This easy 28.9 mile ride from the Mission District in San Francisco to IndoChinese food in San Carlos is a variation of the Bay Trail. Instead of taking a winding route along the airport, this inland one is easier to navigate. What you’ll miss in jet fuel fumes will probably be made up in automobile fumes before you shoot out along the bay for the last third of the stretch. Getting out of San Francisco is the most challenging part of this ride – there are three small climbs before you hit San Bruno. From there, it’s all downhill, and you can take Caltrain back from the San Carlos station. Total elevation gain is a mere 438 feet.
Don’t tell your gang about Red Cafe (2894 Mission St at 25th) – okay, maybe tell your closest brunching biker pals. The chilaquiles are out of this world! They’re a million times fresher, crispier, and tastier than the ones at the Saturday Ferry Building Farmer’s market. And a little insider tip from my friend Vincente – order the casamiento style refried beans and rice – not a lot of places in SF serve it. Add a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice, and you’ve got enough energy and protein to take you on a long ride.
Red Hot Chili Pepper (1125 San Carlos Ave at El Camino Real) in San Carlos is the end destination. Yes, they use Ghost Pepper, 3x hotter than a habanero, and the world’s hottest naturally grown pepper. Yes, we tried the Devil’s Vegetables. Yes, they were hot! It was a slow burn on the palate, with an onset of about 10 minutes before the full effects were felt. I didn’t get the heartburn I anticipated, and it was okay going through the rest of my GI tract. The Vegetable Coins in Manchurian Sauce were my favorite dish – a sweeter, earthier contrast to the Devil’s Vegetables. The decor here is a swanky modern Asian, so it felt a little funny strolling in wearing a chamois and covered in road dirt.
In 0.7 miles, RIGHT at the T intersection onto Potrero Ave. As you come under the bridge, use the pedestrian crosswalk to turn left. RIGHT onto the sidewalk for a few feet, and LEFT onto the one-way bike lane. Use the pedestrian crosswalk again and turn RIGHT onto the sidewalk. At the end of the sidewalk, the road will fork. On the right side is Bayshore Blvd with a fair amount of traffic. Take the LEFT onto Jerrold Ave.
At the first fork, stay RIGHT onto Barneveld Ave. At the second fork, stay RIGHT onto Loomis St.
In 0.4 miles at the T intersection, RIGHT onto Industrial Ave. FIRST LEFT onto Bayshore Blvd. Here, there’s a small climb of 49 feet.
In 0.3 miles, RIGHT onto Silver Ave. After underpass, LEFT onto San Bruno Ave. There will be a climb of 46 feet over 0.2 miles, then 89 feet over 1 mile.
In 1.6 miles, San Bruno Ave merges into Bayshore Blvd.
In 2.1 miles, Bayshore Blvd turns into Airport Blvd. This is the last climb of 39 feet over 0.3 miles, followed by a very fast downhill into San Bruno.
In 0.6 miles, take the third RIGHT after Sister Cities Blvd/Oyster Point Blvd to Linden Ave. The sign for this street is impossible to see, so look out for it after Butler Ave and Chapman Ave.
In 1.7 miles, RIGHT before the railroad crossing onto Dollar Ave.
In 0.1 miles, Dollar Ave becomes Herman St.
In 0.5 miles, Herman St hooks to the right. LEFT onto Huntington Ave.
In 0.4 miles, San Mateo Ave begins. Stay LEFT to stay on Huntington Ave.
In 0.7 miles, Huntington Ave becomes San Antonio Ave.
In 0.5 miles, San Antonio Ave turns RIGHT and becomes Santa Helena Ave. SECOND LEFT onto El Camino Real.
In 1.4 miles, signal and transfer into the left-hand lane for the first LEFT after Milbrae Ave onto Murchison Dr. These left-turns can be tricky – you might need a car to pull up to the intersection in order for you to get your left-turn signal.
FIRST RIGHT onto California Dr.
In 2.9 miles, California Dr becomes N San Mateo Dr.
In 1.3 miles, you will have entered the city of San Mateo. LEFT onto E 4th Ave.
For an extra special sweet treat of tiny taiyaki, stop at Sweet Breams (220 2nd Ave btn S Ellsworth Ave and S B St). Gotta love the nutella-filled fish-shaped crepes on coffee ice cream with a huge dose of Kawaii. Go now and you can still catch the 8bit Romantik show.
In 0.6 miles, you will see a bike lane on the left after you cross S Humboldt St. Take this bike lane, which will go onto the side walk and along the left-hand side of a ramp over 101. This eventually feeds into the 3rd Ave bike path.
At the end of the 3rd Ave bike path, RIGHT onto S Norfolk St. In 223 feet, LEFT onto the bike path.
In 0.3 miles after crossing over J Hart Clinton Dr, you will come to the water. Turn RIGHT and follow the path, hugging water for 7.2 miles past Foster City.
When you reach the Oracle Conference Center, take the first and only wooden bridge on your LEFT. In 0.1 miles, RIGHT onto Marine Pkwy/Ralston Ave.
In 0.8 miles, LEFT onto Old County Rd.
In 1.1 miles, at the end of the road, RIGHT onto Holly St. FIRST LEFT onto El Camino Real.
FIRST RIGHT onto San Carlos Ave. Red Hot Chili Pepper (1125 San Carlos Ave at El Camino Real) is on your LEFT.