Trail: LET’S GRAB A BEER — San Anselmo to Marin Brewing Company at Larkspur Landing via San Rafael


San Rafael is the gateway to China Camp and a great way to return to the Larkspur Ferry from Fairfax or San Anselmo. San Rafael is not for the faint of heart! The high traffic environment along 2nd Street requires superb bike handling skills and nerve as there are no bike lanes and the drivers see you as an intruder with no right to the road. If you are not ready for the intense traffic, a slower alternate route through San Rafael is also available.

-Trail Starts at mile 2.9 of the Coffee Run
-Distance from San Francisco Ferry Building (see Golden Gateway Trail): 44.39 miles; Distance from Marin Crossroads: 30.96 miles; Distance from Sausalito: 34.98 miles; Distance from San Anselmo: 6.37 miles.
Elevation Gain on trail: 374 feet
Difficulty: Overall, this is not a difficult route, although the traffic is a bit intense through San Rafael along 2nd Street and the last descent along The Dragon’s Spine is quite fast with a short stopping distance at the end. The two alternate routes provide easier alternatives to both potential obstacles.


Starting in San Anselmo a couple of blocks after Marin Coffee Roasters, turn right onto Bridge Avenue toward Route 24 and then make a

Make a right onto Center Boulevard, following Route 24, follow Center Boulevard across Sir Frances Drake Boulevard. Just after crossing Sir France Drake Boulevard, keep following Route 24 and make the jog to the right off of Center Boulevard and on to Greenfield Avenue.

Follow along Greenfield Avenue until just before it reaches the stoplight, make a right along West End Avenue at that point.

Follow the short West End Avenue until it meets with 2nd Street.

At this point you have two options for going through San Rafael. The shorter, more direct route is to merge with 2nd Street and follow along 2nd Street all the way to Lincoln Avenue.

Faster Option through San Rafael

The slower, less intense alternate route, above, is to cross 2nd Street and take 4th Street all the way to Lincoln Avenue and make a right. 

This route has a bit less traffic, but more stop lights. Neither route has a dedicated bike lane, but the traffic is a bit more friendly on 4th Street.

Slower Option through San Rafael

Once you reach Lincoln Avenue, turn right. Follow Lincoln Avenue until it reaches Irwin Street, then make a right on Irwin Street.

The next traffic light is at Anderson Drive, which is your next decision point.

There are distinct options for getting to the Larkspur Ferry from this point, the first is our favorite, while the second is a good option if you are short on time, or have already had a long ride.

OPTION 1: The Dragons Spine

To follow The Dragons Spine, go straight through the light at Andersen Drive and continue to follow Irwin Street.

There is a stop sign at the intersection with Woodland Avenue, follow Irwin Street straight through the stop sign.

You will start a climb along Irwin Street as it winds its way through a residential neighborhood and by Bret Harte Park.

Along the climb Irwin Street becomes Tiburon Boulevard (although you will notice). After 5 to 7 minutes of climbing, it then becomes Via La Cumbre and the fast rolling portion of the ride begins. Via La Cumbre will skirt along the side of a hill with views of Larkspur and US-101 below.

After another short climb you will pass the intersection with Bret Harte Drive.

Stay to the right and stand for the short, but steep climb as Via La Cumbre splits into parallel one way roads.

This narrow residential road has cars parked and driveways to your right, stay in control and watch for cars as you descend the next hill which will roll into another steep climb.

Follow the road as it continues to wind through the neighborhood to the first Stop sign. Go straight through the stop sign and climb the next small, steep hill.

Then when the coast is clear let it rip and see what you can clock on the radar at the bottom!

Stay vigilant though, as cars may start to back out of their driveways around the corner at the bottom of the run.

Then one last climb and a wide open “Wee Fast Fun” hill to go.

Again, wait for it to be clear and then follow the Pink Bomber’s lead and fly down the last of the descents! The next Stop sign is at the bottom of the hill just after the road starts to flatten out.

Be ready to stop at that point as Via La Cumbre intersects the busy Eliseo Drive. Turn left at Eliseo Drive. Eliseo Drive intersects Sir Frances Drake Boulevard at the stoplight.

Keep following Eliseo Drive straight through the intersection to the next stop sign. Make a left onto the sidewalk and follow the path into Niven Park.

Keep following the path through the park, but watch for dogs off leashes. The path will shortly intersect Bike Route 20.

Make a left onto Route 20 and follow it to the Larkspur Ferry Terminal, but don’t turn in just yet. Keep going on the path to the stop light where we will meet with Option 2.

OPTION 2: The Dragon’s Belly

Back at the intersection of Irwin Street and Anderson Drive, to follow The Dragon’s Belly, make a left onto Anderson Drive.

Follow Andersen Drive through lower San Rafael until you reach the bike path entrance just before the intersection with Francisco Boulevard.

