Group X


Tori and her kids 

Getting a daily diet of 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to brisk activity can boost your immune system and help keep viruses at bay. Just be sure you do it safely. With the weather starting to warm up, you may consider a bike ride. According to Dr. David Nieman of Appalachian State University, bike riding is safe as long as you ride alone (or with members of your household). The best plan for riding right now is to go out and ride solo and enjoy the outdoors, in non crowded areas. And, try timing your rides for when you know your route will be less crowded. I asked Tori Sovocool, our Monday morning spin instructor and avid rider, for some advice about local rides.

Biking is Essential

Yes, we miss our indoor cycling friends and riding high cadence sprints and jumps. However, we are fortunate to live in one of the best outdoor riding areas (especially if you love "the hills"). Cyclists are enjoying cleaner air, fewer cars, cool temps and beautiful green hills with California natural wildflowers. Bike shops are open, but they are busy, so I recommend you check out YouTube videos on how to change a flat tire and be sure to carry a spare out there. Here are a few of my favorite rides:

Easy Flat Riding (5-10 miles)

Driving a few miles in your car is allowed, so pack your bike in the back of your car and check out the flat paved Lamorinda Trail. A good place to start is at the Moraga Commons park, facilities are closed, but parking is available. Ride north towards Lafayette and there is good signage to keep you on the trail. Other options: ride around Lake Merritt, Bay Trail in Emeryville, Bay Bridge, Richmond Bridge.

Hill Loop from Oakland (10-15 miles)

Starting in Montclair, ride parallel to Highway 13 on Monterey Blvd. make a left turn on Joaquin Miller Road and get out of the saddle for a short steep climb to Butters; make a right turn and you will see a Fire Station on the right. This is always reassuring to me that if I can't make it up the hill, I know that a first responder is close by. :-) Butters Canyon is a winding residential street with a decent climb and almost no car traffic, so it's a good place to practice hills. At the end of the canyon, make a sharp left turn on Robinson Road and ride up to Skyline Blvd. From there you have many choices: you can ride back down Joaquin Miller, just keep your speed in check, or ride up Skyline past Chabot Observatory and down Shepherd Canyon, and wave to The Hills on your way by. Take it easy on the steep part of Shepherd Canyon and then it flattens out for a fun descent back to Montclair.

Scenic Three Bears Loop in Orinda (25 miles)

Park in the empty BART parking lot and ride North on Camino Pablo. There is a green bike path through Orinda and then a nice bike shoulder parallel to San Pablo Reservoir. Put your bike in a big gear to warm up and enjoy the flat road for about 7 miles before you start to climb. In El Sobrante, turn right on Castro Ranch Road where the suburbs start to fade into rural landscape. Shortly you reach Alhambra Valley Road, make another right turn; we are riding the route clockwise. This is a great stretch of road to practice your time trials and really get your RPMs and speed up! Next right turn is onto Bear Creek Road. This is where the ride gets its name as you ride up three hills and towards Briones Reservoir. Be sure to enjoy the scenery and again watch your speed on the descent. You will come back out on Camino Pablo, make a left turn at the stop light and head back to Orinda BART.

These are just a few of my favorite routes. You can follow me on Strava, Tori Sovocool, for more rides. I'd love to give you Kudos for your efforts! Have fun, ride safe, stay healthy!

- Tori Sovocool, Hills Group Ex (Spin) Instructor