If only judging by the calendar, summer is apparently here. The cooler air does however make for great riding conditions and, if nothing else, justifies the occasional use of vintage wool jerseys. Regardless of whether you’re addicted to the buzz of rubber on tarmac and the pulse of your own cadence on a nasty climb, or you find yourself more at home in the light that splits the redwood canopy where your only company is damp earth and thirsty ticks, summer is a prime time to ride. In the spirit of the season, we thought we’d share a few of our favorite rides in the Bay Area and the more nostalgic (often maudlin) memories of those trails and loops that have been loved and lost to geography.
For roadies in the Bay Area who need a day ride into Marin the Mill Valley to Muir Woods loop.
A great morning ride. It will get you up and away from the city with very little traffic and will have your legs pounding depending on your commitment to the ascents. A long, well-earned descent gives you the opportunity to work on your handling, or just cruise and enjoy the ride. There is an additional map available on the Marin County Bicycle Coalition website.
Quit yer wine-ingAndy recommends:
For 3-4 day touring enthusiasts:
Tour of NorCal A 200-mile ride gives or takes. Take the ferry to Vallejo. Ride to Calistoga, Bodega Bay, Pt. Reyes and back to SF. The scenery is awesome and the Silverado Trail through Napa Valley is quieter than any of the main highways. You’ll find a number of campsites reserved for hikers and cyclists that will usually only charge you three to five dollars for the night rather than the full fare for a more auto-friendly campsite.
For mountain bikers:
Tamarancho or Skeggs Point.
For Sunday afternoon:
Golden Gate Park. You’ll need a blanket, picnic basket, beer or wine, a baguette, or a few other things to eat, and a girl in a sundress riding a mixie. There are cross trails in there as well if you get bored.
Getting higher mountain bikers: The Monarch Crest Trail in Colorado, near Monarch Pass. “Because it’s fun to ride bikes on! It’s full of rocks, roots, and dirt. True cross country. It includes two passes over 11,000 feet and ends with a 30-mile downhill that winds through aspen groves and takes about two hours.”
For some potentially intense climbing and not a lot of time:
Conzelman to Rodeo Beach Loop
It smells and looks better than a spin class and the workout can be just as rewarding. Stay on Mitchell up into the hills even after it turns into a less-developed path after the beach, it’ll lead you around into a cyclo-cross loop with some off-road sections and great views but WATCH OUT for the gate at the end as it’s around a blind corner and occasionally closed. You can return via Bunker road to the tunnel or break off right at McCullough Road for a final climb to the top of Conzelman.
If you find yourself in Davis:
Lake Solano Loop or the Cantelow Loop are both decent workouts that get you out into the more scenic parts of Napa County. Other rides and information are available on the UC Davis Triathlon website.
For mountain bikers:
Braille in the Soquel Demonstration Forest of Santa Cruz County, outside of Los Gatos. Banked turns, drops, steep, technical, flowing, everything. A long climb up a fire road pays off with a 30-45 minute descent if you stop and smell the roses.
The weekend warrior. Full-face not required if you make it to Australia: Manly Dam, a mix of sandstone, health, and coastal forest located 15 minutes outside the Sydney suburb of Manly. “Ride at 6 am, surf at 7:30 am, work at 9 am.”
Feel free to share your own recommendations for rides with us!