Editors: This story was originally published in Issue 155 of our quarterly Tube Times magazine.
Ever tried riding across the Golden Gate Bridge? Yearning to take you and your bike to explore the beauties of the Marin Headlands and North Bay? Adventure is only a bike ride away.
1. Hawk Hill
16 miles, Elevation gain: 2,146 feet
Known as one of the most scenic rides in the Bay Area, the vista points from this ride are breathtaking and well worth the climb. Ride over the Golden Gate Bridge and up into the Marin Headlands where you’ll enjoy unbeatable views.
2. Paradise Loop
37 miles, Elevation gain: 2,182 feet
Whether you’re looking to make a quick getaway from the city or going more fast-paced, Paradise Loop takes you on an easy-going trip through Sausalito, cruising around Mill Valley, to the edge of Tiburon and back along the coast. There are plenty of stops along the way for some coffee or a light snack.
3. Bolinas Ridge Loop
77 miles, Elevation gain: 8,029 feet
From dense redwood forest to open chaparral with gorgeous views of the Tomales Bay, the Bolinas Ridge trail will take you through some of the most beautiful scenery California has to offer. While not very technical, the Bolinas Ridge trail is extremely bumpy; a mountain bike is recommended.
4. Mt. Tamalpais
If you’ve only climbed Mt. Tam via the usual road routes, try some new routes that offer the most serene unpaved climbing in the Bay Area.
46 miles, Elevation gain: 4,598 feet
For those new to dirt riding or without squishy bikes with big tires, try climbing via Old Railroad Grade. It’s a mellow climb and the trail conditions are generally favorable for road bikes. From the summit you can descend via the usual road routes.
50 miles, Elevation gain: 6,075 feet
For more of a challenge, you can approach or return via the Headlands trail network. From SF, start down Miwok Trail towards Muir Beach. For maximum ride enjoyment, stop at Pelican Inn for some food and refreshments before the short climb up Highway 1 towards Coastal View Trail.
5. Santa Rosa Multimodal Weekend
69 miles one way, Elevation gain coming south: 3,380 feet
How about a multi-modal mountain biking adventure starting Friday after work that you can finish by Sunday night? Catch Golden Gate Transit (GGT) bus routes 101, 72 or 74 from downtown SF into Santa Rosa. (Be sure to confirm with GGT that your chosen stop is a designated bike loading stop.) From the Santa Rosa Transit Mall it’s just a five-mile ride to the Spring Lake Park campground, complete with a seasonally open swimming lagoon and several miles of mountain bike trails. Have a casual Sunday morning and visit Russian River Brewing Company on your way back to the transit center, or pack out early and enjoy the ride back to San Francisco.
There are so many ways to enjoy the Bay Area by bike. For more routes, check out the “Route Archive” and “Permanents” listed by the San Francisco Randonneurs: sfrandonneurs.org.
Co-authored by Mara Mabugat | Communications Intern.