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What's New

New ride: Bidwell Park
February 11, 2017

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 occasion 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, 2017

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.

Overhaul of photo sets completed
April 12, 2017

Looking at the date of my announcement on this same page, it was just under a year ago that I started revamping the photo sets used on this site to make them more helpful (with a title on the thumbnail page and a link back to the ride page), mobile-friendly, keyboard-friendly, and simply nicer looking. Earlier this evening, I replaced the last photo set still using the old format with its newer version, completing this overhaul. These kinds of site-wide changes are a mostly manual affair for me, and I'm frankly a bit pleased with myself that it didn't take even longer than this to finish this piece of work (given the number of other things also vying for my free time and the exceptionally busy travel season I had last year). I just thought this little milestone is worth a bit of recognition here. (Yay!)

I have a couple more site-wide revamp efforts still in the works. The foremost of these aims to address what is possibly the site's longest-standing pain point: the geotagged photo maps. I now have a home-grown solution completed for this that does virtually everything I want it to do. What remains to be done on this is the mostly manual process of replacing each existing geotagged map with a new one that uses this new solution, which I expect to be another slow and incremental process that's likely to take an amount time of similar to how much the photo set overhaul took. The other big rework effort that's also on my plate is a redesign of the site's main content pages to adopt a responsive design (and, thus, make them mobile-friendly as well). I expect this one to involve more design work than manual overhaul, so it will hopefully be completed in a more wholesale fashion and it's likely to be finished before the geotagged photo map work is. So, stay tuned for those updates before too long.

Updated: Mount Tam (Deer Park Road and Coast View Trail)
April 6, 2017

This is a pretty minor update, though I think it's still well deserved. It's just a "photo set patch" really. I had actually updated this ride fairly recently and given it a full photo set and had fleshed out the rest of its content. However, the ride on which I had taken the photos that I added in that 2015 update had, unfortunately, been done in foggy conditions along the Pacific coast, in addition to coinciding with a temporary closure of the Muir Beach Overlook. Considering the fact that the great views from Coast View Trail are the bigger part of the motivation for this ride, this was a significant shortcoming. This update serves to fix that. The new photos with which I've now replaced part of the latest photo set were taken on a beautiful day with not a single cloud in the sky. They're easily worth a peek by anyone who hasn't done this ride before.

New ride: Garin and Dry Creek
March 26, 2017

There are a couple of rides on this site that were originally brought to my attention by suggestions from viewers. However, I can confidently say that there is only one ride location about which I received suggestion emails from multiple unrelated people, and that's Garin and Dry Creek Pioneer parks. I wish I could say that this was because this trail network is such an attractive one, but I can't. It's fairly obvious that the actual reason was that, as the coverage of this site expanded to nearly all parks in our area with trail networks on which bikes are allowed, these neighboring parks were one of the few that were conspicuous by their absence. The reason for that absence was my low expectations of the ride opportunities in these twin parks. They were on my radar, but never close to the top of my to-do list. I finally got around to trying out this trail network late last year. I can't exactly say that the ride blew away my low expectations, but this ride locale certainly has its place on the option list of at least the local riders of the nearby area.

Updated: Alpine Road to Windy Hill
March 2, 2017

This update is mainly a photo set update. The photos for this ride were a mixed set dating from 2008 and 2010, and they weren't doing justice to the great views that one can catch on this ride either. They have now been replaced with a single contiguous set I've shot in December. The older geotagged photo map of the ride was also fragmented, with one link pointing you to the geotagged photo map of the Russian Ridge ride for the portion of the ride that overlaps with that one, and another one pointing you to a plot of this ride showing photos taken over the rest of the route. That too has been replaced by a single unified map now. I had even referred viewers to the Russian Ridge ride description for the text coverage of the portion of this route that overlaps with that one, which is not something I do anymore even when there are such overlaps. This is changed too now, putting all the ride description in one place.

Perhaps more importantly, though, I've added a warning message to the ride description about the huge washout that's currently blocking Alpine Road. This is a development that materialized after I did my latest ride there but shortly before posting this update. For this reason, the ride can only be done with an additional detour at the moment, which I detail in the text.

Updated: Briones (Suggestion 1)
February 19, 2017

This first Briones ride listing on this site was yet another one of the "inaugural" entries dating back to the site's initial launch and that had been languishing here with slim content ever since. This step-child treatment was a little undeserved. This is a ride that can be simply gorgeous in the spring and is very scenic year-round, so it's a worthwhile option at least for those riders who can stomach some steep climbs. On top of that, it includes one of the two singletrack trail segments that I'm aware of in this park on which bikes are allowed. I'm happy to say that, with this update, the ride now finds the representation that I think it deserves here. It now features a full photo set that demonstrates the ride's great scenery in the area's pretty spring garb. I've also expanded the description of the ride to explain more of the experience you can expect across the different parts of the route. Perhaps more importantly, the direction of the loop is now reversed, to be counter-clockwise, so that the brief singletrack portion in the mix can be enjoyed in the fun, downhill direction.

