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New ride: Moore Creek Park
May 10, 2020

This new ride is of a type that's increasingly a rarity for this website, which is a brand new ride with a respectable amount of singletrack mileage of a kind that seasoned riders could appreciate and that's not in the Out-of-Area Rides listing on the site. The reason this is a rarity is that I've had well over a decade to find, try out, and post about pretty much all such ride options in the Bay Area already. So, rides that fit this description but have escaped my attention (or interest) for all this time are a nearly (if not fully) depleted set and any options that would qualify these days are likely to be so because they were built recently. Moore Creek Park is most likely to be in this category for that same reason. I can't find too much explicit information about the background of the trails in this park. I expect most of the fire roads here to be pretty old. But I see some mentions on MTBR that seem to imply that the singletrack trails in the park, which are really what makes this trail network worthwhile for mountain biking, were much more recently introduced. Most mentions that look introductory date to no more than five years ago, and there's one thread from 2017 seemingly talking about Valentine Vista Trail as a relatively recent one. Also, Old Man's Beard Trail as well as the (still incomplete?) Madrone Loop Trail, which appear on the park's current official map (dated 2018), are missing in my earlier copy of the same map dating from 2015.

I wasn't ahead of the curve in my discovery of Moore Creek Park, but I'm glad I haven't wasted any more time in paying attention to it. These new trails, all of which qualify as fun and very bikeable singletrack, make this park a serious option for the consideration of any riders in this particular area. One might say that this trail network is still a little short on total mileage and isn't yet the most convenient in terms of routing possibilities for bikes. So, I'm not sure I'd ride here in the future as routinely as I might in Annadel, for instance, but I would certainly rank Moore Creek Park highly on my list of options if I'm brought to this area by some other excuse.


10 years
May 9, 2020

Passed a somewhat notable personal milestone recently. May 5th was the 10th anniversary of this website. I had intended to make this posting on the actual day, but some temporary frantic burst in my full-time job made me miss the date. Happy birthday, Bay Area Rides! Yaay!

Some pages of the site were already accessible online in the weeks leading up to May 5th 2010, actually, as I was trying to complete putting together the initial content. May 5th happens to be the date that I completed that work. On the following day, I told a few friends about it and posted a thread on MTBR to announce it, which I consider to be the site's "official launch".

It's fun and also a little bit rewarding to look back all the way to the beginning of the website for a moment. As far as I can tell, I started out with 68 ride listings originally. Not bad for a brand-new ride-guide site that's a one-man project, perhaps, but that number is 193 today even without counting most of the "alternate" versions shown for some rides. Looking at the Wayback Machine, the earliest archived copy of my site dates from February 2011. It's interesting to look through it and see the older style of the site (I have local backups dating from the same period too, but they're harder to browse): the text is much slimmer for most rides, the photo selection similarly so for many, and some features are altogether absent, such as geotagged photo maps, trail type breakdowns, and the Out-of-Area Rides category. (If you do check out the archived copy of the site, keep in mind that the interactive map on most archived pages doesn't work at all or doesn't work well when it does, like not showing any ride markers.)

It might also be interesting to some to find out through the Wayback Machine that the "bayarearides.com" domain name was used by a motorcycle enthusiast website a few years before I put together my site. I had originally found out about this the same way myself.

In any case, onward to the next 10 years!


New ride: Corral Trail
April 19, 2020

It feels a bit sobering to me to notice that the last time I posted a new ride in the Out-of-Area Rides section of this website was more than a year and a half ago. That wasn't because I was doing nothing all this time in terms of riding outside the Bay Area. In fact, the new ride I'm adding to that list today has been languishing in my backlog for the site since late 2018. And perhaps the even better news is that I have one more distant ride location to be posted on the site still in the pipeline as I write this. In other words, expect the next update to the out-of-area rides to come much sooner than another year and a half.

My impression has always been that, if you ask an avid and well traveled mountain biker in Northern California about the most notable trails in the Tahoe area, Corral Trail would be among the first burst of options that would come out of his or her mouth. Until I did this ride, this trail had been the last option that I would expect to find in this short list that I hadn't personally tried. I was, therefore, really satisfied for having finally tried it. At the same time, however, this ride option is one that leaves me unsatisfied in a different way. The ride I'm posting today is only nine miles in length and hardly constitutes enough of an excuse to drive there all the way from the Bay Area. Some bad luck with wildfire smoke conditions in the area prevented me from repeating the loop or extending the ride on that particular day. In fact, my original plan was to do a 16-mile version this route. (See the ride text for more details.) Still, I hope my brief account of these popular trails as well as my photos might prove useful to some riders out there who are interesting in trying them, even if it's not going to be in the form of this very modest route.


New ride: Calero County Park (Alternate route)
March 24, 2020

I must admit that I feel a bit sheepish for having probably my longest pause so far in updates to my website, right after stating an intent in my preceding update entry that more new content would follow soon. Of course, there's also the apparent strangeness of coming back with new updates for a mountain biking website at a time when the entire country is effectively shutting down in an effort to contain the COVID-19 virus outbreak, which also means that most of us won't have the opportunity for a while to sample new ride options spread out across the Bay Area, if we are to comply with the spirit of the current expectations of self-isolation and social distancing. Still, these don't change the fact that I still have a sizeable backlog of updates and new content for the site yet to be made available and, even if I can't keep trying out any new ride options or revisiting some old favorites for a while, I could at least put in the effort to post the new content that's already waiting in the list. In fact, over the course of this shelter-in-place period, I might even have more time to do so than usual.

