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  1. #1
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    Zion trip - need recommendations

    The girlfriend and I will be taking a trip the first week of June to Grand Canyon, Bryce, and Zion. We have a day set aside to do some riding while we're in the Zion area and from what I've read Gooseberry seems to be the place to go. My girfriend isn't quite an intermediate rider but I also wouldnt call her a beginner. Is this trail doable for a beginner-intermediate rider or am I just asking for trouble?

    We won't be taking our bikes with us so we'll need a couple of rentals. Can anyone recommend a good shop that rents bikes at a decent price? Do we need to call ahead to reserve our rentals?

    Im also wondering if we should hire a trail guide since neither of us have ridden this trail. Is that the way to go or can we get by with a trail map and a little bit of common sense? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Err
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    1 day, do Gooseberry. She'll be fine, but maybe a bit slow.

    Zion Cycles can hook you up with bikes and a map. No need for a guide.

  3. #3
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    I took my beginer wife on it last year... she didn't like it. I would consider starting with the practice loop and the north rim trail and see how she likes it. You can always bug out and hit the double track back to the parking lot.

  4. #4
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    Simple Equation.

    Beginner wife + Gooseberry Mesa = wife who does not ride with you anymore.

    Take her to the Jem Trail. I think its closer to Zion then Gooseberry, and she will actually be able to ride the majority of the trail. She will have more fun on the Smooth and fast JEM trail then walking her bike on Goose. Have a good trip.
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  5. #5
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    Yeah, Gooseberry is really, really, really, really fun, for everyone except beginners. The last time I was out there, I saw two examples of the classic "guy riding his heart out having a great time, chick following him, dragging her bike like a bunny blanket up and down every single sandstone bump". I doubt that either guy created a riding partner that day. We also had a friend with us who wasn't used to the terrain at all, and I really don't think he had much fun.

    JEM/Hurricane Rim is great for beginners. We often take tourists and visitors on it, as it gives them a chance to ride well, and see some great scenery. Another super easy jaunt is the paved bike path and the upper road in Zion National Park - don't scoff, it is beautiful and a better way to see the park than from the tram. Don't forget to pack a bike lock for that day, so you can leave the bikes and go hike.
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  6. #6
    JMH
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    3000 posts! I must be a genius!

    Oh yeah... It depends on your definition of "intermediate"... even most riders who consider themselves "advanced" will find tricky moves on Gooseberry. Intermediate riders will be walking a lot. Beginners will be standing in one spot getting pissed off.

    JMH

  7. #7
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    It's all relative to what the rider is willing to take on. I took a couple of friends out there 5 or 6 years ago. He was about 65 with bad knees. She was around the same age and have never ridden anything technical. We did the Practice Loop over the to North Trail then back on the road. They both had a blast, and neither of them was concerned about having to walk.

    The worst thing you can do on a trail like Goose is to turn it into a race. It sucks the fun out of the ride for the slower riders. Slow down, play around and teach the beginners how to tackle the obstacles.

    There's lots of obstacles out there that I don't ride, and never will. I am comfortable with my skill level and I am more than willing to walk if need be.
    Riding Fat and still just as fast as I never was.

  8. #8
    Err
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    I get accused of dragging people on death marches thru technical hell quite often, so I'll retract my recommendation and conform to the opinion that JEM would be better.

    But it's a win-win situation. JEM is beginner friendly but as you increase the pace it will challenge even advanced riders. In my opinion, JEM is best ridden a just shy of the sound barrier while connecting corners with two-wheeled drifts. It will leave you smiling all day.

  9. #9
    Err
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    Quote Originally Posted by crashtestdummy
    It's all relative to what the rider is willing to take on. I took a couple of friends out there 5 or 6 years ago. He was about 65 with bad knees. She was around the same age and have never ridden anything technical. We did the Practice Loop over the to North Trail then back on the road. They both had a blast, and neither of them was concerned about having to walk.

    The worst thing you can do on a trail like Goose is to turn it into a race. It sucks the fun out of the ride for the slower riders. Slow down, play around and teach the beginners how to tackle the obstacles.

    There's lots of obstacles out there that I don't ride, and never will. I am comfortable with my skill level and I am more than willing to walk if need be.
    You ever notice how some people just get the whole weight-shifting thing better than others? I see riders all the time who have been on mtb bikes for years and still don't get the idea of shifting forward and backward to get on an off of ledges. It's so simple, that it just perplexes me when people don't pick this up right away. If I had a dollar for every time I've seen someone just sit on the seat and ram into a ledge... Well, I'd prob make a lot of strippers happy. But, anyway, I agree with ya, some people will show up an not even really notice that the ledgy riding takes some extra motion. Some will will be on the ground crying in 15 minutes. Hard to know how someone is going to react until they try it.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by crashtestdummy
    We did the Practice Loop over the to North Trail then back on the road.
    I forgot about the road. I guess I just don't count it as a part of the Gooseberry experience. Funny thing is, the last inexperienced riders we took to the Goose liked the road best of all... ha.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuky
    I forgot about the road. I guess I just don't count it as a part of the Gooseberry experience. Funny thing is, the last inexperienced riders we took to the Goose liked the road best of all... ha.
    If you are riding back from the point, the road can actually be a lot of fun. Mostly down hill back to the main parking, and a few ledges to launch off of. It's a great way back for someone that has had enough.

    The riding on the north side of the road is much easier than the south. The worst thing you can do to a beginner is to take off full blast doing the South Trail.
    Riding Fat and still just as fast as I never was.

  12. #12
    JMH
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    Quote Originally Posted by crashtestdummy
    The worst thing you can do to a beginner is to take off full blast doing the South Trail.
    I ALWAYS take newbs full blast down the South Rim. I like that trail so much that I momentarily put my consideration for others on the back burner.

    I also agree with the whole technique for sandstone thing that Err brings up. Some pick it up immediately. Some never do. A decent intermediate rider who has a variety of riding experience SHOULD be able to spend the first half of the ride figuring it out. But if he/she/it takes a tumble 20 ft from the trailhead, it could dampen the old enthusiasm. Only you can know how tenacious your newb is.

    JMH

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