Pre-Thanksgiving Ride: Bay Trail

Wednesday, November 25, 2010
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Today's leisurely pre-Thanksgiving ride meets up at the Aquatic Park on Bolivar Dr in Berkeley. Ample parking, water and restrooms are available.
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We head north on Bolivar Dr to ride over the bike bridge that will take us onto the Bay Trail. We continue on Gilman St and climb the hill on the backside of Golden Gate Fields. The bay views are just incredible from the top! We drop down and ride through the parking lot of GGF to get to Buchanan St. Another left turn at the stop light gets us back on the Bay Trail, which at this point parallels Hwy 580. We ride pass Costco and the Pt Isabel Dog Park to continue towards Marina Bay. There are several well maintained parks along this trail including Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park.
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You can purchase sandwiches to go at Amini's By the Bay or have a sit down Italian meal at Salute Ristorante. This is all available en route to Pt Richmond. We pass the Marina Bay Yacht Harbor and make our way towards Ford Point. The old Ford plant now houses the Boilerhouse Restaurant, The Craneway Pavilion and several other businesses.
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We continue on Harbour Way to Cutting Blvd and Railroad Ave into Pt Richmond.
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**Photos may be enlarged by clicking on the selected image.
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We take the back entrance and stop for lunch at Little Louie's. There is an outdoor patio with plenty of seating and bike parking. They serve a variety of sandwiches, soups, salads and pre-cooked deli items. The portions are very generous. You can also ask for a lunch card, buy 10 get one free.
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Earlier on, I told Bob and Matt that I'd like to head up to Nicholl Knob and they were game in going up there with me after lunch. We climb up Washington Ave; the gradient starts off at around 7-9% then kicks up to 11% and maxes out at 13% as you near the top of the hill. We then take a left on Crest Ave and continue all the way to the bike/pedestrian path at the end of the street. The gate to the path is closed and we enter through the side. The climb up to Nicholl Knob is short and steep! It starts off at 9% and creeps up very quickly to 11%, 13%, 16% and then 21%! There is another short climb past the second closed gate to the top.
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The great reward in doing the steep climb is the sweeping 360 degree view of San Francisco and the East Bay. It's absolutely spectacular on such a clear day. The views are just stunning! I LOVE IT!
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After admiring the views, we head down on Western Dr to Dorman Dr. We ride pass Miller-Knox Shoreline Park, the Golden State Model Railroad Museum and then make a detour to Ferry Point. This use to be the terminal where the Santa Fe Railroad loaded up passengers and cargo into San Francisco bound ferries. The ferry service ended back in 1979. It is now a popular fishing pier and recreational area.
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The views are pretty nice too. You can see the bay and it's bridges, Nicholl Knob Hill, the Ferry Point tunnel and the train tunnel side by side.
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We continue along Brickyard Cove where the tract homes are terraced into the hills. We ride pass the Richmond Yacht Club and all the fancy luxury homes on Sandpiper Spit.
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We take another detour to check out Point Potrero. The roads are nicely paved and there is a bike path that serves as the extension of the Bay Trail out to Shipyard 3. The path takes us to the SS Red Oak Victory ship. There is also a huge deco style looking general warehouse in the back lot.
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We continue on the Bay Trail back to the Aquatic Park.
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Thanks to Mark S for leading today's ride! Another "thanks" to Bob and Matt for accompanying me up to Nicholl Knob. The views......what more can I say?
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~22 people in attendance
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38 miles with 947' of elevation gain
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Weather: GREAT! Clear blue skies, sunny and cool. Temps ranged from the low to mid 50's.

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