In case anyone feels curious about the reason behind this most recent hiatus, it wasn't due to any single, game-changing factor. It started with the extra time I needed to devote to the detailed planning of a major trip I took around the New Year's time frame, followed by the time I then needed to put into organizing the thousands of photos I took during that trip. (The trip wasn't related to mountain biking, unfortunately.) A few unrelated minor factors then piled up on top of this, like a temporary change in the work tempo at the office, some time I had to put into a PC upgrade (I use a desktop and assemble my own), as well as the time taken by one more trip that entered the picture before all of these were over. At this point, I no longer make any promises that I will resume updates to the site at the same rate as that of the past few years. So, don't expect a new update on this page every two or three weeks anymore. However, I do still expect to resume regular updates to the site at a rate that will be much higher than once every three to five months. While part of the reason for this change in pace is arising from my changing schedule, another big part of it is because ride options in our area that I haven't already represented on this side are rapidly dwindling and new biking trails aren't being added very quickly either. Therefore, absent any newly added riding opportunities, I don't expect to be able to keep finding new ride options worthy of being represented here at anything like a normal update stream speed, though refreshes to reflect minor changes to existing content is bound to keep me occupied indefinitely.

As for the new ride I'm adding today, it's actually not a new standalone entry in the ride list on the site. It's an alternate version that I'm posting only in connection to an existing ride instead. I've wanted to update the photo set for the Calero ride ever since I first posted it, because they were shot during the driest-looking part of our summer. While my new version of the ride was done mainly with this excuse in mind and in a season when the grass was green, it wasn't actually in the lushest possible state of the landscape either. What's really different about this new version of the ride, however, is the inclusion of a seven-mile out-and-back side trip connecting to Rancho Cañada del Oro park in addition to the basic Calero ride route, not to mention a reversal of the direction of the main loop in the basic route. Because this side trip multiplies the mileage and physical difficulty of the ride quite radically, I didn't want to simply replace the existing route suggestion with the new one for fear that beginner riders (who are the ones to gain the most from a decent, easy ride option like Calero) might then tend to overlook this listing because of its stats that would look much more substantial. I've, therefore, decided to represent this as an alternate version instead that's linked only from within the text of the original ride. I think this version of the ride will make Calero a much more realistic option for riders who expect a more substantial workout, while retaining the appeal of the shorter and easier Calero ride for greener riders.


Updated: Fremont Older
October 30, 2019

After another substantial pause in the update stream for my site (which was due to a list of minor distractions this time rather than any major change in my schedule), I'm starting back up again today with a minor update, but will soon be continuing with some new content that is much more interesting. Today's update is a photo set refresh, and it won't surprise regular viewers of the site to hear that it was motivated mainly by my strong preference for the green, spring scenery of our area. The thumbnail page of the original photo set for the Fremont Older ride looked like a study in brown, owing partially to the high number of underexposed images. With this update from the spring of last year, I think it now looks much more appealing.

One unintentional change that accompanies this update is to the routing of the ride. Do to a closure of one segment of Toyon Trail for trail work on the day I did the new ride, I was forced to use a fire road as a short detour around that stretch of trail. Sadly, this has reduced the singletrack mileage of the ride a little bit, though the ratio is still a very respectable one at nearly 50%.


New ride: San Juan Bautista to Elkhorn Slough
August 28, 2019

This new road ride has been waiting in the pipeline since the spring of 2018, which is a sign that I'm still a bit behind on my stream of website updates, though I have to add that I have only one other update still in the works that's been waiting that long; the rest of my upcoming updates are from much more recent months. The ride traverses a route that's been a fairly large empty region among the ride marker maps on this site as well as on my mental map of ride routes. With this ride, I've come to discover that there are actually some decent cycling roads in this area after all, and I believe I'll be coming back to ride here in the future. The fact that the ride is anchored at a cute western small town with decent food and at least one good historic highlight, as well as providing the chance to see one of our area's major wildlife destinations (Elkhorn Slough) are noteworthy perks, in my opinion.


New trail at Wilder Ranch
July 16, 2019

A new singletrack has been added to the trail network of one of my favorite ride locales (and usual haunts), Wilder Ranch, courtesy of MBOSC. This new trail replaces the remaining (roughly) one-mile fire-road portion of the initial climb into the park on Engelsmans Trail from Wilder Ranch. The result is that my favorite route in the park now starts with an essentially unbroken three-mile singletrack stretch starting just after the ranch area. It also brings the singletrack percentage of this ride route to a wonderful 70%.

While following the old fire road pretty closely, the new trail has a lot of tree cover while the old fire road had none. It also feels less strenuous, though I'm not sure the average grade is significantly different. At least the new trail doesn't have any extra-steep spots like a couple of points that used to arrive early on the fire road. All in all, this makes the early part of most of my rides at Wilder a much more pleasant affair and it's a very welcome addition.

If you enjoy riding at Wilder and haven't been there in the last couple of months, I recommend you give this new trail a try and see the huge improvement for yourself.


Santa Teresa getting tougher
July 2, 2019

Normally I don't use this page for news of trail conditions, but this particular case seemed striking enough to me to be relevant to riders of the area and worth sharing. I had observed Stile Ranch and Rocky Ridge trails in Santa Teresa become more technical over the years and I already had a mention of this in my ride text at least in reference to Stile Ranch Trail. It seems things have progressed even further. I rode in Santa Teresa last weekend and was surprised to see that the tough parts of these trails are now out-and-out double-black-diamond affairs; not for drops or exposure, but out of the sheer amount of boulders that make progress a struggle! Most of those portions were essentially a hike-a-bike for me this time. Not only that, but entirely new segments of those trails that I used to consider "smooth singletrack" have become challenging stretches in their own right now. The difference is very pronounced even in comparison with March 2018 when I had taken the new photos that I posted last November, which is what surprised me the most. Perhaps the record precipitation of last winter may have had something to do with this.

