Thursday, March 26, 2015

What is the Nifty Ten Fifty? (Updated for 2015)

What is the Nifty Ten Fifty? It's a bicycle ride in the San Francisco East Bay Hills that climbs 10,050' in just 54 miles visiting the steepest and most difficult climbs in the East Bay Hills. Berkeley Hills Death Ride and the Vicious Hills Ride, also play a role in the history of this event which usually takes place on the first Sunday in April each year.

There is a ride description that details each climb. It's nonsense really, but fun, (sort of), and unique for sure. I'm not sure what came over me in late Winter back in 2002, but my early mornings before work were spent exploring the most difficult climbs in the East Bay hills. The Nifty strings those climbs together in a somewhat sensible way, though applying the word sensible to this ride seems a bit of a stretch. Along the way you will experience east bay parks, old Berkeley architecture along with new, post-fire Oakland hills architecture. You will see hawks riding the updrafts, incredible bay views (weather permitting), and if you ride slow enough, maybe you’ll see an Owl in the evening light on Vollmer Peak.

New for 2015 is an easier to navigate course. We will no longer have “guides.” Riders sign in any time between 8:00 AM and 9:30 AM and roll in smaller groups when they are ready. We will also have a Nifty Lite ride, that eliminates the most brutal climbs, and is a bit shorter… but still a plenty challenging route!

There is a detailed route sheet so that anyone can do the ride on their own, at their own pace, but with many turns on residential streets, it's good to upload the route to your Garmin or follow someone who knows the way lest you spend all your time cursing the route sheet.

The 2015 Nifty Ten Fifty is dedicated to Paul Stimson who suffers from ALS and may not be with us by the time we host next year’s Nifty.

Photo of Marin Ave courtesy Mike Nachtwey. Visit

1 comment: