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Pre-Conference NCTA Tour de Marin

Posted By Sarah Llewellyn, Monday, September 19, 2016

Tuesday, November 1, 9.30 am

Join some NCTA road cycling enthusiasts on this Pre-Conference NCTA Tour de Marin ride over the Golden Gate Bridge to the beautiful coastal roads of Marin County. This is one of the best known and most beautiful rides in the area and easily accessible from San Francisco. For example, Bill Oetinger says in his recent book 75 Classic Rides Northern California that "I cannot think of another ride in this book that is so consistently beautiful and rewarding as this one" and "From beginning to end, it is a landscape of pristine wilderness and spectacular natural beauty." And now you have a chance to see it for yourself with some friendly local colleagues -- you are so lucky!

Our ride starts from Sports Basement Presidio store at Crissy Field, where bike rentals are available (see below for details), goes over (and under) the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito and then climbs up to a ridgeline (625 m / 2050 ft) overlooking the San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean – the views are just incredible. After 6 km (4 miles) of beautifully undulating hills on the ridgeline, another 6 km of a curvy descent brings us down to sea level where we follow Bolinas Lagoon to Stinson Beach, a small beach resort with a great bakery. The lagoon is famous for its rich bird life and happily sun-bathing seals that are known to cheer on passing cyclists. After a coffee/lunch break at Stinson Beach we follow the Pacific coastline on Highway 1 south for a few more miles but this time on a rollercoaster road up and down above the ocean and then turn back inland towards the famous redwood trees of Muir Woods National Monument. This climb and the following descent eventually take us back to Sausalito and the final stretch over the Golden Gate Bridge back to the City.

There is also a shorter and longer option of the ride available for those who prefer. The shorter version is about 16 km shorter and the longer one about 10 km longer and adds the Mt. Tamalpais peak –certainly worth it if you don't mind the extra climb. You can also join us along the route if you are coming from Marin, or wish to rent a bike from Sausalito (see below). For details of the ride, see the table below and linked maps.

And if you want to see photos of some of the views, check out our Flipagram. All photos were taken at various points along our route (including the summit of Mt Tam) at different times of year.

Ride statistics: 


The Ride (map)

Shorter version (map)

Longer version (map)


88 km / 55 mi

72 km / 45 mi

98 km / 61 mi

Elevation gain:

1500 m / 4940 ft

1290 m / 4230 ft

1780 m / 5850 ft

Highest elevation:

625 m / 2045 ft

460 m / 1510 ft

760 m / 2500 ft

Steepest grade:





As you can see, this ride is challenging and should not be attempted without previous experience of similar rides. Note also that this is a voluntary, unsupported group ride with some local NCTA volunteers who want to share one of their favorite rides with local and out-of-town colleagues. Everyone is riding at their own risk. NCTA does NOT provide insurance, assume any responsibility or provide any support, nor guarantee that there are any croissants left at the bakery.

Bike rentals: If you can't bring your own bike, there are a few options. Black Sheep Bike Rentals will deliver a bike to your hotel and pick it up later for just $10 per delivery/pickup. A carbon road bike starts at $59 for the day. You can also rent good road bikes from Sports Basement but please reserve ahead of time to be sure that you'll have a bike in the morning when we are ready to go. Daily rental (9am to 9pm) for a carbon-fiber bike costs $60 plus a credit card deposit of $1,000 charged only in the event of loss or damage. If you want to keep the bike for more than one day, the cost for each subsequent day is $30. Helmets are provided free of charge and pedals can be changed to accommodate standard cleats (road/mountain). You can leave any gear you don’t want to take on the ride at Sports Basement until you return your bike. Bike sizes range from 44cm to 61cm. Sports Basement also offers a 10% group discount for 10 or more people, although we don’t think that will apply in our case! But we’ll certainly monitor interest and make sure the discount is passed on if we reach that number. To reserve your bike, email:

Sausalito Bicycle Co. also rents bikes but they are more expensive than Sports Basement. This store opens at 10am and is a 12-minute walk from the Sausalito ferry.

Weather: The weather conditions along the route can vary depending on the fog. Particularly the long downhill sections can be chilly when foggy, so a light windbreaker in your jersey pocket is a good thing to have.

If you have any questions about the ride, please contact Sarah Llewellyn (

Registrations: Please click here to register.

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