I suppose there are two ways in which this news may be relevant: (1) Riders who used to be barely able to ride these trails in earlier years and expect the trails to be the in the same state if they try them again today should be warned that things are very different and much tougher now. And (2) those who crave the gnarliest stuff may like to hear that these trails may now scratch their itch better, and they might want to set aside time to ride here more before a new round of trail work sanitizes things again.


Updated: St. Joseph's Hill
June 23, 2019

Here's a photo refresh for a second-tier ride listing. What prompted this update, as usual, was the age (about nine years) and quality of the earlier photos, as well as the fact that they were unevenly distributed. Although the trail network of this park is so small as to require plenty of improvization and repetition in order to add up to any satisfactory ride mileage (rather than having one particular route that can be recommended), I made sure when I repeated the ride that I followed exactly the route of the original ride I showed on this site so that the new photos (as well as the refreshed GPS track and its stats) could be a "drop-in replacement". As a result of this, the only change to be noticed other than the new photos and refreshed maps is the 100 feet that I shaved off the total climb statistic—I tend to trust that the GPS unit I currently use must be a little more accurate than the one I had nine years ago.


Updated: Route 9
June 12, 2019

This one is truly a "quickie" update. It's essentially just a refresh of this ride's photos, though I did also add a little bit of text and refresh the GPS track with a newer one because it's a bit smoother and marginally more accurate. For the photos, what prompted the update was the fact that (1) several of the older images were taken while in motion and, therefore, had significant blurring, and that (2) a few photos showed temporary road conditions like construction and temporary one-lane use that have been gone for years but were annoyingly immortalized because they were caught in my shots. This newer and "purer" photo set might be of a tiny little bit more help, and so might the couple of paragraphs I added to the ride text about extension options and pavement quality.


New ride: Oats Peak Trail
June 2, 2019

This new out-of-area ride is in a location that I normally consider outside the range I think of as typical for a day trip aimed at trying a new ride. In this case, though, I simply had to satisfy my curiosity after seeing a recommendation for this ride coming from none other than the venerable Hans Rey. The ride is fun, pretty, and it involves no pain. It didn't disappoint. The only thing is that, at only 10 miles in length, its not long enough for what I would normally consider to be worth the road trip all the way from the Bay Area. So, my recommendation for this ride is mainly to those who'd be interested in it out of curiosity more than anything else. On the other hand, if you can spare the time and energy, this isn't a hard ride to repeat twice, bringing your total mileage to 20.


New ride: Coyote Creek Loop
May 16, 2019

It's probably more than a little ironic that possibly the longest pause in my update stream to this website has happened right after an update notice where I was expressing hope to speed up updates. What's perhaps even more odd is that there wasn't any single game-changing factor that was behind this pause. There were a couple of big trips in the mix (along with the time taken up by the planning of at least one of those) in addition to some changes in my typical schedule at the office, as well as a heaping dose of procrastination and a little bit of my own version of a writer's block. The good news is that there has been no fundamental change in my commitment to the website or in the availability of new material for it. So, if the past few months led any regular viewers to worry that the site might be turning dormant, (first of all, I apologize for that, and) they can rest assured that that's not even close to be being true. I'm still sitting on a growing backlog of more than 10 new updates to the site (a mix of new rides and updates to existing ones) and I intend to speed the flow back up.

This particular new ride is a road route that I don't expect anyone but the locals of the immediate area to be familiar with. As a rider who's sensitive to limiting my exposure to vehicle traffic when doing road rides, I find this one to be a more valuable ride option than average. Given its length and location, the ride does a surprisingly good job of minimizing interaction with busy traffic. It's also a rare kind of route that bridges the worlds of paved-suburban-bike-path riding and true country backroad riding in one manageable ride. It's a bonus that the ride features only one tough climb (which can be avoided if you have to) though it includes a few other climbs whose difficulty falls more into the "reasonable" category.


Updated: Water Dog (Suggestion 1)
January 24, 2019

Things have gotten pretty slow for me lately in terms of updating the website. This was mostly due to some travel, as it usually is, and there are still a few more slow weeks to come. But, in the meantime, I've been able to put together at least one minor update. I hope to get things slowly rolling again with this one, because I'm sitting on a sizeable pile of ride updates and new rides.

This one is a simple photo set update. The pictures for this ride were among some of the oldest on the website and some of the spots highlighted in these old photos had undergone significant change since they were taken. While that's not always enough to prompt me to take a new set of photos of a ride, this ride happens to be very conveniently located for me to do it as a pre-work morning ride, so it was easy for me to catch an opportunity to do so. The new GPS track recorded on this newer ride also resulted in a half-mile reduction in the listed length of the ride and a 300-foot reduction in total elevation gain. At least some of that must have been due to the fact that I took fewer wrong turns on the new ride (which I sometimes don't edit out of the GPS track) rather than simply being due to measurement fluctuation.

While some spots on the trails of Water Dog Lake Park have somewhat changed character over the years, much of that change has thankfully been only cosmetic. The trails in this little bundle of technical riding joy have been remarkably unchanging over more than a decade, in my experience. While this does mean that not a lot of new trails are getting added (with Water Dog Lake Loop Trail being the only exception), none of the existing gems have been lost or dumbed down either. I find this very refreshing. So, if you haven't tried this little jewel of the Peninsula yet, let this be an extra reminder for you to do so at the first opportunity.


