While Berlin is still probably my favorite city in the world it is desperately lacking in cycling diversity. Topographically Berlin is the ‘Pan Cake Assed White Girl‘ of cities. Australia was a blast but is not only the flattest continent but has so much urban sprawl its largely impractical to ride out of the city.
The San Francisco Bay Area has one of the most amazingly diverse cycling scenes as a directly reflection of the diversity of the area. San Francisco has top quality road or dirt right in the city. You can climb your guts out every day of the week on a different fixture, mountain bike or CX ride McLaren Part or Sutro Mountain, and if you willing to risk the ticket Golden Gate Park is a fine place to ride dirt as well.
Then you can point yourself roughly within 90° +/- of east and find yourself bigger rides, harder climbs, hairier descents and even a lovely little velodrome.
Outside of cycling the Bay Area also has an amazing outdoor culture. There are dozen of places to camp that can be ridden to in mere hours. This is a post about that.
The Marin Headlands has 4 really cool campsites. Until sometime last year I had only been vaguely aware of one of them. I frequently passed Bicentennial while out on road rides but as it appears to just be a simple road side picnic area I never paid it much attention. Turns out you can camp there, it’s free and there are 3 other even better sites.
At the start of the year I got invited to camp at Kirby Cove. I’d heard of this before but never realize how close it was and that in fact I also passed it on the same regular road ride. It is tucked into an amazing little cove just north of the Golden Gate Bridge in the Marin Headlandss. One of the more amazing views of the bridge I’ve seen…. Unless there is fog, which then the fog horns are going to probably ruin your night. Definitely ruin mine. But fog horn aside it is a beautiful place.
Last week when chatting with a friend he’d asked me if I had been camping lately. Before even answering I was asking myself, why the hell I hadn’t been lately? This thought, coupled with my crazy ambition to actually race the World Cycle Tour, my love for camping and my currently flexible schedule I have decided there is no reason I shouldn’t be camping 2-4+ times a month. With once a month or so doing a serious all night effort, should I actually feel like training.
Started already! My basic plan was this. Attend a meeting I had in SF Wednesday night. Finished up around 9pm. Perfect. Started riding from SoMa towards Golden Gate. Grabbed a couple things at Safeway at Crissy Fields and headed over. Conzelman Rd to the viewing point and into the dirt. Road dirt to the round-about and jumped on the coast trail down to Bunker Rd. This is when I realized the Mode button on my Garmin had broken. Again. I’ve read enough posts for long distance racers to know that GPS/Navigation failures end races. Then despite knowing the area fairly well and lot has changed in the last couple of years and I could not find the trail head I was after. This was my intended route.
The entire loop was a “If I feel like it in the morning addition” but the important part is around 14km, Keypress Camp. Right around 8km is important too as it is a trail head that is closed. By the time I finally got on a trail near McCullough Rd I was pretty disoriented, did know what trail I was even on and still didn’t have navigation. All I knew was I wanted to be on Miwok Trail which I vaguely knew the location of. I missed the turn. I pictured to junctions incorrectly and ended up climbing Bobcat Trail with its lovely full-moon lit view of Miwok across the Gerbode Valley. This is the route I ended up riding.
Quite a bit of confusion can be seen around Bunker Rd. My plan was to bush camp once I reached the summit. Luckily just before I saw a sign for Hawk. What luck! Hawk is tucked into the northern tip of Gerbode Valley just under the summit. Interestingly I found most maps do not have the site marked although they draw out the trail leading to it. This site was very empty so I got my pick of it. I snagged two nice tree just at the edge of the site for a nice view of the valley and a glimpse of Sunset District.
In the morning I had a nice breakfast and casually rolled out around 9:30. Future versions of this I will be pushing to wake up early and do race pace eat-up/pack-up. Next week will be Heypress for reals.
Pouched eggs in tomato sauce!? A friend taught me this a couple years ago, blowing my mind in the process. I did this one with sauted mushrooms, green onions and baby(?) heirloom tomatoes. Possible follow up post on just that.
This is my current camping setup. A hammock made by the lovely Sam Bell for my birthday. It is super light and super simple. Above I have strung my Mountain Hardware ground cover. Its not rain tested yet but does a great job of trapping some heat in. Follow up post on the hammock adventure of late coming up definitely.
Yeah, this sign says the trail is closed. I did not see this sign until morning.
And lastly. File this one under nifty tricks. I strapped my headlamp around the hammock ties to create a non-blinding, easily accessible light setup. Got in the hammock and got comfortable before turning it out and it remained close enough in case I needed to ward off any hairy little mooches.
And the full image set is available….. here.