Lotta Honda

Bay Area cyclists know Old La Honda well.  It's considered a benchmark climb, one of those climbs that everyone knows their average time for, one that is often used to compare with just about any other climb in the area.  It's also said to be the best way to get up to Skyline, which leads to a whole slew of other routes along with some great views.  This isn't my map, but here's the steep section of Old La Honda if you're looking for an idea of just what you're up against.  With an average grade of 8% and certain sections that come in at 26%, it's a walk in the park for very few people, and I am not one of them.

Once you get to Skyline after a lot of swearing and gasping for breath on OLH, you have a few options: you can go either north or south on Skyline to complete a loop back, or you can continue straight as OLH descends west and eventually connects with highway 84.  From there you can go to the ocean, or enjoy a gradual climb back up to Skyline.  

The last time I attempted this climb was when I was on my hi-ten Nishiki Custom Sport Mixte.  I was a student and knew next to nothing about bikes, and the climb destroyed me.  I don't even think I made it to the top.  There was a lot of profanity.

Today I tried again for the first time in years, with much better luck.  I had to stop twice to wait for my arrhythmia to settle down, and even though I was slow I maintained a decent pace and made it to the top despite the fact I was pretty sure I was dying.  It was tough, but gorgeous, and descending down the other side of Skyline was totally worth the crazy climb.   

At the bottom of OLH, off 84, about to climb back to Skyline.
It's quite dark winding through the forest, so lights are a must!  
Unfortunately I had to cut back up to Skyline and cut my ride short since my heart was on the fritz, which is just something that happens every couple of rides.  Nonetheless, it was a great little ride and I got about 4000 feet of climbing in, so here's to hoping I'm a little faster next time!


  1. Looks like a great ride, though going to the Ocean and back to San Francisco looks like a bit of an epic! 4000 ft of climb is good going, and I was worried at first you had done it on a single geared bike, but it looks like the bike you built at Mr. Yamaguchi's, which I believe has gears, that stem looks smashing.

    Arrhythmia? You nutter! Looks like you have wonderful countryside to explore there, very jealous. BTW the blue Takhion is looking most resplendent.

    1. I've done some crazy rides on single speeds and fixed gears before - but 4000 feet of climbing - no way, I brought my road bike! Though I did get passed by a guy on a titanium single speed as I was heading up the mountain.

      We have some amazing areas around here to ride, and year round too! I'm really fortunate to live in such a great area for cycling. And yep, arrhythmia pretty much keeps me out of any serious or competitive cycling.

      Thanks for your comment on the Takhion! I can't wait to get the next set of parts put on it.


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