Where to go Biking

Parent Q&A

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  • I do not mean to offend anyone.

    We have strictly adhered to social distancing. I have not even taken kids out for a walk and we rely 100% on contactless delivery.

    When I tend to the front yard, I wear a mask.

    I am sad that my kid learned to ride a bike a week before the SIP order and his shiny new bike is sitting in the garage. He’s wobbly and isn’t a proficient rider yet. He keeps asking when he can go out and ride his bike again...

    We used to go to a local elementary school to practice riding. I think it’s closed now.

    Is there a good place to go to practice bike riding in Oakland/Berkeley/Alameda or do we just need to be more patient?

    We don’t have flat streets in our neighborhood to practice riding. Seriously regretting buying a house on a hill...

    Just walking around my neighborhood the past few weeks I've seen a few places that would be good for little kid bike riding but you'd probably need to park nearby and walk over with the bikes. The Claremont hotel is closed right now and their lower parking area is accessible to little kids on bikes - I saw some there today. There's a small employee lot in front and a larger one in back near the tennis courts. There are a lot of paved plazas on the UC Berkeley campus - maybe look on google maps for likely spots. Clark Kerr campus has some open areas near where the Cal Youth camps were held. Saw some tricycles and scooters there. Good luck!

    I would try Kensington Park (there is a small circular track excellent for learning how to ride, or empty basketball court), or one of many empty parking lots at various schools, etc. As long as you keep distance, you should give you intrepid bike rider a welcome respite from the long and difficult time at home. Good luck!

    There are many nearly empty parking lots to choose from - the BART stations, shopping areas, etc. Basketball courts are a good option too. There are several streets closed to through traffic in Oakland as well and those are decent options. I have seen some people in Berkeley put up signs in the street that kids are playing to “soft close” the block so their kids can practice riding in the street - not legal, but effective and frankly a better use of street space at this point.

    If you’re serious about physical distancing, I would not recommend the Bay Trail, Ohlone Greenway, or popular parks. Many people are still using those and they do not distance (and many are still not wearing masks either). Nor would I recommend sidewalks, they are too narrow for proper distancing. I’ve been taking my kids on residential streets in Berkeley and Oakland, but they were solid riders before the shelter in place started. I really wish Berkeley would soft close some streets like Oakland is doing to create an abundance of space for kids to walk and bike where there isn’t crowding. But the city doesn’t seem interested. 

    Some people are using BART parking lots (Rockridge, North Berkeley).  It might be too crowded, then again, skateboard parks are reopening, so there might be more space for bicycle riding kids!  It's great to hear that!

    Also, I walk by golden gate fields--they have a huge parking lot.  No cars allowed, but I see bike riders going through there.  It's not very crowded. 

    good luck!!!

    I've taken my daughter to the MLK shorelin epark near the oakland airport and also the middle harbor shoreline park near the port of oakland. Both are pretty flat and great for learning to ride a bike. Also there wasn't a lot of people so social distancing was easy. The caveat was that this was a month ago when the weather wasn't as nice as it is now.

    The Rockridge BART station parking lot is blissfully empty and a great place for beginning riders. Sometimes there are skateboarders/riders using the lower half, but the upper half has always been empty when we're there.

    I think BART parking lots especially North Berkeley could work also perhaps school parking lots could work. In regards to SIP it is fine and encouraged for kids to get outside to run, play, ride scooter etc. They need that. 

    You could try the DMV parking lot after 5 pm, and that overflow parking lot at the Claremont Hotel is a great idea (it's on Tunnel Rd). Also, here is a map of closed streets in Oakland, which we've been walking, jogging, and biking on. Depending on time of day, they can be pretty deserted: https://www.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=b2f8989fdb514d2fb511067a11ad65f0&extent=-122.2896,37.8028,-122.2366,37.83

    We have had good luck bike riding and scootering at office building parking lots in our neighborhood. In fact, our daughter really prefers the open space of a parking lot to paved paths and tracks that require more precise steering.

    We've been walking to a local church's parking lot. We go early in the day and never see anyone else there (except once, an employee of the church stopped by to pick up mail or something and yelled out that she was happy to see us there). 

    We go to Kensington Hilltop School and to 1000 Oaks School to ride. We wear masks.

    We've been doing stroller pushing sessions with my toddler out near Almanac/Bladium in Alameda.  It's EMPTY. Like post-apocalypse empty.

    If you have a car to get out there, it's super easy, but buses are still running out there as well.

    Cesar Chavez is nice because it's fairly contained.

    Lots of young kids and parents ride in the north Berkeley Bart parking lot.  They are quiet and empty for making big loops.  Lots of space for social distancing.  

