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  1. #1
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    New question here. Coming to SF for a month and have 3 q's

    Hi all,

    I'm coming to San Francisco mid November for a month. I'm going to be staying in the Mission and working in Soma. I'm keen to use a bike to get around the city and would also like to hit some trails.

    So my questions are:

    1: How far away is the nearest 10k+ singletrack?
    2: Is my Ibis MojoHD too much bike for around SF?
    3: Assuming yes to question 2, should I bring my Santa Cruz Superlight or buy a new 29er while i'm in the states.

    For additional info: I'm coming from Wellington, NZ. I am a very average (on a good day) mountain biker.

    Cheers
    Nathan

  2. #2
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    You are coming to where mountain biking was born. You should definitely bring the best gear you have, but never let it out of your site, esp in the city. Do not lock it up outside or leave it on a car rack or in the back of a car if visible.

    There is good riding within 30-40min. China Camp state park and Camp Tamarancho to the North. Water Dog lake in Belmont to the South. Then Skeggs, Soquel Demonstration forest, Wilder Ranch further south. All within 2hrs.

    If you want to go farther there is good riding near Lake Tahoe and Downieville or even at a ski resort like Northstar or Mammoth mountain.(Probably closed for riding when you get here though)

    Hopefully it stays dry, Nov can be iffy when it comes to rain, but it won't rain all the time.

  3. #3
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    Yeah, November could be good weather, or could be wet. It is borderline between our dry season and wet season.

    10k+ singletack? As in 10k feet of climbing? Not sure what you mean.

    MojoHD is a bit much for getting around the city. And for many of our trails, especially thoe bike-able from the city (or the few in the city). There definitely are some that an HD would be great on, but on average I prefer to use a hardtail 29er. And a cross bike for around town/light duty dirt bike. The Superlight could be fine, unless the weak dollar lets you get a real bargain for a new bike.
    Last edited by singlespeed.org; 09-12-2011 at 02:53 PM.
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  4. #4
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    If you wanna bike around the city, get a reasonably priced to inexpensive road or cx bike on cl when you get here. I lock my beater with an understanding that it may get stolen. I never lock it for very long or overnight. Wheels and fancy Brooks saddles don't last long unlocked.

    Other than that, it's a blast!
    Wanted: WTB rollercams and brake bridges

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the info everyone. I am unlikely to have a car so it will be trails I can bike to.

    Sorry 10k+ was looking for 10km (6 mile) loops as I thought that trails I could bike to from the city might be a on the shorter side?

    The dollar is looking pretty good, and there is a bit more choice of bikes stateside. Maybe I can pickup a nice secondhand Tall Boy or Spec' 29er?

    Sounds like I should put a decent lock in my bag too!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scarydog View Post
    Thanks for the info everyone. I am unlikely to have a car so it will be trails I can bike to.
    There is Cal-Train to the South Bay ... I'm pretty sure we can accommodated you since you are coming from New Zealand.

    HD 140 or HD 160?

  7. #7
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    Check out this thread for rides/trails local to SF.

    golden gate park is still cool...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scarydog View Post
    Sounds like I should put a decent lock in my bag too!
    yea even then you dont want to leave anything nice out of sight, you might want a 100 dollar beater for groceries etc and then a tallboy or something for the trails. You can find some good stuff riding over the golden gate toward tam and there are some surprising pockets of trails in the city if you only have a few hours to ride.

  9. #9
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    A 29er hardtail would be perfect for the rides within the city and a bit beyond.

    A bit more about bike security. Assuming you are renting a place, make sure you have renters insurance which would cover your property in case anything happens. Do not trust bike locks. Try to store your bike inside the apartment if you have space. Otherwise, keep a sturdy lock on it even when garaged. And then, do not trust the lock.

    Keep an eye out on this forum for rides. I'm sure you can hitch a ride with someone sometimes for rides outside of the city! It's a great place. I hope you will enjoy youd stay!

  10. #10
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    If you bring the Mojo, I'd recommend you make it your mission to do one ride at Downieville - where it will be chilly and might even have some snow - before you go home. If not Downieville, somewhere in the Sierras. That is the best mtn biking to be had, here, in my opinion.

