Tag Archives: Grizzly Peak

Chimbfest on Grizzly Peak

I had to skip this week’s LKHC up Welch Creek (maybe it was on purpose), because I lost my glasses on Thursday night, and I had to make an emergency appointment with the optometrist on Saturday.


So Sunday I went with my friends John and Ben riding around Grizzly Peak, 3 Bears, and Pinehurst.  I haven’t done this in a really long time.  I had forgotten how much good riding there is out here.


Ben was out there with a new saddle bag … This is going to make me hungry on the whole ride …


The route started out with a climb, right off the get go.  It basically starts by Tunnel Road, and we climb up to Skyline, which then gives a great view of the bay, overlooking the Bay Bridge.

We then went up Grizzly Peak Blvd, and headed over to Tilden Park, and then onto Wildcat Canyon. We descended South Park, which is the same road that killed one cyclist, trying to get a Strava descent segment KOM … something I wouldn’t even try to do.  That descent has some tricky sections on there, so I did not even try to get down into a tuck.  Better to be safe than sorry.


They have one stop called Inspiration Point.  Looking at this, does it give you inspiration?  I just consider it a nice scenic view.

We continued on Wildcat Canyon, which has a nice descent, not too technical, but enough where you have to pay attention.  I didn’t have cars breathing down my neck, which is nice.  Wildcat Canyon becomes Bear Creek, once you get to the bottom.  This is where the famous 3 bears climbs are … but when papa bear and mama bear begins, I have no idea.  Maybe someone from that area could tell me, but all I know is that it is a climb, and a descent.  It’s nice, because it is fairly wide road, and fairly straight, with just a few switch backs here and there.  Very little car traffic coming through, which means you can just concentrate on enjoying the ride.

We continue on to Happy Valley Road, which gives us a whole bunch of rollies.  Some are punchy, short steep climbs (~10%), and after a while, it can wear on you.

One stop by Orinda for lunch, and then we are on our way again.  We head south to get onto Pinehurst Road, then climb our way back to Skyline.  Pinehurst is one beautiful road to ride on.  It is covered by all sorts of Eucalyptus trees, and they form a canopy over the road, and keeps it cool.  Sometimes, it’s hard to tell it’s the middle of the day, due to the tree coverage.  The total climb is ~ 4 miles, with the meat of it being the last mile.  Once you get to the second hairpin, you know you are just near the top, and time to kick it into high gear.  The last stretch is a half mile sprint up to the top at Skyline.



From this point, it’s retracing our path from this morning, so it’s all downhill from here.  Once again, we have some nice views of the bay from here.

The rest of the ride was pretty much downhill from here. Great ride with great friends. At least it breaks the monotony of doing the same rides along the Peninsula all the time.

Stats: 42.1 miles, 5240 feet climbing


Ride on Christmas Eve???? Why not

For those of us who don’t have family obligations, we all got together for a ride on Christmas Eve.  I mean, why not.  It’s an extra day we have available to do a ride (thinking that Christmas Day will be completely out of the question).

The ride started at Orinda Bart Station, and Richard was leading this ride.  I was really excited about this, as I haven’t done a ride in the Grizzly Peak, Berkeley area in quite a long time.  I decided I needed to change this up a little bit, and ride somewhere different.  Parts of this ride are featured on the Grizzly Peak Century, which is an excellent ride, that takes place in early May.

The first climb was Wildcat Canyon.  We were still shivering cold, so the climb helped warm us up a little bit.  Richard was leading a blazing uphill pace, and up at the top, by Tilden parking lot, we were treated to an awesome view of the valley.  I was going to start take pictures, but realized that my battery was low, and I forgot to charge it up before leaving.  Damn … no pictures, sorry.

After a short descent, we hang a left on South Park, to climb a road that is closed from Fall to Spring (opening in March).  This gives us the perfect opportunity to ride on a closed road, car-free.  This also means it attracts walkers, hikers, and joggers, but there weren’t too many out there today.  There was this one cyclist who was bombing down the hill in the reverse direction.  These were 15% grades, so coming down is a little crazy.  In the meantime, having these climbs was my opportunity to warm up, and that meant pushing my heart rate up as high as I could.  I reached about 180 bpm near the top.  After letting my heartrate go back down to a respectable level, I felt really good.

Here’s a shot that Richard took of George and me as we get to the end of the climb.  At least his camera has some batteries :p

After reaching the top, we hang a left, and ride along Skyline, with a really nice view of the bay.  In fact, I was able to see the Golden Gate Bridge very clearly from the Berkeley side of Skyline.  I have no idea how many times I said “wow, what a view”.  By this time, we were pretty much warmed up, and not shivering as much.

We then take a really fast descent down Shepherd’s Canyon.  This was nice, because once we got past the hairpin, it was a pretty straight shot into town, and it was a fast shot down.  I didn’t break 40 mph, but that’s because I didn’t know the area that well.  We eventually wound up in Montclair, and had coffee there.  It’s amazing … there was a Peet’s, and a Starbuck’s there … both were jam packed, with a long line.  Down the street, we saw a local cafe, and ducked into there, with no waiting at all.  And it was gooood.  It’s great to have coffee for a local merchant … help out the little guys.  I came out of there with a great sense of satisfaction.

Ok, next agenda is to head back up to Skyline, by heading over towards the Caldecott tunnel area, but climbing the ridge above it.  Again, once climbing up to the ridge, there were great views awaiting us.  I kinda bummed that I forgot to charge the battery for my camera, but on the other hand, the view that we saw would not translate too well onto a jpg or digital image.

As I was chasing after Richard (I was about 100 yards behind him), suddenly I saw his bike slant at 45 degrees.  Rich took a fall … it looks like he hit a rock the wrong way, and he lost balance.  He was okay, but just a little frazzled … nothing to worry about.  Easy for me to say … I’m not the one who fell.  I think it was more embarrassment than anything else.

We circled back to Skyline, to the point where we were earlier this morning.  We headed down to Redwood and then Pinehurst.  Aw, Pinehurst … I haven’t ridden this since I first moved to the Bay Area, and when I was living in Fremont.  This was a nice gradual climb, and one of the local favorite hills.  It’s not the crazy steep climbs, but has a grade gentle enough, but still tough enough, to keep you honest, and get your heart rate up, without blowing out your knees.

We were almost home, but one more climb we had to do … Rheem.  Now this one was a bit steeper, but at least it was short.  Knowing this is the last major climb, near the top, I decided to push my heart rate, and I manage to get it up to 182 bpm.

By the time we got back to the cars, I had logged in 43.1 miles, and 4295 feet climbing, according to Ascent.  Great Christmas Eve ride.