Riding around SF Bay Area

Hi all,

My first visit to the area. First issue is which bike to bring. Roadie, Gravel, or MTB. At this stage I’m leaning towards the gravel bike as I can probably do most things with it. I expect to be based in Santa Clara and I will have a car. I’m keen to hear recommended rides for midweek and weekends.

Are there any bunch rides etc early mornings or late arvo going on?

Similarly any recommendations on how to maintain the TR training program while in the area?

Thanks

If you have a car then there plenty of opportunities within an hour or 90min drive. Riding through Sonoma wineries is excellent with your road bike.
Going over Golden Gate bridge, passing Sausalito to Tiberon and back with the ferry is also a tour if this is your first time in the area.
Bike rental opportunities are also very good - excellent bikes, not cheap though - in case you need different bikes for different tours.

Strava has always good suggestions:

https://www.strava.com/local (there are four categories for the Bay area)

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On Saturdays, a lot of rides leave from the Golden Gate Bridge Plaza on the San Francisco side. One of the bigger is the Fusion / Scotty’s ride - this is 90 - 100 miles, drop ride which goes at a pretty good clip.

Alternatively, the Rapha SF clubhouse runs Saturday & Sunday rides.

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Forgot to add: for rides leaving from the Golden Gate Bride South Plaza (SF side) plan to meet starting at ~8am, rolling starting at ~8:30am

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Thanks for the details, much appreciated. Based on these details I now think the road bike is going to get the most use.

some great rides going uphill near Santa Clara… and on the weekend you can make a really big loop going over to the coast and back.

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Check out Basically Free Bike Rentals & Tours. The rental cost me $52 (I rode from Fisherman’s Warf, explored Presido, rode across the Golden Gate, up into the Marin Headlands, and down to Sausalito then took the ferry back). When I returned the bike they gave me a $50 credit to Sports Basement where I used the credit to buy a bike light that I needed. So the bike rental cost $2… They have high end bikes to rent too but you might need to call ahead to make sure it’s available when you want it…

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If you’re in the South Bay getting to the GGB is a haul…and unnecessary. South Bay has better rides and roads (I’m biased).

I work in the wrong area for the noon ride, but tons of people do it. https://www.altovelo.org/page/show/765621-rides has pretty good descriptions.

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Thanks for all the input, much appreciated. Thinking of having a go at the south bay loop as an introduction.

https://www.strava.com/routes/104661

Any tips? Presume there are reasonable resupply points along the way etc?

Wow, you’re picking a route with a bunch of really steep ups and downs!
I haven’t done a lot of the second half of that ride (Bonny Doon, Zayante), but stop at Arcangeli in Pescadero for some artichoke bread. And I am pretty sure there are places in Felton for resupply.

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Depending how long you’re planning to stay, I would definitely recommend making a trip to Marin. You can park in SF @ Chrissy Field (Sports Basement has ample free parking) and ride across the Golden Gate bridge.

Gravel bike would be awesome because there is tons of great dirt to shred in the Marin Headlands but you could still enjoy the roads. The Alto Velo ride listings will give you a great lay of the land on the Peninsula (Palo Alto is incredible), but there’s nothing like cruising along Seven Sisters on Mt. Tam above the clouds with Stinson Beach down below you. Best part is you can make it a mixed surface ride with 50/50 road/gravel.

Feel free to DM me if you want any specific reccos!

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Wow, that’s a big intro. If you’re riding before 9am this month I suggest bringing leg warmers and a long sleeve thermal / windproof jersey. It’s pretty chilly rn.

Here are a couple:

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@sbright When are you coming to the Bay Area?

The SF Bay Area is probably one of the top cycling meccas in the world, particularly for road biking, so your options are enormous!

I live in Los Altos (you can check on Google Maps; I’m closer to the hills where you will be heading). I’m “a climber” and have probably logged 50Kmi+/5Mft+ in the Santa Cruz mountains over the past 15 years (where your rides are heading) and know the roads and routes “pretty well”. At minimum, I could provide you feedback/suggestions on routes. But if timing works out, I’d be happy to join you. The route you provided for example, is a good one, but includes a lot of Route 1. It’s great for seeing a lot of coast line, but riding along the highway may not be as much fun as the inland roads through the redwood forests. A more popular ride that includes the coast is aptly named “The Coastal Classic” (a 50mil/5kft loop) that is easy to add on an extension to Half Moon Bay (fun, great stop) or south through Pescadero (mentioned elsewhere) with 25-30+ more miles and a few Kft of climbing. btw: no worries about food/water; any route through the SC Mountains can be designed to provide sufficient stops.

Regarding group rides, there are a several cycling clubs in the area, ranging from recreational to elite racing clubs (I ride with one of them, Alto Velo Racing Club). Most group rides are on Saturdays and Sundays and are open. There are a several weekday rides as well. So it really depends on your cycling skills as to which ride to recommend. Some one mentioned the Noon Ride. Tue, Wed, and Thu are fast (Cat 1/2/3 pace). Mon and Fri are more social Cat 4/5 pace. Also during the week is a Cat1/2 level ride called the morning ride (TMR). For long rides, Wednesday there is a ride called the Stahl ride (70-100mi; 7k-9kft) that is open. It’s a social ride for Cat 1/2 level and ex-pros; and when not in race season, lots of current female world champion level riders use it for base training (i.e. its fast if you are not at that level).

DM me if you want to discuss further. Also, if you send me a link to your Strava profile and provide me with your WpKg, I probably will be able to get a better sense of your riding level to finer tune any recommendation(s).

Btw: The Marin area (North Bay) is fantastic as well. Lots of big loops up in that are that include the coast, Mt Tam, Alpine Dam, riding along the ridge (aka the Seven Sisters) is fantastic! Happy to put together a route for you up there, or similarly, if timing works out, happy to take a ride up there with you.

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That road from just past Stinson Beach to Fairfax is nice, I remember riding as part of a Muir Woods loop.

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Yes it is. It’s called “BoFax” short for Bolinas-Fairfax Road. Here’s one such ride I did with my son that included it. It includes the coastal route to Stinson Beach, climbs along Mt Tam (not to the peak); descends to Alpine Dam, and returns to Fairfax where there is a great coffee place (pre ride) and great burgers and brew place (post ride). This ride was under 50miles (we were time constrained). A longer route would have included Ridge Crest Road (7 sisters) that provides amazing views of the coastline and ocean from above.
https://www.strava.com/activities/1523506426

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Thanks for all the great suggestions and advice everyone, much appreciated.

I’m starting to think maybe the gravel bike might be better. I do like the idea of getting away from the cars.