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Virtual Ride Alongs

GIVE OUR FAVORITE RIDES A TRY

While group rides have been on hold due to COVID, we've been exploring on our own and you're invited to come along! Check out our adventures below, complete with maps and commentary.

Cari's Ride - Sibley

21 June 2021

Cari takes an impulsive overnight bike camping trip up to Sibley in this weeks virtual ride installment. Grab your sleeping bag and camping stove, and be sure to share your pics on socials with the hashtag #abshopride

This was a last minute solo camping trip at Sibley Volcanic Park on Skyline drive in Oakland.

Sibley is so close it makes for a super easy overnight. I sometimes even go before or after work. I packed a good deal this time but you can definitely get by with less than I brought with me. For example, you can have get there without the rack and panniers by using Surly (or your favorite brand) straps to attach the tent to the handle bars and used a frame bag, or even a stem bag. I love using as many bags as possible for organizing as much as capacity. But since this is also my commuting bike I just rode it as it was setup.

A wider tire commuter bike is great for this kind of ride. It's mostly pavement in various states of crumbling.  You can do it on any bike but wider tires will be more comfortable. I'm riding Schwalbe big apples 26x2.35. 38-36-22 chainrings 12-36 cassette. Ergo grips, power saddle, odyssey pedals, on this 1986 Schwinn High Sierra frame.

I brought my Ti camp mess kit but no stove. I brought cans of cold coffee so I didn't need my coffee kit. I brought and was completely motivated by a burrito.

One change of clothes so I didn't have to sleep in sweaty clothes, but on the ride I just wore my clothes that I wore to work: jeans, t-shirt, hoodie. If it's a longer ride or I'm in a different riding position I'll wear a kit but 20 miles or less especially on the upright High Sierra I'll just ride casual. Vans. 

My gear includes a Nemo Hornet 2p tent, a Nemo Kyan 35 degree bag, a Thermarest neo-air XLite, a small inflatable pillow. I got all this stuff thru our shop before supply chain was knocked out. This gear is super light weight and small, would be great for bike packing. At a certain level lightweight gear is really delicate, its kind of unavoidable. For this use it's kind of overkill but I only have one set of gear, and I have aspirations where weight matters more. Come in if you have questions on how to care for your fancy gear.

Scott's Ride - Redwood Loop

21 June 2021

Scott brings us back from our virtual hiatus with this week's ride in the Oakland hills. Dust off your hardtail and get to riding, and as always share your pics on socials with the hashtag #abshopride

The West Ridge/East Ridge loop is an Oakland hills classic - Great on a hardtail mountain bike, and doable on a gravel bike if you're cool with steep, rough descents. Start at the parking lot at the Ranger Station on Skyline Boulevard (it's technically called the Trudeau Training Center if you're into specifics).  Head up Dunn Trail.   Lots of hikers, but it's a blast to pedal up.  Great views out to your right into Serpentine Prairie.  When you reach the intersection for Graham Trail, hang a left and begin to climb.  There's one little steep section but it isn't too bad.  Keep pedaling up through the Scotch Broom and you'll eventually be rewarded with a great view of Mt. Diablo.

You'll see a little singletrack on your right that isn't marked. It's a fun little kicker which takes you back down to Dunn. We've heard it called Graham Cracker before, so let's call it that. It's a swoopy, flowy minute or two of riding, which dumps you out back onto Dunn trail. Hang a left on Dunn and head deeper into Redwood. When you see the intersection with Baccharis Trail, turn right and continue down Baccharis towards West Ridge. You can pick up some pretty good speed here (and especially once you dump onto West Ridge). West Ridge is flowy and fast at first, but gets steep as it heads down into the valley. Lots of ruts, plenty of bumps - a section to be careful on for sure, but also one that tests your trail skills.

