Where to ride near Santa Cruz for a mega-noob?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    ballbuster
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    Where to ride near Santa Cruz for a mega-noob?

    Heya,

    I have a bud who wants to get into mountain biking. He lives in the Santa Cruz area, and just got a bike. He hasn't been on a bike since we were kids, like 30 years ago. He just got a hardtail bike, and wants to roll some easy trails, to get his aerobic base up, get his skillz up, get some exercise, have some fun, not kill himself in the process, etc.

    Any suggestions on where I can tell him to go in the Santa Cruz area? He lives in Boulder.

  2. #2
    Over it
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    Well, there's the bluff/ocean trails of Wilder. I haven't ridden on that side of the park, but I hear they're boring--which could be perfect for him! Then there's Nisene State Park in Aptos. He could start off just riding the fireroad through the park until he's tired of climbing (it's about 9 miles over to the Demo side), then turn around and cruise back to the start. And there's some legal s/t at the bottom along the creek that's mellow.

    After one or both of those he could check out Emma McCrary in SC. It's a mellow climb for 1.5 miles, and he could continue on U-Conn up to the campus if he's feeling it. Also, I think MBOSC does some beginner rides in Wilder, and Krista from San Jose Mountain Biking leads mellow rides in Delaveaga. After that, have him pm me!
    Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice--pull down your pants and slide on the ice.

  3. #3
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    If he's in Boulder Creek he could head up to Big Basin and ride Gazos Creek fire road. Pretty mellow as I remember, although it has been about 25 years since I rode it.

  4. #4
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    I'll second Wilder. My wife is a beginner mountain biker and I've taken her there. It's pretty mellow.

  5. #5
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    Start him out at Pacifica. Nice easy climb to top. Then send him down Crack or Cave or 911. Then get him over to Boy Scout via Mile. After that, you should have a sweet new bike!
    I'm not sure how this works.

  6. #6
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    If he ventures into SC ever I would highly recommend DeLaveaga park near midtown. Pretty great little park where I learned to ride again after a 10+ year hiatus.

  7. #7
    ballbuster
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    Quote Originally Posted by squashyo View Post
    Start him out at Pacifica. Nice easy climb to top. Then send him down Crack or Cave or 911. Then get him over to Boy Scout via Mile. After that, you should have a sweet new bike!
    Mmmmyyyeaah, no.

    Thanks for the tips, everybody! I'll pass this along to him.

  8. #8
    Wēk Ss
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    The bluffs, and some of the fireroads in Wilder which are short enough to not totally suck.

    When he gets stronger, some of the singletrack diversions on the sides of Nisene, before you hit the big climb up to Demo. It's in the flat portion all along the sides.

  9. #9
    Weird huh?
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    Demo - Braille/Sulpher loop. Three times. HTFU

    El Cid is Spanish for The Cid..
    cmdrpiffle 7 points 1 day ago
    Cinco de Mayo is Spanish for Cinco de Mayo

  10. #10
    Wēk Ss
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmdrpiffle View Post
    Demo - Braille/Sulpher loop. Three times. HTFU
    with spandex, a FF helmet, goggles and a fanny pack.

  11. #11
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    I actually think the fireroads of UCSC are quite nice for beginners. You can pop in and out of the easier stuffs on the sides.

  12. #12
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    Having come back to MTB after an 8 year hiatus just 2 summers ago, I think you need a variety of trails for a variety of reasons. These are my rec's for SC area:

    For fitness:
    Wilder, inland side. Start with the middle fire road climb. First few times it sucks but at least it has a short section of single track at the end that stops at a bench with a view. When you feel like you can take more, start doing the left fire road and adding the single track connectors between the 2. IMO the right side is a boring ride with no real advantages since they closed the single track through the field. When a ride from the bottom to twin-gates gets relatively easy, he's doing great.

    To work on spinning:
    Wilder bluffs side. If you park in SC and ride the MUT out, then head for each of the bluff trails you can link a relatively flat 12miler in the big ring and spinning the whole time. Plus the views are great. It can be boring, but if you have a job that requires creativity or just time thinking it is a great recharge.

    For fun and skill development - let's face it, we wouldn't want to ride so much if it was all about fitness.
    Twin gates: stay high on the legalish trails at UCSC. There is an easy 1.5 hours of riding to be had mostly on ST. Doesn't take much skill to ride everything there, but getting fast through all the twisty tight ST does.
    Emma: can be fun when it is quiet, but is heavily trafficked.
    Bear Mountain is a fun place to explore, go left if you went right last time kind of a place where you are never far from an easy way out. Also very tight relative to other trails in the area.

    If he can ride these places and feels comfortable with the terrain, there isn't much around SC (that's common knowledge) that he won't be able to tag along to. Sure there will be spots where he'll walk, but most of it will be fun.

  13. #13
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    near the beach, where the bikinis are...duh

  14. #14
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    yep, get a Fat Bike and ride on the beach.

  15. #15
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    Yeah, I'd second the Bluff trails at Wilder. Took my non-biker wife and 11year old son on those when we were out for Spring Break a few years back and they both loved it. In fact, it's one of the rides that got her to finally have me buy her a new bike and start riding more.

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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Hungus View Post
    If he ventures into SC ever I would highly recommend DeLaveaga park near midtown. Pretty great little park where I learned to ride again after a 10+ year hiatus.
    I plan on bringing my girlfriend here sometime soon too; it has a super mellow climb and the option for a fire-road or a single track descent.
    Just keep pedaling, don't stop pedaling.

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