Where to Practice Bike Riding

Parent Q&A

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  • Hi!  I am new to the area and was wondering if there any bike paths for children learning to ride bikes in the El Cerrito/Berkeley area?  Thanks!

    There is a bike path that runs from Berkeley at Gilman and Santa Fe, all the way through Albany and El Cerrito. However, it gets quite busy and I would not recommend it until the children can ride with some confidence. For learning to ride, my daughter used the Thousand Oaks school playground on weekends. Also the Korematsu and Albany Middle school playgrounds are pretty big, flat, and not busy on weekends. Good luck!

    My son learned to ride on the paved loop in Cerrito Vista Park in El Cerrito and the Ohlone Greenway. I would stay off the Greenway during commute hours, but it is usually mellow on weekends. I've also seen a lot of beginners on the Fairmont Elementary playground on weekends.  

    The bart trail is good but as another person noted can be crowded.
    There is also the bay trail, along the water, which also goes near the adventure playground. And the ocean.

    We taught our daughter to ride a bike in the playground area at Fairmont Elementary, and also along the circular path at Cerrito Vista Park on Moeser Lane.

    Have fun!!

    Cerrito Vista Park has a large loop around it that's great for learning to ride. 

    I used to take my kid to the Bay Trail bike path off Pt. Isabel.  You can park in the parking lot at the end of the street just before Costco.  Don't know where you live but you could ride around Memorial Park and behind Albany HS and of course along the Ohlone Greenway in El Cerrito north of the BART.  Pt. Pinole has lots of paved trails.  

    Biking guides recommend Nimitz Way up in Tilden Park. Great views, but too difficult we found for beginning cyclists. (Too many hills.)

    My favorite: the Bay Trail by the Richmond Marina. You can access it by the Marina, up by Pt Isabel (by Costco), just off the Bayview exit of 580, and multiple other places. Absolutely flat, gorgeous views, wildlife and -- if your little one can make it that far -- you can stop at the Rosie the Rivetter historical site and learn some WWII history, too. There are a few restaurants around Rosie, too, to make it an outing.

    Yes! Ohlone trail it’s paved and runs from Berkeley to el cerrito

    I would NOT take a beginning cyclist on the Ohlone Greenway (as other posters have mentioned, it runs from downtown Berkeley to the El Cerrito/Richmond border). Adult cyclists go FAST and are not tolerant (or careful) of children veering out of the right hand side. In El Cerrito it's particularly bad because the trail splits at a couple points, gets narrower, and there's no striping to indicate who goes where. I do this path daily as a pedestrian in EC; not a good place to learn to ride. We taught our kids at the El Cerrito Plaza BART parking lot (on Willow) on weekends. Others have mentioned the Fairmont School playground; please note there is no open restroom here so I wouldn't advise it for kids. Cerrito Vista Park, when Little League isn't going on, is a better bet. The Prospect Sierra playground may also be open on weekends (?); I believe it is flat (at the elementary site).

  • Is there an equivalent to a skate park but for bikes?  I'm looking for a flat place for my toddler to learn how to bike and my 6 year old to have fun on her bike.  We used to be able to use the school yard at Bret Hart MS, however, it has been closed off to the public.  Any other recs?  Note, I'm not asking about child-friendly trails.  Thanks. 

    Thousand Oaks school in Berkeley is a great place for young kids to ride bikes. Have fun!

    When my son was younger, we used Redwood Heights elementary school lot. I think it is still open.

    You might also use the Corpus Christi parking lot on Park Blvd, at Estates.  (we attend school there). It is open and the local community uses it for basketball and play, so I'm sure you could find a corner to bike.

    Bryan in Oakland

    We used the UC Berkeley campus on quiet weekend mornings for this - you can find flat spots, but we were looking for the slight slope for learning how to balance without having to pedal at the same time (similar to learning on a balance bike, but with a regular bike).  Lots of wide open paved spaces!

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Where to ride a bike with a kid who is learning

Jan 2012

My son is just learning to ride his bike and I am wondering if people have a favorite Berkeley place to go riding with their kids when they are just learning. I love to ride my bike too and would like to ride along with him. Is that a good idea? Where should we go? Thanks for any suggestions! anon

for just starting out, the playground at king middle school in berkeley is really large, with lots of space to experiment. once he is more comfortable riding, the trail along the water and frontage roads in berkeley is nice, as is the one near aquatic park. flat.... anon

We live in the Berkeley Hills--not conducive to learning to ride a bike. We took our kids to Cragmont School. Its playground has lots of gentle slopes and there's lots of room to ride around. We also tried LHS with our son 13 years ago--maybe Cragmont's playground wasn't finished then. It also has wide open spaces but is all cement. Cragmont has a lot of bouncy rubberized surfaces. Francesca

check out www.geared4kids.org They have monthly bike rides with music and stops at parks along the way. Lisa

The Bay Trail! No cars; wide, paved, flat path. Bathrooms along the way. Great views! Drive to the Richmond Costco on Central Ave...go PAST Costco's gas entrance, and then take your first right turn. The trail starts right next to that small parking lot. heidilee

Flat places to bike with the kids in Oakland?

Nov 2010

I noticed all the previous reviews are pretty old so I thought I would put it out there in case there happens to be a new place. I'm looking to ride with my 4 year old son who just learned to ride his bike. Thanks. Jessica

The Bay Trail is a fine and flat place to bicycle. It runs all along the east bay -- Alameda sea side is nice, right along the beach. In Berkeley you can visit the marina and look at the boats, or go by the bay's edge, passing the dog walking park. You can catch a piece of it from the highway leading up to the San Mateo bridge -- get off shortly before the toll plaza on the east side, and park at the ranger station. You can bike through very interesting marsh areas with lots of birds. Love bicycling! GW

Easy bike riding locations in Oakland for 4-year-old

Jan 2005

Can anyone recommend easy bike riding locations in Oakland for a 4-year-old-old new rider and his stroller-pushing mommy? jolie

Have you tried Lake Merrit? They have a nicely paved, very wide, flat path along the side of the lake that goes from near the ducks and the playground to the columns. happy riding