davis to san francisco

One of my biking buddies, Jiro, will be leaving Davis soon. We’ve done quite a lot of biking together over the few years that I’ve known him– probably more than a dozen century rides and even a few overnight bike trips. As sort of a bucket list item, he wanted to bike from Davis to San Francisco before he leaves, so I decided to ride along with him. The timing worked out well since it’s Mother’s day this weekend, and I wanted to be in SF for lunch with my family anyways.

Warning: This is a very picture heavy post– even more so than usual…

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Mile zero for me, my weed filled front yard. From here I rode to Jiro’s house in West Davis.

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First stop, Winters, for breakfast at Steady Eddy’s coffee shop. We’ve stopped here for fuel on so many rides over the past few years…

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The first major climb of our trip was up Cardiac. Cardiac would actually be four climbs for us on this trip, the first of which climbs to the top of Monticello Dam.

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Past Monticello Dam we rode along Lake Berryessa for a bit.

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There’s a reason why I don’t climb Cardiac often– the shoulders are narrow and there’s a fair amount of fast moving traffic on this road (which is actually highway 128.)

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At the juction of highway 128 and 121 is a little area called Moskowite corner.

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We stopped here for a short rest. It’s a pretty well known stop for all sorts of bikers.

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There used to be a small restaurant and general store at Moskowite corner, unfortunately it went out of business. I had stopped here once a few years ago when I last rode from Davis to SF. Back then Paul and I were unprepared for how difficult the ride would be, and the little general store basically saved our asses. So it’s sad that the store is closed, but this time around at least I’m a bit better prepared for the ride.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANot too long after Moskowite corner is the final climb of Cardiac. There’s a small winery at the top. From here we would descend down into the Napa Valley.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASpring riding in Napa is quite awesome. The roads are quite bike friendly too, with nice wide shoulders.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur route took us over Oakville Grade. The Eagle Cycling club in Napa maintains a web page that lists the toughest climbs in Napa. Oakville Grade is number one. I had done numbers ten and fifteen on their list as part of the tour of Napa. I thought those were pretty significant climbs– but they’re not even close to the same league as Oakville Grade.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe climb up Oakville Grade was pretty freaking ridiculous. It was steep. Steeeeeeeeep. We ended up walking a good portion of it. Bicycling.com mentions Oakville Grade as one of a trio of Napa hills that will “turn sinewy steel bands of muscle into tapioca.” That made me feel better about walking. 

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The descent from the top of Oakville Grade into Sonoma County was pretty scary. It’s hard to see from the picture, but the sign says 12% grade over two miles. So yeah, it’s a steep descent. On top of that, the pavement wasn’t very good, and there were some sharp corners. I had to stop at a driveway in the middle to cool my brakes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur destination for the night was Petaluma. By the time we had ridden into town I had ridden a bit less than one hundred miles, with about 50 miles left to ride the next morning.

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Petaluma is famous for its rolling green hills. The Windows XP ‘Bliss’ background was photographed nearby. It actually might even have been this hill.

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The next morning we rode from Sonoma county south into Marin County. I didn’t take many pictures of this part of the ride. But suffice to say it was nice riding through the bike friendly communities of Fairfax, San Anselmo and Larkspur. From there we hit the Marin County bike network and followed the signs towards the Golden Gate Bridge.

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The end is in sight. From the shore of Sausalito you can see our destination across the bay.

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The Golden Gate bridge. The home stretch.

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It was such a beautiful day to ride across the bridge. Despite having grown up in San Francisco, I’ve crossed the bridge by bike or by foot less than a dozen times. I really should do it more often because it really is quite awesome.

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After crossing the Golden Gate bridge we rode through Crissy field into Aquatic park. I had my brother pick me up here (I still hate riding through SF), while Jiro took the train back home to Davis.

Aquatic park is basically where I learned to bike. My dad used to work at the SF Fire Department’s pumping station here, and during summer he’d often bring my bro and me to his work, where we’d spend our vacation days biking and wandering around the piers. It’s a fittingly nostalgic place to end, right where it all started.

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Here’s the route for day one.

Chrome Legacy Window 6172014 13504 PMThe second day’s route.

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