Those other two-wheeled things

So, my friend Prue is finally getting through to me. For months now, I’ve wondered how she knows all these neat short rides around the Bay Area — little 20-50 mile jaunts that hit all the nice roads and are perfect for newer riders or for a short lunchtime ride. On Saturday, when she showed up to say hi at the coffee shop before the Wind Dancers ride, I finally learned her secret.

Bicycle trail books.

It’s brilliant! I don’t know why I never thought of this myself. There are always bicyclists on the good motorcycling roads, and they have to get their ideas from somewhere, too, don’t they?

Right now, I’m borrowing Prue’s copy of San Francisco Peninsula Bike Trails. Last night, I went online and ordered a used copy for myself, along with South Bay Bike Trails and East Bay Bike Trails (by the same author). All together, these three books cover San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Contra Costa, and Alameda counties.

Some of the rides in the SF book aren’t very useful for motorcyclists; they’re either flat rides through cities or follow unpaved mountain bike trails. Of the 25 listed rides, though, 16 are either immediately motorcycle-friendly or could easily be adapted to become so. The mountain bike trails, for example, often parallel paved roads that would be just as fun for a motorcyclist. A few of the rides also offer alternative “sub-rides”, so all-told, there are probably about 20 motorcycle ride ideas in this book.

Each chapter of the book covers one ride (and any sub-rides). Each chapter includes the ride’s region, total distance, total elevation gain, and some other data points that don’t really apply to motorcyclists (I wish we could apply the “calories burned” chart!). A short description of the terrain follows, including a graph of the ride with elevation (feet) on the Y-axis and distance (miles) on the X-axis. Major landmarks and crossroads are plotted on the curve, along with the road’s average grade. Next up is a nice ride description, which makes me happy as it frequently includes a little bit of history about the road or region. At the end of the chapter is a map of the ride and a detailed list of mile markers and directions.

These books will be absolutely perfect for those days when I know I want to ride, but have no idea where I want to go, especially if I don’t have a whole lot of time. Thanks, Prue!

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