Bolinas Ride - FSB or Gravel Bike?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Bolinas Ride - FSB or Gravel Bike?

    Hi all. Looking to do an big ride this weekend and was thinking of connecting to Bolinas Ridge which I've always wanted to do. I've read some that say FSB only and others that say it's fine on a cross or gravel bike. What say you?
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  2. #2
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    I've only ridden it once a few years ago. It had some massive ruts. It wasn't that fun on a mountain bike, but it would have sucked (for me) on a gravel bike. There are some nice views. Good luck and report back!
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  3. #3
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    Really either. I think its pretty fun, maybe more fun, on a gravel bike cause you have to pay attention but you are going to get bounced around some. If you are climbing it the bottom is pretty steep. If you are descending, I'd probably drop off at Shafter if on a gravel bike. The bottom is where the cow stuff starts.

    Beyond all that it is one of the most magical spots in Marin - straight up. Beautiful beautiful part of the mountain!
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  4. #4
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    Thanks for the replies.

    For sake of clarity, I've done Eldridge up/down and Repack on the gravel bike. Not ideal but it got me through. Bolinas any better/worse than those?

    I'm looking to go explore the northern side of Inverness (Pierece Point) then come back through Olema then grab the ridge from there. Not sure if that is considered bottom or top. And by steep, are we talking 15% or 25%

    Thanks!
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  5. #5
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    It's less steep than Repack ,less rocky than the top of Eldridge .A lot longer than either ,somewhere around 10 miles I think.

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    Oh, that's perfect 40C tire'd gravel bike territory then. Planning to go out and do a big loop maybe Friday. I scouted Pierce Point and it looks amazing. Pt. Reyes Lighthouse is one of my favorite road rides so figured all this area would be great on a go anywhere bike.

    Appreciate the feedback.
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  7. #7
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    I would never recommend riding Eldridge on a gravel bike. Its doable but miserable .

    Lots of Bolinas Ridge - probably the last 7+ miles are in loamy redwoods. Olema is the bottom and the first 5 to 10 minutes of the climb is pretty rough - I don't know the grade but its possible you walk a few seconds here and there depending on your gearing. After that its all good.
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  8. #8
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    Might see you out there! I'll be coming from the other direction on a black hardtail.
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  9. #9
    AKD
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    Bring a pump and air down for that part of your ride. You'll want every inch of bounce in your tires grinding up Bolinas Ridge. Beautiful ride though, particularly if Pantoll and BoFax stay closed to cars.

    I've done it in the downhill direction (northbound) on a FS 29er. That was a surreal ride (including bonking hard in Fairfax before gutting out the 20 miles back home to San Francisco).

  10. #10
    NedwannaB
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisFu View Post
    Oh, that's perfect 40C tire'd gravel bike territory then. Planning to go out and do a big loop maybe Friday. I scouted Pierce Point and it looks amazing. Pt. Reyes Lighthouse is one of my favorite road rides so figured all this area would be great on a go anywhere bike.

    Appreciate the feedback.
    You'll be fine. A buddy of mine that's 6'-4"9 who rides it all the time with me schools me up and down on his GB with Nanos! Not sure where you're starting from but either way from Olema, Jewel or up BoFax to Ridgecrest start it's totally doable.😎
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  11. #11
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    My "wide" wheels have Nano 40's. I find they are great for chunkier stuff. I'm getting dropped at Bear Valley Visitor Center then doing Pierce Point then back through Olema and up Bolinas ridge to Ridecrest then back through Alpine Dam home to San Rafael. Should be about 60ish / 6000'. Usually air up for paved and air down for chunk. Always have a pump and will even bring a tube for this isolated of a ride.

    I do Bofax/Alpine/Tam all the time so I'm pretty used to that section
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  12. #12
    Uncle
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    Quote Originally Posted by etuck View Post
    Beyond all that it is one of the most magical spots in Marin - straight up. Beautiful beautiful part of the mountain!
    Ain't it though? I try to ride there once per year, and there's really no good explanation for this itch I need to scratch, other than to just breathe it all in.

  13. #13
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    Thanks for all the suggestions. Ended up changing up my route a bit last minute and went out of San Rafael up BoFax and then up out of Alpine Dam to the start of Bolinas Ridge Trail then back up SFD.

    What an amazing route. Definitely challenging on a gravel bike. It would have been so much faster for those 9 miles on a FSB but then misery for the rest of the 40+ miles. Definitely some punchy short climbs going north in the beginning and some chatter when it opens out of the redwoods. The Nano's are perfect out there. Really good grip and reasonably fast on the pavement. Only saw one other bike the whole time: a black XC bike headed south and a decent pace. Looked like he knew the trail pretty well. May have to try it again on my other bike and connect some other trails. Gotta love Marin!
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  14. #14
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    If you haven't done it, check out Mt Vision in Inverness, road climb, then a fire road/singletrack traverse over to Limantour road

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    Thanks. Also on my to do list.
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  16. #16
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    I link up Mt Vision and Bolinas ridge on a cross bike. San Rafael, Cross Marin trail, Inverness, Mt Vision to Bear Valley, Olema, Bo ridge, Alpine Dam and then back to San Rafael. I like counter clockwise on Bo Ridge on a CX bike because of the cow prints. On a MTB I go clockwise.


