Where to go Biking
Archived Q&A and Reviews
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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