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  1. #1
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    1st ride for my teenagers (south bay)

    Going to hit the trails for the first time with my two boys 15 & 17 and their new rigs. Don't want to ride pavement (Los Gatos creek trail etc) but don't want to take them somewhere that will discourage them either ( Kennedy etc). Been years since I rode the trails around the south bay and could use some advice on what might work for us this time of year.
    Thanks in advance, Ken
    PS...don't mind driving to a spot in the bay area so I can show them what they are missing!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by tandjdad View Post
    Going to hit the trails for the first time with my two boys 15 & 17 and their new rigs. Don't want to ride pavement (Los Gatos creek trail etc) but don't want to take them somewhere that will discourage them either ( Kennedy etc). Been years since I rode the trails around the south bay and could use some advice on what might work for us this time of year.
    Thanks in advance, Ken
    PS...don't mind driving to a spot in the bay area so I can show them what they are missing!
    Santa Teresa County Park. It has something for everyone.
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  3. #3
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    Thanks LP, forgot all about Santa Thresa

  4. #4
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    I, personally like Waterdog. With the right guide/route even a n00b will have fun and may even find themselves trying a couple trail features that they didn't think they could. I've taken my two daughters (9 and 14 their first time) many times. The good thing about Waterdog is that when you get tired you can just take the nearest trail down to the parking lot.
    Last edited by tsimbu; 01-16-2013 at 08:01 AM.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsimbu View Post
    I, personally like Waterdog. With the right guide/route even a n00b will have fun and may even find themselves trying a couple trail features that they didn't think they could. I've taken my two daughters (9 and 14 their time) many times. The good thing about Waterdog is that when you get tired you can just take the nearest trail down to the parking lot.
    I just nearly ate it when decided to loop through Elevator (?) a tad too fast. Holy moly of erosion ruts. They can consume medium sized mammals.

    I kinda hesitate taking my daughter there. Some spots with high consequence falls.

    Arastradero is perfect for new riders, but looks like it is seasonally closed? First ride ever on a mountain bike - Ohlone Bluff in Santa Cruz?

  6. #6
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    The 'dero is open right now. Fremont Older is good too. STCP may or may not be open.

  7. #7
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    I would suggest doing the top of UCSC by parking on Empire Grade (the marking in the map).

    I have taken multiple adults there for first time (or second or third) rides and the loved it. In addition I suggested to a friend to take his 7-year old for his first ever ride and after taking him there his response was:


    It was great! Perfect spot for his level, and frankly, for my level of rust. He said "Whee!" for about ten minutes straight, and he told me it was the most fun thing that we had ever done together.


    So it is fun for all ages! I see riders of all ages out there having a good time. Doesn't require and sustained climbing and you can do almost entirely singletrack. The downside is, no trail markings and no maps. That being said, my buddy with the 7-year old had never been there, he simply used the the map I linked to above and the advice of "If you do out and backs, I don't think you'd get too lost - just don't
    head downhill" and had a great time.

  8. #8
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    I would also suggest Wilder Ranch.

    It literally, has everything from climbs (up to Empire Grade and UCSC) to a bunch of smaller single track that are different degrees of fun. Some are "flowy" others are rough and quick with some sharp turns and fun drops.

  9. #9
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    Thx for the tips, we tried Arastradero but west side was closed, where is Waterdog?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikesroll View Post
    I would suggest doing the top of UCSC by parking on Empire Grade (the marking in the map).
    agreed, but not quite south bay though.

    Quote Originally Posted by tandjdad View Post
    Thx for the tips, we tried Arastradero but west side was closed, where is Waterdog?
    belmont, not exactly south bay as you requested, but here's the info.

    Waterdog Lake Park (Carlmont Parking)
    Passion Trail Bikes (Waterdog route suggestions)

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    Thank you all so much for the tips! Think I will hit some of them while they are in school, gotta knock the rust off these ol legs! If you see us out on the trail say hey!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by tandjdad View Post
    Thank you all so much for the tips! Think I will hit some of them while they are in school, gotta knock the rust off these ol legs! If you see us out on the trail say hey!
    sure thing. likewise here.

    btw, the 'dero is fully open now according to their site.

    Arastradero Seasonal Trail Closure

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Axe View Post
    I just nearly ate it when decided to loop through Elevator (?) a tad too fast. Holy moly of erosion ruts. They can consume medium sized mammals.

    I kinda hesitate taking my daughter there. Some spots with high consequence falls.