    I've seen families riding & scootering in front of Studio One near OakTech.  And 42nd St is blocked off for peds & bicycles.  Also West St in W-Oak.

    I agree with the posts re: empty office parking lots. Other places we've been to recently are:

    1) the Cal campus, which is huge, largely unoccupied and has lots of bike paths and parking lots that aren't being used; and

    2) Tilden Park, where numerous roads and lots are blocked off. Lake Anza Road and the Lake Anza parking lot are both blocked off, and there is convenient parking at the Merry Go Round. The Little Farm parking lot is also closed to cars, and there are spots to park just outside of the gates.  

    Aquatic Park is a great place for kids learning to ride. After they get proficient enough to steer and keep clear, there is the Bay Trail nearby. I am there every Sunday and there are lots of family groups, and solitary riders, of course.

    Head over to the Cal Campus. It’s quite empty but open. The plaza in front of Zellerbach Hall and Sproul Plaza are two large flat places to practice. Also many wide paths on campus with few pedestrians right now. It’s perfectly legal to exercise outdoors under the current order. We take our kids out for walks or bike rides every day. Please don’t feel bad about doing it!

    Go down by the marina--there are huge empty parking lots that are great for bike riding for kiddos! 

    Bella Vista Park in Oakland has a circular green surrounded by an asphalt pathway. I'm not sure how much use it has been getting, though.

    Middle Harbor Shoreline Park has long, flat stretches of pathway with beautiful views of San Francisco, and hardly anyone around--probably because the grass is covered in goose poop always. But it's ideal for little bike riders.

    Most church parking lots in my North Oakland neighborhood are closed, and there are much BIGGER empty parking lots if you take 24 to the Orinda exit, turn right and just head down Moraga Way. At both Holy Shepherd and St Mark's, I've seen a couple of kids at a time riding around.

    I went for a picnic on the UC Campus last Sunday off Bancroft Avenue near Hertz Hall.  There were lots of parents teaching their kids to ride.  It's the part of the campus across from Cafe Roma at the end of College.  It was wonderful to watch the kids take off.

    Have you tried the old naval base in Alameda, lots of open, flat space. What about the parking lot by Golden Gate Fields? Bay Trail? All are great options. 

    Schools should be closed and locked.  They fear large thefts and vandalism.  Try the Berkeley Marina of Golden Gate Fields.  

    Thanks for wearing a mask and keeping your distance.  This is something we all need to be doing.

    Head out to the end of distillery row at the naval base in Alameda. There is a killer open paved area where can kids can rip around freely 

    Alameda is a great place to go bike riding.  The whole island is flat.  We're on the east end, and the streets are empty enough to practice social distancing easily.  I go jogging every day in the neighborhood, and the side streets have very few cars on them these days so it seems to me a safe place for kids to practice riding.

    I taught my kids to ride on a gentle hill at UC Berkeley. The campus isn't completely empty but when I walked through last week there were few people and lots of safe wide paved areas without cars.

    Try the parking lot at Little Farm in Tilden. It's blocked off, but there is parking along the street and I've seen kids practicing biking, roller skating, etc. in the blocked off parking lot. It's large, flat and paved. Just no bathrooms so be prepared!  I've also seen people making use of BART parking lots and UC Berkeley parking lots.  The are some above the Lawrence Hall of Science and various ones sprinkled throughout the campus that might work too.  Good luck!

    I'm not sure where you are located but Emerson in Oakland is still open and great for riding. Also, have you checked out Oakland's 'Slow Streets?'


    Our daughter was maybe a little further along than your son (pretty confident riding around a playground but very scared of cars so hadn't ridden on city streets). We've actually found SIP to be a great opportunity to teach her how to ride on the street with fewer cars. Oakland is blocking off more and more streets and we are able to get to one of them by riding about 10 blocks from our house, but you could also just drive to the nearest one and bring your bikes. There are still occasional cars and you have to stop for cross traffic but in the space of a few weeks our kid has become fairly comfortable sharing the road with cars as well. We bike 4-5 days a week and it's been a pretty amazing transformation. Not everyone out there is wearing masks but our whole family does. I highly recommend checking one or both of these out.

    Go to the parking lot of a closed business. I know there’s an empty large parking lot at Planet Fitness at MacDonald Ave. And King Middle school in Berkeley is open from 11AM-1PM Mon/Wed/Fri for food distribution. Lots of space there to socially distance and ride a bike. Good luck!

    8th and Virginia, basketball courts, lots of parking on street

  • Hey little biker people!

