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  1. #1
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    Visiting Chico - Bidwell Advice?

    I will be in Chico the weekend of June 16th for a wedding, planning to ride Upper Bidwell Park the morning of the 17th before heading home.

    I've only been to Chico once and have never ridden the area so I am hoping to get some local advice

    Based on my limited internet research I am thinking I will park somewhere near Wildwood Park or the A or B parking lot by the North Rim Trail and doing some sort of loop that will drop my back there.

    Thinking of doing: North Rim Trail > B Trail > Upper Park Road > Cross the creek (???) > 10-mile house > Guardians > Bloody Pin > Annie Bidwell > bike path back towards where I started
    OR
    Would it be more fun to do the same begining route but after crossing the creek do Annie Bidwell > Bloody Pin > Guardians until it links back with Annie Bidwell > path back to start

    Not sure which directions are climbing or any one-way sections. Definitely would be interested to know estimated mileage and elevation for either of those routes. I am hoping to do a solid 2-3 hr ride unless I am completely hung over

    My main questions are:

    How much of an endeavor is it to Cross the Creek? I imagine it will be on the relatively full side in early summer?

    What bike is the best/most fun option, 26in FS trail bike or 29er singlespeed with squish fork?

    Any special tires needed? Currently running Captain Controls and Ground Controls, will these be sufficient?

    Where is the best place to park if I want to start and end my ride in the same area?

    How crowded is the park on Sunday mornings? Are there any trail user issues or conflicts to be aware of?

    Any other tips, info and advice is greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
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    Creek should be nice and low, temps could be nice and high. You may have to ride early AM. Bring tubes and make sure your tires are in good shape. Leave the SS at home for sure, you need suspension out there. Bidwell eats tires, go for large volume and decent sidewall (Control or Grid for Specialized tires).

    Go by North Rim or Cyclesport in downtown and get a map and and any local conditions. I think your first route is a winner, it is the Bump course. You definitely need to climb al the way up and do Guradian in it's entirety, awesome trail.

    Park near downtown and ride through lower park instead of driving out. Lots of sun flat single track to warm up on.

  3. #3
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    Sweet! Thanks for the info!

    I figured I would need to get an early start to beat the heat, plus I want to have time to get lunch at the brewery before hitting the road home.

    My hotel is at 3025 Business Lane, looks like I can just shoot up Forest Av to Lower Park, cut through there to Manzanita Ln, then link up with North Rim Trail off of Wildwood Ave?

    I'm excited, just over a month away....

  4. #4
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    This is the route you are looking at: Bidwell Park - North Rim, B Trail, 10 Mile, Guardian by vuduvgn at Garmin Connect - Details

    The above link includes riding from near downtown through the lower park trails so if you start at Manzanita your ride will be about 9 miles shorter. This ride, on this day, took me 2 1/2 hours and i'm no slouch. Be sure and bring plenty of water, there is none out there. Have fun and be prepared to get knocked around.
    Take a look at and consider "liking" my Vegan Athlete Facebook page.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by IrieRider View Post
    Sweet! Thanks for the info!

    I figured I would need to get an early start to beat the heat, plus I want to have time to get lunch at the brewery before hitting the road home.

    My hotel is at 3025 Business Lane, looks like I can just shoot up Forest Av to Lower Park, cut through there to Manzanita Ln, then link up with North Rim Trail off of Wildwood Ave?

    I'm excited, just over a month away....
    Just ride lower park to the bridge that is just past the baseball fields and cross the creek over to North Rim side. Bike shop guys will be able to give better directions. Enjoy all of the above!

    I worked @ Sierra Nevada for 6 months while in school, best beer and best food on the West Coast! If you can get someone else to drive get the beer sampler....

  6. #6
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    Right on, many thanks.

    That route would probably take me closer to 3 hours to complete, thanks for the water tip, crucial information!

    I am hoping Hoptimum will still be available, definitely one of my favorite brews. Also fingers crossed that the Southern Hemisphere Fresh Hop will be around too!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ARider View Post
    Creek should be nice and low, temps could be nice and high. You may have to ride early AM. Bring tubes and make sure your tires are in good shape. Leave the SS at home for sure, you need suspension out there. Bidwell eats tires, go for large volume and decent sidewall (Control or Grid for Specialized tires).

    Go by North Rim or Cyclesport in downtown and get a map and and any local conditions. I think your first route is a winner, it is the Bump course. You definitely need to climb al the way up and do Guradian in it's entirety, awesome trail.

