Riding your bike down long sloping stretches of mountain highway is fun. What’s even more fun is doing it without any cars threatening to turn your Bianchi Oltre into a hood ornament.
A car-free mountain ride is the idea behind Bicycle Sunday, where a three miles of Cañada Road from Highway 92 to Filoli is closed to motor traffic from 9 to 3 each Sunday. It’s a fairly straight run, so you can ride like the devil when you ought to be in church instead.
With lots of scenery provided by the woodlands and Crystal Springs Reservoir, it’s tempting to just pedal and zone out to nature. But you still need to be aware of your surroundings. Just because there aren’t any cars or motorcycles doesn’t mean there’s no potential hazards to watch out for. Although closed to motor vehicles, the road is open to walkers, the mamas and the papas with baby strollers, along with assorted hikers, joggers, and skaters.
The big difference is that in this environment you are now the alpha predator, not that Jet Ski-toting Winnebago piloted by a sleep-deprived retiree from Arizona. So ride with respect, particularly as there are racing bicyclists and families with youngsters pedaling alongside you.
Being in the mountains, this isn’t a level road, but it’s not more than a 5% grade, so it remains pretty easy on your knees. It can get windy however, as well as chilly, foggy, or hot. So check the weather and consider bringing a windbreaker or sunscreen, as appropriate.
If you arrive by car, there is a parking area at each end of the road, and you can start from one of these. Note that the lots can fill up fast though. And speaking of that full feeling, if you need a bathroom break, there are restrooms at Edgewood Park, the Pulgas Water Temple, and Filoli. But there isn’t much else in the way of amenities, so be sure to bring water—the sight of an entire reservoir as you pedal up that last incline on a summer day can make you awfully thirsty.
If you go
Cañada Road between Highway 92 in San Mateo and Filoli in Woodside
Open Sunday 9am to 3pm