This is part five of a five-part series introducing beginner riders and families to safe, calm and family-friendly routes through Campbell and into surrounding cities. The series will also highlight some connections and resources that intermediate riders could use to replace more and more car trips. The author is a journalist and bicycle commuter who loves living car-free in San Jose.
Check out a video introduction to this route in the attached images, and see a Google Map of the route here.
One of the official city of Campbell bike routes, the Central Avenue route is a great way for residents north of Hamilton Avenue to go to downtown Campbell for coffee or the without having to deal with heavy traffic. The streets are calmed by big speed bumps and traffic circles, leaving the roadway open for bicycling families or commuters.
A major benefit of this route is that it connects to Williams Road, an excellent east-west route through the West Valley that I discovered when I commuted to and from De Anza College in Cupertino. That commute also took me over the bicycle and pedestrian bridge that crosses Highway 17—that bridge is a great find, because it means I don't have to wrestle with the intense traffic at the dangerous Hamilton Avenue-Highway 17 interchange.
While this route is great for the beginner, you'll soon find that it's not very efficient for longer trips. Intermediate and experienced riders should use Winchester Boulevard or Bascom Avenue. While they're not as relaxing, they do have space for bikes and give you a quick North-South route to places like Santa Clara.
Take a ride up to Santana Row or go swing and slide at Marijane Hamann Park. If you want to go as far as Cupertino or Willow Glen, this is a great way to get there. Just cross the bike bridge at the park, go down Downing, right on Bascom, left on Stokes, right on Leigh, hop on the Los Gatos Creek Trail for a bit by Blackford Elementary School and take Willow the rest of the way.
Thanks for checking out Bikeable Campbell—ride safe, and have fun!
A Few Bike Safety Tips
- Always stop at stop signs and stop lights.
- Always wear lights and a helmet when you ride.
- Never ride on the sidewalk—it's far more dangerous than riding in the street because cars can't see you, you can hit pedestrians, and driveways are major hazards.
- Avoid the dangerous five-foot "door zone" of parked cars, or you may be knocked out by an opening car door.
- Ride as closely as you safely can to the right side of the road, but don't be afraid to "take the lane." California law allows us to take the lane to avoid the "door zone," skirt debris on the roadway or pass other bicyclists.
- Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition—our excellent local bicycle advocacy organization.
- League of American Bicyclists—longtime organization for cycling advocacy and resources.
- Street Films—great films about bikeable, walkable and livable streets around the world.
- Valley Transportation Authority countywide bike map—for trips beyond Campbell's borders.
- City of Campbell Bike Facilities Map—for trips within Campbell's borders.
- Almaden Cycle Touring Club Academy—offers a six-week training for beginning bicycle riders.
- Google Maps bicycling directions—just enter your start and end, click the bicycle symbol (not the car) and Google Maps will give you pretty good options for bike routes. It shows you the best nearby routes, and highlights streets with bike lanes.