    I'm looking for a safe, pretty flat, no/little car traffic, nature-ish, location to bike with a 5 year old who is pretty good but somewhat new to the world of peddle bikes.  Ideally it would be within the 580/24/13 triangle or maybe just outside of it.  I've got several go to school yards so am NOT looking for more of those.  Ideally what I'm looking for is like the paths in Bay Farm that go along the bay and the various canals.  But I don't want to travel that far.  Lake Merritt might be a good choice, although maybe too crowded.  What about Mountain View cemetery, Lake Temescal or Shepard Canyon?  I'm also open to flat streets with close to zero traffic or maybe a reservoir with a path or sidewalk around it.  Thanks!

    Redwood Regional Park has both paved and well-groomed wide dirt paths. This was one of our favorite places for biking with the new rider at around the same age. The shoreline park around Alameda (this is an EBRP too). 

    Aquatic park is just outside the area you mentioned. You can enter it near the 13/580 interchange: 2925 Bolivar Dr, Berkeley, CA 94710

    It has a nice flat path that goes all the way around the mile-long lagoon, and at the north end it connects to the pedestrian/bike bridge that goes up over 80/580, which my 4-year old has been super excited about biking to the top of as an extra challenge.

    The Lafayette/Moraga bike trail is exactly what you want. A little farther afield is the Iron Horse Trail in Danville. We also like to ride bikes around the Berkeley Marina, although that does involve riding on some (quiet) streets. 

    Berkeley Aquatic Park would be my go-to choice! It's easy to access, there's a playground, and you can bike around the entire lagoon on a ped/bike path. You can add on trips over the highway to the Berkeley Marina or along the frontage road on the bay.

    Hello.  We used to go to Alameda with our daughter.  The walkway along the beach is usually not too crowded.  When she's a little older and wants to go fast and far, much of the old naval station is a good location with very little automobile traffic.  It's not so naturish, but it still feels like you're exploring.

    I hope you get a lot of replies that are in the area you prefer, but in case you don't I'll suggest the Iron Horse Trail (IHT) that runs for 32 miles along an old railroad grade from North Walnut Creek to Pleasanton. When my kids were first riding bikes and wanted longer rides we drove the bikes to the Rudgear Road Staging Area (South Walnut Creek) and biked along the IHT to Sycamore Valley Rd. in Danville, exited the trail and walked our bikes along Hertz Ave. stopping for lunch or frozen yogurt and then rode back. It's just over 5 miles each way, but flat and super pretty. It can get a little more crowded on Saturday and Sunday but nothing like Lake Merritt. The trail is very wide and the people we encounter (bikes, rollerblades, runners, people with strollers) have always been very friendly. Being able to ride 10 miles gave my kids a lot of confidence and it was a great way to spend a weekend day. Mountain View cemetery is likely too hilly, the path we found around a park in Piedmont was way too short, the connector path behind the Oakland DMV on Claremont to Frog Park was too short, and parking lots quickly lost their appeal. The area along the Berkeley Marina might be nice for you, I just remember it being super windy. I hope you find what you're looking for.

    Check out Dracena Park in Piedmont, which has a 1/4 mile flat paved loop (maybe shorter). It’s great for practicing!

    If you want flat, the bay trail is great, so is the new bike path on the Bay Bridge. If you're looking for trees and nature, Redwood Regional park has bike trails. 

    Dracena park has a nice smallish circular path. Slight incline in a couple spots. Also the path by Aquatic Park in Berkeley is nice and flat and by the water.

    Have you tried the Nimitz trail at inspiration point in Tilden Park? That’s where I took my daughter. Great biking trail. Enjoy!

    We use Mountain View Cemetery, Lake Temescal, and the Berkeley Marina for biking. Also the trail reachable behind the parking garage in the Montclair neighborhood of Oakland.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Weekend Trip-Cycling

June 2010

Cyclists! Do you know any week-end get-aways with great off-road cycling? We like long rides up to 25 miles. I am leery of highways, due to the many fatalities of cyclists. Usually we bike the BayTrail but would like to get out of town for a few days. Lynn

Look at the Santa Rosa bike club site. Lots of vineyard rides around Healdsburg, about that long. Also check out noticeboard in Sportsbasement at Chrissy Field Cycling widow

Ohlone bike trail - is it safe?

Dec 2007

my husband is a bike communter and we were just talking the other day about biking home after dark and safety issues. He bikes the entire length of the Ohlone Bike trail from UCB to where it joins surface streets North of El Cerrito Del Norte BART. I wonder if anyone has any sense of the neighborhoods around this route and how safe they are especially after dark since the days are now shorter and it seems inevitable that he come home after sunset. wife of a biker

That's a tough call. I live in El Cerrito near Potrero and that Ohlone trail is bad news after dark, especially north of Moeser and near the Del Norte BART. The surface streets (like Richmond and Key Route) are probably safer in terms of being robbed. But then there's the traffic. The problem with the BART trail through there is that it's really isolated so it tends to make people easy targets. Being on a bike may be an advantage? You can check out the El Cerrito police reports on the city's website and see for yourself. http://www.el-cerrito.org/police/weekly_071127.html
Ride fast!!