Updated: Demo Forest (Braille Trail)
December 9, 2018

This ride has maintained the top position on this site in terms of popularity at various times in the past and is still one of the most visited pages here. The last time its content received a refresh was seven years ago. Today, it gets another one. The changes reflected in the brand new photo set may not be noticeable to all but the most careful observers, but at least many of the new images are of a higher quality than the ones they replaced.

The GPS track is also a new one. The route has no major changes, but a few smaller ones had accumulated over the years. These are not noticeable unless you put the old and the new tracks on top of each other to compare, but the connection to Hihn's Mill Road at the bottom of Braille Trail, a short section at the junction of Sulphur Springs Road and Ridge Trail, as well a spot where Ridge Trail used to have a short, steep stretch have all received minor re-routes. The new GPS track also shaved off half a mile from the ride's length (due to a small change that results in a rounding down instead of rounding up) and 150 feet off the total climb figure. But perhaps the most noticeable change to many viewers may be the fact that I shaved a point off the ride's technical difficulty rating. It simply doesn't warrant a 9 out of 10 score from my current perspective, so I turned it down to an 8.


Updated: Santa Teresa (Suggestion 2)
November 24, 2018

This update is straight-up a photo set replacement. The photos of this ride have essentially gone from "brown" to "green" with this refresh. Regular viewers of this site may be familiar with my fondness for the few months of the year when the grass is green in our area. The original photos for this ride were from the height of the dry season and the dominant color of the thumbnail page really was brown (with some help from the uncorrected underexposure in many shots). The new images look like they are from a different continent. This ride ranks very highly among my favorites in the South Bay, and it pleases me to think that the nicer new photos may raise the ride's appeal to a level closer to the attraction it holds for me.

Other than the images, the only thing that's different is a few minor tweaks to the basic stats of the ride, most notable of which is a 200-foot reduction in the total climb figure.


New ride: Tesla and Patterson Pass Roads
November 14, 2018

This new road ride that's been in the pipeline since last spring provides a nice sampling of peaceful backcountry roads east of the bay, including a climb of Patterson Pass that most local riders are likely to consider the "right direction" in which to do it. The route is an easy one to recommend, especially in the cool air and the green grass of spring, though the ride is a little short of perfection. I describe in the text how one stretch of Tesla Road feels uncomfortable due to fast traffic and the few flat Central Valley roads the loop uses as a connection are, as you might expect, less than fun. Still, I believe that this is a ride that those who are looking to try something a little different won't regret.


Updated: Skeggs Point (Suggestion 3)
October 4, 2018

This is a photo set update. You might remember me writing that I can't promise to refresh the photo set of each ride whose photos got old. With Skeggs, though, it's a bit easier for me to make time for it because it's among my usual haunts, so it's not tricky to follow the route of one of my posted rides to take a new set of photos on one of my frequent rides there. Plus, in addition to being old (up to seven years), this ride's preceding photo set was cobbled together from multiple rides and some of the photos were of low quality (e.g., being blurry due to being taken while I was in motion, which is something I used to do but that I don't anymore).

I've also replaced the GPS data along with the photos, though, because otherwise the image markers don't fit the plotted ride route perfectly on the geotagged photo map. This resulted in a couple of small tweaks to the ride stats. The length went up by half a mile and the total climb by 100 feet.


New ride: Calero County Park
September 3, 2018

One of the newest ride options made available in our area is a treat for inexperienced riders (or for seasoned riders looking for a light option). The route of this ride was opened to the public only in March 2018. Calero County Park, which originally had no trails on which bikes were allowed, had first dipped its foot into mountain biking by making a short stretch of Longwall Canyon Trail in the southern extreme of the park open to bikes fairly recently to serve as a useful connection option for riders using Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space. This year, the park has gone way beyond that by opening all the trail mileage of this new ride to bikes, along with another 3.5-mile stretch that I didn't include on this ride. And these aren't merely the result of new access rules on old trails. Almost all of these are newly built trails. At the moment, all of these trails have super smooth surfaces, which should make them that much more attractive to inexperienced riders, offering them a great and easy way to approximate mountain biking on a hillside singletrack. The fact that the land is beautiful and that nice views are available from many spots is a bonus.


New ride: Del Puerto Canyon Road
August 12, 2018

It's time to add a new entry to the Out-of-Area Rides list. Road rides are currently an under-represented subset among this group. This new ride is a new member of that small subset. The ride is a good example for me of the benefit of ride information available online. If I hadn't read about this ride on "Jay's Essential Bike Rides", I have no reason to doubt that I may have lived an entire lifetime in the Bay Area without ever knowing about this road as a ride route. I'm glad that hasn't happened, because this ride has exceeded even the expectations that Jay's great description had established. If you think this feels out-of-the-way, it's not as much as you'd expect. For many of us, it doesn't take any longer to get to Patterson than it might to other locations that one might consider more "local", such as Point Reyes or Monterey. So, for those who are already okay with the concept of driving to various Bay Area locations to try out ride routes, this one is a strong recommendation especially in the spring.


New ride: Pipeline Trail
July 18, 2018

It might come as a surprise that there's a substantial, bike-legal, technical, singletrack descent available at a Bay Area ride locale that not only had I not added to this site until now, but that I hadn't even tried myself until recently. I'm not proud of it. Pipeline Trail in Toro County Park near Salinas is that trail, and it's the last such example among currently available trails as far as I know. I have mostly excuses for not having tried this ride any sooner, but no reason that's really good: It's a bit of a drive to get there, which made it less suitable for most of my riding partners; it's a fairly short ride after that whole drive; I knew that the climbs would be a pain; and I wasn't even sure of the completion status of the trail over its first couple of years of existence. In the end, I would regret this more if the difficulty level of the trail weren't also a notch or two above my comfort limit. So, its enjoyment to the fullest extent possible may be a bit beyond me, but I appreciate it nonetheless. This one is for seasoned riders without a doubt.


