Bayway is the "standard" commute for most rides, most of the time. It's a fairly scenic, low-ish traffic, flat-ish route that attempts to use bike trails whenever possible. Some sections are rich in traffic signals, if you like that kind of thing. Some parts, such as the Foster City circumnavigation, offer beautiful views of the SF bay. Several points along the way are informal sprint stages. There are restrooms at about mile 19.5 in San Mateo, and this is a standard stop-and-wait spot to regroup if the ride has become splintered.
- distance: ~41 miles (to Google)
- travel time: ~2 1/2 hours
- elevation gain: ~500 feet
- difficulty rating (1-10): 4
- rollout point: Ritual Roasters (aka "RRR") or Philz Coffee (aka "PCR")
- inventor: Brett Lider
Bayway lends itself to modification to suit your distance and/or scenery needs. The most common change is to shorten the route by BARTing to Millbrae, see below.
- Colmaway, aka Dawn of the Dead: A trip up Mission into Colma and Daly City and through a plethora of weird and creepy cemeteries. Meets up with the standard bayway before SFO.
- Millbway (Lider): This knocks about 12 miles off the normal Bayway. Check out the Millbway page for more information.
- Eric's Bayshore Express, aka, Shoot the Rapids (Altendorf): when you're in a hurry. This variant avoids the Cortland hill and reduces overall climbing considerably. It's also shorter/more direct. That said, it's somewhat dangerous, as there are high-speed onramps at 3 different points, so be very wary of merging vehicles and please be careful. Here's a map of the section in question. Note: there is a dangerous metal storm drain known as the Grate of Doom (GoD) on this route that will cause you to crash if you hit it. Be vigilant.
- BEX/Bayspresso (Hobe): Same as EBE above, except avoids the dangerous metal grate and merge on Bayshore south of Paul Ave. Turn right on Paul Ave. and then left on San Bruno, which puts you on the standard Bayway route. Easy. Here's a map of the section in question.
- Bridge-to-Nowhere bypass, aka, the Lebariation (LeBaron): When mud just isn't your thing. This eponymous route variation circumvents the BTN, which is handy when it's been raining a lot and/or you don't want to ride on mud/dirt. There are many ways to avoid the BTN, but this is the shortest and most interesting. It takes you on a short bike path section, thru some parking lots, and hither/thither, but it's fun and pretty fast. Only takes about 5 minutes and you're back on the normal route.
- BTN Bypass II: The Hooverville Bridge Troll Way (Lider): This variation is a compromise between Lebariation and BTN that cuts under 101, going right by the homeless encampment by the Bridge to Nowhere (they are pretty friendly folks, actually.) There is a little mud when it rains but it's not nearly as bad as BTN. People not especially known for their bike handling have ridden it just fine. Check out the map.
- Feral Cats Freeway (FCF) (Lider): Scenic, lots of pedestrians, a bit longer. This is a lovely bike path that circumvents Foster City, more or less, and takes you on a nice tour of the bay for a few miles. There are often many wild cats flitting about, but they are harmless. The path parallels Beach Park Blvd., see map.
- Lagoon variation (Lider): Less traffic, more bike path, good water views, somewhat bumpy. When Bayshore hits Airport Blvd., go left as usual, but then turn right immediately after the baseball diamond and follow the bike path to the lagoon. Ride along the water for a mile or so and the path becomes Beach Rd., and then merges into Airport Rd. again, whereupon it's business as usual.
- Coyote Point circumnavigation (Lider): More bike path, some off-road/cyclocross, more scenic, longer by a few hundred meters. Just after the lagoon bit is a very cool option if you feel adventurous. Just before Airport Rd. takes a 90-degree left about 100 meters past Beach Rd., take a left onto the bike path and hug the water until past the golf course. Super cool, and nice views of the marina.