I am female and have been running on the Ohlone bike trail for years, both day light hours and as it gets dark. At commute times I think it is very safe. Not so during the daytime hours as I have detoured on to the streets to avoid (mainly) either groups of semi-thuggish looking guys and/or ranting crazy people. My neighbor, who is a Berkeley cop, has told me there are occational muggings for wallets/purses in the dark evening hours aimed at people walking home from BART. Doesn't seem to be so much of a problem with cyclists. If I was biking to and from work I wouldn't hesitate to use the trail. However, it is also very crowded with families and kids walking home, dog walkers, runners, and cyclists during commute hours and often cyclists are going much to fast and never call out. I have seen cyclists having to think fast to avoid hitting small kids and dogs. In fact, I was hit really badly on that trail by a cyclist who didn't call out while I was running. Also, cars at the ! intersections during commute times seem very unaware of all of us especially when making left, right hand turns. The Solano and Marin intersections are the worse. I would say that cars are really the bigger danger along that trail whether you're riding it during the day or night. anon

My husband also commutes via bicycle along the entire length of Ohlone/BART trail, arriving home after dark. Cars crossing at the intersections are the biggest safety concerns. He's seen a runner hit by a truck. I also bike/run along that trail for errands and exercise and have had some near misses by drivers occupied on their cell phones or in too much of a hurry. While on bikes, we always wear those flourescent green biking jackets for greater visibility. But neither of us has had any crime problems with people on foot, if that is what your question is also addressing. Major rennovations of the crosswalks and lighting have improved the trail a bit. Again, the biggest problems are distracted or speeding drivers not paying attention to the crosswalks and the people in them. vicki

I commute by bike to Berkeley from El Cerrito as well (up the hill from Del Norte BART) and at night I only use the Ohlone trail from Gilman to Solano, then I take Key Route to Ashbury to Richmond. I would avoid the Ohlone trail at night from about El Cerrito Plaza on, a) because the cars that cross it at night are often hurrying home and not checking for bikes, and b) because it feels a bit creepy and isolated. I feel safer on the streets with cars - since I've got a lot of blinky lights and a reflective jacket I'm very visible to motorists. The sad thing is though, the less bikers use the trail, the less safe it is... maybe we should organize an Ohlone trail critical mass! another bike commuter dad with concerned wife

I have walked late at night (9 - 10pm) on the Ohlone Greenbelt near Cedar Rose park and see plenty of people walking dogs, riding bikes, etc. I regularly run on the trail during daylight hours and see plenty of folks commuting on bikes in the morning -- I suspect that they ride home at night too. Just make sure your husband has a good light so that others can see him! Jennifer

Bike friendly campgrounds?

Oct 2007

Our kids are really into bike riding and we're looking for cool bike friendly family oriented campgrounds. Ones that include destinations to bike to like a general store, a beach or other natural features. Hopefully within 2-3 hour drive and awesome beauty. Thanx! Diana

You might try Pfeiffer Big Sur. It is a beautiful campground that has lengthy flat loops which wind through the campground, as well as a trail that goes along the Big Sur river. There is a general store at the entrance to the park. Older kids can even ride around by themselves, as the loops will bring you back to the place you started from (look at a map of the campground at reserveamerica.com). What I'm describing is riding around the campground, not from the campground to another location. My kids loved it, though. There is plenty of other stuff to do around at Pfeiffer Big Sur, too ... waterfall hike, play in river if conditions are right, etc. The beach is about 20 minutes away. Have fun!

Try Samuel P Taylor in Marin. Easy biking around the campground itself. me

Samuel P. Taylor S. P. near Point Reyes has nice campsites and picnic areas and a wide paved bike trail (former railroad grade) that runs nearly level for three miles along a lovely creek. It's in the redwoods, very pleasant in warm weather, often all reserved in advance for the summer and on weekends in late spring, usually has vacancies in the cooler season, when it can be cold and damp but is still beautiful (bring firewood or buy it there).

