG Bridge is to drop down into Sausalito and to ride along the Bay. The climbing comes later in the route.

I've ridden from Vallejo to Davis. Here is a link to my journal entry for that day: https://www.biketouringtips.com/showD...php?entryID=78

Ray
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Old 03-17-09, 11:20 AM
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This route take you to Napa, but uses the ferry.
https://bikeandhike.wordpress.com/

I would take that route on the way there using the ferry and return using HWY1/san geronimo route to the GG bridge. Hwy 1 gets pretty nasty from stinson beach to the bridge, so take the route through samuel P taylor, lagunitas, woodacre, sangeronimo, fairfax, ross, sausalito, ect. This route is dubbed the "marin freeway", is signed one you get to fairfax, and plenty of other cyclists will be sharing the route with you. Do a seach on mapmyride.com or bilenky.com and i am sure you will find the route I am talking about.

BTW, the krebs map of the region could be useful
https://www.krebscycleproducts.com/T1.html
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Old 03-17-09, 11:25 AM
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Here you go, i did your work for you! https://www.mapmyride.com/ride/united...o/517152679286

Take the turn off at Olema towards samuel P taylor state park (nice hike/bike facility) and follow the route.
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Old 03-17-09, 12:29 PM
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You know, now that i think of it, why don't you just book a night at the point reyes hostel. The ride is pleasant, the hostel is really nice and in a great setting, and you won't ahve to deal with lots of traffic or route difficulties. It was the first overnight trip i made in the bay area, and it holds a special place for me......Just a thought.
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Old 03-19-09, 08:36 AM
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Thanks for the info. My trip out to California is all centered around a conference. The logistics are simply that I've got a full day to get from San Francisco to Napa. I thought it would be cool to plot a course that took the whole day to get to my destination. I don't mind biking 70 miles and doing 2,400 feet of climbing, but if I'm going to run into lots of unpleasant and possibly dangerous traffic, that would be a drag.

It sounds like it would be better to get to Napa by ferry, drop my load, and just take a long afternoon ride up north. I have no intention of renting a car at all.

The next two days will be spent entirely inside, probably not ever seeing sunlight.

For the return trip, I have only 1/2 day. I've got to catch an afternoon flight out of SFO, so I'll definitely need to take the ferry back. No options for a trip along the coast, as nice as that sounds.

It kind of stinks to be a working stiff!
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Old 03-19-09, 09:37 AM
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Now I understand your desire to ride to Napa from San Francisco.

I've ridden a route from Petaluma to SF using the road you map (mapMyRide route) out of Petaluma. I took it all the way around Nicasio Reservoir and into Fairfax, which is too far out of your way. But, the road to (from, in my case) Petaluma is a lumpy, two lane country road with little traffic that is a pleasant ride.

I have no experience with going east of Petaluma. But, it looks like Hwy 121 is a high traffic route to be avoided. I searched around and found this bike map of Sonoma County: https://www.sctainfo.org/Bike_Main_fi...oma_county.pdf (a large file so takes a while to load). I also found this Napa Valley Bike Map: https://www.nctpa.net/bikemaps/CountyBikeMap.pdf (I added both to the archive!).

According to them, a route that avoids 121 for the most part would be a bit longer. Using that information, I mapped out a sample route for you: https://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/Petaluma-to-Napa

If you are going to do this route, you should buy the Marin County Bike Map (order here on-line: https://www.marinbike.org/Map/Index.shtml or buy one when you get here) to plot your ride from the GG Bridge through San Rafael and onto Novato.

It will be a long ride but you should enjoy it!

Ray
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