San Francisco Hill Tour Bad weather changed our weekend plans to expand on the South Bay loop we’ve been exploring.  Saturday’s forecast predicted a 10% chance of rain and just our luck, it started to rain as we headed out.  If a flat tire hadn’t postponed our ride out time, we might have been drenched en route.öja.html We waited for the rain to clear.  To avoid getting stuck in the freezing rain too far from home, we decided to explore some San Francisco hills.  The green parts of the SF Bike Map & Walking Guide inspired us to ride from The Mission to Bernal Heights Park (200ft), Glen Park (400ft), Twin Peaks (800ft) and Buena Vista Park (500ft). Starting near Dolores Park, we found our way to Bernal Heights southbound on Valencia St., East on Cesar Chavez St and South on Folsom.  At the intersection of Folsom and Precita we looked at a 15%+ grade hill.  We fumbled our way around Alabama, Ripley, and Folsom but I’m not sure we actually avoided steep climbs. (It was worth a try.)  In the end, the climb wasn’t as bad as it looked. We rode into the park which overlooks the San Francisco skyline and the hills we would soon visit.

Looking for a good place to descend, we encountered a couple of staircases and carried our bikes down one of them to Gates St.  Then we zigzagged south towards Richland to Chenery and headed to Glen Canyon Park.  The last time I rode through Glen Park, my bike was fully loaded for a bike camping trip to Half Moon Bay.  Even though I wasn’t carrying as much gear and had a faster bicycle this time, the climb seemed just as challenging.  Lynn kicked my ass, as always.

We passed Glen park and rode up Portola to Twin Peaks.  Twin Peaks is one of the places I take visitors from out of town to check out the amazing views of the city.  This was my first time going by bike.

On the way up, we were impressed by a man who was jogging just as fast as we were riding. We made it to the top and along with many tourists, took a break to look over the city.

Northbound on Twin Peaks to Clarendon, we found ourselves at the base of some stairs that lead to Tank HillTank Hill was the site of a drinking water tank from 1894-1957 and became a city park in 1977.  We carried our bikes up the stairs to get a good view from the top.  The somewhat rocky terrain probably wasn’t good for our cleats.

Our next stop was Buena Vista Park in the Upper Haight.  Steep hills or fatigue, I was climbing at 3.6 mph where lately I’ve been climbing hills at around 7mph.  ::shrug::

At the top, awesome views and cute dogs playing.  To complete our ride, we rode past Corona Heights and back to The Mission through The Castro.

Yay, San Francisco!

I think the weather is keeping me from training like I need to.  My goal for this week is to try a spin class.  No excuses!


Training Ride Canceled

When I woke up today, I decided to join the AIDS/Lifecycle 2010 kick off ride to Mill Valley and back.  The scheduled route was Ride 1 of the CAT series.  I have been riding at least 40 miles at at time lately and wondered if this 22 mile ride would satisfy me.

As I left my place, it was pretty misty and the roads were wet.  I made it to the Sports Basement at 9:15 and didn’t see any other riders.  I thought perhaps I missed the ride or missed the cancellation memo.  I almost took off on my own thinking I could stand riding for an hour in drizzle.

I circled the parking lot and eventually found the group.

I enthusiastically encouraged people to ride, but my attitude took a turn as the ride time approached.  The drizzle increased, my fingers and toes became numb and the cold wetness sunk down to my bones.  Burr!  One of the riders offered me a ride home and I accepted.

What a bummer.  Only rode 4 miles today.  I’m going to at least get some yoga in today and I’ll to look into spinning classes for this week.  I don’t want to fall behind.


Sawyer Camp Trail + SF to G (backwards)

This weekend we revisited the Sawyer Camp Trail following the same route as last time.  We tried to take off at 9:30am but didn’t actually leave the Panhandle until 10:30am (an improvement from our 1pm departure last week).  It’s rough this time of year because we’re usually racing the sunset.  Can’t wait until the days get longer and we can go further.

On the trail we saw the usual peaceful deer and ducks and while stretching on a post, I encountered a huge spider!

Huge Spider

Once we got to Canada Rd. that Bicycle Sunday sign read “Canceled”.  This means they didn’t close the road to motorists.  I called the info line and found out that they were only canceled for the New Year holiday (phew).  The road was still really pleasant and car traffic was low.

Bicycle Sunday Cancelled Sign

We stopped at Roberts Market in Atherton for a food and restroom break.  The staff was nice and the food was pretty damn yummy (and cheaper than the Woodside Cafe where we ate last time).

This is where our route deviates from last time. Lynn had the great idea to follow the SFtoG Bayway route, the directions Google employees usually take from San Francisco to Google.   We had to follow the directions backwards since they only went north to south.  The cue sheet also confusing because it lacked mileage between turns and we juped in at a random place in the directions.  En route, I tried to use the iPhone to help us hook up to the route from Woodside Rd..  Dude, looking at satellite view of Google maps on an iPhone Safari browser sucks.  Frustrated, I used the map app and found a quick route to the Bayshore Blvd.

(Confusing directions begin.)

We continued East on Woodside, went Left on El Camino Real, Right on Jefferson, Left on Veterans  and Right on Whipple, where we took a pedestrian path across the crazy 101 entrance. We looked up to see a Bay Trail sign and hopped on the reverse of the SF to G route (see the turn by turn direction “Str onto E Bayshore Rd” between “L on Blomquist St” and “Turns in Haven Ave”).  I’m going to map it out when we go down there next time and maybe even become a member of so that I can provide turn by turn directions with mileage.

(Confusing directions end.)

The rest was easy, fun and pretty damn beautiful.

(San Mateo Bridge)

While riding down Beach Park in Foster City/ San Mateo we encountered several beautiful stray cats.  We also ran into a friend and her date!  Crazy coincidence.  They were photographing the cats.  I’ll have to ask her to let me post some photos here.  We were loosing light, so we turned off to the San Mateo Caltrain Station and headed back to the city.  Our ride was about 55 miles this time.  We plan to build on it next time by starting earlier and not spending so much time trying to find ourselves.

Fun times!


Cycling Fashion: Slick vs. Retro

Until very recently, I was resistant to spandex and Lycra and any cycling athletic wear that made it seem you had to spend a thousand bucks on an outfit to ride a bicycle.  After riding longer rides, I realized that cycling shorts, arm/leg warmers and jerseys served important functions.  I started looking at thrift stores for cycling clothing.  Like a game of Where’s Waldo, I’ve found some cool and interesting cycling clothing for pretty damn cheap.

Today I’m getting ready to go on a ride and trying to decide between the $1.99 slick jersey I got at the Salvation Army in Healdsburg or the crazy early 90’s Jersey I found at Thrift Town in SF for about $4.  One definitely makes me feel sexier, but I’m not sure if that’s in important factor in cycling.  I’m going to wear the retro jersey to find out!