New ride: Henry Coe (Domino Pond and Grapevine Trails)
July 5, 2018

Here's one more Henry Coe ride option, also following a route suggested to me by Paul Nam. This one is aimed mainly at sampling a number of singletrack trails in the park that are relatively less traveled, at least in my mind, though the partially grassy trail surfaces on some of these seemed to corroborate this at the time of my ride. These singletrack trails, chained together, constitute an unbroken five-mile segment of this ride, consisting mostly of descents. The ride also provides decent views from its higher elevations, including a sighting of Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton and distant views of the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada range. The down side to all this is the difficult and long climb you'll need to get out of the way to get there, in addition to some extra miles you'll need to "commute" from the Hunting Hollow parking lot that feel more like a chore.


Updated: Big Basin
May 24, 2018

I've refreshed another one of the rides on the site that had weak content until now. The Big Basin listing has been on the site since its first day, and it had been untouched for just as long. Admittedly, this is not a ride that holds a lot of appeal from a pure mountain biking standpoint. However, for anyone who thinks of biking partially as exploration and sightseeing, and who loves our majestic redwoods, this ride could still count as a real treat. The new content I've just made available should go a lot further toward reflecting what one might expect from this ride. The text has been greatly expanded and a full photo set has been added.


New ride: Patterson and Altamont Passes
April 29, 2018

A new road ride joins the listings on the site today. This is probably a ride that I should have tried and posted much earlier. I'm not sure if it's because its appeal is mostly for the locals that this ride hasn't entered my radar screen any sooner, but this is a wonderful route. Its use as the course of a regularly held road race could only be considered as further proof of this. You tackle one tough and locally well known climb along the way, and you traverse a landscape that can look almost idealized at the right time of the year. Depending on your perspective, you can say there are one or two other significant climbs along the way too. A little extra care in picking your ride time may be warranted for the sake of traffic safety and in picking your ride date for the sake of sane temperatures and of the optimum beauty of the scenery, but I would otherwise recommend this ride to any road rider who likes trying new routes.


Updated: Skeggs Point (Suggestion 2)
April 10, 2018

I've given this ride a photo-set refresh. The older photos of the ride weren't incomplete, but they were getting old and had more quality problems (like too many blurry shots) than my more recent sets. But what really prompted me to redo them was the work that Blue Blossom Trail underwent a year or two ago that significantly changed the character of parts of that trail. I'm not sure it's necessarily that obvious in the newer photos how the trail has been impacted by this work, but along with the aging photos, this was enough of an excuse for me for a refresh.


Updated: Rancho Cañada del Oro
March 26, 2018

Rancho Cañada is a ride locale that has seen some significant changes in the six years or so since I've first posted it on this website. The most significant change is the opening of a segment of Longwall Canyon Trail in the neighboring Calero County Park to bike access in early 2014, making it much easier to reach (or return from) the bulk of the trail mileage in Rancho Cañada. Another change that struck me on my last ride is how the two freshly built trails that I had originally described as "half fire roads" have since transformed into reasonable "wide singletrack" trails with use and growing vegetation. I've now updated this listing to use a route that utilizes the new trail connection on the way back, thereby resulting in a route that's 1 mile shorter and, more importantly, has 450 feet less total elevation gain. The proportion of the ride's mileage that I deem "singletrack" has gone from 0% to 37%. It also doesn't hurt that the new photo set for the updated ride reflects a spring season with prettier vegetation. While I'm at it, I've also included in the route a quick traversal of the short, paved loop by the parking lot.

I've retained the original version of the ride as an alternate route that's linked from the ride description page for those who'd like a stiffer workout, or for those who may like Mayfair Ranch Trail so much that they'd rather repeat it, or for those who'd like to see the older state of the park's trails in its photo set.


Overhaul of geotagged maps completed
March 15, 2018

Today, I've converted the last few remaining rides on the site that used an external link for geotagged maps into using my own geotagged maps. That means that the replacement of all geotagged maps on the site, which I started just under 10 months ago, is now completed. This completely eliminates my site's dependency on AllTrails.com (where my older geotagged maps used to be). I'm very satisfied by this, and glad that more of my free time will now be available for fulfilling some other needs of the website.


Updated: Stevens Canyon
March 8, 2018

One of the low-key favorites of the South Bay received a low-key update today. There wasn't much that was lacking in the content of this ride. The main thing that prompted me is that the photos were old (7+ years) and a little subpar. I've mentioned here before that I can't promise to refresh all photo sets on the site that get to be seven or eight years old. In this case, however, there were a couple more factors that played into it. Some of the older wooden bridges on Stevens Canyon Road that have since been replaced were still visible in the old photos. And a couple of spots in the trail portion of the ride had seen significant changes since my last update. One of these is where you ford Stevens Creek. This crossing went from being ridable without even slowing down too much, to being followed almost by a wall scramble that's difficult to even walk up.

A few of the figures I show for the ride were also tweaked a little as a result of the new GPS data. These include one point off the ride's technical difficulty rating and, perhaps most significantly, a 150-foot reduction in its total elevation gain statistic.


New ride: Bidwell Park
February 11, 2018

The last time I added an entry to the list of out-of-area rides on this site was in August. Here's another addition to that list in order to show that I'm not completely neglecting out-of-area content.

