Mt. Hamilton Has a Darker Side


One of my favorite routes in Bay Area Bike Rides is the 102-mile Mt. Hamilton ride. This is my 30th year of doing this route; I’ve done it three times in 2010, probably 40-50 times in all.

Yesterday I did something I had never done before – and do not recommend – and that’s ride the route clockwise. It doesn’t take a Roads Scholar to know why it’s something I’ve avoided doing.

The backside of Mt. Hamilton is steep, unlike the San Jose side. It has a section of 4.4 miles that varies between 11-15 percent. I counted my blessings as I reached the summit and reminded myself that while I had done it, it would probably be my last.

That’s too bad because I otherwise enjoyed this direction more than the route in my book.

Of course, I put that route in not because I expect everyone to do the ride, but because it covers some great bike riding. You can pick a section that interests you and ride that part. Many riders go to the summit from San Jose and return.

One change to my route I recommend is to avoid Livermore streets entirely by taking the Arroyo Mocho Recreation Path. It goes from Murrieta Blvd. at Stanley Blvd. to S. Livermore Ave. The path offers a riparian habitat next to the Arroyo Mocho Creek, fed by Del Valle Reservoir.

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