Try Samuel P. Taylor State Park--just south of Point Reyes. It is in a nice forested area (beautiful redwoods) with a stream and good hot showers. There is a great paved bike path that runs near the campground and there are also mountain biking trails around, as well as some trails in Point Reyes. Kate

Bike route to Albany Target

Feb 2006

Since our baby's arrival, I've been making frequent trips to the new Albany Target at 1057 Eastshore Hwy. I cross the tracks on Gilman and then ride along Eastshore. The ride back is not safe because of the narrow lane. Going in the other direction I have to take the overpass over the tracks which does not seem great either. Is there a better way to bike to Target from Berkeley? Pedro

I ride to Target via Buchanon (sp?). Stay to the right, get on the bike/sidewalk bridge and follow the bike path to the right, under the overpass. This brings you up on a marked bike lane/pedestrian crossing to proceed to Target. Gilman is soo chaotic and bumpy, I avoid it. Katia

Kid-friendly bike paths & where to get mom's bike

Feb 2006

We are seeking two bike-related recommendations, with more recent information than is posted on the web site. Can anyone recommend local bike paths that are both kid-friendly (e.g., safe), and mom-friendly (e.g., flat, ''easy'')? Either to access from our Berkeley home, or to bring our bikes to and then ride.

Secondly, what about a bike purchase for Mom? It seems like there's a ''new'' type of bike, ''comfort'' or ''cruiser'' bike, that just might fit the bill. Has anyone purchased a bike for easy family rides recently? How did you decide on the ''type'', and did you decide for or against the ''comfort'' bike? Recommendations for places to buy? Did anyone try purchasing a bike online, assuming the price was better that way, or is it essential to try a bike before buying? Among the names I keep seeing are K2 and Schwinn; would you recommend these, or others? Thanks for any and all recommendations for places, and for a bike to buy.
Hoping for easy, fun family bike rides!

I recently purchased a bike from Bay Area Bikes in Oakland. They take used bikes and refurbish them, and they are very reasonable in price. They have a great website, so you can see what they currently have available. The people who run it are very helpful, nice and knowledgeable... It was a great experience.

We take our bikes down to the bike path that runs along the bay, starting at Costco (the dog park) in Richmond. We ride to the Richmond Marina, stopping at the park for awhile. Our 3 year old can even ride his tricycle on this path... It's great!

Bike paths: there is a flat, paved bike path along the waterfront from Emeryville to Richmond. There are a whole slew of trails out in the Walnut Creek area along various canals, and the Iron Horse Trail that stretches from Pleasant Hill to Pleasanton. There is the Lafayette-Moraga trail, however that one has a few short hills, so maybe stick to the others first. Here's the link to East Bay Regional Parks District where you can learn more about the above trails. http://www.ebparks.org/parks.htm

Also, in Alameda, you can ride from Washington Park to Bay Farm Island. On Sundays, in SF, parts of Golden Gate Park are closed to traffic, so you can ride in the street without fear of cars. Also Lake Merritt in Oakland.

Don't buy a bike online. Different bikes ride differently (just like different cars feel different). You want to get one you feel comfortable on, one that's the right size.

Biking is such a joy! I purchased a Breezer Uptown, with the ''U'' frame, a few years ago to commute to work and it is a dream to ride. At first I was worried that it was too ''girlie'' as I have owned a true mountain bike for years. But I can go faster than my husband on his fancy moutain bike, albeit on flat stretches! Also the handlebars are upright so you are not slumped over. Lastly, it has a built-in light system, front and rear that runs on the rotation of the tires. Here's the website: http://www.breezerbikes.com/ Missing Link in Berkeley carrys them and they provide excellent service. You can take bikes out for test rides and they will adjust seat, handle bars etc. Hope that helps. Best of luck! Amma

I asked my husband, who is an avid cyclist and often takes us out riding, to recommend some paths and this was his response. Many of these paths are rather long, but you could easily do segments.

First off, stop at the BikeStation, underground at downtown Berkeley BART. Pick up a copy of the two EBBC Bicycle Transportation Maps - they show bike paths, and the best on-street routes to get to them. Specific recommendations are:

1) Ride over the Bike Bridge at the end of Addison Street, and turn left or right onto the Bay Trail.

2) Take BART to Embarcadero, and ride east along the waterfront, to the foot of the Golden Gate bridge. Or take a ferry to Sausalito, and return to Embarcadero BART over the Golden Gate (your only major hill is the Golden Gate bridge itself). Great views.

3) Take BART to Dublin/Pleasanton and ride the Iron Horse Trail to Pleasant Hill BART. This is a great full day trip, with plenty of chances for food and play stops along the way. Remember it's warmer on that side of the hills.

4) Take Amtrak to Sacramento, visit the rail museum, and take the American River Trail to Folsom Dam.

5) Take BART to Union City, take the Alameda Creek Regional Trail to Coyote Hills Regional Park. You'll see lots and lots of birds along the way, and have the option of going to the top of the hills for a view. Note: the trail itself has very few intersections, but the roads leading from BART are challenging.

6) Drive to Inspiration Point, take the Nimitz trail out and back. Good views, hilly but pleasantly so. Often crowded near Inspiration point.

