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San Bruno Road Ride

I usually ride on the road only to get to or from a trailhead. Some friends from work have been inviting me on their road rides, so the first time I did this ride I went with them. Later, I rode by myself.

Park: San Bruno Road Ride
Date: August 10, 2013
Distance: 87.7 miles
Ride Time: 5:34
Total Ascent: 4,831 feet
Maps: San Bruno Road Ride
Overall Rating: 7

The key roads on this out and back ride are:

  • Foothill Expressway
  • Edith Ave
  • Arastradero Rd
  • Portola Road
  • Mountain Home
  • Canada Road
  • Ralston to Highway 35 North (right turn)
  • Highway 35 to Bunker Hill
  • Bunker Hill to Polhemus (detour due to dam construction)
  • Polhemus to Crystal Springs Rd.
  • Sawyer Camp Trail
  • Highway 35 to Larkspur Drive (slight detour)
  • San Andreas Trail

The Foothill/Arastradero/Portola/Mountain Home/Canada segments are pretty well known to road bikers and there are usually lots of them out there. The Bunker Hill detour was unexpected but is pretty straight forward to navigate if you follow the detour signs. The road is completely blocked just past the Bunker Hill junction, so don't even bother trying to go past there. On the return trip, you are better off returning on Polhemus all the way to the end (skipping Bunker Hill) and taking the Ralston Ave bike overpass. This avoids a pretty good uphill climb back up Bunker Hill.

Sawyer Camp Trail and San Andreas Trail are paved multi-use routes but there are lots of casual bikers, hikers and strollers that you will have to navigate around and you have to keep your speed down. However, the scenery and lack of traffic justify the excursion if you can accept a slower speed. San Andreas Trail ends at San Bruno Avenue. There is a small shopping center there that you can get a cup of coffee, a pastry or a full lunch in the Lunardi's grocery store. You could continue riding north from here, but it is noticeably colder here. I noted that I was the only person at the store in shorts and a jersey and everyone else had long pants and a jacket or sweatshirt and some added a hat...in the middle of August! This and the wind and incoming fog convinced me this was a reasonable place to turn around.

This was a nice change from mountain bike rides. I had a chance to ride at a near constant fast pace for an extended distance. The climbing total was reasonable but none of the hills were particularly steep or long.

If you need a bailout, you can "cheat" with the Caltrain ride back. You can take Polhemus into San Mateo, where there are lots of restaurants on 4th Avenue to stop for a bit to eat. The Caltrain station is on 1st Avenue, so it is not too far. There are also other Caltrain stations along El Camino Real if you want to bail at some other point.

I definitely had more that 12 miles left in me at the end, meaning I could have made it through a century. Maybe I have to give it a try!

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