Recommend a newbie some good starter trails in East Bay- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1

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    Recommend a newbie some good starter trails in East Bay

    Looking to break myself and my fiance into this sport. Hopefully something that will be encouraging to her, and help her want to ride more in the future, so no crazy downhills or trails littered with babyheads.

    Anybody got any recommendations? We have GT hardtails if that makes any difference. Some smallish to moderate hills are alright as well.

  2. #2
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    Lake Chabot is a good trail to begin on, and you can do the whole loop on wide fireroads. As long as you stay away from some of the steepest/longest climbs (Live Oak, Brandon at the Golf course), you should do fine. You can make the loop as short as 10-11 miles if you want to.

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    Check out my wifes Monday rides...

    Check out my wifes Monday rides that she leads at Lake Chabot. She normally rides 8-13 miles. It's an"advanced beginners" ride.

    Monday BTCEB Ride at Lake Chabot

    Lake Chabot is a good beginners ride. Redwood Park as well, but the climbs are steeper. Joaquin Miller in Oakland is another good one, no big climbs, just short steep ones (easily walked if needed).

  4. #4
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    The trail my wife liked best when getting started was Redwood Regional Park. We would begin at the Pinehurst Gate Staging Area (trail beginning on the upper right side of the map). This begins with a short but somewhat steep climb -- which she would normally walk -- and from there we would ride the East Ridge Trail to the Skyline Gate (along the left side of the map) or take it a little further up West Ridge to the Chabot Observatory and archery range.

    http://www.ebparks.org/resources/pdf...d_map_full.pdf

    I've always avoided completing the loop (taking her down West Ridge to the valley floor and up East Ridge) because of the steep terrain. Instead, we would make it an out-and-back trip.

    Following that route the the observatory is a small net elevation gain, meaning the trip back to Pinehurst is more downhill than up and results in a pretty quick ride if you're pooped out.

    Once she gets some legs under her, take her up Brandon from the Golf course at Lake Chabot (again the upper right trail on the attached map). Moderate 7% grade for the most part, something shy of a 2 mile climb, and a good way to challenge a new rider physically without anything technical, steep, or "too short" -- just a consistant grade to chew on for a while. My wife likes it because the trail has a number of landmarks along the way so that she can compare herself against previous rides -- how far between breaks, how long, etc.

    http://www.ebparks.org/resources/pdf...abot_south.pdf

    Once you get to the top you can find any number of loops and make them as hard or easy, long or short as you want. And if you park at the Proctor Staging Area, it's always a nice ride back to the car.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by D.Ambrose
    Check out my wifes Monday rides that she leads at Lake Chabot. She normally rides 8-13 miles. It's an"advanced beginners" ride.

    Monday BTCEB Ride at Lake Chabot

    Lake Chabot is a good beginners ride. Redwood Park as well, but the climbs are steeper. Joaquin Miller in Oakland is another good one, no big climbs, just short steep ones (easily walked if needed).
    i would tend to disagree about redwood if you're talking about a full loop. the climb out of the valley is long and hard and the descent is pretty tricky as well, even without the rocky area that the park destroyed last year. you can do a short ride at miller but even there the longer rides have a few short patches of steep climbing.

  6. #6
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    my favorite easier trail...china camp..

    i would highly recommend a trip out to china camp, especially during the week or early on the weekends. if you do an out and back along shoreline you get great singletrack through the woods along the bay. the full loops will contain not so much climbing but more technical terrain in spots (which can easily be walked). my son, now 10, cut his teeth here and i've taken my wife on the shoreline out and back a few times. she even did the full loop once but had to dismount a few times....

    another fun choice would be to do the out and back at diablo foothills regional park in walnut creek...take the castle rock trail to stage road trail straight up the valley. the ride is beautiful (castle rock on the left) and you can turn around when it turns steep. there are about 10 streams to cross, but as of last weekend only 4 had any water in them. it's probably 5-6 miles in total out and back. from there are a ton of more challenging rides (climbs) in shell ridge, old borges and mt. diablo parks but even the easy route is a lot of fun.

    hard to find a lot of easy terrain in the bay area due to the hills..i'm always looking for more for rides with my son and/or wife.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jumpmonger23
    Looking to break myself and my fiance into this sport. Hopefully something that will be encouraging to her, and help her want to ride more in the future, so no crazy downhills or trails littered with babyheads.

    Anybody got any recommendations? We have GT hardtails if that makes any difference. Some smallish to moderate hills are alright as well.
    I'd recommend Sunol Regional Park (unless it's a hot day in the East Bay); my wife used to enjoy that one when we started to ride. There are some moderate climbs, but they are doble at a slow pace.

    Another great ride for beginners (a bit further out) is Big Basin. Lots of very picturesque rolling trails with big redwood trees. You can start out from the beach and ride in-land.