New ride: Mount Diablo (North Gate Road climb)
January 26, 2017

Here's a second way of climbing to the peak of Mount Diablo on a road bike. Compared to the climb via South Gate Road, this one involves a few miles shorter distance and a few hundred feet less climbing. That's not enough to make it the choice of out-of-shape riders exactly. It's still a serious mountain climb. Just like the South Gate Road option, I would call this climb "tough but not cruel". North Gate Road presents a quieter and a little more rural option, in my opinion. You could argue that, along with the slightly lower stats, this should make it the preferable way to pedal to the peak. That would be a fair point, but it's also true that the pavement quality of North Gate Road is noticeably behind that of South Gate Road, at least as of the last time I saw them. I'd say make up your own mind between the two by trying both! They're both lovely rides.

Updated: Demo Forest (Corral Trail)
January 9, 2017

The Corral Trail ride has been in the position of a black sheep in the family of Demo Forest rides listed on this site since I first launched the website. Arguably this is justifiable. This version of a typical Demo Forest loop gives you the least amount of fun singletrack mileage while leaving much of the fire-road climbs intact. Still, if this ride deserves to be listed on the site (at least as a gentler "introduction to Demo" option), it also deserves a little better representation than what it had until now. This update is mainly to the photo set of the ride. Before this, the ride had photo coverage only through photos borrowed from other rides, which naturally showed only the extent of the ride that overlaps with those other rides. This update gives the ride a full photo set of its own. Along the way, I've also realized that I had miscalculated the percentage of singletrack mileage on this ride. I've now fixed that too, in addition to slightly expanding the wording in the ride description that explains Corral Trail itself.

Updated: Wilder Ranch (Enchanted Loop via Wild Boar Trail)
December 8, 2016

This one is a fairly small update, but it represents a level of improvement to this ride that I found worth listing on this page. Earlier this year, a rerouting of part of Enchanted Loop in Wilder Ranch was completed. This rerouting eliminates the ugly, eroded, and super-steep climb back out of this loop. In its place, we now have a twisty singletrack climbing very gently. It's a huge improvement over what it replaced, which noticeably boosts the desirability of this ride, in my opinion. I've now updated the maps and GPS data of the ride to show this new trail section, as well as patching the relevant part of the photo set with images that reflect the change.

New ride: Mr. Toad's Wild Ride
November 19, 2016

I'm sure the name of this ride will be instantly familiar to any experienced rider who has spent any time on the saddle in the Tahoe area, and possibly to some such greener riders too. Mr. Toad's Wild Ride is probably the most famous trail of advanced difficulty level in that area, as far as I know. Roughly a 2.5-mile stretch of this trail easily qualifies for a double-black-diamond difficulty rating even by the most conservative assessment. Several miles of the rest of this route can occasionally feel like a never-ending rock garden too. Once I made it through the worst drops on the trail by lugging my bike, though, I quite enjoyed the majority this ride. While it would take a rider with quite serious downhill riding skills to give this ride its due, I think the trail is quite manageable and often very enjoyable even for intermediate riders who would not be completely intimidated by frequent encounters with tough trail features where they'd need to get off and walk. If the idea of a shuttled descent on that kind of a technical trail appeals to you, take a closer look at this.

New ride: Mount Veeder Road
October 30, 2016

One of the road rides that have been in the pipeline since last spring finally finds a home on the site today. I had heard a lot about Mt. Veeder Road before I tried it for myself. Essentially, any resource that contains ride suggestions for the Napa area is almost certain to list an option that involves this road. The ride didn't disappoint. My route mostly traversed very peaceful roads in pleasant settings. Meanwhile, the possibility of getting hold of some great food around Napa after the ride or indulging a little in wine as part of the ride plan should count as a significant perk to many. I'm not sure I would rate this ride as "not to be missed" if you live far away from this area, but it's easy to see how it would serve as a sure-shot stand-by for any local cyclists.