    Park near downtown and ride through lower park instead of driving out. Lots of sun flat single track to warm up on.
    Singlespeed hardtail is my favorite bike for bidwell. 10 mile house is a chore and I need to be in good shape to do it but everything else is great for 22.

  8. #8
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    Which direction is uphill on Bloody Pin trail? Is BPT to Annie Bidwell worth doing vs doing Guardians all the way to the end?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by IrieRider View Post
    Which direction is uphill on Bloody Pin trail? Is BPT to Annie Bidwell worth doing vs doing Guardians all the way to the end?
    Bloody pin connects Guardians with Annie Bidwell. Its a fun little trail and you can take a right turn at the bottom to get to 10 mile house road which will bring you back to the top of Guardians in about a half mile Do it if you have energy, if you don't just go straight down guardians. Riding Annie Bidwell west is okay but there is a significant hike a bike (tennis ball hill) that you can't avoid to get back.

  10. #10
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    Your first option is best, I just crossed the creek and it was no big deal. Depending on what type of beating you like to take the FS is the way. Guardian all the way down is the most fun option for the DH all the way out! IMHO

  11. #11
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    Just did the loop in question starting at the B parking lot late yesterday afternoon. Rode the single track along the fence line that follows the North Rim trail. Was that legal? Dropped B, up 10mile to Guardians, hit Annie Bidwell and then back down to the golf course to cross the bridge and back to b lot. With a handful of stops and pictures it took me about 2hrs45min. I was slower than usual as it's tech but I am not slow per se. I think frequent Bidwell riders might underestimate how fast they are given they know those lines. Eavesdropping on this conversation was quite helpful. Big country in Bidwell Park. I wasn't expecting the park to feel like a back country riding zone. From the creek crossing to Guardians you feel "out there" for sure. Very cool but I forgot my map and from the U lot was going off of memory. I would say remember your map or you will second guess yourself. It was a little misleading as the posted sign before the creek crossing shows no bikes. Did I cross at the wrong spot? I just walked my bike. Took my shoes off and forded the creak. I'm 5'8" and it was over my knees at the deepest spot. Water felt great. I see why people rave about the swimming a bit Bidwell. Great riding and some good riders out there. Looking forward to getting back and doing some tech riding and getting faster. Maybe in the fall when it cools back down.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flat Pedals View Post
    Just did the loop in question starting at the B parking lot late yesterday afternoon. Rode the single track along the fence line that follows the North Rim trail. Was that legal?... ...It was a little misleading as the posted sign before the creek crossing shows no bikes. Did I cross at the wrong spot?
    Its legal to climb northrim along the fence, everyone does it, its best if you just want to get the climb over with.

    I'm not sure what sign you are talking about, but it might be for the trail that runs right along the creek on the north side, which is off limits to bikes. If you went down B trail, made a left on the road, then went to the end of upper park road and crossed the creek, then you crossed at the right place.

    Bidwell can seem pretty secluded and harsh for a park right inside city limits.
    Last edited by derekbob; 05-18-2012 at 05:02 PM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by derekbob View Post
    Its legal to climb northrim along the fence, everyone does it, its best if you just want to get the climb over with.

    I'm not sure what sign you are talking about, but it might be for the trail that runs right along the creek on the north side, which is off limits to bikes. If you went down B trail, made a left on the road, then went to the end of upper park road and crossed the creek, then you crossed at the right place.

    Bidwell can seem pretty secluded and harsh for a park right inside city limits.
    Yeah I took a left at the bottom of B onto the fire road. Rode that to the end. There is a little trail straight ahead with a post that has icons for no bikes/horses. I hike a biked and crossed the creek there. So, seems I did it the right way. I knew the dead end and the sound of the water meant it was time to cross. I was out riding from like 5pm-745pm on a Thurs night. I saw no one from when I got to the top of North Rim until about 1/3 of the way down Guardians. Easy to second guess yourself on a new trail when you are out there for that long. 10 mile road was beautiful and empty. I don't usually like fire roads but that was cool. That's a solid climb. For a shorter ride how would have taking a right from B trail onto Middle and back that way?

  14. #14
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    Best advice would be to ditch the wedding and ride both days!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flat Pedals View Post
    For a shorter ride how would have taking a right from B trail onto Middle and back that way?
    That's a really popular ride. I try to avoid middle trail because I have ridden it too many times, its just a bunch of rocks to chunk over at this point. I like the south side the best, my favorite ride is to climb the up southrim and guardians as far as I can then head back the same way. Climbing guardian is an acquired kinda thing, once you get used to it its really fun.