    There is a local mailing list for dirt-loving San Franciscans, sfdirtvermin. It might be worth joining before and during your stay. Many San Franciscans are car-less, but carpool to good rides together, or "hire" (we say rent) cars from organizations like Zipcar or City CarShare. Cyclocross is popular here, and by November half the people on sfdirtvermin will be talking about it, racing it, so some of the mtn bike love might be abated.

    You can also BART (train) or ferry across the Bay to Oakland. That's where i live, and we have some fun trails too. Joaquin Miller Park is 10km+ of singletrack, but you have to climb pavement to get to it. PM me and I can give you a tour.

    You will probably end up riding across the Golden Gate bridge to the Marin Headlands, and riding over there. I honestly think that would keep me happy for a month. The ideal bike for that riding is a hardtail, single speed or geared. Mojo would be fine tho! Middle Green Gulch trail is one of my favorites, and Fort Cronkhite beach is beautiful.

    Possibly the most Mojo-worthy trails you could get to - in a car - are Oat Hill Mine in Calistoga, up in the Napa wine-growing region, and Soquel Demo Forest near Santa Cruz. That Calistoga drive alone is worth it.

    Everything that has been said about security and insurance is valid, unfortunately. Enjoy your trip! If you communicate via this forum and sfdirtvermin, you will probably find yourself doing some fun rides with interesting people.

    While you're here, the Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships will be held in Golden Gate Park. It will be a big, silly party. Do not miss it!

    Morgan

  11. #11
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    In case it wasn't made clear by the earlier postings, a 10-km singletrack ride in riding distance from within the city unfortunately doesn't exist. Using the BART rail system will give you a few extra options (only one or two of which have any significant singletrack, I'm afraid). However, the harsh fact is that, unless you can drive to your rides, you will be missing almost all of the good rides in the area. You might want to start think about trying to find some "ride buddies" once you get here, who will be willing to share the car ride to the trailhead with you.

    The Mojo HD is not exactly "required" for most of the rides around here, but I don't think you'd feel that it's "too much bike" for the trails here either.

    Regarding the bike lock, you'd need that in any major metropolis in the world. Let's not be naive.
    Looking for local rides? You'll find plenty on my website: Bay Area Mountain Bike Rides.

  12. #12
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    Check the local mountain bike groups on meetup.com. You can usually get in on a carpool, and a lot of those rides are really good.

  13. #13
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    Cal Train to Belmont is a public transit option for Waterdog.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by morganfletcher View Post
    While you're here, the Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships will be held in Golden Gate Park. It will be a big, silly party. Do not miss it!

    Morgan
    .... I grew up in Pacifica. I just moved to Reno for college two weeks ago. And now I find out that I'm missing one of the world's best races by seven days. I'll be going home for Thanksgiving weekend, but that's the weekend after. I am hella jealous.
    I've made some bad decisions like taking the gears off my bike. So here's the warning: Do not as I say, nor as I do.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by huntermos View Post
    There does exsist well over 10 kilometers of singletrack trail WITHIN the city and there are several threads on the subject, including the one mentioned by Bittter Dave above. You will find them surprisingly fun and you can link 12+ miles with less then 10% pavement.
    Correction: A 10-km singletrack legal ride in riding distance from within the city unfortunately doesn't exist.
    Looking for local rides? You'll find plenty on my website: Bay Area Mountain Bike Rides.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by erginguney View Post
    In case it wasn't made clear by the earlier postings, a 10-km singletrack ride in riding distance from within the city unfortunately doesn't exist.
    There does exsist well over 10 kilometers of singletrack trail WITHIN the city and there are several threads on the subject, including the one mentioned by Bittter Dave above. You will find them surprisingly fun and you can link 12+ miles with less then 10% pavement.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by erginguney View Post
    Correction: A 10-km singletrack legal ride in riding distance from within the city unfortunately doesn't exist.
    No offense meant, but Mt. Sutro has 4-5 legal miles, Twin Peaks another mile or so, more legal trails on Davidson, some in McClaren and some of the singletrack in GG Park is legal as is some trail in Lincoln and the Presidio. Add them up with bits of legal trail in BV park, along Park Presidio, along Sunset, etc and there is plenty of decent legal dirt to be had. You can even link these into a ride over the GG bridge for the bits of singletrack and fire road in the Headland for some big rides with 80% dirt.