New ride: Bolinas Ridge (long loop)
October 6, 2016

Ever since I tried a short loop covering part of Bolinas Ridge Trail and found it to be more fun than I expected, I've wanted try a longer loop that would include all of that trail. The fact that such a loop could include Olema Valley Trail, a rarity in terms of being a singletrack of sizable length in Point Reyes that's open to bikes, was an additional aspect I looked forward to. Earlier this year, I've found the opportunity to try out this longer loop and I've now added it to the site. I'm sorry to say that Olema Valley Trail was a bit of a disappointment, but I can't say anything bad about Bolinas Ridge Trail. The most fun and scenic parts of this fire road are still in the portion included in the shorter loop I had listed before, but this extended version of the ride should satisfy those of you who approach the ride with a bigger appetite for miles and more variety.

New ride: Summit Road
September 21, 2016

It's been a while since the last time I updated the site. The delay was due to the distractions of my summer travel season. But some apologies might be in order, because this time the pause was longer than it's been in recent years. I had a very hectic month of August and early September was no walk in the park either. It feels very good right now to return to my more relaxed routine, and almost as good as that to be able to put some work into the site once again.

Summit Road is a road I've learned about only in recent months (through a blog posting) and my curiosity was maxed out as soon as I read about it. I've, therefore, not wasted any time in trying it out and am now adding it to the site at the first chance I've caught. I'm not sure it would qualify as a ride not to be missed, but the road's location as well as its status is very unique. It also doesn't hurt that it allows rare views from high elevations where you can see the South Bay and Monterey Bay at the same time, in addition to getting as close to Loma Prieta peak as you legally can. Cyclists who enjoy something different are bound to like this one.

New ride: Emigrant Trail
July 13, 2016

This addition is to the Out-of-Area Rides section of the site. Emigrant Trail is likely to be on the short list of the trails familiar to any rider who has done more than just one or two rides in the Lake Tahoe area. If you're not a part of that group of people, this new listing should help you get acquainted with this trail and see the reasons for its popularity for yourself. I don't believe there are very many long trails around Tahoe that traverse open country but could still be considered suitable for less experienced riders. Emigrant Trail is one such trail, while it still has enough variety and challenge to hold the interest of advanced riders as well. This is not a trail that experienced riders are likely to make their primary destination for, say, a mountain biking weekend in Tahoe, but those who do include it in their ride plans are unlikely to be disappointed.

Updated: Fifield-Cahill Ridge
June 26, 2016

This ride is admittedly one of the most oddball listings on the website. Not only is it the only ride listed here than can solely be done as a guided group ride that requires advance reservation, but it's also an option that appeals almost exclusively to the small number of people who might be interested in trying it out of sheer curiosity, since there is little mountain biking satisfaction otherwise to be had from the trail. Still, that small group of people would I'm sure appreciate the fact that I've now updated this ride with more photos, more details, and—most importantly—a route that correctly represents the version of the guided Fifield-Cahill Ridge ride that is actually being done these days. The older content for this listing came from a ride I had done back when guided rides were available both from the Sneath Lane (northwestern) end and from the Route 92 (southeastern) ends of the trail. In recent years, this doesn't seem to be the case and guided rides appear to start only from the Route 92 end lately. This new version now represents current reality and features more photos. Still, I've kept the older ride information as an alternate version, in case anyone would like to refer back to it for whatever reason or in case guided rides from Sneath Lane are resumed at some point.

One minor bonus that this new version of the ride brings is that it's easier, with only 1600 feet of total elevation gain compared to the earlier version's 2400. Perhaps this easier incarnation, which is shorter and with its serious climbs not even adding up to a grand total of half a mile of the overall route, should make it easier for more people to find the will to try it out.

New ride: East Bay Canyons
June 14, 2016

This is a road ride from a portion of the East Bay that, I must confess, had been off my radar until I tried this route. It did not disappoint. On the contrary, it made me resolve to explore other overlooked backroads of the East Bay hills. The beauty of the setting rivals much of what the Peninsula, Marin, or the wine country has to offer. That should make it a treasure for any cyclists who live in the vicinity. Parts of the route offer a good amount of peace and quiet as well, away from traffic as well as from too many cyclists. In that respect, this wouldn't be an unreasonable option to seek out on days where more popular routes may be too busy with bicycles, in case you feel tired of that.

Updated: Repack Road (via Deer Park)
June 1, 2016

Here's another ride from the first set that was available when I first launched this site six years ago and that has had almost no improvement or changes since then. Last year I found an opportunity to repeat this ride, which now allows me to bring the ride's content up to the standards of more recent additions. In my book, any opportunity to spend time on the historic trails around Fairfax, descend the storied Repack Road in the process, and then hang out downtown, spells time well spent. As an option that could make that experience possible for riders who might not have enough confidence to try the route through Camp Tamarancho, I think this ride will remain useful to many.

