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  1. #1
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    family route critique and options

    I'm planning on a short ride (~5 miles) with the family tomorrow. Me, wife, 6yo, 4yo. I have a few options and I'd like to keep it simple with good scenery (would be nice, but not sure), but nothing too dangerous (slippery, loose, steep).

    Ride level is beginner.

    My wife can't climb well, and is still a bit uncomfortable on a bike. Though she can ride straight, she uses granny gear alot just going on a very mild incline (I use 44x15 there but she uses 22x19). She's could almost use a smaller bike to manhandle it and be lighter (13" 2001 Giant Yukon SE...a tad heavy on front). My 4yo daughter is on a 16" BMX. My 4yo daughter is a stronger rider than my wife.

    I'd like to cater the ride to the kids, but not too hard on my wife. I've not ridden these trails myself, as I'm a beginner as well and had no means of transporting bikes until recently.

    Options

    1) Arastradero (Juan Bautista->Acorn->Meadowlark->Bowl Loop->Meadowlark->Woodland Star->Bay Laurel->Ohlone->Juan Bautista)
    2) Fremont Older (Cora Older->Seven Springs->Ranch->Hayfield->Seven Springs->Cora Older)
    3) Fremont Older (Coyote Ridge->Hayfield->Seven Springs->Ranch->Hayfield->Coyote Ridge)
    4) Long Ridge (Grizzly Flat->Long Ridge Trail->Long Ridge Road->Peters Creek Trail->Grizzly Flat) The switchback here may be a concern, not sure.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    Can't help with the first 3 on your list, but from what you describe, even the last one sounds like over the top in difficulty factor.

    Maybe just getting them all out for a fun ride is best? Hit the Sawyer Camp Trail or do bike Sunday on Canada Road by Crystal Springs, or the Los Gatos Creek Trail.

  3. #3
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    I think all these trails are either too steep for your wife to enjoy or too dangerous for a 4 year old to go down hill. I agree with the recommendation to start with Los Gatos Creek Trail and can think of a few others for a family outing: the Sunnyvale Baylands or Shoreline Park, Wilder State Park - the Bluffs trail along the coast, Nisene Marks State Park - the fire road to the start of the uphill (you can park your bikes there and hike to the epicenter of the Loma Prieta earthquake), Big Basin State Park: Rancho del Oso to Berry Creek Falls (Skyline to the Sea trail from Hwy 1 inland) or possibly Old Haul Road between Pescadero and Redwood State Park (I haven't been there in years).
    Have a good time exploring!
    Also known as Menso's dad.

  4. #4
    Wēk Ss
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    OK, thanks. Los Gatos Creek Trail, we ride that one now and then. I'm looking to mix it up a bit and do something different. I really want to bring them out onto more varieties of dirt. We also ride Coyote Creek Trail regularly, from Hellyer park all the way south past the golf course, but it's primarily a paved trail, some dirt here and there.

    Thanks for the suggestions, Harry and JL. I have alot of research to do tonight.

  5. #5
    fc
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    I think a good one for you guys is Palo Alto Baylands Preserve at the end of Embarcadero Road. The parking lot is on Embarcadero Way. It's trail the whole way and it connects to the Shoreline trails. It's pretty flat with a few hills and trails to the side of the main trail.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour...52314&t=h&z=15

    It really doesn't sound like they're ready for the other trails. All those others have well over 500 feet of climbing. Your kids need a lot of gears and a lot of practice on how to use them if they're gonna climb hills.

    I would suggest that you pre-ride these other hilly trails and know exactly what your family is getting into and really assess if they are ready for them.

    fc

  6. #6
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    sage advice

    Quote Originally Posted by francois
    I would suggest that you pre-ride these other hilly trails and know exactly what your family is getting into and really assess if they are ready for them.

    fc
    I rode the Cora Older-Seven Springs Loop in Fremont Older couple of days ago. My kids are definitely not ready for this. We did have a nice hike there as a family yesterday, though. Later today, I'm heading out to check out Palo Alto Baylands with my wife and kids.

    Not to hijack the thread, but what would be a next bike that I should consider for 7-year old boy and 8-year girl? My boy is currently riding Trek Jet 20 and my girl is riding similar bike from Giant. Thanks.
    '09 Giant Anthem X, 26er; '14 Lynskey Ridgeline-650b

  7. #7
    fc
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    I found an old photo from Palo Alto Baylands, Shoreline. There used a to be a hill there beside Embaradero Way. And there was a bowl with a few jumps.

    fc
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails family route critique and options-img_1137.jpg  


  8. #8
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    Thanks. I think I'll head there later today. It looks like a good spot. I was checking out the google maps, it's not quite a loop unless you hit the street or go through some factory?

    my son rides gears well, he's faster than me on a 5% grade 1mile ride, but I do it for excercise not to race, so I grind the big ring and small cog as much as I can. he goes for speed and shifts to an appropriate gear. my daughter needs gears, she should be ready next spring. she just fits a 16" but can move to a 20" w/ gears by then (18" inseam currently).

    I'll do a Saratoga Gap and Long Ridge ride with a friend in a few weeks, to check out the terrain. I don't like rocks that I can't navigate through or roll over (rigid rig gets to shaky otherwise), but from what I've seen on youtube, I should be OK and walking a section is never a shame (IMO).

