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I am just getting into mountain biking and live in Sacramento so I went out and bought 4 guide books listed Below. Can someone tell me which guides/guide to buy. My main interest is Gold Country, Sierra/Tahoe, and Coastal areas. I would prefer it to be current and comprehensive and give good insight into what you're getting into on each trail. Of course it should have a good map and descriptions so you know where to start and don't get lost. Most of the guides seem to be "best of" but I would like something that includes everything including the local secrets. (I know, good luck) but you get the idea. I did the Sidewinder trail that starts near the Lake Tahoe Airport and was excellent but I don't see it in any guide book. So far I have ridden Tamarancho, China Camp, Something just south of Antioch, Salmon Falls, Sidewinder and Forest Hill divide.

"Mountain Biking Lake Tahoe and the Gold Country" By Peter S Kelly. It is dated 2005 and consists of Topo maps. We tried to find the Lake Clementine trail today but had trouble with the info in the book. We finally setteled on the Forest Hill Divide trail and at first had trouble following the guide but finally got into the groove.

Next: "Mountain Bikeing Northern California" A Falcon Guide dated 2001 by Roger McGehee. It's a little old and doesn't seem to have some of the popular trails I am aware of.

Next: "Mountain Biking Lake Tahoe" A Falcon Guide dated 2006 Lorene Jackson.

And Last "Nountain Biking Northern California's Best 100 Trails dated 2000 by Delaine Fragnoli. Again, it's a little old.
 

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Welcome to mountain biking John - small world (with lots of climbers)!

I don't know about Sac area guidebooks, but in general I haven't seen any mountain biking guidebooks that even get close to rock climbing guidebooks as far as depth of information. But unlike climbing you can just get off your bike and walk so it's never been that important to have good detail. Particularly since half the fun of a new area is just exploring around!

For many areas all you need is a good map, which are often available online or at the park/preserve/open space. You can have fun exploring with nothing more (assuming you can find trailheads, which are not always super easy to find). And you can ask here for recommended trails, loops, etc.

If you're interested in coming all the way to the south bay, I'd be happy to show you around south bay and peninsula trails (or a few up Hwy 108) - but finding free time is a bit of a trick these days. I'll PM and email you contact info, my email is still the same - Greg Barnes
 

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Seriously, I've never seen a mtb guide book worth owning and I flip through them every time I'm in a book store and come across a new one.

I'd use web tips and web sites in conjunction with maps. There is a lot of good information on this forum as well. I always end up with a plastic bag in my pocket and a bunch of internet print outs stuff inside when riding new places.
 

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What he said:

mttamrnr said:
Seriously, I've never seen a mtb guide book worth owning and I flip through them every time I'm in a book store and come across a new one.

I'd use web tips and web sites in conjunction with maps. There is a lot of good information on this forum as well. I always end up with a plastic bag in my pocket and a bunch of internet print outs stuff inside when riding new places.
What he said.

Early on I bought a couple, and I've browsed ones I've come across. I've also gotten some cycling guides as gifts . They generally tend to highlight a ride or two at a wide range of places. Overall I haven't found them that useful.
 

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What he said

cohenfive said:
i've found this forum to be my guide book in northern california. much easier to carry around as well....:)
I tried looking at guidebooks a long time ago too. This forum, plus the several sites that store GPS tracks are much better. And there are many more trails than in those books. Try Garmin Connect, for example: http://connect.garmin.com/
 

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I have to say that the few guidebooks I read were all pretty disappointing.

My site is getting a bit long in the teeth but I have a good number of ride guides (and thanks zignzag for the rec) but back when I was searching for rides I used http://mtb.live555.com/ a good bit. Some of the info there is dated but lots of it is good.

The trail reviews here on MTBR of mixed value, some are quite good, some not so much. Mostly you will find asking about rides on the forum is the most accurate way to get the lowdown.

A few more resources:
http://fatrac.org/ <- Folsom and Auburn are the closest trails and FATRAC has organized rides for beginners.

http://www.bonc.org/trailguide.htm <- BONC is the Nevada City area, a bit further away but awesome trails, nice for weekend getaways.
 
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