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Exploring Alameda, California by bike

Posted by on January 3rd, 2012 at 12:41 pm

The East Bay city of Alameda, California has some gorgeous places to ride.
Photo Gallery / Flickr Slideshow

My family and I spent a few days in Alameda, California over the holidays. Some friends of ours from Portland recently moved down there and were eager to show us the local bikeways. I ended up being quite impressed with what I saw.

We pedaled along dedicated paths with unobstructed views of the San Francisco skyline, we rode up and over a sweet little biking and walking-only bridge, and we even rode a terrific, two-way, physically separated cycle track.

Scroll down for more photos and thoughts from the ride.

Just a few blocks from their house, a dedicated bikeway peels off from the main roadway…

Soon we were right on the water with a path all to ourselves…

Around the next corner I was amazed to see this two-way cycle-track on Fernside Blvd…

The facility was nicely done, with physical separation from auto traffic, and a standard bike lane for people who don’t want to be “forced” to use the cycle track…

With facilities like this, even young kids can ride up front all by themselves; which makes sense, because this cycle track was built specifically to access a middle school…

We rode it in both directions and it seemed to work very well (our friend’s daughter is 12 and rides to school on it by herself every day)…

Continuing on back to the SF Bay Trail, we rode from Alameda to Bay Farm Island via the Bay Farm Island Bicycle Bridge — which is the only biking/walking only drawbridge in the U.S…

Beyond the bridge we were treated to more dedicated paths…

And excellent views of the San Francisco skyline…

On the way back to our friend’s house I explored an unpaved section of the trail, which came right up against a bird refuge…

The combination of these on and off-street paths means that people of all ages can explore the East Bay by bike with confidence. Now, if Alameda would commit more to connecting some of these existing pieces, adding more wayfinding signage, and smoothing out some of the rough edges, they could really have a great local bike network.

Check out more images from our ride in Alameda in the photo gallery.

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    Esther January 3, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Alameda also has a grid street network like Portland’s and believe it or not, a strongly enforced 25-mph speed limit (something we dream of 😉
    For intra-island transport, biking the neighborhood streets is great. If they would do some treatments like stop sign turning along east-west streets like Pacific and Taylor/San Antonio they could have some greenways that would be the envy of Portland, linking the main commercial districts on Webster and Park.

    The main issue with Alameda is connectivity to the mainland. The Webster tunnel sidewalk feels like a deathwish- worse than riding the existing I-5 bridge.

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    KJ January 3, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    As a former Easy Bay resident (Plesanton/Danville area) area, i can say the east bay has some good biking. I used to take the Iron Horse trail all the time to work between San Ramon and Danville.

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    beelnite January 3, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    I’m prepping now to follow in your footsteps J-Maus. Awesome! Who knew my birthplace was so progressive and set up. Time to visit the cousins!

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    Rol January 3, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    Correction: There’s at least one other bike/ped drawbridge:

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    Gwen January 3, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    You can pick up a free Bike Alameda map when you’re in town next time.

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    Seth January 4, 2012 at 12:05 am

    Grew up and lived in Alameda most of my life and transplanted to Portland 10 years ago. It is a small town, 7 miles long and the biking is good. There is also the beach path that would take you most of the length with some more good views of the sf bay.

    Agree with the comments about the Webster tunnel. Riding that always did feel like a death wish.Sucking in all the exhaust with the cramped path.

    Missed riding there when I was just down the past 2 weeks.

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    Richard Masoner January 4, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Yep, Alameda’s got some nice biking.

    Don’t what’s up with the “forced” in quotes editorial — there’s no mandatory sidepath law in California, but there is a mandatory bike lane law.

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    Elian January 6, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Awesome stuff Jonathan. I am a former Portlander living in the E Bay and happened on this trail last week when I rode my Brompton out of the Oakland airport and back towards Berkeley.


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    captainkarma January 7, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    Watch it! I believe those Mythbusters fellows are based there and have lately been lobbing cannonballs or bowling balls or something through apartments & vans and such!

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