    Arastradero is perfect for new riders, but looks like it is seasonally closed? First ride ever on a mountain bike - Ohlone Bluff in Santa Cruz?
    This is why I mentioned having the right route/guide. I would never take a new rider up or down Elevator.
    I agree that there are some places that have high consequences for failure but I have found that if you know where they are and stop to explain what is ahead that most new riders can get through the rough spots...or choose to walk around.
    Master of the unintentional track stand.

  14. #14
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    You can head over to the East Bay and check out JMP. Thats pretty beginner friendly.

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    What does JMP stand for? Thx

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by tandjdad View Post
    What does JMP stand for? Thx
    Joaquin Miller Park. The Seqouia-Bayview trail is a gradual climb and the trail itself runs through a canopy of redwoods so it is very scenic ride (with glimpses of the SF skyline mixed in). Going downhill through Big Trees is fun and not too scary (singletrack). Just watch out for hikers, especially the ones who think they own the trail (seems to be lots of them there).

    If your kids are looking for a bit more challenge, there's Cinderella and Chapparal. These trails require a bit more skill and bravery, so you have to decide if they're ready or not. I took an 11-yr old who's never ridden dirt on these two trails and he did great!

  17. #17
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    Joaquin Miller Park

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ron m. View Post
    Joaquin Miller Park. The Seqouia-Bayview trail is a gradual climb and the trail itself runs through a canopy of redwoods so it is very scenic ride (with glimpses of the SF skyline mixed in). Going downhill through Big Trees is fun and not too scary (singletrack). Just watch out for hikers, especially the ones who think they own the trail (seems to be lots of them there).

    If your kids are looking for a bit more challenge, there's Cinderella and Chapparal. These trails require a bit more skill and bravery, so you have to decide if they're ready or not. I took an 11-yr old who's never ridden dirt on these two trails and he did great!
    Chapparal is not beginner friendly and I admire your 11 yo for doing it, but I would not take a beginner there. Cinderella can get steep in a couple places and is narrow. It'd be for the more adventurous teenagers.
    Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun

  19. #19
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    If you're looking South Bay, hit up STCP. Park at the top (either the small parking lot, or the one by the pavillion) and then ride down Mine to Fortini. If you park at the "small lot" ride down mine through the wide open area (towards the girls ranch and pavilion) as it's easier. If they're really new avoid the Mine Hill trail that goes by IBM/Stiles.

    Then you can ride the flat path all the way to Almaden Lake. Turn around and climb back up Fortini/Mine and back to the Pavillion. I've taken plenty of new people this way and if they're really new I start at the pavilion.

  20. #20
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    Here's another route, with options. A bit more difficult than sjhiker's and will depend on base fitness (from other sports/activities). i.e., an avid soccer player will have no problems with fitness.

    Fun Beginner-Intermediate Ride Near South Bay?

  21. #21
    Axe
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    Went yesterday to Alum Rock/Sierra Vista OSP. It is a long (but gradual climb), but views are nice, there are sections of minimally challenging singletrack, and switchbacks and that new connector trail has some seriously exposed (but easy) sections.

    That would be North Rim in Alum Rock - from the far parking lot, to Todd Quick loop (I like going right more), Boccardo loop trail (go right, visit the top), Sierra Vista trail, Calaveras Fault. A bunch of steady climbing if you go all the way, but turn around after bridge on Sierra Vista if it feels too much.

  22. #22
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    Thx Axe, Alum Rock is on the list...

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Axe View Post
    Went yesterday to Alum Rock/Sierra Vista OSP. It is a long (but gradual climb), but views are nice, there are sections of minimally challenging singletrack, and switchbacks and that new connector trail has some seriously exposed (but easy) sections.

    That would be North Rim in Alum Rock - from the far parking lot, to Todd Quick loop (I like going right more), Boccardo loop trail (go right, visit the top), Sierra Vista trail, Calaveras Fault. A bunch of steady climbing if you go all the way, but turn around after bridge on Sierra Vista if it feels too much.
    I've yet to go onto Sierra Vista. The pictures of the exposed part scares me as I have a mild fear of heights.

  24. #24
    Axe
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAmHolland View Post
    I've yet to go onto Sierra Vista. The pictures of the exposed part scares me as I have a mild fear of heights.
    It is a wide bench and an easy trail. Do go, it is a very nice ride. But yes, a novice rider may get spooked a bit, so would need to take it slower. It is only a few sections, so it is feasible to dismount in advance and walk if that bothers somebody.

    Those trail building pictures are quite cool: Sierra Vista OSP and Falls Road

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