  16. #16
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    Heading up Friday afternoon, looks like it is going to be scorching up in Chico this weekend!

    How are the current trail conditions? How high is the creek?

    Early Sunday morning (Maybe Saturday too, not sure when I have to be where) I plan to roll up Forest Av to Lower Park, cut through there to Manzanita Av and then catch on to North Rim trail (do I need to go up Manzanita to Wildwood Av or is there a pavement free option?)

    Then North Rim > B Trail > Upper Park Rd > 10 Mile House > Guardians all the way down
    Or
    Skip 10 Mile House > Annie Bidwell > Bloody Pin Trail > Guardians the rest of the way down

    If I can only do one route, which should I pick?

    I'll be on a 26" FS with almost 5 inches of travel (Specialized Camber)

    Thanks a heap to everyone for the advice and input, I am really excited to check out some new trails!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by IrieRider View Post
    Heading up Friday afternoon, looks like it is going to be scorching up in Chico this weekend!

    How are the current trail conditions? How high is the creek?

    Early Sunday morning (Maybe Saturday too, not sure when I have to be where) I plan to roll up Forest Av to Lower Park, cut through there to Manzanita Av and then catch on to North Rim trail (do I need to go up Manzanita to Wildwood Av or is there a pavement free option?)

    Then North Rim > B Trail > Upper Park Rd > 10 Mile House > Guardians all the way down
    Or
    Skip 10 Mile House > Annie Bidwell > Bloody Pin Trail > Guardians the rest of the way down

    If I can only do one route, which should I pick?

    I'll be on a 26" FS with almost 5 inches of travel (Specialized Camber)

    Thanks a heap to everyone for the advice and input, I am really excited to check out some new trails!

    Either way will work, but you miss some of the high speed Guardian sections if you cut in @ the top of Bloody Pin. Bloody Pin is a mean trail to climb (walk) as well.

    Just climb the fire road, it's not that bad. You are rewarded at the top, Guardian is a great trail.

    Bring a ton of h2o. I have gone through 100 oz easy doing that route in the Chico heat.
    Creek crossing will be a snap. Bring a few tubes/patches, Bidwell can eat tires quickly.

    Shred the Gnar!

  18. #18
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    Awesome!!

    Definitely looking to get out early to beat the heat, forecast says 100 for Friday and Saturday but a nice cool 95 on Sunday.

    What kind of wildlife is there around Bidwell? Snakes? Mtn Lions? Hippies? Just wondering what I should keep an eye out for....

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by IrieRider View Post
    Awesome!!

    Definitely looking to get out early to beat the heat, forecast says 100 for Friday and Saturday but a nice cool 95 on Sunday.

    What kind of wildlife is there around Bidwell? Snakes? Mtn Lions? Hippies? Just wondering what I should keep an eye out for....
    Snakes. I've seen rattlers from 6in to over 4 feet laying across the trail. They probably won't be out in the heat of the day but still something to keep an eye out for. But I've heard more rattles than I've seen...so keep on pedaling.

    I've seen one mountain lion in 4 years of riding. So non issue.

    Pedestrians are somewhat common on the lower part of guardians/annie bidwell. Fairly rare to see them on B trail or upper guardians.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by IrieRider View Post
    Heading up Friday afternoon, looks like it is going to be scorching up in Chico this weekend!

    How are the current trail conditions? How high is the creek?

    Early Sunday morning (Maybe Saturday too, not sure when I have to be where) I plan to roll up Forest Av to Lower Park, cut through there to Manzanita Av and then catch on to North Rim trail (do I need to go up Manzanita to Wildwood Av or is there a pavement free option?)

    Then North Rim > B Trail > Upper Park Rd > 10 Mile House > Guardians all the way down
    Or
    Skip 10 Mile House > Annie Bidwell > Bloody Pin Trail > Guardians the rest of the way down

    If I can only do one route, which should I pick?

    I'll be on a 26" FS with almost 5 inches of travel (Specialized Camber)

    Thanks a heap to everyone for the advice and input, I am really excited to check out some new trails!
    Post here or PM me on Sat. night and let me know what time you are heading out on Sunday. I may join you and can show you around. I usually get out at 6:15am during the week, so early mornings aren't a problem for me. By 10am Sunday I'm usually wrapped up in some kinda' project, so the earlier the better.