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  17. #17
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    Coming out of Olema, ride down 1 until the Randall Trail. Itís a lush, beautiful, tree lined climb that avoids the cow track.

  18. #18
    rox
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    just rode it today and I think its great on a 40c gravel bike but I have a mountain bike background and my bike is set up with a dropper. I generally enjoy doing questionable things on my gravel bike. if you are comfortable hanging on over some mild roots youll be ok. Its difficult enough to make it feel epic on the gravel bike but probably a little boring on a mtb. if you have a road background definitely ride a mtb. I bailed down shafter and if you are going to do that definitely have 160 rotors and fresh pads

  19. #19
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    I did this ride on my drop bar bike on Presidents' day on 32mm tires (Bontrager R3). I also come from a MTB background, but I don't have a dropper on my gravel / all-road bike. I went from Fairfax, up Tamalpais (hookooekoo) down Bolinas ridge (heading north), out to Sir Francis Drake and back to Fairfax.

    It was mostly fine. The second half of Bolinas is very vibraty. I am planning to ride the ridge again, but this time around I'll do it with a 42mm / 38mm tire set-up. A little more comfort and more speed for the vibraty sections.

    It would be boring to me on a MTB - very pretty though.


    Side note on Randal trail - it's steep and they "paved" it with gravel. It's loose and a difficult climb for someone with average(ish) fitness.

    I really prefer Bolinas ridge south to north, makes it slightly downhill the entire way.

  20. #20
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    Boring is in the eye of the beholder....
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by cassieno View Post
    Side note on Randal trail - it's steep and they "paved" it with gravel. It's loose and a difficult climb for someone with average(ish) fitness.
    .
    Thatís a real shame. It used to be so plushy with pine needles and you could actually ride up it with slicks. Havenít made it that way in a couple of years.

    How deep is the gravel? Wondering about at least doing it downhill.

  22. #22
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    I love the downhill (north) ride. Been riding a rigid 29Plus on it and it's a blast. There's a bunch of different types of trail, more so when there's mud. And then there are the views....Bolinas Ride - FSB or Gravel Bike?-bolinasridge_jb.jpg

  23. #23
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    Way fun on a gravel bike with 35-40 tires, even funner (and wayyyy more comfy imho) on a hardtail with fast rolling 2.25 tread. My favorite way to approach Bolinas is from Marin Headlands-Miwok-Diaz-Coastal-Ridgecrest to Bolinas.

  24. #24
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    I start in Fairfax go to Hoo Koo E Koo, Old Stage Road to Ridgecrest and to Bolinas Ridge. I like to end through the Jewell trail and back home. Evening rides are where it's at!Bolinas Ride - FSB or Gravel Bike?-jewell_jb.jpg
    Last edited by johnnyb; 06-02-2020 at 11:24 PM. Reason: add photo

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by DG Going Uphill View Post
    Thatís a real shame. It used to be so plushy with pine needles and you could actually ride up it with slicks. Havenít made it that way in a couple of years.

    How deep is the gravel? Wondering about at least doing it downhill.

    It's not that deep, it was more "paved" with loose gravel on top. So, downhill makes it easy to washout on the turns (still fun). Up hill it was just a struggle for traction. I did it up and down on slicks with side knobbies. Doable, just a hard workout.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnnyb View Post
    I start in Fairfax go to Hoo Koo E Koo, Old Stage Road to Ridgecrest and to Bolinas Ridge. I like to end through the Jewell trail and back home. Evening rides are where it's at!
    How do you normally get to Hoo Koo E Koo from Fairfax? Do you cut through Lake Lagunitas?

  26. #26
    NedwannaB
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    Quote Originally Posted by cassieno View Post
    How do you normally get to Hoo Koo E Koo from Fairfax? Do you cut through Lake Lagunitas?
    Sneaking in on johnnyb's reply. 😁
    Yeah straight route from Fairfax is up thru Deer Park, around Lake Lag onto Lakeview, continue up onto Eldridge, down Indian Fire, right on Hoo Koo.
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  27. #27
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    Hey, that's Right JMac! I'm must know you by bike or something if you live around here. Depending on how I feel or if I want to eat a bite first I take Natalie Coughing Greene Park up Eldridge to Indian. From Fairfax, straight away is Deer Park to Lagunitus to Eldridge and on and on...

  28. #28
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    Follow up from last post.

    I rode Bolinas out and back yesterday with a buddy out of Olema. This time instead of the Stigmata, I took my Tallboy. I may be getting old but for me, it was a much better match for this route. The washboard rut section that was punishing on the Stig was much more tolerable. The short steep punchy stuff also much better with MTB gearing. I think the Tallboy and other short travel trail bikes are perfect for rides like this. Pure XC bike or hardtail maybe even better.

    When I was done, I checked my Strava segment times for the northbound version which I'd done previously on the Stig. Not surprisingly, they were:
    1:32 on a Stigmata
    1:04 on a Tallboy

    Amazing how much faster you can go when you're confident.
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  29. #29
    NedwannaB
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    👆Hello.....🚵😎
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  30. #30
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    LOL. I'm a like-to-experience-things-for-myself kinda guy
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  31. #31
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    omg yes

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