General Biking Conditions
The San Francisco Bay Area is an extremely bikeable area. Not only is the weather highly conducive for bicycling but most areas have excellent bike routes that make biking longer distances quite comfortable. There are increasing numbers of cyclists and quite a good selection of safe bike routes available, up and down the Peninsula. Within Menlo Park itself and in the surrounding communities, you will find it enjoyable using your bike to get around, with some notable exceptions.
If you are planning to travel in what is generally considered the north-south direction along the Peninsula, between San Francisco and San Jose, all but the major State Highways, Highway 280 and Highway 101, are open to cyclists. The major thru-local routes include Middlefield Road, El Camino Real, Alma, and Alameda de las Pulgas/Junipero Serra. Unfortunately, it doesn't mean that these routes are all safe for cycling. In fact, the quality of these routes varies considerably, especially as they pass from township to township and from residential to commercial. Most of these routes have bike lanes available some of the time but not through all stretches. In particular, as these roads cross the most congested commercial and urban areas, the bike lanes completely disappear. It is therefore highly advisable to be familiar with the routes before attempting them on your bike and/or to confirm your route with other sources, such as 511.org and your local bike clubs. The above image is a sample of the kind of good route recommendations available from 511.org and you can click on the image to go to 511.org, and plan out your route.
Traveling in the direction of Bay to Ocean, locally thought of as east-westerly, provides many suitable options for cyclists. There are many local roads that cross between the north-south routes with minimal traffic and often with sizeable bike lanes. Again, these roads are more generally safe for bikers but can become treacherous in commercial districts, such as between El Camino and University Road on Santa Cruz Avenue. Due to road-side car parking, busy cross-streets, pedestrian activity and distracted drivers, selecting alternative routes is probably advisable.