Turn onto the sidewalk at this point and follow the sidewalk to the path entrance a couple hundred feet (~70 meters) down the way.

Follow Route 5 onto the Cal Park Hill Path and follow it through the Cal Park Hill Tunnel.

The path will drop you off at the parking lot of the Century Theater at Larkspur Landing.

Turn right into the parking lot, then make another right onto Larkspur Landing Circle.

Follow Larkspur Landing Circle to the stoplight at Sir Frances Drake Boulevard.

Cross Sir Frances Drake Boulevard towards the Larkspur Ferry Terminal entrance, but veer left onto the sidewalk and path.

This is where Option 1: The Dragon’s Spine and Option 2: The Dragon’s Belly merge.

FINAL LEG: Beer Here!

From the stoplight at the Ferry Terminal entrance, follow the path under the pedestrian bridge and then make a quick right.

Where the path meets the base of the pedestrian bridge, make a 180 onto the bridge and follow it over Sir Frances Drake Boulevard.

At the other end of the bridge, cross the road into the courtyard.

Just ahead of you is the Marin Brewing Company.

Stop in to have one of the Brewing Company’s microbrews before you catch the ferry back to San Francisco.

We always enjoy a Mt. Tam Pale Ale or a seasonal brew after a long ride. We also bring any of our friends that join us for a ride.

Being able to return to San Francisco via the Larkspur Ferry is a great way to extend a ride deeper into Marin County. Whether you are hungry for a post-ride meal, have time to kill before the next ferry or just feel like a beer, stopping in at Marin Brewing Company is a great way to meet all those needs. Make sure to say “Hi” if you see us there grabbing a beer!

Tour de Tahoe 2011 Recap


Miko & Jon at the Finish Line -- 5 hours, 5 minutes, 20 seconds!

The Tour de Tahoe was a tough, yet beautiful ride that took you from Stateline, Nevada up the switchbacks along Route 89, through Tahoe City, Incline Village and back down the steep descent along Route 50 back into Stateline.  See our pictures of the event below. This ride was very challenging with almost 4,300 feet of elevation gain. If you are up for a challenge, this is the ride to do!

Team WeLikeToBike pauses up the switchbacks along Rt. 89 with Big Blue in the background

Lake Tahoe glistens in the early morning sun

Bikers pause at the first rest area

Lake Tahoe from the Kings Beach lunch rest stop

After 40 miles of riding, bikes are strewn across the parking lot

Pausing for lunch along the beach

Team WeLikeToBike pauses for lunch

Here’s a couple of links to videos of the route by Jim from a few years ago. Our ride was less sunny and the descent was wetter than a water park!

http://www.vimeo.com/1121888

http://www.vimeo.com/1160193

To sign up for next year’s America’s Most Beautiful Ride (June) or Tour de Tahoe (September), visit BikeTheWest.com.

Tours: Tour de Tahoe — Ride Your Bike Around “Big Blue”


Going to Lake Tahoe is typically associated with boating, camping or snow skiing. The opportunity to have a fully-supported bike ride around Lake Tahoe is available only twice a year, June and September.

Both of these rides are put on by Nevada’s BikeTheWest. The first event of the year is called “American’s Most Beautiful Ride,” put on every June. This time of year is tends to be a bit chilly and snow is still prevalent in the higher elevations.

The second event of the year is the “Tour de Tahoe” in coordination with the Ride to Cure Diabetes. This ride starts in Stateline, Nevada and continues around the south side of Lake Tahoe along Route 50, then heads north up Route 89, then continues to loop the north side of the lake along Route 28 and once again joins up with Route 50 on the ride back into Stateline, Nevada.

There are two ways to enter this ride, through BikeTheWest.com for $100 or as part of the Ride to Cure Diabetes team.  The Ride to Cure has a series of rides all over the country with a variety of different fundraising levels. The minimum level of fundraising to be part of its team is $2,000.  If you don’t think you can raise this money, the best way to be part of this ride is directly through BikeTheWest.

We will be participating in the Tour de Tahoe on Sunday, September 11, 2011 through BikeTheWest. We can’t wait to take part of this amazing ride! We will be training for this ride as the elevation change is just over 3,000 starting at 6,500 feet above sea level.

We will post pictures of the ride later. We hope you will be able to join us or find a ride in your own area.

Trail: I’M SKY HIGH! — Marin Headlands


One of the most recognizable landmarks of San Francisco is the Golden Gate Bridge, especially the perspective from the Marin Headlands. The Marin Headlands themselves are beautiful sea cliffs with sweeping views of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Pacific Ocean. The initial climb is a challenge and great training while the descent is extremely steep with sharp turns. It has the perfect mix of beauty and challenge. All of this excitement is accessible with a short ride just across the Golden Gate Bridge.

