CiclaValley Returns for East Bay Cycling: Part 2

Day two of my East Bay Cycling trip was the one I looked forward to most. My friend Matt had mapped out a trip, but had to stick to home renovating work at the last minute. At least my oldest friend, Laren, would join me for the trip.

Laren lives in the Palo Alto area(I’ll say it, he works at Stanfurd), but has never really biked in the East Bay either. Since he’s kind of a local, I looked to him to guess how warmly I would dress. It was a bit chilly, but I thought his winter gloves and thermal pants were a bit much. I still went with knickers, but left my jacket back. It turned out being one of those rare days where I was appropriately dressed.

Enough Project Runway. If you need to catch up, here’s part one. Otherwise, let’s get to the riding!


We started our way down the bike boulevard of California Street. The air definitely feels fresher here.


We couldn’t help but overhear these cyclists as they passed. They were talking about something ultra smart and had university connections. You do know that Cal is the top public university in the world..


The gorgeous landmark Claremont Hotel is tucked into the start of the hills celebrating its 100th year anniversary.


I was sold on Berkeley the moment I touched ground on Tunnel Road. Now, I finally get to bike it!


Tunnel Road winds its way up the hills at a comfortable grad where you have views of the Caldecott Tunnel. So that’s why it’s called Tunnel Road!


Tunnel turns into Skyline Blvd. and this is our view forty minutes into the ride. Yes, there’s houses up here, but still, this is the prevailing view.


Laren points out downtown Oakland is just to our right and he can crush it with his little fingers.


One of the comforting things about riding here was that cyclists far outnumbered cars on these elevated roads.


We started descending down a windy road called Pinehurst. It was really difficult to take photos and even tougher to get any sun.


Pinehurst eventually straightened about and we were rewarded with a magical trip through the Redwoods. Just to think this was an hour away. Unfortunately, all I got were blurry shots because the road is so fast!!


We started our turn back making a left onto Canyon Road. The trees were instantly gone, but what a contrast being greeted by these rolling California hills.


We had to make our way back through Moraga and while cars zipped by at a pretty good clip, at least there was plenty of space for cyclists.


Crossing under the merging traffic of Highway 24, cyclists are at least given a green lane to warn cars where we’re going to ride. What a novel idea!


Just like the day before, we made our return up Wildcat Canyon back to Berkeley. I tried to keep my clothing Bay Area themed wearing my ornot jersey and their Mt. Tam socks.


Made it to the top to Inspiration Point at Tilden Park. Nothing weird happened.


We decided to come down Euclid Ave. because it was far more scenic and less hairy than coming down Centennial the day before.


Had to make a side trip to visit some of my favorite Bernard Maybeck homes. If you’ve never heard of him, shame on you! He was the mentor to Julia Morgan(Hearst Castle) and designed the wonderful Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. The concrete Lawson House was built in 1907 as a response to a number of Berkeley fires burning his previous buildings down. Looks pretty new, eh?

BerkD223The Temple of the Wings is another unique structure that originally had the columns, a roof and no infill. A fire hit this house as well and the reconstruction added an interior.

*****  *****  *****  *****  *****

I really enjoyed my rides on this trip. We had planned on doing Mount Diablo on Sunday, but rain took that out of the equation.

Still, this was a trip that leaves me wanting more. I missed out on a lot and there is definitely making up in my plans.