    Definitely do the creek crossing route so you don't miss any of Guardian.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by IrieRider View Post
    Awesome!!...What kind of wildlife is there around Bidwell? Snakes? Mtn Lions? Hippies? Just wondering what I should keep an eye out for....
    I once saw a guy in bra and panties parading around on the south rim, just keep riding!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickelbolt View Post
    Post here or PM me on Sat. night and let me know what time you are heading out on Sunday. I may join you and can show you around. I usually get out at 6:15am during the week, so early mornings aren't a problem for me. By 10am Sunday I'm usually wrapped up in some kinda' project, so the earlier the better.

    Definitely do the creek crossing route so you don't miss any of Guardian.

    Right on thanks for the offer, I would definitely appreciate a guide, just not sure how early I will be up the morning after the wedding but my goal right now is to roll by 7:30. I'm also trying to ride saturday morning but I don't know if I will have the time. I'll post/PM when I have a better idea of my timing.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickelbolt View Post
    Post here or PM me on Sat. night and let me know what time you are heading out on Sunday. I may join you and can show you around. I usually get out at 6:15am during the week, so early mornings aren't a problem for me. By 10am Sunday I'm usually wrapped up in some kinda' project, so the earlier the better.

    Definitely do the creek crossing route so you don't miss any of Guardian.
    I'll be riding Saturday and Sunday morning as well, so if you want another rider just PM me. My frame has been on order for a couple weeks and just came in so I'm itching to get out there!

    @IrieRider: Starting around 8am or earlier on those really hot days is a good idea. You'll be able to finish up before it tops 90F. As others have said, I'd skip going down Bloody Pin. Annie Bidwell is a fine trail but pales in comparison to Guardian. Once you cross the creek, just head up 10 Mile House Rd up the Guardian and ride it all the way back, it's a great ride!

    How much of an endeavor is it to Cross the Creek? I imagine it will be on the relatively full side in early summer?
    Knee/Thigh height right now, easy to cross.

    What bike is the best/most fun option, 26in FS trail bike or 29er singlespeed with squish fork?
    FS 26" as Bidwell is full of chunk. This will mainly come into play on B Trail and Guardian.

    Any special tires needed? Currently running Captain Controls and Ground Controls, will these be sufficient?
    Those will work just fine.

    Where is the best place to park if I want to start and end my ride in the same area?
    The park extends from the center of Chico 12 miles up into the foothills with trails throughout the whole thing. It all depends on how long of a ride you want and what kind of trails you want to ride. The stuff near the center of Chico is flat packed dirt multi-use trails. The true singletrack begins at the Hooker Oak Rec Area which is a good place to park.

    How crowded is the park on Sunday mornings? Are there any trail user issues or conflicts to be aware of?
    Should be very light traffic as Chico is not that large. You will probably see a few runners and MTB'ers the first couple miles, and then you'll be alone for a good portion of the ride. You really only need to watch for peds/runners at the end of the Guardian run. Even then you're usually hauling a$$ and making so much noise that they hear you coming.

    Any other tips, info and advice is greatly appreciated!
    Bring around 100oz of water. Add another water bottle to that if you aren't used to the heat. There is no place to fill up with clean drinking water except at the very beginning and end of that ride. Plan for 3 hours, but if you ride quick it will be closer to two with minimal stops.
    "Got everything you need?"

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoHeadsBrewing View Post
    I'll be riding Saturday and Sunday morning as well, so if you want another rider just PM me. My frame has been on order for a couple weeks and just came in so I'm itching to get out there!

    @IrieRider: Starting around 8am or earlier on those really hot days is a good idea. You'll be able to finish up before it tops 90F. As others have said, I'd skip going down Bloody Pin. Annie Bidwell is a fine trail but pales in comparison to Guardian. Once you cross the creek, just head up 10 Mile House Rd up the Guardian and ride it all the way back, it's a great ride!
    Yo... let's hook up at 7:30am Sunday. What frame did you order?

  25. #25
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    Kind of a bummer. My Rize 140mm is no longer in production, and I cracked the swingarm. They replaced it with a 2012 RZ120, which is a beautiful frame but a little short travel for my preferences. Should climb like a goat, but I'm not sure about the descending. Picking up the frame tonight and swapping all my parts over!

    This is all just a temporary fix though. After I get everything swapped over I'm ordering a new 2012 Blur LT.
    "Got everything you need?"

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