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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I've been getting into mtb slowly over the last few months; getting a feel for my bike and mostly sticking to Quarry Lakes and the Alameda Creek Trail in Fremont (mainly because I can ride to there).

Couple weeks ago I tried out Garin/Dry Creek to get a feel for something more mountain-bikey. I came close to puking more than a few times on the climbs and walked more than I rode. That said, I had a blast. The downhill portions were great, despite running over horse crud and splattering it all over myself :madman:, and even pushing my bike uphill was fun.

Anywho, background aside, I'm wondering if folks have suggestions for other newb friendly rides in the Bay Area that I can check out going forward. It seems like there are some good options (Coyote Hills, Waterdog, Lake Chabot, P-Ridge, JMP) but want to make sure that's not just my perception or that I'm missing something else.

Thanks!
 

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Over it
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Coyote Hills and Alum Rock are both supposed to be beginner friendly. You could also check out the bayarearides site. He tends to be very conservative on his recommendations
 

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Golden Bears United
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...

It seems like there are some good options (Coyote Hills, Waterdog, Lake Chabot, P-Ridge, JMP) but want to make sure that's not just my perception or that I'm missing something else.

Thanks!
Although certain parts are easy, Waterdog and JMP are somewhat technical, involving short and steep climbs. I would not call them beginner-friendly. As for P-Ridge, if you are just getting back on the bike and have trouble climbing mild hills, then you will likely give up midway through the first climb from the parking lot. (The rest of it after the initial climb is not that bad.)

I'd say stick with Lake Chabot, nearby Redwood Regional park, and further north to Tilden/Berkeley hills.

And it shouldn't take you that long to get out of the "beginner" stage anyway. I say give it about 2-3 rides a week, and you'll be ready to shred by start of summer! :thumbsup:
 

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+1 for alum rock and coyote hills. arastradero is a good beginner park too. would not recommend waterdog or jmp as someone else mentioned
 

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Wēk Sôs
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Alum Rock is good. Stay off Sierra Vista until you get more fit, FWIW. Not a horrid climb, but if you're on and off often you may get in the way of others on some of the tighter tracks.

Arastradero is perfect, IMO. I started riding there.

Fremont Older isn't bad. Harder than Arastradero but safe and well maintained and relatively wide in most areas. Get a tour, if doing Fremont Older. You can get a bad experience with climbs if you don't. Make sure your guide knows your fitness level and can "test" you on short bursts. Staying on the Toyon side of things might work better, shorter climbs.
 

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Since you are in Fremont (or Union City perhaps), I think Pleasanton Ridge is fine for a beginner. You'll just need to walk occasionally, but that builds fitness too. Just keep going at a comfortable pace, and you'll enjoy the ride down. It's a lot nicer than Garin in my opinion. Chabot has some nice beginner trails. I learned at Mission Peak in Fremont, but I wouldn't recommend it unless you like pain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Good ideas, thanks all. I'd forgotten I had Arastradero on my list a while back and it fell off somewhere between then and now - glad I asked!
 

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Air Pirate
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Coyote Hills and Alum Rock are both supposed to be beginner friendly. You could also check out the bayarearides site. He tends to be very conservative on his recommendations
+1 on using the Bay Area Mountain Bike Rides website as a catalog of places to ride. I extensively used that to scope out rides near where I would be in the Bay Area on business trips and family trips. Ergin has a pretty good rating system on his site so it is easy to tell what the rides will be like. Check out the FAQ page for an explanation on the rating system. He also has GPS tracks, topo maps, and photos with his ride reports, so it is a no-brainer to choose something that will work for you. I was able to determine by his descriptions of Waterdog that it would be an okay place to take my daughter when we were in the area:

DSC02646.jpg
 

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I just started last month and I've been riding at Grant ranch/Armastrado.

I would also add on Russia ridge, and monte-bello open space to the list.

Grant Ranch has some long climbing but you can hike your bike up once you get tired, then its a fun roller coster down.
 

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If Santa Cruz isn't too far for you then I'd consider Wilder Ranch as mostly beginner friendly. Especially worthwhile in the summer when inland trails might be fairly hot, Wilder will be cool.
 

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I just started last month and I've been riding at Grant ranch/Armastrado.

I would also add on Russia ridge, and monte-bello open space to the list.

Grant Ranch has some long climbing but you can hike your bike up once you get tired, then its a fun roller coster down.
I would call those climbs in Grant Ranch "Not Beginner Friendly" from a cardio/stamina standpoint. As it's just a grind up a long steep fireroad. When I first started out I hit that place and walked up about 40% of one of the climbs and was miserable. Though once you do get to the top, the ride along the ridge(s) is great and then the bombing back down to the valley is a blast.
 

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Coyote hills is pretty casual if you are in the paved or dirt trails going around the side of the mountain. However, there is a set of 5 or 6 MTB hills in a row that can be decently challenging if you try to one shot them w/o rest.
 

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My girlfriend wanted to try mountain biking with me. She was comfortable on a bike goofing around our streets...is China Camp a good place??
 

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I've taken newer riders there and they have done find. I've also seen the Trips for Kids group there,as long as you stay in China Camp it should be good. I'd recommend going clock ways,it's a little less steep and the little rocky places can be walked on the way down.
 

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China Camp is great for beginners -- I have taught several folk there by just doing an out-and-back on the Shoreline trail (fun, flowy, wide, and super pretty with just one small climb).

Joaquin Miller is beginner friendly if you pick the right route but has its intimidating spots and no real signage. I recommend exploring it tomorrow with BTCEB -- they always have a beginner group with an experienced leader, plus beer and snacks after the ride. BTCEB Gala Ride - Joaquin Miller Park - Bicycle Trails Council of the East Bay (Berkeley, CA) - Meetup
 

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My 7yo son did Shoreline trail at China Camp a couple weeks ago on his 16" spider-man bmx bike. He had to walk up the beginning from the ranger station but rode the rest. Even hit a couple jumps. It's about 3mi long from the ranger station to the campground.
He's also done a couple trails at UCSC on the same bike.
 

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Just ride!!

Hi All,

I've been getting into mtb slowly over the last few months; getting a feel for my bike and mostly sticking to Quarry Lakes and the Alameda Creek Trail in Fremont (mainly because I can ride to there).

Couple weeks ago I tried out Garin/Dry Creek to get a feel for something more mountain-bikey. I came close to puking more than a few times on the climbs and walked more than I rode. That said, I had a blast. The downhill portions were great, despite running over horse crud and splattering it all over myself :madman:, and even pushing my bike uphill was fun.

Anywho, background aside, I'm wondering if folks have suggestions for other newb friendly rides in the Bay Area that I can check out going forward. It seems like there are some good options (Coyote Hills, Waterdog, Lake Chabot, P-Ridge, JMP) but want to make sure that's not just my perception or that I'm missing something else.

Thanks!
They are all beginner trails! The difference is beginner or advanced RIDER and the only way to tell that difference is how fast or easy they travel over them. If you are only looking for "beginner" trails, you are missing out on some REALLY good times.

Ride what you can and push your bike the rest of the time. No body gives a **** if you are pushing or riding...It is all good as long as you are out there trying and having fun! Don't get hung up on looking for "beginner trails". Quit wimping out and hiding behind the word - "newbe" :) Just have fun!

Ride at a safe pace for your skill level and go for it. You are SUPPOSED to be huffing, puffing and sweating.
 
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