  18. #18
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    The Tamarancho loop is about nine miles, plus the two spur trails that you enter on. You can actually put the bike on a bus to get to Marin.

    If you are here in November, an even not to miss is the world's oldest annual ride, the Appetite Seminar in Fairfax.
    It don't mean a feng if it ain't got that
    shui.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scarydog View Post
    Thanks for the info everyone. I am unlikely to have a car so it will be trails I can bike to.

    Sorry 10k+ was looking for 10km (6 mile) loops as I thought that trails I could bike to from the city might be a on the shorter side?

    The dollar is looking pretty good, and there is a bit more choice of bikes stateside. Maybe I can pickup a nice secondhand Tall Boy or Spec' 29er?

    Sounds like I should put a decent lock in my bag too!
    I wouldn't get a good bike for riding around the city. Locks don't really deter thieves. Get a beater for around the city and leave the nice bike at home and only for the trails.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by huntermos View Post
    No offense meant, but Mt. Sutro has 4-5 legal miles, Twin Peaks another mile or so, more legal trails on Davidson, some in McClaren and some of the singletrack in GG Park is legal as is some trail in Lincoln and the Presidio. Add them up with bits of legal trail in BV park, along Park Presidio, along Sunset, etc and there is plenty of decent legal dirt to be had. You can even link these into a ride over the GG bridge for the bits of singletrack and fire road in the Headland for some big rides with 80% dirt.
    I don't mean to sound like a jerk either, but when I add up all of the trail segment distances listed on the Mt. Sutro trail map I see a total of only 2.26 miles.

    Similarly, in McLaren Park, if I assume all stretches of trail marked as "multi-use" on the SF Urban Riders trail map of the park is actually singletrack and add up every last bit of trail segment, my estimate comes to 4.08 miles. (I can forward the GPX file upon request.) This is also without considering the fact that something like a quarter of those trail segments are scattered in little bits and pieces across multiple city blocks that surround the core park.

    Meanwhile, the distance between Mt. Sutro and McLaren Park over city streets is something like 5 miles.

    As for Golden Gate Park, if the amount of legal singletrack in that park adds up to 6 miles or anything close to that, I'd seriously like to know where it is. (Honestly, it would really help me.)

    So, if you're talking about stringing together all of these disjointed bits and pieces into a single ride and calling it a "10-km singletrack ride", that's quite a bit of a stretched definition, in my opinion, and could at least benefit from the clarifications above. But, claiming that the resulting ride can have less than 10% pavement overall seems to be nothing more than bad math.
    Looking for local rides? You'll find plenty on my website: Bay Area Mountain Bike Rides.

  21. #21
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    Best SF ride is the SF Flow from a few years back it strings all the trails together.

    SF Flow – history in the making! « velomuse

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scarydog View Post
    Hi all,

    I'm coming to San Francisco mid November for a month. I'm going to be staying in the Mission and working in Soma. I'm keen to use a bike to get around the city and would also like to hit some trails.
    FWIW, while the single track is limited, the possibilities for world class road riding are not. Between the Marin Headlands, the Penisula Hills, Santa Cruz mountains and the East Bay hills, there are hundreds of miles of relatively low-traffic beautiful road rides. Bart and Caltrain are both reasonably bike-friendly and can get you out of the city limits to avoid the worst of the traffic.

    While there are some exceptions, drivers are more bike aware than any other place I've ridden in the USA. If you live here and you don't own a road bike, I think you're really missing out on something special.

    - Booker C. Bense

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by erginguney View Post
    I don't mean to sound like a jerk either
    Wow, aren't we uber-civil for the interwebs!

    In all seriousness, let us both rephrase. You can ride 10 k+ loop rides in the city with around 10% pavement, but yes, as you mention some may or may not be "legal" (and I'll address that in a minute). Nonetheless, there are some quality trails in the city and one could ride loops in excess of 20 miles by hitting sections of street between them, and while not all of it is awesome, swoopy trail, there is some surprisingly good trail to be had.

