Freedom on Two Wheels: The Three Bears

Submitted by CCCL_AlbertG

I started road biking in the early 2000s partly out of nostalgia (I used to ride a bicycle in high school) and I also wanted to get in shape. I bought a used bike, signed up for a century ride (100 miles in a day) and started riding. Since my first ride on the Bay Trail, I have completed half a dozen centuries and thousands of miles around the Bay Area: maybe one of the world’s greatest locations to ride a bike. Along the way I found a number of beautiful rides. As part of this blog I will share my favorite rides and other tips on biking around the SF Bay Area 

I was in a bike shop near the El Sobrante Library when I first heard of the Three Bears, a popular East Bay Bike ride just under 19 miles that circles the San Pablo and Briones Reservoirs. The Three Bears (Papa, Mama and Baby) are climbs encountered on the ride adding up to over 1,800 feet of elevation. There are more than three hills on the ride and many opinions on which comprise the actual Three Bears, so here’s your chance to name the climbs for yourself. There are a number of locations to start the Three Bears, and the ride can be incorporated into larger rides starting in El Sobrante, Pinole, Orinda, Moraga, and Lafayette. The ride includes rolling hills, challenging climbs and sweeping downhills. The Three Bears is a great ride to gauge your fitness and a step toward bigger rides with bigger climbs like Mt. Tamalpais and Mt. Diablo. 

Make sure to ride safely, always wear a helmet and stay alert while riding on San Pablo Dam Rd. Sports nutrition is important so pack a snack if you are planning on riding over an hour. Check out our Biking the San Francisco Bay Area booklist for more information and enjoy the Bears!