When you reach the bottom of West Ridge, you'll take Stream Trail to connect to the main parking lot. From there, you'll begin the horrible awful no good climb up Canyon Trail, which is a steep, unrelenting pitch that takes you up to East Ridge. It's ok to take a break on this one, it's hard! When you hit East Ridge, make a left and climb up to the top. It's sort of a staircase of a trail - bits of flat sections interspersed with some bits of climbing, all the way to the top. There's some gorgeous tree cover at times, but much of it is hot and exposed.

At the top is Skyline Gate. There's water and bathrooms here. On my ride, I like to take a short diversion to the Fire Station at the corner of Snake Road and Skyline Boulevard. That would mean taking a right out of the parking lot and heading down the road apiece. Why the diversion? They have a vending machine with 60 cent cans of sparkling water (and soda). A perfect way to cool off on a hot day. From there, head back to Skyline Gate, and take West Ridge trail back towards the Redwood bowl. Pop out onto the road and peel off at the new Joaquin Miller Pump Track. Take a lap on the track (no braking!) and then head down the singletrack from the far side of the pump track. This is a soft and steep descent right back down towards where you parked to begin your ride.

George's Ride - Iron Horse Trail

23 May 2021

We're so excited to be able to work alongside George once again in our shop, and this week we're sharing one of his recent rides with everyone. Get out on the Iron Horse Trail this week - either loaded up like George did or unloaded - and share your pics on socials with the hashtag #abshopride

I have plans to do a 300 mile tour in Oregon at the end of July, so the inspiration for this ride was to get in a good amount of fully loaded miles mostly on low grade bike paths in the East Bay. I started by packing my bike with everything that I'd need for a full week on the road. Better to discover any issues early on and ensure everything fits while I have the ability to BART home relatively easily. My bike, with all it's gear, clocked in at 73lbs for today's ride.

Start off this ride from Orinda Bart, and head out onto to St. Stephens trail. This is a nice greenway that bypasses a much steeper hill to the right. Next we roll thru the streets of Orinda and down Hidden Valley Road. I'm rolling with traffic here and using downtown bypasses until I stop at Whole Foods in Walnut Creek for a quick bike to eat. If I'm in need of a sweet treat there's a Dunkin' Donuts directly across the street - ahh temptation!

After the lunch break, it's on to the Iron Horse Trail. If you've never ridden it before, it's an especially nice, protected bicycle and walking paved trail. A great place to get in a nice long ride - especially for those weary of riding in traffic! There's plenty of benches and nice little places to stop and explore, like Hemme Station Park, where you can find out a little history about the area. I won't have to ride with traffic again till I'm almost at Pleasanton Bart. Overall a quiet scenic ride, but a bit of a workout with a 70lbs bike. Hope to see you out on the road somewhere!

Eduardo's Ride - Lake Chabot, Oyster Bay and Bay Farm

16 May 2021

Eduardo leads this week's virtual ride, and its a choose how hard you want to work adventure! As always, get out there and ride, and don't forget to share pics on socials with the hashtag #abshopride

This is my hump day ride that I like to go out on every week! I start off by heading up Lake Chabot Road towards the park until you see the turnoff for McGregor George Trail. This is a great, lightly trafficked area to get in some fairly short, high intensity hill climbs. Three of these is enough to get the heart pumping, and it's a good primer for rest of this long but fairly flat ride - I like to get my cardio out of the way early :) Feel free to do more or less of these depending on how fit you're feeling that day. Mid-week really works best, as the road stays pretty wide open.

Afterwards, we hit some flats along the Bay Trail starting at Oyster Bay. This spot is a hidden treasure for those who don't know about it. The area was slated to become a disc golf site pre-pandemic, and much of the area has had new sod laid down. Check out the cool artwork installed on one of the hills and watch the planes taking off from Oakland International. We'll be riding past the airport through a protected bike lane and doing a loop along Bay Farm Island past some scenic water views, before heading home through San Leandro. On a day without headwinds it's a total pleasure, and on days with strong headwinds it's a test of will that leaves me drained and feeling super accomplished. When I'm pressed for time, I skip the flat part and do a quick one hour loop up to Lake Chabot and back home. I've explored the surrounding trails on a 26x2.3 Surly Long Haul Trucker and know it would be super fun on a nice gravel bike.  Get out there and have all the fun!

