Distance: 20 miles out and back (14.5 without the climb)
Elevation gain: 2130 ft (1390 without the climb)
This is the only ride in Bestrides that is suitable for non-riding family members and children. It’s a relatively flat, utterly sweet little back road that’s been converted into something like a multi-use rec trail. It’s open to cars for a stretch at either end, but the center section of roadway, the George Miller Regional Trail, is closed to cars, so there’s no through traffic and thus almost no traffic at all on most of it. The road traverses the steep sidehill overlooking the Carquinez Straits, and the vistas of the straits, the sailboats thereupon, and the two bridges to the east and west, the Zampa and the Benicia-Martinez, are guaranteed to make your soul sing. I’ve added a short spur, a moderately challenging climb up through a very pretty creek canyon, which you can skip if you’re out for a lazy day, and the Adding Miles section shows you how to stretch the ride into a loop that crosses both bridges and takes you through the charming hamlet of Benicia.
The serpent in this Eden is motorcycle traffic. The Port Costa area, where the ride starts, is motorcycle central, and, while the George Miller Trail keeps them from through-riding the Scenic Drive, it doesn’t keep them from riding the first miles and up McEwen, which they love to do. The last time I rode McEwen on a weekend, I was passed (on a very small, windy road) by at least 200 motorcycles. If you can ride on a weekday, do so.