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  1. #1
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    Things I learned at the Flow Trail today (the 100% positive Flow Trail thread!)

    I rode Tamarancho on this beautiful day and rode the upper part of the Flow Trail for the fist time after putting a few days work on it - I had to myself for many laps and I realized a few things:

    1. This trail is f****ing amazing! Thanks Jim, Davey, Sandor, et. al. for all of your hard work - it is a very special work of art!

    2. As awesome as it is and as much fun as I had riding it (evidenced by the perma-grin ), I have no idea how to ride this trail - it is a totally different animal - how do I learn how to ride this thing? Just practice?, or do I need some instruction!?

    3. I should bring my pads next time - it is too tempting to go extremely fast.

    Thanks again for all the hard work! I can't wait until the whole thing is open. I'll be out there this weekend

  2. #2
    formerly uncle mama
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    I hear you man. I felt like a goon when I rode it; not my style but, still very fun.

  3. #3
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    It will be a new experience for many riders because we've never had anything like that here in the Bay Area.

  4. #4
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    Practice, practice, practice.

    Helpful tips:

    Put your seat down.

    Increase rear tire pressure.

    Don't try and go fast. In other words don't force it. I know it sounds corny but "just go with the flow." Over time you will get faster and faster. Trust me. The most important part of the experience is to have fun. Once the trail is open from top to bottom it will only take 10 minutes to ride back up and do it again. If you don't get hurt you will continue to get better.

    Dylan Renn lives locally and designed a few of our cooler features on the trail, like the S turn. He also teaches bike skills. He is an excellent teacher and has been working with me to get over my mental fear of gap jumps and drops. You should give him a shout:

    Contact | RENNCRAFT

  5. #5
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    I live in the South Bay and have never really explored any of the North Bay places to ride. I either end up at Demo or Skeggs. I've been thinking of putting together a tour of the North Bay some weekend. I'll definitely have to hit up Tamarancho.
    I like to ride bikes.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by supermachete View Post
    Stiffen up that suspension a little bit, & let'er rip!
    Quote Originally Posted by Davey Simon View Post
    Increase rear tire pressure.
    Interesting - I was doing the exact opposite of these 2 pieces of advice in an attempt to make my bike as squishy and plush as I could thinking I would increase traction and absorb the landings (especially the not-so-smooth ones). I will try this approach next time.

    Question about increasing rear tire pressure though:

    I can see this helping with the pumping and holding speed / momentum aspect, but won't this also decrease traction when you're really digging into those berms and also increase skidding / drifting (which I'm assuming we don't want)?

    Thanks!

  7. #7
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    I don't know anything about the trail, but I can't imagine why you'd want to stiffen up the suspension and inflate the tires. I'd leave the suspension where I always have it (25-30% sag) and keep the tires as low as I could get away with before damaging the rims or burping.

    What's the terrain like that makes you guys recommend these two actions?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyno View Post
    Interesting - I was doing the exact opposite of these 2 pieces of advice in an attempt to make my bike as squishy and plush as I could thinking I would increase traction and absorb the landings (especially the not-so-smooth ones). I will try this approach next time.

    Question about increasing rear tire pressure though:

    I can see this helping with the pumping and holding speed / momentum aspect, but won't this also decrease traction when you're really digging into those berms and also increase skidding / drifting (which I'm assuming we don't want)?

    Thanks!
    Normally I run pretty low pressure. I've got a tubeless set up and a hard tail. So it serves at a little bit of suspension. Normally corners on the mountain bike can't be taken at great speed. Switchbacks are mostly super super tight and having a lower pressure helps soak up braking bumps, roots and rocks.

    Fire roads are mostly flat and countersteering along with good traction seems to be the safest option.

    The first few times down the flow trail were on my dirt jumper. We were testing out the S turn and the bike worked great through the tall berms at speed. Even with semi slick dirt jumping tires. I run the dirt jumper tires at a very high pressure so much so that it made the ride back to town pretty uncomfortable.

