Summer 2023 Novice Ride Series
Join us.....you have a shiny new bike...or a dusty old one...and you'd like to take it out for a spin? Or, maybe you've heard what an incredibly recreational sport bike riding is, and you want to check it out? Join us...this ride series is for you! Everyone is welcome at the ride series. There is no fee and no need to sign up in advance.
The Novice Rides
Every summer, GPC gives a series of six rides expressly designed for less experienced bicyclists who want to ride more, and in the process increase their cycling abilities, learn about responsible group riding, and just plain have fun. The rides will be on six consecutive Sundays, beginning in August, and will gradually progress in distance from about 25 to about 40 miles. The routes cover a variety of cycling options in the East Bay and Marin County, including some lesser-known and very scenic areas. The first two are over flat terrain; the remainder include some gentle hills, with the final ride including a more challenging climb up Lucas Valley Road in Marin. Those who complete this series will be well-prepared to enjoy many of our easier club rides.
All rides in the series start at 10am, and most start at BART stations to encourage auto-free transit. It's easy to take a bike on BART; we recommend you learn how. Using BART can greatly expand your riding area and give you the flexibility of beginning and ending a ride at different places.
In the spring we will offer our more challenging Century Prep Series, aimed at preparing intermediate cyclists to complete a hilly century course.
The Ride Leaders
Each ride will have several club members designated as leaders. They will have planned the route, printed cue sheets or maps, and will have everyone sign in. The ride leaders will guide people through the route, make sure no one is left behind due to mechanical or physical problems, and/or suggest a `bail-out' route to anyone unable to complete the ride. We encourage calling the leaders in advance with any questions about the ride. In addition, other GPC members will be on the rides to offer assistance, helpful hints, or just moral support.
Each rider is responsible for bringing a suitable bicycle. A road bike is recommended but not required. No safety inspection will be performed, but riders with obviously unsafe bikes will be discouraged from participating. Bicycles should be lubed and tires fully inflated to the pressure marked on the side of the tire. Riders are encouraged to carry a basic tool kit with at least a spare tube, patch kit, tire levers, and pump. Assistance from GPC members will be available for roadside flats and adjustments.
Bicycles are vehicles operating on public roads and must obey all traffic regulations, including traffic signals, pedestrian and other right-of-way rules, lane indications, and plain common sense. Riders should remain single file unless conditions clearly permit otherwise. Participants must wear approved bicycle helmets. Each ride begins with a short introduction and safety briefing. An outline of these is here.
All participants are encouraged to read the online booklet Bicycling Street Smarts: Riding Confidently, Legally and Safely by John S. Allen to gain essential insights into riding on the road safely.
Riders should carry at least one water bottle and drink regularly, and also carry an energy bar or similar small snack. Longer rides usually have a food stop, so bring money or lunch. Clothing is a matter of personal preference. Lycra is not required; however, riders should choose clothing that won't chafe and should dress in layers to be prepared for all reasonable temperature extremes. Rain cancels the ride. If weather is questionable, call a ride leader.
2023 Novice Ride Schedule
Sun Aug 6 Ride #1 - Bay Trail and Bay Bridge
One easy hill (Bay Bridge), 18 miles
Meet 10:00 a.m. at North Berkeley BART. The ride will be easy paced and fairly flat. We turn around at the Yerba Buena Vista Point, which has rest rooms and water. No drop. Helmets required. Rain cancels; if weather is dubious contact a ride leader.
Sun Aug 13 Ride #2 - Alameda and Bay Farm Island
Flat terrain, 22 miles
Meet 10:00 a.m. at Fruitvale BART. Meet near the bike racks. The ride will be easy paced and flat, with great bay views. Bring lunch or $ to buy. No drop. Helmets required. Rain cancels; if weather is dubious contact a ride leader.
Sun Aug 20 Ride #3 - Roundhill Loop
Few low hills, 22 miles
Meet 10:00 a.m. at East side of the Pleasant Hill BART entrance. We'll ride through Walnut Creek and down Danville Blvd, circling back through the neighborhoods of Danville, Alamo & Walnut Creek. Bring lunch or $ to buy. No drop. Helmets required. Rain cancels; if weather is dubious contact a ride leader.
Sun Aug 27 Ride #4 - Lamorinda
Few low hills, 27 miles
Meet 10:00 a.m. at Orinda BART. The ride will be easy paced and cover some gentle hills. We will ride from downtown Orinda to downtown Lafayette to downtown Moraga and return, using the St. Stephens bike trail, the Lafayette-Moraga bike trail, and also regular roads. Finish at Orinda Theatre Square for optional lunch -- bring your own or $ to buy. No drop. Helmets required. Rain cancels; if weather is dubious contact a ride leader.
Sun Sep 3 Ride #5 - Franklin Canyon and Carquinez Shoreline
Moderately hilly, 32 miles
Meet 10:00 am at east side of Pleasant Hill BART. Ride through Pleasant Hill and out Franklin Canyon with longer but gentle hills. A fabulous descent into Crockett, followed by great views of Carquinez Strait from a multi-use path on the return. One spot is frequently foggy/cold, so carry an extra layer (jacket). Bring lunch or $ to buy.
Sun Sep 10 Ride #6 - Central Marin Redwoods
Moderately hilly, 24 & 44 mile options
Tour the redwoods of central Marin county through Nicasio and have lunch at the Bovine Bakery on Highway 1. Return through Olema back to Nicasio and Lucas Valley. The 24-mile ride joins the 44 mile ride in Nicasio and loops back to Nicasio. There are hills, but we will ride them gently. Bring lunch or $ to buy. No drop. Helmets required. Rain cancels; if weather is dubious contact a ride leader.
— For the 44 mile ride, meet 10:00 a.m. across from the Marinwood Community Center: exit Hwy 101 at the Lucas Valley exit just north of San Rafael and head West on Lucas Valley Road. Make a right turn at Miller Creek Rd. and park on the street across from the community center.
— For the 24 mile ride, meet at 11:00 a.m. in Nicasio for an 11:15 departure. From Hwy 101, take the Lucas Valley Rd/Smith Ranch Rd Exit. Go 10 miles west to Nicasio Valley Road. Turn right and go 0.3 mile to a parking area with convenience store. You will pass the 44-mile bicycle riders on Lucas Valley, so please take extra care.