Every Unit should have a cycling program. Its a great activity for new Scouts and their parents, and its fun to watch them graduate up from a ten mile ride to a 50 miler in just a few weeks.
The 25 mile Golden Gate Bridge Ride (Embarcadero to AT&T Park back to Crissy Field to Sausalito to Tiburon and back to the Embarcadero via ferry) is a classic activity for many Troops. (Just contact us if you want a route sheet.) Riders do have to dodge cars on some stretches and there are a couple of (short) steep hills, but the views are incredible and there is nothing like riding across the Bridge with the wind in your hair and hundreds of cars whizzing by just a few feet from your handlebars. Tiburon is a great place for Scouts to explore (candy store PLUS ice cream parlor on the same street) and the ferry ride back across the Bay at the end of the day is really fun. Read an account of Scouts in Action.
Map a Ride through this website. Its so easy an adult leader can do it. http://www.mapmyride.com/
Routes for a 50 mile ride to complete the Cycling merit badge are easily found using websites like the one above or asking other units. Several Troops ride from Stockton to Walnut Grove through the farm country and along the dikes. Others take advantage of the bike path along the American River near Sacramento. There is even 50 miles of Iron Horse trail if you want to dodge the walkers with their dogs.
If you have a favorite route for your rides, especially the 50 miler, please share.
Read about Scouts cycling through Napa: The Venture Crew completed a 100-mile ride over three days in 100 degree heat. The hills were hard, but the views were great. And every campground had a swimming pool. It was perfect, except that one Scout kept getting lost!