    I tried the flow trail with my 29er and the lower pressure. It was a disaster! The rear tire has so much more force on it than normal that it started to "roll off" the rim. The sidewall was collapsing. I added about 10-15 psi and presto. The 29er performed nearly as well as the dirt jumper.

    A low seat and shorter stem seems to help nearly as much.

    Also I wanted to thank you for starting a positive thread about the trail. Way better than I ever did You rock bro!

  9. #9
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    i took the better ride course a few years ago, where dylan was the coach. he is an excellent teacher, and very good at conveying concepts that may be otherwise difficult to digest.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by hairylegs View Post
    I don't know anything about the trail, but I can't imagine why you'd want to stiffen up the suspension and inflate the tires. I'd leave the suspension where I always have it (25-30% sag) and keep the tires as low as I could get away with before damaging the rims or burping.

    What's the terrain like that makes you guys recommend these two actions?
    The entire trail is hand shaped like a pump track from top to bottom. It isn't really a trail it is a track. I hope you can check it out soon and ride it from top to bottom. It should be entirely open May 1st or even sooner.

    Don't forget to buy a one day pass 5$ at Sunshine Bikes in Fairfax. Or even better buy a year pass or two year pass.

    Tamarancho - Sunshine Bicycle Center

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davey Simon View Post
    Normally I run pretty low pressure. I've got a tubeless set up and a hard tail. So it serves at a little bit of suspension. Normally corners on the mountain bike can't be taken at great speed. Switchbacks are mostly super super tight and having a lower pressure helps soak up braking bumps, roots and rocks.

    Fire roads are mostly flat and countersteering along with good traction seems to be the safest option.

    The first few times down the flow trail were on my dirt jumper. We were testing out the S turn and the bike worked great through the tall berms at speed. Even with semi slick dirt jumping tires. I run the dirt jumper tires at a very high pressure so much so that it made the ride back to town pretty uncomfortable.

    I tried the flow trail with my 29er and the lower pressure. It was a disaster! The rear tire has so much more force on it than normal that it started to "roll off" the rim. The sidewall was collapsing. I added about 10-15 psi and presto. The 29er performed nearly as well as the dirt jumper.

    A low seat and shorter stem seems to help nearly as much.

    Also I wanted to thank you for starting a positive thread about the trail. Way better than I ever did You rock bro!
    Thanks for the reply and advice - makes sense - I'm going to try this and look into that course as well.

    The inspiration to start up a thread talking about how awesome and unique this trail is came to me while I was climbing up to do another lap - I just thought with all the recent drama with Flow-gate(which needed to be addressed btw!), let's take a step back and admire what was accomplished (and hopefully I can learn how to really ride it!)

  12. #12
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    Hio
    Mountain biker-turned-BMXer here. With regard to suspension: MTB suspension is always trying to do two very different things, which we can simplify by thinking of in terms of your already familiar controls.
    Low-speed compression damping - small bump and rider input. For a Pump track, BMX track, flow trail there are no bumps, and you want rider input into the ground (this is pumping). The fastest bike would be a fully rigid. Tons of LSC or lockout.

    High-speed compression damping - This is your square-edge and big hit damping. No square edges on a pump track, BMX track, flow trail, but you can catch some good air or case hard trying. There are no flat landings, and if you case you are gonna bottom out, so HSC can be as high as you like here. Fully rigid BMX bikes land huge jumps to non-flat landings all day long. HSC may help your trail-bike spring rates not get overwhelmed.

    Traction low but nonessential. Forward momentum is provided by gravity and pump, you should be braking very gently, and cornering in a well-shaped berm actually doesn't require a lot of traction. Certainly not the kind we think about well-tuned suspension aiding.

    Tire pressure: This is smooth hard-pack. You want two things: low rolling resistance and pinch/burp protection. For many people, the way to coax these traits out of your tires is higher pressure.