If you don't know about Upper Bidwell Park, let this be an opportunity to fix that. Bidwell is a listing I'm used to seeing in most mountain biking ride guides that cover the northern half of California. I've also read about at least one mountain bike race and some bike vendor demo days that are hosted here. That's all for a good reason. The trail network here is technical, challenging, and sizeable. Coupled with the interesting scenery, that makes this park a very good destination for a serious weekend ride. That is, as long as you can catch a day when the temperatures are below the boiling point.


New ride: Henry Coe (Willson Peak and Middle Steer Ridge Trails)
January 14, 2018

If Skeggs Point deserves representation on this site with 6 separate ride suggestions, then—based on size alone—the enormous Henry Coe State Park should probably have about 10 (even after taking into account the fact that a big chunk of it is a wilderness area that's closed to bikes). So, I had never meant the three ride options listed here for Henry Coe until today to be adequate coverage of this park. The only reason there aren't more Henry Coe rides on this site already is that I get a chance to ride at Coe relatively rarely, due to various factors (such as distance and the big part of the year that I stay away due to ticks).

The new Henry Coe ride I've added today not only goes one step further toward giving Henry Coe the coverage it deserves on this site, but this particular route happens to be a suggestion coming straight from a person who easily qualifies as an expert in mountain biking at Henry Coe. The climbs on this ride aren't exactly easy, the descents aren't exactly mellow, and the overall ride is definitely not forgettable. I think this is a good ride to try as one's first sampling of Henry Coe. And, although it's still a challenging ride, you can do it without completely torturing yourself.


Updated: Russian Ridge
December 18, 2017

The Russian Ridge ride has just had a major refresh. I can't exactly say that this ride was slim in the content department until now. However, there were several factors that spelled a need for a refresh. First and foremost among these was the fact that ride route shown until now has not been my preferred way of traversing these trails in recent years. The new content reflects a rerouting of the ride to represent my current favorite route in this park. The photo set was also due for an update because it was a bit outdated (from 2010) and showed the straw-colored summer landscape of the park. The photo set of the updated ride is of the pretty spring greenery, which makes the park's many nice views pop that much more. Even the better quality of the camera I've used to take the newer images makes a significant difference to my eyes. The description text is also more fleshed out now. But, perhaps some riders may find the fact that the new routing takes the singletrack percentage of the ride's mileage from 50 to 68 the most worthy update of them all.


Updated: Tilden Park (into Wildcat Canyon Park)
November 26, 2017

This ride was easily one of the most neglected rides on this website until now. It's one of the listings that date back to the site's original launch and it's among the very few that had received no updates since that day. At the moment, I can find only four or five remaining ride listings that are more or less in the same boat, but only two of those have absolutely no photos and have not had even minor updates. Well, today this diminishing group of neglected rides loses one more of its members, since I've given this original Tilden Park ride a major overhaul. Like most other listings on the site, this ride features a full photo set now (in beautiful spring scenery, no less) as well as a full-blown description. The route itself, while looking the same on the map, has been reversed too.


Updated: Skeggs Point (Suggestion 1)
November 12, 2017

A major ride listing on this site has received a minor update today. I've replaced the GPS track for this ride with a new one that's slightly less glitchy, though the difference is mostly negligible. The bigger change in the ride's content is in its text. I've taken out a couple of potentially misleading passages and added considerably more detail about the character of some of the trails traversed on the ride. Along the way, perhaps more importantly for some viewers, this new GPS recording prompted me to adjust the length and total elevation gain figures for the ride slightly downward. Meanwhile, the photo set of the ride remains virtually untouched, which is somewhat unusual for most ride update entries I list on this page.


Updated: Morgan Territory (western trails)
November 2, 2017

After a brief pause in my stream of updates to the website due to some pressure on my schedule from my job, here's the next update that's been waiting in the pipeline since last spring. This route in the western half of Morgan Territory Regional Preserve would be listed by no mountain bikers among their favorite rides. It's hard to get to, has very tough climbs, and offers nothing very special to bikers. Still, I had been bummed since the beginning that the day on which I first tried this ride had foggy weather that completely obscured all the views from the higher elevations. This update fixes that. This is really just a photo set replacement. The ride's route, text, and stats remain essentially unchanged. But, I still find this a very worthwhile—even crucial—update, because the expansive views along this route are among the defining features of this ride. Check out the new photo set and I'm sure you'll agree.


New ride: Mount Umumhum
September 24, 2017

This is a rare case. I typically don't act this quickly to post on this site a newly opened trail. (Crockett Hills is the only other example I can think of that comes close.) The peak of Mount Umunhum was officially opened to public access only last Monday. Having done a ride there yesterday, here I am posting it on my site on the very first weekend that it's open to the public. I was motivated to do this partly because this was such a long-awaited opening, and partly because there is also a brand-new, 3.5-mile singletrack trail (okay, "multi-use" trail) in the mix that I couldn't wait to try. You can read the rest in my description of the ride. Suffice it to say that this one is virtually guaranteed to become one of the classics among South Bay mountain bike rides.


Updated: Almaden Quicksilver Park
September 21, 2017

Almaden is not exactly one of the most enticing biking destinations in our area. Still, it fills a niche in being one of the few rides listed on this site that allow you to see numerous historic remains along the way. Although the Almaden ride listing on the site wasn't exactly slim on content until now, I decided it was due for a refresh. The main thing that prompted me was the fact that the ride's photo set was a bit out of date (2010) and was of the area's less attractive season, featuring the straw-colored grass of the summer. The most recent ride I've done here was in the greenery of last spring, and the new photo set is therefore much prettier, in my opinion. I've also included more visits to mining relics, which makes better sense to me at a location like Almaden Quicksilver, so the photos now show more of the remains you'll find in the park. I've also beefed up the ride's text. And the additional side trips have also changed the ride's stats incrementally.

