Mt. Tamalpais is the perfect weekend ride. It’s a fast roller coaster route through Northern California’s most beautiful coastal State Park. It’s loved by local riders– swapping stories of its legendary climb. Nature is at her best on Mt. Tam. You’ll wind past gentle waterfalls, race through whimsical, lime green mossy tree trunks, and take in the most incredible views Marin has to offer. Carve out a full afternoon for this ride, especially on the weekends when the traffic is heavier and there are more cyclists to share the road with.
The prominent East Bay peak known today as Devil Mountain or Mt. Diablo, is the centerpiece of Mt Diablo State Park. It has one of the largest views in the Western United States, and with clear skies in full force you can see all the way to the Sierras.
The 23.5 mile out and back path boasts a jaw dropping view at the summit and what makes that climb all worth your while is the hard earned descent. Climbing this mountain is a slow and steady grind at 5%, but -fair warning- the 13% grade home stretch footpath (about 700 feet long) shoots your heartbeat into your ears.
The 38-mile Paradise Loop features 1,600 feet of elevation, mostly easy rollers, vistas of the bay and city skyline, and places in Sausalito to stop for a snack. Paradise Loop winds through landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and Sausalito.
Start on the SF side of Golden Gate Bridge; once you cross it, ride down Alexander Avenue into Sausalito until you reach a bike lane that reaches all the way until the intersection with Highway 101. At about the 8-mile mark, you’ll hop onto a bike path that follows a former rail bed parallel to the freeway and alongside Richardson Bay.
Tunnel Road to Grizzly Peak – Berkeley. One of the classic road rides in the Berkeley Hills, this ride has a little bit of everything. The climb takes you up into the heights about San Francisco, offering spectacular views of the city below. The climbs are fun, with a stiff 2,000 feet of vertical gain on the way. As a straightforward loop, this ride should take cyclists around 2 hours or less, though there are many reasons to stop and admire the views. The city skyline, Mount Tamalpais, and the rolling hills are all worth a closer look. There are a few options to add on other destinations, such as Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve, and cyclists can make this a great half-day outing.
A great weekend ride in Marin is riding along the Pacific Ocean. It’s a legendary route on Highway One beginning at Shoreline Highway, passing through Muir Beach, following along the coast on Highway One, then looping back through Mt. Tam State Park.
Beginning in Mill Valley on Shoreline Highway, you’ll climb up Tamalpais Valley and then wind your way down to Muir Beach. From there, it’s a 500 foot ascent on Highway One. From here, it’s a 5-mile fast, winding roller coaster ride on Highway One to Stinson Beach. Instead of heading to town, you’ll follow signs to Mt. Tamalpais State Park and begin the 6.5 mile, category 2 climb up to Pantoll Ranger Station. It’s a hearty 1,800 ft. climb through the redwood forest. At the top, it’s an easy and fun descent along Panoramic Highway back down to Shoreline.
The Presidio, a former Army base and one of SanFrancisco’s most glorious outdoor spaces, is a popular spot for cycling, with more than 50 miles of bikeways. It’s also earned a place on the League of American Bicyclists’ annual list of bicycle-friendly places. Bicyclists cruise through the Presidio’s winding roads on their way to a long ride in Marin, while families and tourists take more leisurely routes through its multi-use trails and dedicated bikes lanes. New lanes are added every year, but some routes share the road with cars, so some experience riding in traffic is helpful if you plan to tackle anything other than its multi-use trails.