  8. #8
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    I can't believe Redwod or Chabot

    would be good for anyone just starting. I wonder if you have lost sight of how difficult those hills are because you just blow by them. I would never take a beginner there; they'd walk away from the sport. East Ridge from Pinehurst goes up and down and is just nasty. I have ridden Chabot about 50 times but always take the tough hills so I don't know how to do an easy 10 miles.
    Lower China Camp, definitly. Wildcat Canyon from the Alvarado Staging area to Lone Oak and back. There are two hills that are steep but walk them. Before that, though, I would strongly recommend a few flat rides near the Bay in Alameda or do Emeryville-Richmond to build some familiarity with riding with each other, establish your command of your basic riding skills, and learning about your nutrition and hydration needs. These are not things you want to wrestle with on unfamiliar dirt trails.

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    another one....

    go south on 880 to national wildlife refuge along the bay. totally flat fire roads and you can go out a couple of miles into the bay around the salt ponds...not that close but as flat as you can find...

  10. #10
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    Took a few newbie mtb's from work a few weeks ago to JM. Started @ the meadow up sunset to the ridge trail then to the horse arena then to Big Tree's - They felt like killing me by rides end. I forgot what is is like to be a new rider. New riders need plenty of flat wide fire roads w/ one or two hills before they can even think of anything difficult.

  11. #11
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    Coyote Hills in Fremont, off the Dumbarton bridge is another option, it's pretty much flat on the paved loop and you can attempt some climbs up the hills to get in shape.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zorg
    Coyote Hills in Fremont, off the Dumbarton bridge is another option, it's pretty much flat on the paved loop and you can attempt some climbs up the hills to get in shape.
    agreed...coyote hills is adjacent to the national wildlife refuge so you can do both sets of trails if you want.

  13. #13
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    Little bit of dirt along the Bay Trail

    While beginners can get some miles in along the Bay Trail from Emeryville to Richmond, there are two modest opportunities for dirt. One of them is at the Albany Bulb at the north end of Golden Gate Fields. I've taken riders out there and, while it is limited there are a number of different challenges, some great views, and a bit of exploring to be done. Second, at the south end of Golden Gate Fields if you go straight along the Bay through the trailer parking there is some path through the brush. Again, it is limited but if you ad this to your other Bay Trail riding you will get some practice. When you come out the other side near University to you go to the shack near the freeway for goodies, then get back on the Bay Trail.

  14. #14

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    Thanks for all the help guys. Just for some reference, my fiance and I went out to Coyote hills this past weekend, it's just north of the dumbarton bridget, adjacent to don edwards. lots of flat fireroad as mentioned, a hills if you want to climb them.

    for us newbies, we tried to just take the paved path that you see going up to where there are presumably radio/cell towers. even that short looking climb pretty much kicked our butts. but it was good to have a benchmark, so we hopefully can measure our progress against that. i think she had a good time, especially realizing how challenging it can be, but how rewarding finishing even a short climb can be. of course the downhill is fun on a paved trail, and eventually we hope to be bombing down real trails.

    well maybe not ever bombing, but you know what i mean...

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by jumpmonger23
    Thanks for all the help guys. Just for some reference, my fiance and I went out to Coyote hills this past weekend, it's just north of the dumbarton bridget, adjacent to don edwards. lots of flat fireroad as mentioned, a hills if you want to climb them.

    for us newbies, we tried to just take the paved path that you see going up to where there are presumably radio/cell towers. even that short looking climb pretty much kicked our butts. but it was good to have a benchmark, so we hopefully can measure our progress against that. i think she had a good time, especially realizing how challenging it can be, but how rewarding finishing even a short climb can be. of course the downhill is fun on a paved trail, and eventually we hope to be bombing down real trails.

    well maybe not ever bombing, but you know what i mean...
    I was there Sunday morning. The hill to the cell tower gets steep toward the end. One way to reward yourself is to go down the dirt road at the top of the climb (east side of the hill). It's a pretty mellow downhill, but fun nonetheless. At the bottom, make a left and pedal back to the bottom of the paved hill (easy ride).

    Also, there are a few other good climbing opportunities at Coyote Hills:
    - my favorite is on the north end where the levy/flood channel meets Coyote Hills. The first climb is a bit steep but it's short (50 yards top) and after it's a easier. When you get to the top of that hill, you can bomb down a short steep straight downhill that propels you into the next hill. It's just like a roller coaster and you can reach 40 mph. Just make sure there's nobody around at the bottom.
    - the two other climbs run east-west across the hills and are quite mild (easier than the road to the cell tower). At least they're made of dirt.

    When I go to Coyote Hills, I ride on the levy for 5 miles, climb that first hill, then go the bay side of the loop southward, climb the next hill eastward, then back on the paved loop southward to the cell tower, down the dirt road, and then bike back home. That's about 16-17miles in 1h20mn. That's shorter but easier than lake Chabot. So, I'd recommend you do a few rides at Coyote Hills, and once you're good for a few climbs there and 15 miles of riding, you should be good for lake Chabot.

    Happy riding!

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