Ride Will Celebrate Reopening of Upper Conzelman Road in Marin Headlands

Photo: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/pkingdesign/4414345177/##http://www.flickr.com/photos/pkingdesign/4414345177/##pkingDesign##
Photo: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/pkingdesign/4414345177/##pkingDesign##

The mother of all views of the Golden Gate Bridge has to be the ride up and over Conzelman Road on the Marin headlands west of the bridge.

On Saturday morning, cyclists get the first shot at a group ride – without cars – up Conzelman kicking off at 9 a.m.   The ride celebrates the reopening of Upper-Conzelman Road as part of the initial phase of construction improvements along the Marin Headlands.

“This is really to say thank you to the bicyclists who have been so patient and wonderful during construction in this popular riding area,” said Alexandra Picavet, spokeswoman for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  “We know many people love that ride.”

People will gather at 8:30 a.m. on the Northwest Bridge parking lot, where Conzelman intersects with Alexander Avenue at the north end of the bridge.   The park service will stop auto traffic at 9 a.m. to give bikes a 30 minute head start to shoot up to Hawk Hill overlook where there will be food, some free bike accessories and information booths about the next phase of improvement projects.

Keep in mind this ride is just as tough as ever, even with improvements.  It is steep and not for the novice rider trying their wheels for the first time.  The steep, single-lane downhill at Hawk Hill will give any newbie the shakes.

It is possible to see some of the fresh construction as far away as San Francisco.  A swath of bare mocha-colored hillside can be seen from across the bay, marking the major erosion protection portion of the project.

Picavet said decades of erosion compromised the road and created gullies 20-feet deep and 40-feet wide in some spots.  The federal Highways Administration restored the slope and the bare land was hydro-seeded with slurry of wood fiber and native plant seeds.  The seeds are protected under jute mats and will sprout next spring, she said.

This is only the first phase of four years of projects to rehabilitate 11 miles of historic roads and trails along the headlands.  In February the Northwest Bridge parking lot will be reconfigured and closed for 90 days.  And in April another section of Conzelman Road near McCullough Road will be closed for reconstruction to add a bike path, and realign the coastal trail to be a true coastal path closer to the ocean.

  • It is a pity if the park service go through all these trouble to stop auto traffic for a celebration but weather tomorrow is not very accommodating.

  • Evel Knievel

    The downhill will be even more fun in the rain. Thank you GGNRA for closing the road during the summer and letting people enjoy it during the winter.

  • It would be nice if the park service created a true car-free recreation space so urban dwellers could get a break from all the hostile and dangerous “recreating” motorists. Conzelman is poised to be that kind of space.

    In civilized places funiculars or rack railways, walking, and limits on car space are taken seriously. Visitors could still get their postcard view and the park could be a model of eco-tourism. In the long-run it is cheaper than the death and destruction of cars. Especially when you consider that sea-level rise will inundate all of the park investments being made at current sea level – i.e Crissy Field.

    Hey NPS – how about declaring the existing sea level a “historic resource?” Then you would really have to rethink your coddling of car drivers wouldn’t you?

  • Nick

    Are there any pictures of the newly constructed design? What was the wait for after all?

  • oh I read this after this happened-would love to join in the future, please keep me posted if there is something like this, or another group ride 😀

  • I was amused to ride this road not long before it shut and traffic was so clogged that people were pulling over and walking up the hill. So if they’re willing to do the short hike to the top, why not simply close it to cars and have some sort of electric cart shuttle for those too disabled to make it by foot? My best experience riding Conselman was when I went past the barriers and the construction and rode up the dirt for a peaceful view from Hawk Hill. I knew it was likely my last chance ever to do so. At least until the park service realizes catering to the car as their primary mission squanders the resource they’re tasked with preserving.

  • Jason Conzelman

    Does anyone know who Conzelman road is named after? Technically speaking, all conzelman’s are related, (from the three brothers who came over decades ago), so I’m wondering if it was named after someone in my family.

    The view looks amazing.

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