    Last flow trail run, I was running my typical Butcher 2.3 front tubeless at ~26 PSI and it felt normal (excellent). I had just put another 2.3 Butcher on the back (a bigger rear tire than I usually run) and even at well over 30 PSI it felt like it was going to roll off. High G-forces, man. Very different from trail riding.

    Davey's advice is spot on.

  13. #13
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    I'm bringing my 24.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by squareback View Post
    I'm bringing my 24.
    Dan Barnes, who hand shaped nearly the entire trail, mentioned that his 24 cruiser would be a great option.

    The only problem is getting it to the trailhead

  15. #15
    used to be RipRoar
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    flow trail = single slalom....hard tails, smaller wheels, low CG will rule, but like DS said...you still gotta pedal in

  16. #16
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    Things I learned at the Flow Trail today (the 100% positive Flow Trail thread!)

    I will also add: don't try and force catching air. Try and pump through the features to gain speed. Catching air will come naturally after you have mastered pumping. Like Arnold:

    http://youtu.be/7nZ1v96-veM

    The cool thing is that once you have mastered the pump you start seeing places to gain speed without pedaling everywhere. "Pumping on the singletrack, pumping on the fire road, pumping on the climbs, it's fantastic!"


    The advantage is that while pumping and gaining speed you stay really stable and you can keep your CG really low compared to pedaling. I am no expert at this. Guys like Dylan are. The track we built is a great place to practice, have fun and build skills.

  17. #17
    YOUREGO ISNOT YOURAMIGO
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davey Simon View Post
    Normally I run pretty low pressure. I've got a tubeless set up and a hard tail. So it serves at a little bit of suspension. Normally corners on the mountain bike can't be taken at great speed. Switchbacks are mostly super super tight and having a lower pressure helps soak up braking bumps, roots and rocks.

    Fire roads are mostly flat and countersteering along with good traction seems to be the safest option.

    The first few times down the flow trail were on my dirt jumper. We were testing out the S turn and the bike worked great through the tall berms at speed. Even with semi slick dirt jumping tires. I run the dirt jumper tires at a very high pressure so much so that it made the ride back to town pretty uncomfortable.

    I tried the flow trail with my 29er and the lower pressure. It was a disaster! The rear tire has so much more force on it than normal that it started to "roll off" the rim. The sidewall was collapsing. I added about 10-15 psi and presto. The 29er performed nearly as well as the dirt jumper.

    A low seat and shorter stem seems to help nearly as much.

    Also I wanted to thank you for starting a positive thread about the trail. You rock bro!


    Man, all this talk about more air pressure is true.
    I also had my tire pressure pretty low, and it felt like the tires were rolling off the rims in the berms.
    Pump 'em up for the Flow track is what i'm gonna do now, cause this thing is hard packed and FAST!!
    And yes all this positive talk about the Flow makes me think Tamo is about to BLOW UP!!

    Things I learned at the Flow Trail today (the 100% positive Flow Trail thread!)-17975_miscellaneous_nuclear_explosion_explosion.jpg
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  18. #18
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    ohh cant wait to try this new track with the boys...

  19. #19
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    After moving some lumber today, we headed to the bottom to move some more dirt. Got a chance to roll/walk down the middle section... Man, it's gonna be sweet! I'm already anticipating burning quads on multiple laps.

    The skills area is looking great, too.

  20. #20
    YOUREGO ISNOT YOURAMIGO
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    Things I learned at the Flow Trail today (the 100% positive Flow Trail thread!)

    For those of us working, this thread is useless without pics/vids.
    Im going out there toomorow. ; )
    Will report back with images.
    G
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  21. #21
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    Things I learned at the Flow Trail today (the 100% positive Flow Trail thread!)

    Quote Originally Posted by GoGoGordo View Post
    For those of us working, this thread is useless without pics/vids.
    Im going out there toomorow. ; )
    Will report back with images.
    G
    Movie! Movie! Movie!

