The new bike path on the Richmond-San Rafael bridge opened Saturday November 16. I was hiking in the Sierra and missed the ribbon cutting. Tom Willging (VeloRaptor and cycling activist) was there and got his picture in the paper! Tom is on the left.
My first ride across was on the following Wednesday, and a sizeable group of VeloRaptors and friends came to join me. We met at the Pt. Richmond Social Club in Pt Richmond, and a decent crowd showed up! I counted 32, but I give up counting cyclists when the group size exceeds my number of fingers.
The approach path on the Richmond side takes a circuitous route through the freeway infrastructure and has been nicely designed and constructed and the signage is good.
The engineer for the approach is a very tall guy that happened to be at the start of our ride.
Once on the bridge, the path is NICE. The high barrier between bikes and cars blocks the wind and car noise. The path is quiet enough for riders to actually talk, unlike the Bay Bridge bike path.
Did I mention the scenery? This view is looking to the East, and we did have a beautiful day!
The view to the North wasn’t too bad either, with the bridge curving into San Rafael and San Quentin.
The bridge bike path comes out onto Francisco Blvd in San Rafael, but our destination was the Rustic Bakery on Sir Francis Drake Blvd in the Marin Country Mart in Larkspur . To get onto Sir Francis Drake Blvd the bike route takes a short, but interesting detour. Yes, Howard, Goldy and Tom are heading through a hole in the fence! I believe it is a certified bike route, approved for cyclists by some wonderful government agency! Notice the green arrows at the bottom of the photo, remnant route markings of a past organized ride.
The large assembly of riders had broken up into smaller groups by the time we reached Larkspur, but all found their way to the bakery where we gladly refueled. I chose a chocolate croissant paired with a cappuccino. No one went hungry.
The route back to the bridge included the second civil engineering highlight of the ride in the form of the Cal-Park Hill pathway TUNNEL! The original tunnel was built in 1884 for a single track railway to haul freight to the Larkspur landing. It was widened to a double track in 1924. Freight operations continued through the Cal Park Hill Tunnel during the 1960s and 1970s, serving local shippers that included a rail car restoration business and quarry in Larkspur. The tunnel was closed for many years, until transit authorities realized that it could be used for transit. The tunnel is now part of the SMART system and has a separate section for bikes and pedestrians
One of our rides (Steve S) worked on the development of this project 20 years ago, but wasn’t aware that it had been completed. Here he is – all smiles!
Being the ride leader, I was of course the last to leave the bakery and took the scenic route back home with a group of 9. We stopped for a photo op at the Richmond Marina
The ladies in this group were having a good time!