This page is intended for people who are new to Stanford or Bay area in general and want to start biking. I joined as a student at Stanford and over time figured out some nice bike routes around the area with the help of fellow students. However I hadn’t found a good resource to help me figure out what kind of routes I should take as a beginner and more importantly what are the good and the bad things about different routes.

The first part talks about equipment that you will need and the second part lists out different routes around the area that I’ve tried and worked for me. If you think you are ready to bike, skip to routes section


Minimum Requirements

At the very least you’ll need a bike, helmet and a bike light.

  • Helmet - Get a good helmet from nearest Walmart/Target (San Antonio) or Amazon. Although not required by law, it is highly recommended. Many cases of near fatal brain injures to a few people I know could have been avoided by the use of a bike helmet.
  • Bike Light - Law requires bikes to have a bike light at night. I currently use a Waterproof 300 Lumen LED Bike Light and it has been working well for me.
  • Bike - This topic requires a detailed discussion, however I would like to wrap it up quickly. Bikes can get very expensive very fast. The price is proportional to the amount of carbon fiber in the bike, which replaces steel or aluminium. Carbon fiber makes bikes light and easy to ride. However, if you are like how I was in the beginning, and don’t know yet whether you would be continuing with this hobby, I would recommend mass-produced and inexpensive roadbikes which are on the heavier side. I have been using a 200$ bike by denali (link) because that was available at the nearest Walmart when I wanted to buy it. There are a lot of good options by Schwinn under 300-400$ for a road bike. A road bike typically has thinner tires and a dropped handlebar. Dropped handlebar makes for a stance that can deliver more power but is also tougher on your back, neck and shoulders. A hybrid has slightly thicker tyres (more friction on the road) but also a more comfortable stance. In practice I’ve found that picking a bike with a more comfortable stance is more crucial than tire thickness, unless you plan to bike professionally.


  • Phone-mount - I’ve found this very useful as I have visual cue on where to make turns without stopping my bike by roadside or taking my hands of the handlebars. Audio directions can work but can get confusing sometimes. I use a Taotronics Bike Phone Mount which I’ve found to be stable enough.

  • Rear-view mirror - Useful when biking near traffic or when biking with other people. I use a Bike Peddler product and it works well for me.


Bay and Guadalupe River

Length 37.01 km or 23 mi
Elevation 0 m or 0 ft
Expected time 2:0 hr

Larger Portola Loop

Length 30.41 km or 18.9 mi
Elevation 271 m or 890 ft
Expected time 1:30 hr

Canada Loop

Length 43.44 km or 27 mi
Elevation 619 m or 2032 ft
Expected time 3:30 hr

Skyline Blvd. Loop

Length 43.12 km or 26.8 mi
Elevation 939 m or 3081 ft
Expected time 2:50 hr