    As for the 10K+ loop, I do it all the time from my house in the Inner Sunset by riding GG Park, Mt. Sutro, Sutro Connector and sometimes Twin Peaks and Davidson. In fact this loop usually gets me between 10 and 13 miles depending on my route and I can significantly extend it by riding through Stern Grove to Sunset and back to GG Park. Sutro has lots of little loops (West Ridge South Ridge, Belgrave) that I link together to milk the miles and when you add on the new Stanyan connector and the Sutro/Twin Peaks connector, it's an easy 4-5 miles with less than a mile of pavement. Ride the 3 blocks from Mt Sutro to GG Park and you can extend the dirt with very little pavement and maybe drop that ration below 10% (if you live next to the park like I do).

    As for the legality of riding in GG Park, the only broad exclusion of mountain bikes I hear about is from the biking community itself, random quotes in news stories and the SFMTB page (which, ironically, shows many of the trails I ride on their ride maps). It well may be the case that all mountain biking is banned, but in the 2 years I've been living on the edge of the park, the city and parks department have been mum on the issue. I can think of only 5 "no bike" signs on any of the dirt I ride; 2 in the upper north-east corner (which I avoid so as to "obey the law"), the 2 keeping riders out of the rose garden and one in the redwoods that the dirt jumpers have claimed. I've seen others in areas that I don't ever ride and I've see far more "no biking" signs on the paved paths than anywhere else. The issue of legality on most of the trails in the park is moot in my opinion as bikes are by far the minority user of these trails and that there are homeless living all over the place and SEGWAY (!!!) tourists plodding along on many of them. When the park department starts signing more trails, actually posts some coherent policy on trail use and keeps other (apparently illegal) users from using these trails, I'll stop riding them, but that's just my philosophy on the matter and I'm not alone judging by the many bikes I see riding those same trails.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by huntermos View Post
    As for the legality of riding in GG Park, the only broad exclusion of mountain bikes I hear about is from the biking community itself, random quotes in news stories and the SFMTB page (which, ironically, shows many of the trails I ride on their ride maps). It well may be the case that all mountain biking is banned, but in the 2 years I've been living on the edge of the park, the city and parks department have been mum on the issue. I can think of only 5 "no bike" signs on any of the dirt I ride; 2 in the upper north-east corner (which I avoid so as to "obey the law"), the 2 keeping riders out of the rose garden and one in the redwoods that the dirt jumpers have claimed. I've seen others in areas that I don't ever ride and I've see far more "no biking" signs on the paved paths than anywhere else. The issue of legality on most of the trails in the park is moot in my opinion as bikes are by far the minority user of these trails and that there are homeless living all over the place and SEGWAY (!!!) tourists plodding along on many of them. When the park department starts signing more trails, actually posts some coherent policy on trail use and keeps other (apparently illegal) users from using these trails, I'll stop riding them, but that's just my philosophy on the matter and I'm not alone judging by the many bikes I see riding those same trails.
    Thanks for that clarification. My understanding about Golden Gate Park was that bikes were only meant for paved paths and roads in the park. I'm not sure where it came from. (Perhaps I saw a few no-bikes signs on dirt paths there and extrapolated.) It hasn't escaped my attention either that the GGNRA website says nothing about bike access policy for this park. So, I have to agree with your attitude toward Golden Gate Park.

    As for the other routes that add up to sufficient mileage, I suppose once Golden Gate Park is included in the equation, the possibility does become realistic. Fair enough.
    Looking for local rides? You'll find plenty on my website: Bay Area Mountain Bike Rides.

  25. #25
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    Thanks for all the info - very helpful. The trail map of Mt. Sutro looks good and the I will definately be riding over the GG so keen to check out any trails over there.

    Will definitely check out the cxss champs - there is not much of a CX seen here, maybe I should pick up a HAKKALÜGI in SF :-) Not sure where I would ride it at home though.

    I will also definitely get out of town for a ride or two. Either hire a car or hook up with a shared ride. Someone mentioned the Sierras, but I am a bit geographically challenged. Is that inland from SF?

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