Three time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador riding the Marin Headlands                 PHOTO courtesy of Velodramatic.com and IamSpecialized.com

Try this ride out as a trainer for climbing or just as an introduction to cycling in the Bay Area like Alberto Contador did on October 4, 2011 with some friends from Mike’s Bikes.

This route is fully open again.  For more information regarding the recent improvements see Marin Headlands Closure Information for more details.

Distance: from San Francisco Ferry Building 15.18 miles

–Trail Starts at mile 7.7 of The Golden Gateway

–Trail Ends at mile 8.13 of The Golden Gateway — East Side Wee Fast Fun Route
Difficulty: The climbing is long and steep, but the initial descent is even steeper!

Climbing on Route: 925 feet (282 meters)

Descent on Route: 896 feet (273 meters)

Download your route sheet here: Directions – I’m Sky High

FOR A MORE DETAILED LOOK click here for the full Geoped Map provided by g-map-pedometer.com

Elevation Map for the Route provided by MapMyRide.com

This route starts in the parking lot on the northwest side of the Golden Gate Bridge. This is at the end of the bike side of the Bridge.

The beginning of this path just under 8 miles from the start of the Golden Gateway. The climbing starts immediately out of the parking lot.

At the top of the stop sign, make a left and head up the hill.

The first part of this climb is he steepest and the toughest. Just keep going and if you need a break, take it to admire the view at the first rest area.

Us taking in the view at the first rest stop

Though less steep, the climbing continues up to the round about.

If you take the first exit of the round about, you will go down McCullough Road toward Bunker Road and back to Alexander Avenue towards US 101 through the tunnel.

Keep going around the round about, and take the second exit to continue up the Marin Headlands.

Keep climbing to get to the top, you have just under one mile to the top.

Take in the scenic views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco as you are now higher than the bridge’s towers.

The tunnels signal Hawk Hill, the top of the Headlands, where you can take a break and take in the views, wait for or catch up with the rest of your group before turning around, or prepare for the hair-raising descent down the back of the Headlands.

Miko and Jon take in the views from the top of the Marin Headlands

The narrow, one way road is just the beginning of the challenges that face you on the descent down the backside of the Headlands.

The backside of Marin Headlands is not for the faint of heart, cause it’s all downhill from here!

“Hill” is an understatement, but the 18% grade is dead on! You build up speed quickly and two of the first three turns are 90+ degrees! Keep your descending class rules in mind: stay in the drops; just touch your brakes to regulate your speed, don’t hold them; inside knee up to pull your body into the turn; and always keep your eyes up and looking where you want to go because that’s where the bike is going to take you!

After that second right hand turn, the grade reduces but the speed stays high, so make sure to stay on your game.

Though the remaining turns are not as sharp and the grade not as steep, the rest of the way down is still wicked fast!

The descending turns to a short climb as you pass by the lookout point near the Upper Fisherman’s Parking Lot.

The Point Bonita Lighthouse is just up the road past the bunkers.

It is just a short climb before you reach the bunkers and Lower Fisherman’s Parking Lot.

And a couple of more twisties before the main part of your descent is complete.

Turn right at the next intersection to head back to US-101 along Fort Barry Road.  If you want to visit the Point Bonita Lighthouse, keep going straight, the road is two-way traffic again past the intersection.

Then another right at the stop sign.

Follow Fort Barry Road down the hill and around the corner, notice the tidal pool and Sausalito Beach to your left.

You will then pass Simmond’s Road and the Marin Headlands Hostel on your right. Keep following Fort Barry Road as it becomes Field Road here.

Follow Field Road through the next intersection as it merges with Bunker Road toward San Francisco.

You are now on the Marin Headlands return route.  It’s a slight climb back out to Alexander Avenue towards US-101 from here.

At McCullough Road you can climb back up the Headlands and descend the front side towards the Golden Gate Bridge, or you can keep along Field Road towards Alexander Avenue.

A bit farther down the road is the Bunker Road Tunnel.  The tunnel is signal controlled by a stop light.

When the light turns green, head on through.

At the beginning of the tunnel there is a button to signal to the on-coming cars a biker is in the tunnel.

The tunnel is pretty dark, but the main obstacles are the water, mud and slime covering the bike lane.  It’s all downhill, but your tires are never totally planted on the road, so be careful going through here.

Once you exit the tunnel, you are just about to the intersection with Alexander Avenue.

If you haven’t gotten your fill of the climbing or descending yet, you can always head back up Alexander Avenue to the Golden Gate Bridge and the beginning of the Marin Headlands to do it all over again by taking the fork to the right.

Or if you are ready to head on to other adventures, take the fork to the left and rejoin the Golden Gateway Trail for the descent to Sausalito.

The Marin Headlands is a challenging ascent and with an absolutely spectacular and breathtaking descent. This is a great route to work on both your ascending and descending skills when you don’t have a lot of time on your hands, or don’t want to travel too far from the city. Keep hydrated on the way up and your head up on the way down!

Enjoy!