  22. #22
    YOUREGO ISNOT YOURAMIGO
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    Things I learned at the Flow Trail today (the 100% positive Flow Trail thread!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Davey Simon View Post
    Movie! Movie! Movie!
    Ok
    Sounds good Dave.
    Ill make one tomorrow.
    G
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  23. #23
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    First top-to-bottom run in today.
    So good. And the woodwork we ~finished today is really rad. But the trail... just amazingly fun. Always a new challenge as your speed increases. I want to hike my DJ in badly. Go get some, people.

  24. #24
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    Things I learned at the Flow Trail today (the 100% positive Flow Trail thread!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Snfoilhat View Post
    First top-to-bottom run in today.
    So good. And the woodwork we ~finished today is really rad. But the trail... just amazingly fun. Always a new challenge as your speed increases. I want to hike my DJ in badly. Go get some, people.
    DJ - tips

    I love riding my DJ here. It took me some time to figure out the best method but after 2 months of hiking in due to cold weather I got it dialed.

    Drive to the top of whites hill. Push/ride up white hill trail, porcupine trail white hill fire road, B-17 extension to flow trail. 20-30 minutes depending on how much you ride vs. hike

    Please avoid driving into camp. It's even more of a PITA to get there from the very limited camp parking (which is why it is not permitted) than whites and there is this lost troop of scouts that has gone cannibal. Lord of the flies style.

    Also if you push - at the bottom off the trail geared bikes go right. Push bikes go left. It is a 10-15 minute ride up Broken Dam and B-17 ext. 10 minute push up dead heifer. In short we are trying to separate XC from the DH. They can't sit in the same car together on long road trips without fighting, DH keeps calling XC a poo poo head and XC stole DH's blankie.

    Obviously it would be dangerous to push back up the flow trail. And way longer. Please don't be that guy. We finally have a trail were you can scream STRAVA and be a dick and not actually upset anyone hiking or riding up because that shouldn't happen.

  25. #25
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    Thanks for the advice!

  26. #26
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    any tour guides down to show a few of us around next week mid week?

  27. #27
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    Ah, interesting. So the flow trail rides more like a pump track, it sounds. That is completely new for the bay area. It'll be well worthwhile to go and hit up those friends I have in Fairfax that I've been meaning to catch up with! haha...
    Half the planet is deep into bloody tribal mayhem. Were just riding bikes (and drinking beer) here.
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  28. #28
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    Put some time in moving dirt and timber with tburger on Sat. It's really sweet. It does ride like a downhill pump track; saw some guys on hardtail manualing most of the rollers at the top. Definitely requires a different skill set which I'd really like to develop, can't wait for it to officially open top to bottom.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snfoilhat View Post
    Thanks for the advice!
    Not directed at you at all. It was a good opportunity to get the word out. We just rode down the reccomended push route together so I am sure you know the way.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by yeti575inCA View Post
    any tour guides down to show a few of us around next week mid week?
    I would be but I am out of town until the 25th. Willing to show anyone around after that.

    Stop in at Sunshine Bikes in Fairfax and they will get you directions and a one day pass 5$.

  31. #31
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    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Davey and the whole trail crew for making something special!

    I rode the Flow several times today and my inaugural ride was behind Mark Weir and his crew, needless to say that they killed it! And me, well, on a fat front rigid and for the first time I didn't crash but it wasn't too much for my type of bike. Three times to the bottom. I think ride/hike up Dead Heifer is the quickest way back. For a while there must have been twenty people up there at 1pm.

    Trail condition is excellent, with a little drying/cracking on the edges, but it's going to be awesome in the future!

  32. #32
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    Thank you to everyone who built the trail! It is much bigger and longer than expected. When I was out there today, I didn't expect it to be open or even completed.

    One thing I learned about riding the trail: Breathe. Don't forget to breathe!

    Oh, and my legs and upper body were quite tired at the bottom...damn, I'm getting old.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katana View Post
    Thank you to everyone who built the trail! It is much bigger and longer than expected. When I was out there today, I didn't expect it to be open or even completed.

