Kilkare Rd-Sunol

Monday, December 3, 2012

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Finally, we get a dry sunny day-I’m going out for ride! I leave from home and head south for a total urban ride out to Sunol and up Kilkare Woods.

From Martinez, I take Morella Ave to Taylor Blvd into Lafayette. There are a few climbs going up Taylor; it begins gently with grades of 3-6% and levels out in between before the steeper 8-10% climb up to Rancho View Dr. The road changes to Pleasant Hill Rd on the descent into Lafayette. Watch for all the traffic at the freeway interchange!

I hang a left at Olympic Blvd and continue into Walnut Creek on Tice Valley Blvd. There is a very convenient pit stop at the Tice Valley Community Park-complete with water and flushing toilets.

I continue on Tice to Meadow and Castle Hill Rd to get to Danville Blvd. Danville Blvd is an arterial road that runs through Walnut Creek, Alamo and Danville. This urban road parallels I-680 and changes names from Danville Blvd to San Ramon Valley Rd, San Ramon Rd and Foothill Rd. It passes through the cities of San Ramon, Dublin, Pleasanton and Sunol.

Mind you, this is an urban ride so you will encounter much traffic, speed bumps, freeway interchanges, many traffic signals and stop signs. Just be mentally prepared and alert to ensure yourself a stress free ride! There are bike lanes and ample shoulder areas through the cities. A good thing is that there are many services available along this route-from shopping centers to gas stations. And the majority of road surfaces are well maintained and fairly smooth.

Traffic is significantly reduced once you cross over I-580 into Pleasanton on Foothill Rd. Foothill hugs the outskirts of the city and runs along Pleasanton Ridge Park and the Castlewood Country Club. This area is filled with huge estates and residential homes. Restrooms are available at the Pleasanton Ridge Staging Area off Foothill Rd. Much of Foothill Rd has no shoulder area-if riding in a group, you should ride single file all the way into Sunol.

On Foothill, there is one particular right curve/turn on the descent into Sunol that ALWAYS has lots of gravel on the road-proceed with caution!


At the second RR crossing, I take a right onto Kilkare Rd for the climb up along Kilkare Canyon to the small community of Kilkare Woods. Kilkare Rd parallels Sinbad Creek and the west end of Pleasanton Ridge Park. It is a gorgeous 4 mile wooded climb with minimal to no traffic and gradient ranges of 3-6% and a few steep pitches of 8-9%. In this neighborhood, you’ll see the Little Brown Church of Sunol, a couple of fairy-tale like Victorians, the Elliston Vineyards and several creek crossing bridges for residential access. The sound of the rushing waters of Sinbad Creek flowing down the canyon is very soothing. But the recent storms have flooded parts of the lower canyon; there are muddy areas filled with debris and gravel. So, it’ll be a slow descent back into Sunol. The road dead-ends at the upper end of the canyon near the Sinbad Creek Trail of Pleasanton Ridge Park.

I stop at the Sunol Park off Main St to have my lunch; there is a water fountain here but no restrooms. Porta-potties are located across the road at the Sunol Train Depot. Snacks and drinks can be purchased at the Sunol Market on Main.

For the return to Martinez, I just reverse the route and head north on the very same roads I came out on and take Pleasant Hill Rd to Taylor and Morello.

What a great way to spend my day-out on the bike and exploring a new road! Choosing to ride with a rear view mirror on my helmet has increased my safety exponentially, especially through the high capacity suburban areas of the cities in Contra Costa and Alameda counties. I highly recommend the use of a rear view mirror, if I can make the visual adjustment, you can too!

VDO Stats:
80.4 miles with 3837′ of elevation gain
Avg grade: 2%
Max grade: 9%

Weather: FANTASTCI! It’s not raining! Cool and sunny with temps ranging from the mid 50’s to the low 60’s

If I can bicycle, I bicycle.  David Attenboorough

Click here to view the route map & profile

Follow this route for today’s ride:

One Comment

  1. Another great report Nancy and yes, the mirror makes it a lot safer, and saves a lot of neck turning too.

    Thanks Carl! It’s never too late to learn something new! Nancy


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