Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips
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By Paul Dorn/Roni Sarig

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A "Bike Commuting Tips" Visitor Wrote:

Hi Paul,

You've got a very nice and interesting page! I'm from Holland where, as you know, commuting by bike is very normal. I commute daily about 8 (one way) miles to my school and I love it! I also make day trips on my bike of about 90 miles a day.

I think its really great you're promoting cycling as a way to get to work and back in a country where a bike is considered a toy and not an important transport mode.

I've got some questions for you (just curiosity): - how many miles an hour do you do (maximum and average?) on your bike? (I average about 12-14 mph, with a maximum of about 30 mph.) I'll be visiting the SF Bay area next year (along with some other parts of California), have you got ideas for me for both short and somewhat longer trips by bike?

Hope to hear from you and keep up the good work!

David Eerdmans


Thanks for your comments. My "normal" commuting speed is approximately 10 MPH; essentially below the "perspiration" stage. This varies depending on which of my bikes I use to get to work. During the summers, when it doesn't rain, I often ride one of my road bikes, like today. My Avocet cyclocomputer tells me that I averaged 11.4 MPH on this morning's commute, with a maximum speed of 28.4 MPH. I'm a bit slower on my hybrid bike, which I often have loaded with clothing, food, papers, etc.

I have a few suggestions for cycling in the country around San Francisco. You would be wise to pick up an inexpensive guide. My favorites (which remain in print) include: Bay Area Bike Rides: Third Edition. Short Bike Rides in and around San Francisco, 2nd (Short Bike Rides Series) is great; and the rides often combine transit and cycling. (KIngman is not fond of cars.) Another favorite is Adventure Cycling in Northern California: Best Tour and Mountain Bike Rides by the Adventure Cycling Association contains great suggestions for on and off-road rides, many well beyond San Francisco.

Finally, there are great bike maps available for nearby Marin and San Mateo counties, and the East Bay Bicycle Coalition publishes some maps for Alameda and Contra Costa counties. These maps can be purchased at just about any bike shop once you arrive here.

Anyway, some of my favorite areas for road bike riding beyond San Francisco include:

1) A loop around Briones Regional Park in the East Bay, which is accessible from the Orinda Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station.

2) A ride up Tunnel Road in Oakland in the East Bay, along the ridge to either Redwood, Tilden or Wildcat Regional Parks; accessible from BART.

3) Just about anywhere in western Marin and Sonoma counties, especially the areas west of Petaluma, the area around Nicasio, and along Tomales Bay. These are more difficult to get to without a car. The Alpine Lake loop ride is great, about 60 miles in distance, around Mt. Tamalpais.

4) Canada Road, Skyline Drive, Tunitas Creek Road, the Coastal Highway and other roads in western San Mateo county. You can use CalTrain to get to Palo Alto, Redwood City or another city to begin a trek over the ridge to the less trafficked and more scenic roads.

Again, thanks for checking out my page.

Happy riding,


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Comments? Suggestions? Contact || Updated 02.23.11