Larry's Ride - Coffee outside through Alameda and Bay Farm

9 May 2021

This weeks virtual ride is brought to you by Larry and is a chill around town partypace ride to enjoy with friends and family, perfect for almost all ages and fitness levels. Enjoy the views and share your pics on socials with the hashtag #abshopride

Grab your camping stove and some coffee beans! Or just explore Alameda with some family and friends. We start on the west end of the island, near Washington Park - a great meetup spot to let your kids run around before leaving on our bike ride. Make your way down though some of the quiet residential streets of Gold Coast until you find you way to San Jose near Franklin Park. Head over to Jay's if you want a pastry or sandwich. San Jose has been designated a slow street by the city and a super easy way to traverse the length of the island mostly traffic free. Head north on Oak to avoid Park and maybe find time to stop off at your favorite bike shop on the island for a water or snack break.

Head down Central and make a right on Fernside. The bicycle lane hops over to the opposite side of the street about half way down when it turns into a protected bike lane. From there get ready to ascend the biggest hill in Alameda... the pedestrian/bike bridge crossing over into Bay Farm. Hang a left here and ride through some gorgeous wildflowers with a scenic view of the Coliseum. One last hill and welcome to the model airfield! Sit at some benches and brew yourself some coffee :) Head back the way you came, or head over to Shoreline and enjoy the air blowing in from over the Bay.

Scott's Ride - Mt. Tam

1 May 2021

Welcome to a new weekly mini event where we share some of our staff's favorite rides here in the bay area. We hope you'll ride along with us - virtually - and share your thoughts and photos on socials using the #abshopride

Here's a ride that Scott loves: it's a classic mixed terrain ride on Mt. Tam with plenty of dirt. Perfect for a gravel bike, cross bike, or a hardtail mountain bike. Your full suspension might be a little overkill, but fun on the dirt descents.

Start in Mill Valley. Easy free parking right where Almonte Boulevard and Miller Avenue meet, by Tam High. Cruise into downtown Mill Valley and wiggle onto West Blithedale Ave. Follow it out through the redwoods until you get to a turnoff for Old Railroad Grade.  

 

Railroad Grade is a long sustained climb up to the top of Mt. Tam, but we're only going to the West Point Inn, which is about 2/3 of the way to the top. It's a 5ish mile dirt climb that never gets too steep, and is beautiful all the way to the top.  It's mostly shaded, has incredible views, and there's even a waterfall on your right which is a great place to dunk your cycling cap on a hot day.  

 

When you get to the West Point inn, there's picnic benches and sometimes snacks at the inn (great lemonade). Take a break, and then head down Old Stage Road (a dirt road) which descends to the Pantoll Ranger Station. Old Stage is a chill descent and you can easily get going pretty fast - be careful for hikers and folks riding uphill! At the bottom of Old Stage, you'll cross Panoramic Highway and enter the ranger station parking lot. There's water here. Keep riding through the lot and follow signs for Coastal View trail - some of the only legal singletrack on Mt. Tam!

Coastal View is a twisty gem of a trail with a lovely section that goes through the woods. It's not too technical but definitely has some features to pay attention to, including several rutted out sections. The views here are unsurprisingly lovely and the riding is phenomenal. At the bottom of the trail, bomb down Highway 1 into the town of Muir Beach. Hungry? Thirsty? Sop at the Pelican Inn.  

 

On the left hand side will be the turn off for Diaz Ridge trail. This is a longer climb which switchbacks up the hill - good practice for your technical skills! It's not too steep, but it's exposed and it can be a grind. That said, it's a lot more relaxed than battling traffic climbing Highway 1. At the top, you'll descend back towards the road, and hang a left onto it, descending Highway 1 back into Mill Valley. Grab a cup of coffee at the Equator Coffee at Tam Junction, and then hang a left back to where you parked.