Sometimes the best routes aren’t the longest or the ones that take you furthest from home. They can be the ones you go to when you just need to get away for an hour or two.
The Bay Area is home to a bunch of those so figuring out which one is worth sharing is a toss up. But here’s a go-to that has just about everything you’d want –even if the weather’s a little iffy.
Start at the junction of Highway 92 and the 35. There’s a parking lot here that gives you an expansive view of the entire east part of the bay area. From here you’ll head south on the 35 through redwood forests hitting some nice twisties that periodically open up to some straightaways that let you pick up the pace. Two things to watch for – bicyclists and the crazy shadows and blind spots created by the way the sun shines through the trees.
You’ll ride past infamous Alice’s Restaurant. If you so desire, stop and take a look at what will be an eclectic mix of bike’s and exotic cars. If you got a late start, stop for breakfast or lunch, then get back on the road.
Alice’s sits at the junction of the 35 and the 84. If you go right on the 84, you’ll stay in the redwoods until you get closer to the ocean and Highway 1. More twisties, some tight sweepers, and plenty of incredible scenery.
Once you get to the 1, head north up to Half Moon Bay and you’re back where the 92 and the 1 meet. Head right on the 92 and you’ll eventually pass the parking lot at the top of the hill where you first started.
If you want a longer ride, stay south on the 35 from Alice’s until you get to the 9. Head right on the 9 and follow it all the way to where it meets the 1 at Santa Cruz. Here you’ll have the option of going right on the 1 and heading back toward Half Moon Bay or take a left on the 1 and either head further south along the coast toward Monterey. You can also immediately get on the 17 and ride back toward Silicon Valley.
If you want to extend the ride down the 9 before you hit Santa Cruz, take the 236 loop, also known as the Big Basin Loop. You’ll find hard down and up hill turns, and twisties out the ass. Otherwise, stay on the straighter, wider and more sedate 9.
Depending on where you’re starting from to get to that parking lot at the junction of the 35 and 92, you can count on a good 4-7 hours of riding — including late breakfast or lunch. But what else do you have to do on a cloudy winter day?