7) Take BART to Lake Merritt or 19th Street. Orbit the lake. Rent a pedal boat, or frolic with the pigeons at the nature center. Expect narrow paths with cracks, bumps, and crowds.

8) Cycle to North Berkeley BART, and take the Oholone greenway under BART to El Cerrito del Norte. This route has frequent intersections, which may be stressful depending on your riding preferences. Note: while there is a separate pedestrian path, most pedestrians walk on the bike path. Return via BART or the AC Transit 72R Rapid Bus.

9) Drive to the southern tip of Alameda Island, and cycle over the bicycle drawbridge. Orbit Harbor Bay on the bike path. Windy, but great views. This route can also be accessed from Fruitvale BART, but only by more experienced road cyclists.

As for bike purchase: I've been riding ''comfort bikes'' for the last few years, and it's quite likely that you'll be steered into buying one if you go into a bike shop and explain your preferences. I generally do find them more comfortable than either mountain bikes or road bikes, but they are also generally more cheaply made, which means that you will have to adjust them more frequently. You should definitely try riding before purchasing a bike - each brand is quite different, and you want to find the right fit.

Have fun biking! Ilil and Bryce

East Bay trails for mom and kids

March 2005

I am actively searching for family/kid friendly bike paths and trails for a 6 year old and mom with baby seat on the back. We're not into the off road biking thing yet but have worn out Berkeley's Aquatic Park and Point Pinole routes. There are tons of trails in Tilden, but which are kid friendly. I'm looking for Bay Area Paths from Oakland up to Crocket. Thank you for any guidance we all need to lose our winter chub! Stace

The Nimitz trail from Inspiration Point at Tilden Park is paved and easy. Also check out the East Bay Regional Parks District website http://www.ebparks.org/. They have a number of trails: the Lafayette/Moraga Trail, the Contra Costa Canal Trail, and the Ironhorse trail are a few that are paved and pretty easy (Ironhorse is the flattest, L/M the hilliest of the three). There's also the Ohlone greenway that follows the BART tracks from the North Berkeley to the El Cerrito del Norte BART stations.

The website http://www.caskating.com/Tour.do?key=8=promptBrowseTour is for inline skaters, but everything they list should be appropriate for bikes, too. They mention the bike/pedestrian path on the Carquinez bridge. Carrie

Bike Trails in Berkeley for Little Kids

November 2001

Hi, I am looking for places to ride a bike in Berkeley with a 4 year old that are a little more exciting than a paved school yard, but definitely not public streets shared by cars. Are there any easy/safe bike trails or large paved lots in Berkeley or close by we might try out? thanks Constance

Inspiration Point in Tilden Park has a nice paved trail. Often used by families w/ stroller, tricycles, bikes, rollerblades etc... A bit of a drive to get there but the best view of anywhere. Nancy

A bicycle trail from the El Cerrito dog park out by Costco goes along the marsh to the Richmond Marina. It is nice for young kids because it is flat, not too busy and ends up in a fun place, the boat marina. You can even have a snack at the market. If you go the whole way and back it would be alot of practice and a long ride for a 4 yr old. take a right at the first intersection off I-580 as you go out to Costco - you will intercept the bike trail here just before it heads out through the marsh. Lissa

I can make two recommendations. The first would be the trail under the bart tracks from Richmond to north berkeley bart. Toward the north berkeley end there is some street riding to get from one piece to the other, but there is a large stretch from the richmond end (near Barrett) toward berkeley where the only thing you have to do is cross an occasional street. The second would be the new piece of bay trail from Albany to richmond. Drive down Buchanan in Albany toward the Golden Gate fields racetrack, and as you go under the freeway and approach the parking lot, you'll notice the trail paralleling the freeway to your right. It runs all of the way to and through the Marina Bay housing development, past the pt isabel dog park, and over wetlands. It is a pretty ride, no cars (except one big street crossing at central) and the dog park is an added plus for a 4 year old (and there are bathrooms there). You could also park at pt. isabel and pick up the trail from there, thus avoiding streets altogether. Janet

We have such a great bike path here in Berkeley - the Bay Trail that circles the Bay all the way from Costco into Richmond. Start at the intersection just beyond the freeway overpass that you drive over to get to Costco. It's a little bit of a challenge spotting the start of the trail (it's on your right if you're driving toward Costco) but this is such a wonderful place for new bicyclers, kids on scooters or Rollerblades, or just for a stroll. No cars to worry about, flat smooth pavement, wonderful scenery, amazing birds to spot, not a whole lot of people. The only trick is that it's not great to ride your bike to - we drive there and then unload bikes. And here's my question: I'm so taken by this bike trail that I want to get involved with extending it all the way across the Bay Bridge and into the City. Does anyone know where I could volunteer to be an activist so our kid's kids can bike across the bridge? Thanks Ann

There's a trail at Aquatic Park in the soutwest corner of Berkeley. It goes along the... (are they considered lakes?), and there's a great play structure for kids.

