Pig Farm is a moderately long ride with some pretty hard climbs in it. Its namesake is Pig Farm Hill on Alhambra Valley Road, and yes there is a pig farm at the top (thankfully it’s no longer in use, but do this ride with Paul and you may wonder). The ride starts up Tunnel and descends Pinehurst into Moraga. Then, the ride continues on St. Mary’s Road into Lafayette and towards Walnut Creek. This is a common route East on longer rides. Reliez Valley features a warmup climb followed by some rollers. Pig Farm hill itself is just a short steep pitch, often exposed to the sun, after a long gradual runup. The return leg of this ride circumvents the usual climb over the hills back to Berkeley by going around to the North. We like to call this way home Flats. Like Joaquin Miller, only attempt Flats with someone who knows where they’re going. There are many turns and little tricks to the route.
Time: 3-3.5 hours
Distance: 46.71 miles
Climbing: 3641 feet
View Pig Farm Loop in a larger map
Mile 00.00 – Sproul Plaza to Tunnel Road.
Mile 06.34 – Skyline and Grizzly Peak. Continue straight on Skyline past Grizzly Peak.
Mile 08.03 – Skyline and Pinehurst. Turn left on Pinehurst and descend the windy road.
Mile 12.02 – Turn left on Canyon Rd. The walking man sprint is just on the other side of the hill.
Mile 14.17 – Turn right on St. Mary’s Rd. This is a nice, fast road, but as with many roads in this area, it is heavily trafficed.
Mile 17.35 – Turn right at a stop sign on Glenside Rd., then left at the Y ahead onto Glenside Rd. There is a steep descent on this road that ends in a stop signs. Be on the brakes.
Mile 18.41 – STOP at the stop sign, then turn right onto Olympic Blvd.
Mile 18.66 – Turn left on Pleasant Hill Rd. It isn’t really all that pleasant, but it’s on the way.
Mile 20.41 – Turn left at the light onto Reliez Valley Rd. Here the fun starts. This is a nice climb through a quiet, wooded residential street. It gets steep near the top, then the descent is a real screamer punctuated by some poorly placed stop signs.
Mile 24-25 – There’s a park off to the right somewhere in here but it’s not on the map. We stop there for water.
Mile 29.10 – Summit of Pig Farm hill. There is a long gradual climb puntuated by a steep pitch to the top. Super steep descent afterwards. You can hit 50-55mph here.
Mile 30.54 – Go straight on Alhambra Valley Rd. past Bear Creek Rd. An alternative, hillier route home is to go over the Bears and Wildcat.
Mile 33.26 – Turn left on Castro Ranch.
Mile 35.32 – Turn right on Olinda Road. At the end of the road, turn left.
Mile 36.12 – Turn right on San Pablo Dam Rd. The route from here on out is called Flats. There are many variations, tricks, and shortcuts. This is just the main route home.
Mile 39.22 – Somewhat illegal left turn onto Amador Ave. Just before the turn, cross the road and ride on the left shoulder. There’s no way to actually make the left turn at the intersection.
Mile 40.22 – Just before it looks like you’re going up a wall, turn right on Clinton, following signs for the I-80 bikeway.
Mile 40.50 – Turn left onto Key Blvd., once again following signs for the I-80 bikeway.
Mile 41.65 – Key Blvd. becomes Elm.
Mile 41.85 – Jog left and continue on Richmond.
Mile 42.65 – Turn left on Moeser.
Mile 42.75 – Turn right on Ashbury.
Mile 43.65 – Turn left on Fairmount.
Mile 43.85 – Just before the cemetery, bear right onto Colusa.
Mile 44.98 – Turn left on Solano.
Mile 45.15 – Turn right on The Alameda. This soon becomes MLK in Berkeley from which you can find your way home.