    Light Monkey. http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=644832 I have comments in there. My son likes the Scott Scale Jr. 24 currently, but I'm still shopping. I am hoping he can get on it next year, but realistically may be 1.5 years out.

    Edit: Re: baylands, actually there is a loop, if you go out further and come back around. that looks like fun.

  9. #9
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    Jl's suggestions are great. I limited mine to the bay side of the Santa Cruz mountains. The fire road at Nisene Marks is pretty flat for the first few miles and almost entirely in the shade. There's also a few miles you can ride car free before it starts climbing, as you can park at the last gate and start your ride there.

    Bluff trail at Wilder is a good one; just keep the kids away from the edge in a few spots.

    Rancho Del Oso to Berry Creek Falls? That's a classic, and very pretty. Car free, low risk, and only a couple small climbs. You have to park the bikes and hike a quarter mile or so to the falls.

    Old Haul Road is on my to do list.

  10. #10
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    Palo Alto Baylands, Shoreline

    Just came back... wife and the kids had a good time. I had fun watching them enjoying themselves. My son is not the adventurous type, but rode much of the bumpy "single trackish" stuff on the side of the main road. My 2-year old son was beaming sitting in the Co-Pilot, and later got to run around a bit.

    My wife never felt at ease riding my TCR or Giant Sedona. She felt so comfortable riding my mountain bike that I see a little room of me to get another mountain bike.

    Once we came back to the parking lot, I let my son do the downhill near the parking couple of times. He tried climbing that thing, but didn't quite make it to the top. I don't know what happened to the sound, but he was yelling with joy all the way down to the parking area.



    EDIT: Not that anyone asked, but I was able to get the sound. Apparently, my Voyager saves the video file in .3g2 format and its audio get "lost" in YouTube. So, I converted the clip to .mp4 format using KigoVideoConverter. Now I can hear my son screaming in joy.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails family route critique and options-0822001252a_sm.jpg  

    Last edited by light3monkey; 08-22-2010 at 09:09 PM.
    '09 Giant Anthem X, 26er; '14 Lynskey Ridgeline-650b

  11. #11
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    I just got back as well. It was a good suggestion, the baylands. We spent about 2.5 hours there.

    My son, my daughter and I did the singletrackish stuff as well, but we went off that too and bounced around on the burms. They had a blast on that, I think my kids may enjoy getting into dirt jump, unfortunately I know nothing about that and can't help them there, but I hadn't seen my son have so much fun in a while. We did a loop, around the outside from the singletrack-ish stuff to the paved lanes along 101, then back on the rock-ish road. We got sidetracked on the paved road, we saw a doubletrack and tried that, but it quickly turned into really rough lands. We went in a bit, trying to find the outlet of that, but it deadended in 6 foot tall shoots, and we turned around. We had to do tick checks after that, someone can hide a dead body there and nobody would ever find it.

    It was fun, we did a few runs up and down the hills, just to get a little more speed than the flats. We stopped at the top to watch the airplanes land. That was a great view, watching the small prop planes come in straight above us. My son and I went up and down the hill as well, light_monkey. We did that last and "bombed" down and around the curve and a little "jump" straight off the curb into the parking lot. It was fun. I think we "bombed" down every offshoot of that hill, lol. It wasn't steep enough to cause any trouble so we just let it rip. Unfortunately we terrified an older couple on bikes on the small "bowl' part (quick down and quick up), oops.

    I need to try JL's suggestions soon, hopefully before it gets too cold to get on the coast. The coastal trail in SC sounds awesome. I'd love to do that next, but we're going to be engaged the next couple of weekends with social stuff and no time to hit a trail.

    I think when my daughter moves to a 20" with gears, my wife is going to be left behind, so I need to figure out how to move my wife forward. My daughter had no problems with the ride today and watching her bounce up and down off the bumps and enjoying it was quite something.

  12. #12
    fc
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    Good to hear. Keep it up dads!

    fc

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAmHolland
    I need to try JL's suggestions soon, hopefully before it gets too cold to get on the coast. The coastal trail in SC sounds awesome. I'd love to do that next, but we're going to be engaged the next couple of weekends with social stuff and no time to hit a trail.
    You definitely need to try that one!
    Check out this thread with pics and vids of the trail. http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=517179

    PM me when you plan to go out there. We could do a multi-family ride.

    Travis
    Master of the unintentional track stand.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAmHolland
    OK, thanks. Los Gatos Creek Trail, we ride that one now and then. I'm looking to mix it up a bit and do something different. I really want to bring them out onto more varieties of dirt. We also ride Coyote Creek Trail regularly, from Hellyer park all the way south past the golf course, but it's primarily a paved trail, some dirt here and there.

    Thanks for the suggestions, Harry and JL. I have alot of research to do tonight.

    ALSO almaden lake park-- a lot like los gatos creek trail, but it's different!

  15. #15
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    Speaking for "next time", depending how far your range is, I can also suggest Angel Island, Coyote Hills (if you avoid the hilly parts), and even the half of the China Camp loop that's closer to the road.
    Looking for local rides? You'll find plenty on my website: Bay Area Mountain Bike Rides.

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