Ohlone Park along Hearst has long paths for a little rider. Also, most of the Ohlone Greenway north of about Gilman St. in north Berkeley is quite nice -- though your ride will be interrupted at every cross street.

You can ride all the way around Cesar Chavez Park at the Berkeley Marina. Remember that it can be quite windy out on the bay.

There are also miles of car-free paths along the bay north of the Berkeley Marina. They're not all well-connected, and some stretches are more scenic -- and better suited for kids -- than others. The bit just north of the Berkeley Marina lies west of the frontage road and the highway. The horse track breaks up the path (though adults can cycle over a big hill and through the parking lot). It continues north along the highway, separated by a low cement wall and a fence (one of lower points).

It gets better from there, where it meets up with trails associated with the Point Isabel Regional Shoreline. There's a parking lot at a park sort of around behind Costco in Richmond. You can take a wide, paved trail north through the wetlands along the bay, and there are even these neat signs that tell about the area's ecology. If you keep going, you'll reach a park with swings and a play structure. If you're still feeling adventurous, there are more stretches of path if you continue following the coast. Some bits of the path north of the park are plenty wide, but have no guard or fence on the bay side and a rocky, wet drop of a couple of feet. Greg

Easy bike paths

May 2000

I'd like to add a number of bike paths, but will confine myself to one of my favories and one of the easiest. It begins at the corner of Spruce and Wildcat Canyon. Parking along Grizzley Peak at that point is easy and not busy. Keep on Wildcat Canyon (past the Brazilian Room) to the Inspiration Point parking lot (on your left). (Potty stop). Then take the Nimitz Way (paved path) to the real inspiration point.

Both Wildcat Canyon and the Nimitz Way are great for vistas, easy riding, little traffic (no cars on the Nimitz Way) ... and it's only a 15 mile round trip! You'll see the best views in the Bay Area. When you reach the end of the Nimitz Way, climb up to the World War II bunkers for still more spectacular views of the Bay!!!!

                  '                 '                 '                 ' --Wildcat Canyon                       '                 ' _______________'__________________________________________________   --------------------- Grizzley Peak-------------------               '               '               ' --Spruce               ' 



If you don't mind going through the Caldecott tunnel to Contra Costa County you should check out the Contra Costa Canal Trail which runs through parts of Martinez, Pleasant Hill, Concord and Walnut Creek, and also the Iron Horse Trail (used to be a railroad track) in Lafayette. Both of these trail are paved and off road. The only time you go onto a road is when you cross one going from one part of the trail to the next. Most of both trails go throug rural and residential areas. Biking either trails is one of my favorite forms of stress relief. Most of the trail is level. The East Bay Regional Parks has a description of the trails, including a link to a map on their website at http://www.wbparks.org/park/canaltr.htm. There's also a description of the trails including instructions on how to get to them from BART at http://slip.net/~leeway/cccanal.html. Marlene

Alameda: Bay Farm Island. Cross the bridge, then turn right. You can access one end of the trail at this point. Bob

Shady Bike Paths

July 1999

Check out the Lafayette Reservoir bike trail near St. Mary's College in Moraga. We rode it a couple years ago with two year olds in tow. If I recall correctly, there are many shady trees covering the bike trail the leads up to the reservoir. We also stopped at a nice playground, enjoyed a picnic lunch and let the kids play before heading back to our cars. It maded for a very nice family afternoon. (I think it was about 5 miles each way.)

Parts of the trail around Alameda, esp. through the lagoon areas on Harbor Bay Isle, are pretty shady. Also very flat and well-maintained.

The Bart path which goes under the BART tracks from Berkeley (near Toot Sweets) to Richmond (the Lucky on MacDonald and San Pablo) is fairly shady. It has little play areas along the way.

Bicycling Routes for Baby Trailer

June 2001

I'm looking for some good, safe bicycling routes in the East Bay for pulling a Burley. I'm familiar with the Nimitz and Lafayette/Moraga trails and would like to get some recommendations for other East Bay car-free paths and some roads with nice wide shoulders and/or minimal traffic. Where do you feel safe riding with your kids in tow? Thanks. Valerie

If you happen to be down south by Fremont there is a nice 2-mile flat path around Lake Elizabeth in Fremont Central Park. There are 3 playgrounds, a stream for wading in, plenty of acceptably clean bathrooms, and a swim lagoon nearby if you want to make a day of it. There are lots of geese, ducks, american coots and cormorants for the kids to look at while you ride. Susan

