East Coast rider goes west - Side-O

Me and my family went to the Berkeley hills last week and I brought along the muni with intentions of hooking up with some Bay area muni folks.

First, though, on Friday morning, I went out and attempted the ascent of Marin Ave in Berkeley. an unbelievably steep three-quarter mile hill. I didn’t make it, or rather, I made it, but I had a couple UPDs (the pavement was wet) where my KH24 knobbies just slipped out from under me. Then, more towards the top, I actually had a couple rest stops because my legs just wouldn’t pedal anymore. I’m a fairly seasoned hillclimber and believe me when I say that this is the hardest paved hill I’ve ever tried.

Then, Sunday morning was our muni meetup. Tom(tholub), Nathan & Beau Hoover, Kevin(phlegm), Mike, Lewis(skilewis74), Corbin, Ashley, Jeff and myself met up and shuttled ourselves up to the top of Grizzly Peak Rd to ride a trail called “Side-O”.

Conditions were sunny and cool as we strapped on our pads and wheeled away from the cars at about 10:30AM. The day couldn’t have been nicer. The view from the top curves of the trail swept 180 degrees of the SF bay, and the air was so clear you could have counted the bolts on the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.

The trail offered sweet single track on wide open grassy hills, then some dirt roads sections where Corbin and Nathan did some one footing and a bit of coasting while Beau coasted down a good 100 yard section. As can been expected with a group of 10 riders, there was a lot of stopping for regrouping and repeated attempts of various skinnies and steeps.

There were several crazy dropoffs off the fire roads, some of which I tried and a few upon which I succeeded. My favorite part was a magical section of well-packed single-track where we wound through a deep, dark grove of young redwoods. This section ended in a few very tricky, rooted paths and steep drops. You couldn’t have pried the grin off my face with a tire lever.

Reaching the parking lot where we’d left a car at the bottom of the shuttling, we turned and pointed our wheels back upward. We climbed some twisty paved roads for a while, and hopped a rock wall down to some more paths. Some of the uphill here was ridable and some was so steep and tricky even Beau couldn’t clean it all. We paused for a snack and then tackled a steep, sustained uphill on a fire road.

Beau made the first attempt and made it look easy. I tried next, and I had a few UPDs along the way. Corbin and Nathan both made the whole climb and everyone else finally gathered at the top after various amounts of riding and walking. Another bit of uphill pavement gave us some more spectacular views, and then we retraced our tracks down through the single-track, fire roads, and redwoods once again.

After all was ridden and done with, I ended up quite late for the family event I was to attend, but I did finally make it. I was graciously granted forgiveness from my wife’s family, and I’m glad I didn’t have to cut short this ride.

It was a treat to meet and ride with all you bay area unicyclists, although I didn’t get to meet mscalisi or maestro8. I hope they had good excuses, (I heard the maestro just didn’t want to get up that early :astonished: ) but they missed a fun ride.

Hopefully Nathan will read this and post a link to his pics. The views were most excellent.

It was a ton of fun! What a great day. The views were amazing! It was good to meet you, Steve.


Sorry I didn’t make it! My weekend was packed with non-riding plans and Sunday was my only day to relax…

Steve, look at it this way… now you’ve an excuse to return to the left coast! There are many, many scenic trails to take in here: Tahoe, Sacramento, Santa Cruz, and a myriad of locales in So. Cal.

That’s poetry. Glad you had a blast!

Sounded like it was a lot of fun.

Sorry I missed it!! It sounds like it was a great ride! I had a family outing I couldn’t miss.

That was a blast! I chickened out halfway on the climb back up:(. I didn’t think I was out of shape, but that made me sound like a chain smoking couch potato :p:(. I’m determined to not let that happen next time.

You should try Baldwin Street sometime :stuck_out_tongue:

Do you have a zoom feature on your eyes? :stuck_out_tongue:

Fixed :stuck_out_tongue:

Here it is.">http://nhoover.smugmug.com/gallery/3697804#211754617

Tony Melton has ridden up it on a 24" MUni, and I think Gizmoduck also.

Edit: stories
Part one - http://www.unicyclist.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=20525&highlight=Baldwin+Street
Part two - http://www.unicyclist.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=22070&highlight=Baldwin+Street

I didn’t get many people pictures this time (it can be hard when you’re leading a big group), but here they are:

It was an incredibly beautiful day; thanks for giving us an excuse to get out and ride!