    One thing I learned about riding the trail: Breathe. Don't forget to breathe!

    Oh, and my legs and upper body were quite tired at the bottom...damn, I'm getting old.




    Have fun everyone!

  34. #34
    J-Flo
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    So is the Dead Heifer fire road now open to bikes? I thought it was bike-forbidden (except for during the Tamarancho Dirt Classic, when it is part of the course). That is a nice steep climb, is it OK to ride up it or is it "pushers only"?

    Thanks for all the great work!

  35. #35
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    thanks for all the hard work guys!

    semi-related question, as i haven't been to tamorancho since last year--is it still ok to park in the parking lot w/ the coffee drive thru hut in the middle? we used to buy our passes at the bike shop just across the street from it, then ride into the park. if that's no longer an option, where are you guys parking? thanks for the info!
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  36. #36
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    Things I learned at the Flow Trail today (the 100% positive Flow Trail thread!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jfloren View Post
    So is the Dead Heifer fire road now open to bikes? I thought it was bike-forbidden (except for during the Tamarancho Dirt Classic, when it is part of the course). That is a nice steep climb, is it OK to ride up it or is it "pushers only"?

    Thanks for all the great work!
    Well. It is but sorta. It is forbidden to use it to ride into camp because the cannibal scouts might get you. It is OK to use it to push or ride (you sicko) to stay out of the way of riders on Broken Dam. Clear as mud.

    Use Dead Heifer to White Hill FR (past the gate) and back to B-17 ext then back to the flow trail.

  37. #37
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    Things I learned at the Flow Trail today (the 100% positive Flow Trail thread!)

    Quote Originally Posted by dth656 View Post
    thanks for all the hard work guys!

    semi-related question, as i haven't been to tamorancho since last year--is it still ok to park in the parking lot w/ the coffee drive thru hut in the middle? we used to buy our passes at the bike shop just across the street from it, then ride into the park. if that's no longer an option, where are you guys parking? thanks for the info!
    The new grocery store is making that lot a bad option. I'm not good at parking advice as I live a few blocks away and only use my car to drive to the Oakland airport. Anyone have good ideas?

  38. #38
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    A suggestion:
    Right now there is an ATV track from Dead Heiffer cutting 'left' to the skills area that was used during construction. It seems to conveniently bring you back to the skills area and B17ext, but you cross the flow trail in a blind corner, and Jim mentioned to me that it was only for the ATV and temporary. I think a sign/tape on Dead Heiffer forbidding people to ride/push up it might be a good idea. To speed the recovery of the vegetation and get people going the correct way.

    @dth656 I have asked the guys in the shop at Fairfax Cycles if it is OK to park in their lot, you could try the same.

  39. #39
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    i'll try asking the folks at Fairfax, thanks!
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  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnnyb View Post
    I rode the Flow several times today and my inaugural ride was behind Mark Weir and his crew:eekster:, ....
    Interesting that they spent so much time helping (not) and still managed to show up the day after it is completed.

  41. #41
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    As far as parking in Fairfax, there are ~15 spots in the Fairfax Cyclery parking lot which are kosher. Otherwise pretty much everything in town is 2-4 hour limit on the weekends.

  42. #42
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    That might be true but we should stay positive. I know I didn't help on the flow construction, i work Saturdays and have kids, but I've helped out on the xc part for years and I write a check for a hundred bucks for my pass. I think Weir does a lot to keep the mtb community positive, plus their was a photo crew from Bike magazine with him. Maybe they asked him to do it because I only saw him ride it once--really fast!

    If the viewpoint is exclusivity to the trail by only people that made it, than Boy Scouts should pay admission for others. I would pay it and I'm sure others would too. I don't have the free time I used to and the one afternoon a week I get is pretty precious.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davey Simon View Post
    Well. It is but sorta. It is forbidden to use it to ride into camp because the cannibal scouts might get you. It is OK to use it to push or ride (you sicko) to stay out of the way of riders on Broken Dam. Clear as mud.