Our bike club, Grizzly Peak Cyclists, leads family bike rides once a month. Trails we've been on with a Burley are: Coyote Hills Regional Park(?) Fremont: Bay to Niles Canyon Ohlone Greenway, N. Berkeley BART to El Cerrito del Norte BART (lots of streets to cross, though) Roberts Regional Park (beach) in Alameda to Bay Farm Island The East Bay trail (esp. north of the race track in Albany to the end in Richmond) Other trails we've done without a Burley, but are fine for a Burley: Iron Horse trail, Walnut Creek to Danville San Leandro Marina to San Mateo Bridge (along the mudflats) The bike rides are open to everyone: please contact me if you'd like to be notified of future rides. Fran

I have taken my daughter biking on two car-free trails in the bay area that I really liked. One is the Iron Horse Regional Trail. Stretches from Concord to San Ramon, paved and a pretty flat ride. I usually park and begin my ride in Walnut Creek. My other favorite trail is the San Francisco Bay Trail at Point Isabel in Richmond. There's ample parking at Point Isabel (behind Costco in Richmond). Beautiful views on this trail. More info about these trails and others are available on the East Bay Regional Parks website: http://www.ebparks.org. Donna

Grizzly Peak Cyclists have family rides around once per month. You don't have to be a member to ride along, but membership is very inexpensive and well worth the support of the organization. The family rides are no more than 10 miles, generally on flat paths with stops at playgrounds and for snacks along the way. The rides are all over the Bay Area and well planned by ride leaders. My son is pulled in a Burley for these rides, but you'll find other kids on trail-a-bikes and bikes of their own. The families are nice and welcoming and we always have a great time. The website for GPC is: http://www.grizzlypeakcyclists.org/ Here you will find a current ride schedule. Rue

Suggested bike paths in East Bay for children on wheels or in burley trailer: 1.Bike path around Cesar Chavez park in Berkeley and around Marina and to end of Berkeley Pier. (about 6-7 miles RT) 2.Bike Path from Albany up through Pt Isabel to Point Richmond.)(about 10 miles RT) 3.Bike path from Crown Beach in Alameda to all around Bay Farm Island (about 10 -12 miles RT total) 4. Iron Horse Trail from Walnut Creek to San Ramon (about 15-20 miles RT) Enjoy! Christine

Marina Bay, in Richmond has a paved bicycle/walking trail which is part of the S.F. Bay Trail. It is basically a circle and perhaps around 2 miles long. There are several areas to park, but I would recommend parking at the end of the development at Vincent Park. Their is a great playstructure there, lots of sand and two swings. CWolfe

Just a couple other cycling routes you can consider (I personally have not done these with a bike trailer, but have run or ridden them myself, not necessarily recently) -around Lake Merritt. One area goes onto the street, if I can recall correctly, the rest is all pathway. The lake is really pretty, and the path goes past the bird pond, where you can stop and look or feed. It also passes the boat house and children's fairlyland, and a great little playground on Lakeshore near the freeway. I think it's about 3 mi around--not super long. -Did anybody mention the trail from Inspiration point? It's a little hilly, and the first part is a little crowded, but the views are lovely -On the peninsula: Sawyer Camp trail. Starts in San Bruno, I believe, off Skyline, but may be easier to locate if you start from Canada Road in San Mateo/Redwood City/Woodside. They used to (and probably still do) CLOSE Canada Road to cars the 1st and 3rd Sundays from April to October, and you can ride from near Hwy 92 junction to the Pulgas temple and beyond on the road. Very very relaxing, big wide quiet road with lots of families. You can go farther and hit the Sawyer Camp trail, which is a paved pathway (like Inspiration point, also has walkers and can sometimes be a little crowded), but my memory is that it felt like it was downhill in both directions! -Bike trails along the bay from Mill Valley to Tiburon. These aren't perfect, since you do have to cross a few streets, and some of it needs repaving, and sometimes other bikers go too fast, but it's pretty, and parts of it have the bike trail and walking path separated. Plus you can follow it all the way to the ferry (when I was a kid we used to ride across the GG Bridge, through Sausalito, along the bike trails, then come home on the ferry with the bikes) -Palo Alto and Mountain View shoreline trails, which are connected. Many but not all of them paved, good weather (warm), and a nature center in palo Alto, and a lake in Mountain View. Lots of families, and you probably could hook up with a nature talk if you call them.

While I have never taken a bike trailer, the SF Bay Trail is one you might try. You can park near Costco, at the Point Isabel dog park (take Central Ave. across freeways in El Cerrito). I don't know how long the trail is - I have been about 3 miles, but it goes further. Its a multi-use trail, no streets to cross and follows along the bay. Kristen