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Non-Members Welcome!

So, you're comfortable on bike rides of up to 25 miles, and you've always wanted to ride a century, but weren't sure you could? Or maybe you've ridden longer distances in the past but you've been dormant for the winter and now you'd like to get back in shape? If yes, this ride series is for you!

This spring, GPC is giving a series of nine rides for intermediate bicyclists who want to build stamina and increase range. The rides will be on nine consecutive Sundays, starting in March, and will gradually progress in distance from about 25 to about 55 miles. All are over moderately hilly terrain, similar to that of our Century, and they cover many of the classic loops of the East Bay. Those who complete the series should be well-prepared to ride at least the 75-mile route of our Century in May, as well as many other great club rides.

See the Current Ride Schedule for the meeting times. Most of the rides start at BART stations to encourage auto-free transit. It's easy to take a bike on BART; we recommend you learn how. Using BART can greatly expand your riding area and give you the flexibility of beginning and ending a ride at different places.

Everyone is welcome at the ride series. There is no fee. We appreciate it if you follow the link in the ride schedule to pre-register for the ride. That saves us a lot of time having to sign you up with paper and pencil at the ride start. If these rides are too much for you, later this year we will give a gentler series of 'Novice Rides' aimed at encouraging less experienced cyclists to stretch themselves a bit.

The Ride Leaders

Each ride will have several club members designated as leaders. They will have planned the route, printed cue sheets or maps, and will have everyone sign in. The ride leaders will guide people through the route, make sure no one is left behind due to mechanical or physical problems, and/or suggest a 'bail-out' route to those unable to complete the ride. We encourage calling the leaders in advance with any questions about the ride. In addition, other GPC members will be on the rides to offer assistance, helpful hints, or just moral support.

Your Bicycle

Each rider is responsible for bringing a suitable bicycle. For the century-prep rides, a road bike is recommended but not required. No safety inspection will be performed, but riders with obviously unsafe bikes will be discouraged from participating. Bicycles should be lubed and tires inflated to suitable pressure. Riders are encouraged to carry a basic tool kit with at least a spare tube, patch kit, tire levers, and pump. Assistance from GPC members will be available for roadside flats and minor adjustments.

Bicycle Safety

Bicycles are vehicles operating on public roads and must obey all traffic regulations, including traffic signals, pedestrian and other right-of-way rules, lane indications, and plain common sense. Riders should remain single file unless conditions clearly permit otherwise. Ride series and Century participants must wear approved bicycle helmets.

Personal Comfort

Riders should carry at least one water bottle and drink regularly, and also carry an energy bar or similar small snack. Longer rides usually have a food stop, so bring money or lunch. Clothing is a matter of personal preference. Lycra is not required; however, riders should choose clothing that won't chafe and should dress in layers to be prepared for all reasonable temperature extremes. Rain cancels the ride. If weather is questionable, look for a status update in the online schedule or call a ride leader.

2024 Century-Prep Ride Schedule

Please see the Current Ride Schedule for more information, including meeting time, the ride leaders and contact information, and possible route changes due to road closures and winter storm damage.

Sun Mar 3 - Ride #1 SPDR and Wildcat
A few low hills, 25 miles

Meet at North Berkeley BART. Ride to San Pablo Dam Rd and climb Wildcat Canyon to Spruce; then return to BART.

Sun Mar 10 - Ride #2 Tunnel Rd and Pinehurst
Hilly, a few steep ones, 25 miles

Meet at Rockridge BART. Climb Tunnel Rd to Skyline, continue to Redwood, then climb back to Skyline via Pinehurst, which is the first big challenge of the Grizzly Peak Century! Descend Shepherd Canyon back to Montclair Village and back to BART.

Sun Mar 17 - Ride #3 The Bears and a Bit
Moderately hilly, 27 miles

Meet at Orinda BART west parking lot. We will ride north on Camino Pablo/San Pablo Dam Rd, then clockwise around the hills known as The Three Bears, then counterclockwise on the little-traveled El Toyonal loop to return to BART.

Sun Mar 24 - Ride #4 Pinehurst, Grizzly Peak Loop
Moderately hilly, 30 miles

Meet at Orinda BART west parking lot. We will tackle Pinehurst, Skyline then Grizzly Peak, following the route of the century. We will then descent Wildcat and return to Orinda BART.

Sun Mar 31 - Ride #5 East Bay Hills
Moderately hilly, 35 miles

Meet at Orinda BART west parking lot. We will ride north on Camino Pablo, climb Wildcat Canyon, Grizzly Peak Blvd, Skyline Blvd, descend Redwood Road, then return via Pinehurst, Canyon, Moraga Way.

Sun Apr 7 - Ride #6 Three Small Walls
Moderately hilly, 40 miles

Meet at El Cerrito Del Norte BART, east side station entrance. Ride San Pablo Dam Rd to Appian Way, the Bay Trail through Pinole, Crockett, climb McEwen (small wall #1, the hardest climb of the century!). Return via Martinez, Alhambra Valley, Pig Farm Hill (wall #2), El Sobrante, and Hillcrest (wall #3).

Sun Apr 14 - Ride #7 Morgan Territory
Moderately hilly, 52 miles

Meet at Pleasant Hill BART. The ride goes clockwise around Mt. Diablo via Morgan Territory Road, which is a fairly difficult climb.

Sun Apr 21 - Ride #8 Century South Loop
Moderately hilly, 41 miles

Meet at Orinda BART west parking lot. The ride will cover the new (since 2023) century South loop - new because Redwood Road is not open. Route goes from Orinda to South Pinehurst, up to Skyline and South to Grass Valley. After the Grass Valley descent, we ride north parallel to 580, eventually getting to the foot of Joaquin Miller. From there the familiar BBR route will take us up back to Redwood Road and back over South Pinehurst and then back to Orinda.

Sun Apr 28 - Ride #9 Century North Loop
Hilly, a few steep ones, 48 miles

Meet at Orinda BART west parking lot. We will ride the Grizzly Peak North Loop starting with San Pablo Dam Road, Castro Ranch Road, scenic San Pablo Blvd, Carquinez Scenic Drive, McEwen, Alhambra Valley followed by the Three Bears.