Welcome! The VeloRaptors are a social group of cyclists based out of Montclair, Oakland. Our regular rides are:
Sunday - 8:45 Meet at Paddington Cafe in Montclair,
Wednesday - 9:00 Meet at Starbucks in Montclair, and
Saturday - 8:45 Meet at Warehouse 416, 416 26th in Uptown Oakland.
Most rides are 30 miles (or less). We usually stop for coffee/snacks at a cafe along the way.

Mt. Diablo ride

Advice and Description of the ride up Mt. Diablo

-Joe Shami, Dec 2011


When riding Mt. Diablo in winter months, I strongly recommend bringing a knapsack with warm clothing, such as winter gloves, head warmer, a dry, long-sleeve undershirt if you intend to go to the summit, a light wind-breaker jacket, long pants (of course), and even a balaclava if you have one and silk glove liners.  You may resent the extra weight while climbing, especially on that last 0.14 mile of 17% slope up to the Summit, but you may thank me on the descent, because your clothing will be wet from sweat by the time you reach the top, and you’ll be sitting motionless on the descent for a half hour, so one can get unpleasantly freezing.

Mt. Diablo is a difficult climb with three different weather zones, and the wind can be a big factor.  There is an automated weather line (925-838-9225) that is updated every 20 minutes that gives the temperature and average wind condition at the summit, but it has been out of action for a couple of weeks with a busy signal and is right now.

 The ride:

Except for that 17% climb at the end, most of the rest of the climb is rarely more than 10%, but if you don’t have extra-low gears, you’ll certainly notice those long stretches of 8%, 9%, and 10%.

The altitude at the summit is 3849 ft; at the Junction, a possible turn-around point, it’s 2200 ft.  When climbing Southgate, you’re protected by a ridge for the first 2.5 miles till you reach the Toll Gate at about 1500 ft.  Then, it can become windier.  The next Weather Zone is just above the parking lot at Juniper Campground at 3,000 ft.  It’s not always worse above that.  Sometimes, you’re above the fog at this time of year, and it’s warm and pleasant there, till you come back down into the sea of fog, which may not have burned off yet.

Once you enter the State Park on Mt. Diablo Scenic Blvd — the road you take from Athenian School — it’s about 5.75 miles to the Junction with Northgate Rd.  Then it’s 4.5 tougher miles to the Summit.  There are mileage marks every quarter mile by the side of the road.  In addition, when climbing Southgate, you’ll see an initial marker with the number 59 (I think).  Then you’ll see countdown numbers after that, counting down to zero, which is the Junction.

 Watch out for absolutely terrible potholes in the one-mile stretch from Athenian School to the State Park entrance.  Within the park, Southgate Rd is in good condition, as is Summit Rd.  However, Northgate Rd (which you won’t be accessing tomorrow) is NOT in good condition and is harder and steeper and longer (6.5 miles once you enter the State Park from Walnut Creek).

When descending the mountain alone, I try to have a flashing headlight, because the greatest danger on a busy weekend is from stupid drivers who think they have the road to themselves and pass uphill cyclists on blind curves.

Member Highlights

Year-Rounder ride to Davis on Jan 15, 2012.  13 riders made the trek from Orinda to Davis, to complete the January century for the Year-Rounders.  It was a bit cool and cloudy at the 7am start, but by the time we made it to Fairfield the sun was out and the ride up Pleasants Valley road then on into Davis was fabulous. We took the train back from Davis – lots of fun.  -Steve B.


Short Version:   We’ve been around for 75 million years.  While other dinosaurs ran, we rode bikes.

Somewhat Longer Version:   

1998 – Howard and Ron ride on Sundays.  Back in July 1998 Howard Neal and Ron Scrivani decided to meet at the Royal Ground cafe in Montclair on a Sunday morning for a bike ride.  That initial ride was from Montclair, over to Lk Temescal and then up Tunnel Road.  They must have had a good time on the ride as they decided to continue to meet at 8:00 on Sundays and ride the same route.  John Mayerhoffer soon joined them, and then Susie Larson. It wasn’t long before they met up with a group from Piedmont (including Pam Hertzer and John Malick) that joined the Sunday rides.   

Of course, the group didn’t have a name at that time, and over the next few years friends and other riders joined the rides and in 2001 one of the riders, Jeff Sharp, announced that he was planning an 50 mile ride in Marin to celebrate his 50th birthday.  Jeff and his family had reserved a house in Inverness, and he invited anyone who was interested to join him for the ride.  It is rumored that 50 miles seemed to be an awfully long way, so in preparation for Jeff’s ride the group decided to extend their Sunday excursions to include Grizzly Peak, Wildcat Canyon, Orinda, Moraga and Pinehurst, which then became the standard Sunday loop.

2003 – Addition of the Wednesday Ride.  Sunday morning isn’t always a convenient time to ride for everyone, and in the summer of 2003 Miss Linda and Sally Goodman organized the Wednesday morning rides.  They wanted a group that was looser in organization and rode at a more mellow pace than the Sunday riders.