New ride: Empire Grade Loop
May 21, 2016

As a mostly shady country road that starts from Santa Cruz and stretches for more than 15 miles with great pavement, very little traffic, and few distractions, it should come as no surprise that Empire Grade is popular with cyclists. Some riders may find the repeated steep stretches in its climb a bit less than palatable, but at least there are just as many gentle portions on the climb, too, that give you a break. This loop was my way of sampling the majority of Empire Grade while boosting variety by returning to Santa Cruz via different roads. That alternate return does add the potentially thrilling descent down the steep and curvy Jamison Creek Road into the mix, but it also forces you to contend with the busy traffic on the narrow and twisty Route 9 for quite a few miles. As I explain in the text of the ride, for those who don't mind dialing back the "variety" and "sightseeing" considerations, a simpler out-and-back ride on just Empire Grade itself might be a more rewarding alternative.

New photo set format
May 16, 2016

One of the most significant changes that have shown up on this site in years may have gone unnoticed by all but the most eagle-eyed viewers, so I thought I'd add an entry here to point it out: I've started using a new photo set format starting with the recent update I've made to the Mission Peak ride. One of the requests I received for this site was to support keyboard navigation between photos in the photo sets. Not only does this new photo set format achieve that (you can go forward and backward using the right and left arrow keys), but it's also touch-friendly, and features responsive web design, making it much more suitable for mobile devices. It's not that you can swipe your way from one photo to the next, but you can touch the right half of each single photo to get to the next one or its left half to get to the preceding one.

So far, the photo set of the updated Mission Peak ride is the only one that uses this new format. However, any newly added or updated rides on the site will also feature this format from now on. Meanwhile, I'll also slowly convert the photos for all other rides to this new format at a (hopefully) steady pace.

Updated: Mission Peak
April 28, 2016

I've adjusted the route of the Mission Peak ride to comply with a trail access rule change that was made since I first posted that ride. The ride originally included Peak Meadow Trail, but part of that trail is no longer open to bikes. I was originally made aware of this fact by a viewer comment. (Thank you, by the way.) I've recently repeated this ride without including that trail and have now posted this updated version so that my ride description does not mislead anyone. The ride stats changed slightly too, since the route is a bit shorter now. I've also elaborated a bit more in the description of Hidden Valley Trail, now that the entire length of that trail is traversed during the descent of the ride that I describe. The changes aren't huge but, given the surprising popularity of this ride on the site, they are bound to be significant to quite a few people.

New ride: Skyline Trail
April 9, 2016

It's not that often that a new trail is opened to bikes in the Bay Area on which a 13-mile round-trip ride is possible, more than half of which is singletrack. It's probably even less often for that new trail to contain interesting and engaging singletrack mileage. However, that's essentially what happened in Sanborn County Park last year and I've already represented on this website some of the newly bike-legal trail mileage possible in this park with my Sanborn County Park ride. Those who have seen my description for that ride may remember my mention that Skyline Trail is actually the most fun part of that route. Doing Skyline Trail on its own, therefore, results in what is arguably an even more fun ride. The new ride I'm adding to the site today is exactly that ride. This one is a very easy recommendation to make.

Updated: Pescadero - San Gregorio Loop
March 17, 2016

The originally posted version of this ride was not really lacking in any significant way. Still, I wanted to do a minor update to it in order to tweak the route to become what I would consider the ideal version of itself. By "ideal", I mean the most fun, peaceful, and scenic version of it possible. In practice, this only means two changes to the ride route: it now continues north on Stage Road from San Gregorio in order to get to Highway 1, and it also follows an inland detour via Bean Hollow Road near Pescadero around the halfway point of the loop. Both of these were suggestions I used to make in the description of the original ride anyway. It's just that they've now become part of the shown version of the ride. Meanwhile, I've kept the older, shorter, and easier route as an alternate version that's still accessible.

New ride: Red Hills
March 6, 2016

It's time for a new addition to the out-of-area rides on the site. Red Hills appeared to me like a park experiencing benign neglect. That means you'll find no shortage of singletrack here. In fact, there's almost a bewildering profusion of them. But it also means that what you won't find are named and well signed trails, consistently careful trail construction, or even any rhyme or reason in the routing of many of the trails. It helps that there are few climbs and almost all that do exist are gentle or moderate (at least when following the route that I've taken on this particular ride). This place may not rank high in desirability for mountain bikers, but a short two-hour ride like this at Red Hills can fit into even part of your day, in comparison with farther destinations around Lake Tahoe, for instance, that require a full day trip at a minimum.

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