How to Get Here Without a Car–A Quick and Ambitious
Sierra Bike Tour
Written by Carl Baker, Motherlode Bicycle Coalition
We recently had a guest visit through https://www.warmshowers.org on a quick bike trip
to the Sierra. He did many more miles than I do in a day and climbed a
ton in four days on his credit card tour.
Brian lives in San Francisco and doesn’t own a car, so he made effective
use of transit on his way. He took BART to Dublin and followed
Tesla/Corral Hollow Road to Tracy, crossing the San Joaquin River at
Durhams Ferry. I haven’t ridden most of his zigzag across the San
Joaquin Valley, but I’ve always thought of Caswell Memorial State Park
as a stop there. I also might have taken River Road to Oakdale.
I particularly admire his courageous use of the Salt Springs Valley, but
I would have avoided SR 4 from Hunt Road to Avery. That would require
some serious zigging via Pool Station, Calaveritas Road, Michel Road,
Mtn. Ranch/Sheep Ranch, and Avery Sheep Ranch, but after Avery, SR 4 is
The point here is not to quibble on his route choices but to point out
how he minimized urban riding and slogging through the suburbs to get
out on the road. BART to Dublin is fairly obvious, but his trip home was
downright smart. This trip was during 100 degree August weather, so he
didn’t want to have to ride in the afternoon into a headwind across the
valley to get back to BART.
His solution was the”https://www.amtrak.com/san-joaquins-train”>Amtrak San Joaquins route from Modesto to Richmond and then back to the City via BART.
There have been a couple times I’ve been ready to ride to Dublin BART
with an overnight at Caswell only to have circumstances change and have
to cancel in favor of driving. A ride to Modesto or Stockton with train
rides to the City would cut out half the miles and the need for camping
equipment which significantly changes the ride/drive calculation.
There’s also the ACE train from Stockton, Manteca, or Tracy to the East
and South Bay, but it’s commuter service only. The early departure time
is prohibitive for riding from the foothills, but could work after an
overnight stay in the valley.
Overall, Brian got in a pretty smart trip including eastern Alameda
County, the valley, foothills, Pacific Grade Summit, Ebbetts Pass,
Monitor Pass, and Sonora Pass in four days.
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