2004 – Marin Headlands – On January 4, 2004, to start the new year, the group embarked on a Marin Headlands ride which has since become the Veloraptors signature ride.  Per Ron Scrivani, it is the same drill every year, the second weekend in January.  We begin by taking BART to SF Embacadero and meet up at a set time (usually 9am), ride along the Embarcadero, through Fisherman’s Wharf, on to the Marina and Chrissy Field, through the Presidio and over Ft Point to the Golden Gate bridge.  Then it is across the bridge and up to the headlands for a group picture.  Riders then continue on or return home in a myriad of ways, some head back across the bridge and maybe brunch in the city, many ride on through Ft Cronkite to Sausalito for breakfast and return on the ferry, and if it is a nice day there is often a contingent that continues on to Tiburon for lunch and the ferry to SF.  The first Marin Headlands ride had 13 riders, and has since grown to nearly 40 riders in 2012!

2004 – Multi-day rides -Yosemite and Vuelta a Colores.  In May 2004 Kevin McTighe organized a ride to Yosemite.  This was an ambitious ride, riding from Castro Valley to Jamestown on the first day and then from Jamestown to Yosemite on the second day. This ride has been repeated numerous times since then, encountering intense heat some years and snow and ice other years.  Kevin also organized the first Vuelta a Colores (Fall Colors) ride to re-visit segments of the Markleeville, CA, “Death Ride” at the height of fall color in the Sierras.

2005 – Veloraptors incorporate.  In 2005 this amalgam of riders decided to incorporate and created a non profit corp.  By then there were at least a couple dozen regular participants in the Sunday morning rides. The name of the group was decide by a committee that met several times at Ron’s warehouse. Possible names included “Cyclopath Raptor Cranks” and the “Royal Grounders”, but they settled on “Royal Ground VeloRaptors.”  The first officers of this non profit were:  Ron Scrivani – President, Howard Neal – Secretary, Steve Kaminski – Treasurer.  In December ’05 the board expanded to 7 members.  Newbies to the board were Teri Jones, Susie Larson, Kevin McTighe, and Dennis Cathey.

Moreover, by 2005 the group had organized several “adventure” or “destination” rides. In May 2004 several members rode to the dedication and opening of the bike/ped path across the new Al Zampa Carquinez bridge, and in July 2004 Howard organized the first ride from Montclair to Napa. Also in 2004 Ron, Dennis Cathey, Robert Watts, and Howard did a “Circumcycle” around Lake Tahoe, when Dennis was bowled over by a dog dashing into the street about 2 miles before the finish (note, this was after a stop for tequila at Blue Agave in Tahoe City!). 

2006 – Jerseys, Fundraisers and more.   After incorporating and deciding on a name in 2005, Steve Kaminski headed up a committee to design a jersey, and then Steve with Greg Thomas designed shirts. Steve hired an artist (Janet White) to make the dinosaur drawing.

In 2006 the Veloraptors organized their first fundraiser – the Tour D’Oakland on Sept 10.  This ride was a benefit for the Bay Area Outreach Recreational Program (BORP), and three or four Tour D’ Oakland rides have followed. Currently, the Veloraptors support BORP with a bike wash, first organized by Gordy Gilmore and now Randy Mellin.  Every year several Veloraptors also participate in the BORP Revolution fundraiser ride, raising a minimum of $350 each to participate.

2006 also marked the first Veloraptor participation in the Year-Rounder sponsored by the Ultra Marathon Cycling Club.  That year, Howard Neal took on the challenge of riding a century-a-month.  In 2009, Howard, Randy, Robin Brumell and Susan Stewart all did the Year-Rounder.  Steve Blair joined in 2010.  Several other Veloraptors often join the Year-Rounders for all or part of these longer rides (min 90.1 miles). 

2007   The Veloraptors assisted parents from Joaquin Miller (JM) with a fundraiser bike ride in March of 2007. This lasted for 3 years. The significance of the JM association is that the originators of this club were all a group of JM parents.

2008  In Dec. 2008 the group name was changed to “VeloRaptors Cycling Club” after the Royal Ground coffee shop closed its doors in Montclair.


Our mission is to promote fitness and a healthy life-style for members through bicycling and the use of bicycles for recreation, exercise, touring and transportation.  The Veloraptors club also promotes a positive social environment for quality and lasting friendships among its members.

About Us

Veloraptors Cycling Club – Oakland (Montclair), California.

Weekly bike rides and various ongoing social get togethers.

Sundays we meet at the Nelly’s Java (Organic Coffee & Tea) in the Montclair Village at at 1952 Mountain Blvd.(next to the Post Office) for a ride up into the Oakland Hills and beyond.  We have “no drop” policy and regroup at several spots along the way, including Sibley Park and the Steam Trains parking lot in Tilden Park.  Several riders often continue on through Tilden Park, down Wildcat Cyn road, to San Pablo Dam Rd.  We then turn South, cycle through Orinda and stop for coffee and pastries in Moraga. The return route is through Canyon and up Pinehurst.   

Come early to socialize! Wheels roll at 8:30 am sharp !


Wednesdays a casual and smaller group, also meets at Nelly’s Java  and we start riding at around 8:30 am.  The Wednesday ride often goes out to Moraga for coffee and pastries, via Redwood Rd and Pinehurst.There are occasional outlying rides as well.  Come early to socialize.

On Saturdays a group rides from the Warehouse at 416 26th, Oakland (between Telegraph and Broadway). This ride starts at 8:45am and often traverses the Bay Trail north to Pt. Richmond.  All riders are welcome!