This ride may not deserve to be on the favorites list of most riders, but I hope the refreshed content will help convince anyone who hasn't yet tried this ride to do it at least once in order to take in the sights.


Updated: Mount Diablo (Walnut Creek to South Gate Road)
September 6, 2017

I'm labeling this entry as an "updated" ride, though, in one sense, this change is a bit like a "new ride" addition as well, because what I've added to the "Mount Diablo (Walnut Creek to South Gate Road)" ride today is a standalone page for the shortened version of that ride. I'm not considering it truly a new ride since it's not listed on its own and is linked only from the page of the longer ride instead, and since it doesn't feature a full text description. However, it does have its own GPS data, maps, stats, and photo set.

The reason I found this worthwhile is not only the fact that I think this shorter version of the ride is good enough to deserve stronger representation, but also the fact that the most recent time I was able to do this ride was in the extra-lush conditions of the early spring that followed the super rainy winter of 2016-2017. While the full ride's photo set was also shot during the green-grass season, that was in a drought year and the greenery was, therefore, not at its best. So, I took the opportunity of my recent ride to shoot a full photo set of this variant of the ride. I feel this additional photo set of the ride's shortened variant will serve to demonstrate the full extent of how pretty this landscape can get at the right time. On the flip side, I did this new ride right on the heels of the worst of the winter's cow damage inflicted on at least one trail segment and when that stretch of trail hadn't had enough weeks to dry out after the most recent rains. For that reason, part of the Briones to Mount Diablo Regional Trail looks like a quagmire in this new photo set. Just know that the trail surface there rarely gets as bad as some of these photos show.


New ride: Lake Clementine Loop
August 21, 2017

The ride I've added to the Out-of-Area Rides section of the website today is one whose name should be familiar to any Bay Area riders who spend any time also riding outside of our area. Lake Clementine Loop is among the routes you're likely to hear being discussed the most often when talking about rides in the vicinity of Auburn or Sacramento. This was my first time doing this ride and I liked it too. In fact, I liked it considerably more than its direct neighbor (and directly connecting extension) Foresthill Divide Loop. I feel that Lake Clementine Loop holds a bit more technical riding interest and involves a whole lot more scenery. To me, it feels like Lake Clementine Loop should be considered the main attraction at this location and Foresthill Divide Loop should be treated as a potential extension to it, in case the need arises. This is somewhat at odds with the greater mindshare that Foresthill Divide Loop seems to enjoy, at least in my perception. While I'd think twice about taking a long day trip all the way from the Bay Area just to do the Foresthill Divide Loop, I feel like Lake Clementine Loop would be more easily worth that trouble.


New ride: Healdsburg to Geyserville
August 1, 2017

It's been a while since I added a new Bay Area road ride to the site. (Not counting The Geysers ride for a moment, since that's in the out-of-area ride list.) The wine country is an area rich in excellent road ride options. My coverage here of those rides has been weak so far. I aim to remedy this and this new ride should be of help in that regard. This is a ride that would be my top recommendation so far to anyone who's primarily after a ride through vineyards. I expect this ride to be a fairly popular option because it fulfills this requirement while requiring fairly low physical effort and relatively little interaction with busy traffic.


New ride: McLaren Park and San Bruno Mountain
June 25, 2017

This is a ride I've been meaning to add to the site for years. Knowing that an unexpectedly decent trail ride could be done on the trails in McLaren Park, I've been bugged for quite a while by the fact that I couldn't create an opportunity to try it out for so long. Frankly, I also procrastinated quite a bit and didn't prioritize it highly enough until recently. In any case, this shortcoming of the website is remedied today. This is quite a valuable ride, in my opinion, being one of the very few reasonable mountain bike rides that residents of San Francisco may be able to do without having to drive or take public transportation.

The ride is an easy recommendation to make to all locals. For riders who live outside the city, the ride could hold an attraction only if you're curious to see what kind of a mountain bike ride can be possible within a dense urban center; that is, assuming you haven't already tried the San Francisco Peaks route that has also been listed here for quite a few years.


Updated: Saratoga Gap and Long Ridge
June 19, 2017

I've given the Saratoga Gap ride a thorough refresh. The photos of this ride used to date from 2010, around the time when I first launched this site. I can't promise to refresh the photos of each ride on this site that gets to be seven years old. However, Saratoga Gap Trail has also undergone some sanitizing trail work late last year that completely changed the nature of the trail for most riders. Keeping the old photos up after that would have been a bit misleading, even if it might have carried a whiff of sweet nostalgia. The ride's overall popularity added to that recent significant change to prompt me to make this update.

The ride has a brand new photo set now. I've also taken this opportunity to expand the text of the ride and bring it up to the standards of the more recent additions to the site, rather than remaining the kind of brief, cursory description that some of the oldest entries on this site still carry. Fans of the ride might also be interested to notice that the total climb figure for the ride has been adjusted down by 150 feet now. This is how it came out on my latest ride, and I trust my current GPS much more than I used to trust the GPS receiver I had when I originally posted this ride.


New ride: Monterey Bay Coastal Trail
June 8, 2017

I'm adding a new casual ride to the site today and I expect it to become one of the most popular ones of its kind that are listed here. This long, paved trail spans quite a wide spectrum of settings. You encounter an urban path congested with strolling tourists on one extreme, and deserted miles traversing a treeless coastal flatland on the other. Views of the pretty Monterey Bay coast accompany some (though not most) of the route. You can look forward to catching some wildlife sightings as well as a few historic highlights. Those who will get the most out of this ride will probably be those who are willing to make this ride the basis of a lazy weekend outing with plenty of stops. Any such people will be able to stop at the Fisherman's Wharf, the historic Custom House (or the rest of the Monterey State Historic Park), the Monterey Bay Aquarium, loop through Cannery Row, or use any number of excuses to stop for a meal or some treats. Meanwhile, the sightseeing aspect of the ride should make this trail worth a try even for any experienced riders who haven't tried it before.


