The Bay Area's Prettiest Bike Trails
Cover new ground, from the bay to the East Bay hills
Why spend your precious pennies on indoor cycling classes when you can hit the road all around the Bay Area? (Ain’t nothing like the real thing, right?) Dust off that bike, strap on a helmet and treat yourself to some of these scenic rides.
The 4.3-mile ride (one way) along the northern tip of San Francisco, from Fort Mason to the Golden Gate Bridge, is the ultimate city ride. You?ll bike the length of mostly flat Crissy Field before climbing up to Fort Point at the base of the bridge. For an extra challenge, continue across the bridge and then walk your bike up to the Marin Headlands overlook for breathtaking views.
Tiburon Loop (aka Paradise Loop)
This 22-mile loop is so rich with eye candy--Richardson Bay, Angel Island and the hilltop mansions along Paradise Drive--that you’ll be hard-pressed to keep your eyes on the road. Start in San Rafael and head east through the car-free Cal Park Hill Tunnel, which was once a freight-train track, then pedal south through Larkspur and follow the path along the waterfront. Grab a well-deserved pint at Sam’s in Tiburon before following the road back to your starting point.
On Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., this 3.8-mile (round trip) stretch of road between Filoli Estate and Highway 92 on the peninsula is closed to traffic. Pedal through amber-hued rolling hills and past the sparkling waters of Crystal Springs Reservoir.
Biking through wine country is a bucket-list item worth checking off. Start your ride in downtown Saint Helena. Cycle down Pope Street to Old Howell Mountain Road, then take Conn Valley Road all the way to Lake Hennessey. The 12-mile one-way ride is great for beginners. You’ll pass wineries and picnic areas, plus miles of vines along quiet rural roads. Stop off for a taste or two along the way.
This 13.5-mile loop in the East Bay runs along the lake before winding up along fire roads with views of straw-colored rolling hills. Be prepared for a strenuous climb (about a 10 percent grade at the steepest parts), but what goes up must come down. Get your downhill thrill with a quick descent back to the lake.