Distance: c. 44 miles
Elevation gain: 4510 ft
There’s a line of hills and ridges that make up the spine of the East Bay from Tilden Park in Berkeley to Fremont. Along that line is a series of four nearly-contiguous rides, all outstanding: this ride, Palomares Road, Calaveras Road, and Sierra Road. The Best of the Bay Century (see the regional introduction) strings them all together, with filler. As always, I’m going to give you just the good stuff, working north to south.
This ride is really four different roads. The first, Grizzly Peak Blvd., is, along with the Golden Gate Bridge Loop, the only riding on our list that’s city riding on purpose (i.e. not as filler). In the beginning it’s densely populated residential, and the traffic is dangerous. It’s not relaxing. But there’s a magic to the Berkeley Hills that leads hundreds of cyclists to brave the dangers every day, and every time I go to the East Bay I can’t wait to jump on my bike and get up there. The views of the Bay are unbelievable. The second road, Skyline Blvd., is less built up, and the views are even better. The third road, Redwood Rd. is the antithesis of Grizzly Peak Blvd.—a sublime, solitary, and thoroughly unexpected ride through the bowels of a primaeval forest (hence the name). You’ll expect to see Ents. And finally the fourth road, Claremont Ave., is a classic plummet, short, steep, and just curvy enough to keep you on your toes.