Kid-Friendly Bike Trails
Going for a bike ride is a wonderful way for your family to get exercise and enjoy nature. The Bay Area offers great trails even for beginners who haven’t shed the training wheels.
Crown Memorial State Beach – Along 2.5 miles of beach is a paved bike path great for bicyclists of all ages. Families can enjoy the rolling sand dunes and beaches calm enough for swimming. At the east end of the harbor is the Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary with aquatic birds and other salt marsh creatures. The Crab Cove Visitor Center, located on McKay Avenue, has exhibits and aquaria highlighting flora and fauna of San Francisco Bay and other marine areas. Eighth Street and Otis Drive, Alameda. $5 parking fee. 510-544-3175. ebparks.org/parks/crown_beach.
Lake Chabot – The bicycle loop covers 12.42 miles via the Live Oak Trail and 14.41 miles via the Honker Bay Trail. Along the way, you can enjoy scenic views of the lake, wildlife and picnic areas. 17600 Lake Chabot Road, Castro Valley. $5 parking fee. 888-327-2757. ebparks.org/parks/lake_chabot.
Lake Lagunitas – This reservoir in Marin County is a perfect place for beginners. It’s also a great place to have a picnic. Lagunitas Dam Road, Fairfax. 415-945-1180. mtbproject.com/trail/7010957/lake-lagunitas-loop-trail.
Tennessee Valley – This trail is popular with both hikers and mountain bicyclists for good reason. It’s an easy ride for young cyclists and it has dramatic views and a spectacular beach at the end of the trail. It’s a 3.4-mile ride round-trip out to Tennessee Cove and back. Tennessee Valley Road near Mill Valley. nps.gov/goga/index.htm.
Coyote Point Recreation Area Trails – In addition to paved bike paths perfect for learners, this park features the Magic Mountain Playground with its dragon and castle slides and the CuriOdyssey science and nature museum. 1701 Coyote Point Drive, San Mateo. 650-573-2592. parks.smcgov.org/coyote-point-recreation-area.
Sawyer Camp Trail – Part of the Crystal Springs Regional Trail, this paved path marked for two-way traffic is great for young bicyclists. The trail has sweeping views of the Crystal Springs Reservoir, picnic areas and restrooms on both its northern and southern access points. It extends from Hillcrest Boulevard on the north to Crystal Springs Road on the south. 650-363-4000. parks.smcgov.org/sawyer-camp-segment.
Crissy Field – Enjoy iconic views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay as you ride on the flat bike trail that winds through Crissy Field between Marina Green and Fort Point. Along the way, you will find picnic tables, beaches and a tidal marsh overlook. At the west end, the Warming Hut offers snacks and park gear, and on the east end of the park the Crissy Field Center serves as a multicultural urban environmental education center for youth. Park in beachfront lots west of the Marina gate. Warming Hut Park Store and Café, 983 Marina Drive. 415-561-3040. parksconservancy.org/visit/park-sites/crissy-field.html.
Golden Gate Park – This San Francisco treasure offers plenty of bike trails for young riders and along the way there is so much to see including museums, playgrounds, gardens, lakes, monuments and more. The safest time to ride through the park is Sundays and holidays when John F. Kennedy Drive is closed to car traffic from Stanyan Street, where the Panhandle starts, to 20th Avenue. There are several places to rent bicycles throughout the park as well as tours. 501 Stanyan St. 415-831-2700. goldengatepark.com/biking.html.
Calabazas BMX Park – This free public BMX park is divided into three sections so kids and adults of all abilities are able to enjoy the park. Open from sunrise to an hour after sunset. Rainbow Drive and Blaney Avenue, San Jose. 408-793-5510. sanjoseca.gov/facilities/facility/dcambridgeetails/64.
Los Alamitos Creek Trail – This trail offers a leisurely ride along a creek with plenty of shade. The 4.7-mile trail begins at Almaden Lake Park and connects to the Almaden Creek Trail. 6602 Camden Ave., San Jose. 408-535-3500. sanjoseca.gov/index.aspx?NID=2871.
Teresa Mills-Faraudo is an associate editor at Bay Area Parent.
HED: Bicycle Safety
If you’re looking for ways to keep your child safe while riding, there are plenty of classes, workshops and camps in the Bay Area for families and kids.
Bike East Bay – This group provides a variety of free bike education classes and workshops around the East Bay for all ages. Classes include Urban Cycling 101 for adults and teens and Family Cycling workshops. bikeeastbay.org/education.
Marin County Bicycle Coalition – This organization offers free workshops in Marin that help kids learn how to ride safely on the road. The workshops include basic bike skills, rules of the road, effective communication and proper equipment. marinbike.org/classes/family-biking-events.
REI – It has a variety of bicycle classes throughout the Bay Area on everything from how to ride to repairing a flat tire to mountain biking. Check website for prices. rei.com/events.
San Francisco Bicycle Coalition – It offers free classes in San Francisco on bike safety and learning how to ride. It also provides many other resources on its website including bicycle rules of the road, tips on locking your bike and more. sfbike.org.
Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition – It has a variety of programs for bicycle safety in the Silicon Valley area. Check website for prices. bikesiliconvalley.org.
Wheel Kids Bicycle Club – It offers camps, classes and lessons focusing on how to ride and bicycle safety, as well as fun programs for independent riders. Los Gatos, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Walnut Creek. Check website for prices. wheelkids.com/about-us/programs.
– Teresa Mills-Faraudo