Thanks for all the help guys. Just for some reference, my fiance and I went out to Coyote hills this past weekend, it's just north of the dumbarton bridget, adjacent to don edwards. lots of flat fireroad as mentioned, a hills if you want to climb them.
for us newbies, we tried to just take the paved path that you see going up to where there are presumably radio/cell towers. even that short looking climb pretty much kicked our butts. but it was good to have a benchmark, so we hopefully can measure our progress against that. i think she had a good time, especially realizing how challenging it can be, but how rewarding finishing even a short climb can be. of course the downhill is fun on a paved trail, and eventually we hope to be bombing down real trails.
well maybe not ever bombing, but you know what i mean...
I was there Sunday morning. The hill to the cell tower gets steep toward the end. One way to reward yourself is to go down the dirt road at the top of the climb (east side of the hill). It's a pretty mellow downhill, but fun nonetheless. At the bottom, make a left and pedal back to the bottom of the paved hill (easy ride).
Also, there are a few other good climbing opportunities at Coyote Hills:
- my favorite is on the north end where the levy/flood channel meets Coyote Hills. The first climb is a bit steep but it's short (50 yards top) and after it's a easier. When you get to the top of that hill, you can bomb down a short steep straight downhill that propels you into the next hill. It's just like a roller coaster and you can reach 40 mph. Just make sure there's nobody around at the bottom.
- the two other climbs run east-west across the hills and are quite mild (easier than the road to the cell tower). At least they're made of dirt.
When I go to Coyote Hills, I ride on the levy for 5 miles, climb that first hill, then go the bay side of the loop southward, climb the next hill eastward, then back on the paved loop southward to the cell tower, down the dirt road, and then bike back home. That's about 16-17miles in 1h20mn. That's shorter but easier than lake Chabot. So, I'd recommend you do a few rides at Coyote Hills, and once you're good for a few climbs there and 15 miles of riding, you should be good for lake Chabot.