Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Scenic Cycling: Bay Bridge-Bay Trail

The majority of the cycling miles I do are training rides for upcoming events.  I enjoy long rides, tough climbs and all the benefits that follow but lately I just haven't had the motivation to spend hours and hours out on the road.  I sure this is just a phase - don't get me wrong, I still want to be out on my bike, but just enjoy a nice 3-4 hour ride instead of being gone all day.

About two weeks ago Samantha and I had a big ride scheduled up in Santa Rosa but due to some time constraints we opted for something a little shorter and closer to home.  The new eastern span of the San Francisco Bay Bridge had just opened and has a pedestrian/bike path.  We both decided to try and incorporate riding over it into our route.

If you are a cyclist you MUST check out Ride Chronicles.  She has the most amazing route library complete with printable route sheets and maps.  She posts amazing pictures from the route and usually builds in a great break/lunch spot.  When Samantha and I decided to ride the bridge I went directly to her site to see if she had done it.  Sure enough she posted a great 30 mile ride that included the Bay Bridge, lunch and a new trail to explore all starting and ending in Berkeley.  We were sold. 

We parked at Dreamland Playground in Aquatic Park in Berkeley.  We got there early so there was a ton of (free!) parking.  There were also open public (fairly clean) restrooms.


The first ten miles took us from Berkeley to the the end of the new pedestrian/bike path on the Bay Bridge and back to where we started.


The old bridge was not pedestrian/bike friendly so everyone is very excited about this.  Currently the path stops right before Yerba Buena Island but there is talks that once the old section of bridge is torn down it will extend to Treasure Island and maybe even someday cyclists will be able to bike from the Bay Bridge, along the Embarcadero all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge.

The path is about 15 feet wide and has specific lanes for cyclists and walkers/runners (although people weren't too good about staying in their designated lanes).  There is a 15 mph speed limit for cyclists and bike police out on patrol.

The old section of bridge alongside the new.

Notice the perfect foggy, cool weather!!

After we exited the bridge we jumped on the Bay Trail which took us all the way up to the Richmond Marina.  Along the way we passed behind Golden Gate Fields and the Pt. Isabel Regional Shoreline/Dog Park which I made a mental note that I had to return to with the pups.  The park was just huge and had an adorable little cafe appropriately called "Sit & Stay Cafe" and a dog wash called "Mudpuppy's Tub & Scrub" so you could clean your dog up before you left.  The entire route had us along the water which provided beautiful (abet foggy) views of the San Francisco skyline and the Golden Gate Bridge. 


Lunch was at Assemble at Fort Point on the Richmond waterfront which had a fun, industrial vibe.


To get back to our car we simply headed back the way we came on the Bay Trail. 

This was by far one of the "easiest" rides Samantha and I had ever done together as there was only about 370 feet of elevation gain but we decided we definitely wanted more rides together to "explore" and see new areas.  The Marin Headlands, Golden Gate Park and the Golden Gate Bridge are next up on the list.


I am so glad we were able to do this ride and with winter coming and the fact that the organized rides will die down for a bit it will be fun to just get out and ride my bike for the pure joy of it and not worry if I am getting in enough miles or climbing enough elevation for the upcoming event.  There are a lot of pretty places waiting to be explored out there!
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3 comments:

  1. Can't wait for more of these types of rides! So much to see.

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  2. I jsut drove over the new bridge for the first time this past weekend. It looks beautiful! What a great way to see the bridge by cycling on it. Glad you had a great day!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Kristen! I love exploring new places cycling or running. It reminds me why I love both activities so much!

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