Mt. Tam Climb

Biking on Mt Tamalpas

Biking on Mt Tamalpias

For Bay Area cyclists, the Bovine Bakery in downtown Point Reyes Station functions as a giant, scone-powered magnet, drawing hungry peddlers in from San Francisco, Petaluma, and all points in between. But Point Reyes Station isn’t just a great destination for cyclists; it’s also a great starting point. If you like rolling terrain and cows, you can head west on the peninsula to the Point Reyes Lighthouse or Tomales Point. If you like rolling terrain and sheep, you can pedal north to Valley Ford and beyond. Go all the way to Jenner and the coastline turns spectacular. Turn off at Coleman Valley Road and you can take on a climb that has featured prominently in the Tour of California in recent years. Go south and you will eventually hit more spectacular coastline south of Stinson Beach. Veer east at points and you can ascend Mt. Tamalpais. If you like to ride off-road, the possibilities expand even further. Bottom line: It’s a great place for a cycling vacation. Whether you’re here for the weekend, a week, or even longer, you will be able to find spectacular and challenging rides to explore each day.

Yesterday, I decided to ride to Mt. Tam. Pedaled down Highway One to Olema, then took Sir Francis Drake over the hill to the Cross Marin Trail, a 5 mile or so bike path that starts out as pavement then switches to dirt/gravel as it meanders through Samuel P. Taylor Park. The trail parallels Lagunitas Creek, which is running strong these days due to recent rains. At Shafter’s Bridge, the trail ends and I rejoined the cars on Sir Francis Drake Blvd. In Fairfax, I turned onto Bolinas-Fairfax Rd., then went off-road again at the Concrete Pipe Rd. trailhead. Made my way to Lake Lagunitas and started climbing Rock Springs Lagunitas Rd., which was steep. Too steep for me, it turned out – my ride turned into a hike for the next mile or two.

Eventually things flattened out near the top and I started riding again, rejoining the road at the Rock Springs trailhead and continuing to the peak of Mt. Tam, where I then took Railroad Grade down to Mill Valley and started back toward Point Reyes through the towns of Corte Madera, San Anselmo, and Fairfax. Soon I was on the Cross Marin Trail again and thinking about what I could eat when I got back to Point Reyes Station. First choice would have been a burger at the Marin Sun Farms butcher shop – at $12 or so the burgers are pricey but one bite will confirm that your money has been well spent – but they’re only available from noon to four and it was already too late for that.

When I finally rolled into town, some time after 5 PM, the Bovine was closed for the day so no baked goods either. Was the universe trying to tell me something? A few less giant scones throughout the year and I may have been able to make it up Rock Springs Lagunitas a little more efficiently….and thus could have made it back in time for a hamburger. Or at least a giant scone. Kind of a paradox, no?

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