    Use Dead Heifer to White Hill FR (past the gate) and back to B-17 ext then back to the flow trail.
    I didn't know it was not cool to go up Dead Heifer, but considering that most riders go clockwise on Tamarancho I thought it would be a good alternative. But there isn't any signage put up stating otherwise. A loophole as it might be. It is the quickest way back to the fireroad.

    It's your call, Jefe.
    Last edited by johnnyb; 04-17-2013 at 02:29 AM. Reason: spanglish!

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davey Simon View Post
    The new grocery store is making that lot a bad option. I'm not good at parking advice as I live a few blocks away and only use my car to drive to the Oakland airport. Anyone have good ideas?
    You have about a dozen spots on Glen Drive by White Hill school near the fireroad entrance. A handful at the top of Sir Francis Drake at the turnout for White Hill too.
    Last edited by johnnyb; 04-17-2013 at 03:19 PM.

  45. #45
    J-Flo
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    I am assuming the Flow Trail will be a major attraction and that Dead Heifer will be the better way to go back up on a weekend, to avoid traffic coming down Broken Dam. Plus it is a good monster of a climb. Wait a minute, maybe nobody will want to come down Broken Dam anymore (although that is fun too).

  46. #46
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    Things I learned at the Flow Trail today (the 100% positive Flow Trail thread!)

    To be clear. We are encouraging geared bikes to ride up Broken Dam. In the rare case of a gravity oriented rider who has a bike that needs to be pushed uphill: we are encouraging pushing all the way to Whites Hill fire road and using B-17 to ride to the entrance of the Flow Trail.

    This is to separate the push traffic from riding traffic on Broken Dam.

    There is a camp nearby and the Scouts could halt the practice. This is all an experiment / trail. Please bear with us.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davey Simon View Post
    Practice, practice, practice.

    Helpful tips:

    Don't try and go fast. In other words don't force it. I know it sounds corny but "just go with the flow." Over time you will get faster and faster.
    Contact | RENNCRAFT
    This is something I'm learning on the new Culvert trail in Auburn. I find when I force it I come into the berms with way too much speed and then grabbing brakes all the way through the berms and being erratic. It's more fun and faster when I control my speed and coming into the turn slower. Then I can convince myself to get my fingers off the brakes and I end up exiting the berm much faster and with more control of the bike.
    All out of S**** and down to my last F***

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davey Simon View Post
    To be clear. We are encouraging geared bikes to ride up Broken Dam. In the rare case of a gravity oriented rider who has a bike that needs to be pushed uphill: we are encouraging pushing all the way to Whites Hill fire road and using B-17 to ride to the entrance of the Flow Trail.

    This is to separate the push traffic from riding traffic on Broken Dam.

    There is a camp nearby and the Scouts could halt the practice. This is all an experiment / trail. Please bear with us.

    Clear as mud. I'm assuming taking Broken Dam/Whites Hill to get there from Fairfax. But what about a return from a run? You can get to the entrance from several directions.

  49. #49
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    Small hazard on Porcupine Trail -needs a quick fix:

    I discovered a little natural hazard on the way up Porcupine. I didn't have a handsaw, and can't get back there for awhile. If anyone would care to fix this, a small handsaw is all that's needed. Heading UP Porcupine there is a right had switchback early on (in the trees) in the middle of the trail just above the turn. There is a fairly sharp root that has become exposed over time. It could take out a tire if hit head-on in the downhill direction. Snipping this little sucker to ground level might just save somebody's day.

    Thanks
    I like to bike.

  50. #50
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    Rode the flow trail top to bottom today! It was awesome. Got a good workout without hardly pedaling, reminds me of riding motocross bikes. It was especially sweet to ride across features that I helped build.
    If understand the pass situation correctly, the money you pay on the pass goes to the scouts to offset insurance costs. For the trails to remain they require volunteers to help maintain them.

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