New geotagged photo maps
May 22, 2017

I have a piece of news that, to me, is one of the most exciting updates I've ever shared on this page: I've completed the implementation of and started using a brand new geotagged photo map feature! The need for this has been one of the most nagging shortcomings of the website for me for about three years. This new geotagged map gives me a clear path to leave that problem behind permanently.

Just a little bit of back story on this: Mere months after launching this site, I had started to use an external website, EveryTrail.com, to show the locations of each ride photo on this site. This site's geotagged photo map feature was not exactly lightweight or compatible with all device types (being based on Adobe Flash) but it was very slick and had excellent usability design. Unfortunately, this site started to become frequently unavailable some time in 2014 and, despite recovering some functionality later on, it never again worked as well as it originally did. More recently, EveryTrail.com got absorbed into AllTrails.com. My geotagged maps were retained and even the original links continued to work fine, but AllTrails.com never replicated all of the capabilities that EveryTrail originally had. Finally, some time around September 2016, even saving new geotagged photo maps on AllTrails.com stopped being practical and any rides I added or updated since then went without any geotagged photo map at all. That development ramped up the sense of urgency for me of coming up with a new and more reliable geotagged mapping solution.

What I've started using on the website today is this new geotagged map solution, which is one I've cobbled together myself. This time, the feature is not dependent on any external websites or hosted services other than Google Maps. My expectation is that this will keep it working for many years to come without any further need for major change. As a bonus, the map also happens to use responsive design, making it usable on mobile devices. On phone browsers, its usability is a little hampered due to the restricted screen space, though it's still usable with a little pain. It's certainly better than what AllTrails.com does on phone browsers with its geotagged maps right now, which is to show no map at all and to merely list thumbnails of the photos.

Converting all rides on the site to use this new type of geotagged map will take some time, because a large part of the process will be a manual one. We're easily looking at several months, at least. I expect it to take a little less than the (nearly) one year that my recently completed photo set overhaul took, but it might be close to it. To start with, I added this new geotagged photo map to most of the new and newly updated rides that are dated later than the Summit Road ride I had posted last September, which was the last ride that got an EveryTrail/AllTrails geotagged map. If you'd like to see these, go back on this page to the entry dated September 21st, 2016 and look through all the new and updated rides that are listed after that one. You'll see the geotagged map when you follow the "View on a map" link on the thumbnail page of the ride's photo set.

One important note: As you're giving the new geotagged maps a try, please let me know if you encounter any bugs, incompatibilities, or scaling issues. It would be best to catch these as early as possible, so that I don't have to go back and redo too many entries. Just use the "Contact" link and shoot me a quick email if you see any problems.


Updated: Carquinez Scenic Drive
May 16, 2017

When I first posted the Carquinez Scenic Drive ride on this site, the portion of Carquinez Scenic Drive closed to traffic was just that—a portion of a road on either side of a major slide that was closed to motor-vehicle traffic and left open to cyclists and pedestrians. Since then, this closed segment of the road has been turned into a freshly paved trail and christened "George Miller Trail". At the very least, this made part of my photo set for this ride obsolete. So, this update is more a photo set refresh than anything else. The new photo set reflects the current state of this paved trail, and the ride description is also slightly updated to explain this stretch of the ride correctly. While I'm at it, I did the ride on a road bike this time, which is the more sensible option now that there's no expectation at all of having to tread dirt. (The first time I tried the ride, I had done it on my mountain bike, since I wasn't sure of what to expect for the short trail connection that I would need to traverse at the spot of the slide that originally caused the closure.)


Updated: Whittemore Gulch
May 11, 2017

This update to the site is actually a bit of a removal more than anything else. Or at least a "demotion". Until today, the two versions of the Whittemore Gulch ride route I represent here were reflected as two separate ride listings, although the two differ from each other only in a small portion of their mileage. While that used to be enough to deserve separate listing status in the early years of the site, more recently I've been showing such small variations of any ride route as merely an "alternate version" linked only from the ride description of the main ride. So, I've fixed this inconsistency now and changed what used to be titled the "Whittemore Gulch (with Grabtown Gulch)" ride into an alternate version of the shorter Whittemore Gulch ride listing, and removed it from the listing pages and ride maps.

It's not like this is such a noteworthy change to the site, but it is the first time the number of rides reflected on the listing pages on the site has actually decreased. I just thought I'd mention it in an entry here so that I'll at least have a record of when it happened.


New ride: The Geysers
May 2, 2017

Today, the Out-of-Area Rides section of the website gets a new ride again. This is a bit of a novelty in that section, since it's a pure road ride. (Technically, there is one other ride in that section that's shown on the map by a "blue marker", but more than half of that ride is effectively a fire road.) This won't be the last road ride in the Out-of-Area Rides listing. There are a few more road rides in other parts of the state that I find desirable enough to travel for. I'll be adding those too as soon as I get a chance. But, overall, I expect road rides to make up only a small fraction of the listings in this section of the site in the long run. Traveling longer distances for a great trail ride simply seems more worthwhile to me.

As for this particular ride, it comes highly recommended and it appears to be a ride route that's well represented online and in print, as I explain in my description in detail. That's how I came to know about it too. Having tried the ride, I can see its appeal very easily. It's a fairly challenging one, though. If I get a chance to repeat it, I hope I can do it at a time when I'm in better shape.



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