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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Northern and central California is littered with some of the best terrain and routes for mixed terrain riding, those neither completely dirt, pavement, fire road or singletrack rides. Neither "fish nor fowl" rides that aren't completely suited to a mountain bike, road bike, or sometimes, even a dedicated cyclocross bike. There's quite a bit of of this style of riding out there in northern California, if you have a favorite route, why not post it here and share with others.

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And now that Salsa, Niner and numerous others, have gotten in to game of offering dedicated monster CX or"gravel" bikes with gearing options, disc brakes, and higher volume tires, more versatile bikes are being built and sold than the traditional cyclocross bike. If you have a rig, tips or tricks, you're proud of [or not] share those here too.

Here's my Asylum Muese:

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I built it up from a frameset using my old Industry 9/Arch 29er wheelset with my tires set up tubeless. A Shimano CX50 crankset [48/36] and Problem Solver eccentric PF30 BB allow it to be a singlespeed or geared bike. Stopping and shifting with Sram Rival shifters and TRP Sprye cable actuated disc brakes. Sala Cowbell 3 bars and a EIS 7 stem. About 19.5 lbs with pedals, bottle cages, pump clip, etc., etc.
A really fun and versatile bike.

And one more of the "Luftwaffle" in it's element:

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Nice RLT GC!

Good routes would be nice. Most of the Bay Area good stuff also involves a crampload of climbing. Lots to do in Marin. Most of the Easy Bay parks can be connected nicely. I am looking at a rides out of Auburn involving Yankee Jims road, and a ride out of Turlock involving Fields Rd. But need more ideas.
My Curtlo handles fire roads with ease.

I rode this on the Tainthammer near Gustine.

My Salsa Podio has seen a bit of fun as well.

But when I am doing a large amount of dirt, I prefer descending with flat bars:

I am now building up a 29er version, a Marin Muirwoods 29er, as I love the cockpit of a 29er (feels like a road bike.) Soon this bike will be rolling on Smart Sams:
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here's my Caletti CX race bike setup for some adventure riding. i fit in some Clement MSO 40s in there with no problem. hitting Dirty Kanza at the end of May.

Wilder, Nisene Big Basine and all points in between...

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650B Road tires can help a lot with these kinds of rides.

All the legal stuff in Redwood is doable in dry conditions with this bike. Makes a nice change from climbing Pinehurst.



Cutting through Briones also adds some variety to rides. I've yet to find anything in the East Bay that isn't ridable with this bike in dry conditions,
Although the steeper parts of Briones off the main trail aren't much fun to descend. The great thing about this kind of bike is that if you see a little trail, you just go for it. Sometimes it's just a quarter mile of not much, but sometimes you can find some hidden gems.
 

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Briones can get pretty chewed up by cows, as can Diablo Foothills. Makes riding on any bike a rugged affair.

The great thing about this kind of bike is that if you see a little trail, you just go for it.
Yes. I like my bikes to be able to go wherever I feel. Sometimes I have to walk up a hill, but I would rather be on a dirt road than pavement.
 

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Would like to know about epic rides that can be done not far from SF other than Marin
Look at the SF Spring Classic SF to Santa Cruz route. The web site Boys on the Hoods has another route from SF, over Sweeney into HMB. I have created but never ridden routes involving Gazos Creek, Old Haul Rd, China Grade.
 

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I've gone a little different route recently. Have been riding a cyclocross bikes in various forms around the Santa Cruz mountains as well as the east bay since the 90's. Over the years I've slowly evolved from a drop bar racing rig, to a much more comfortable flat bar set up with v-brakes, to my current rendition: a rigid 29er Mtn rig.

Given the amount of dirt that can be found around these parts and the cow hoof trodden trails/fire roads that are so common, my current set up is a rigid salsa el mariachi (2x10) with big rubber and a Jones Loop bar. Less efficient for long road miles or steep road descents, but it sure does make the trails more fun. The jones bar allows for a really aero tuck position when so desired on the road.

The bike (bars are currently wrapped with handlebar tape)


One of my multi-park tour routes (JMP, redwood, Chabot, Pleasanton Ridge - out and back):

 

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This guy included Usal in what looks like a tremendous trip
Tremendous, indeed. A cameo by the Mendocino Bike Sprites as well.

All of my Mixed Terrain adventures have me riding out the front door to Redwood or Wildcat, maybe a Chabot. Big wow. Damn, doing that solo is impressive. Rep given!
 

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Never ridden Usal, but have driven it. It does see some car and motorcycle traffic, and I've heard it got graded last year which might draw even more motos so be on the lookout if you're out there riding.

One time when I drove it in the spring many years ago after a wet winter, it took 3+ hrs just to drive it!

Have always wanted to put together an epic ride up there, including Usal Rd and a few others for a point to point or a massive So Hum loop.

BTW the hiking trail along the coast that parallels Usal rd ( lost coast trail) is absolutely stunning. LOTS of ticks though...



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Look at the SF Spring Classic SF to Santa Cruz route. The web site Boys on the Hoods has another route from SF, over Sweeney into HMB. I have created but never ridden routes involving Gazos Creek, Old Haul Rd, China Grade.
I didn't go to deep but I wasn't able to find much on the Boyz on the Hoods site as far as actual mapped routes or directions. Awesome ride reports with fantastic pictures tho!
I'd love to do that Sweeney Ridge ride to HMB from Marin, as much as I love planning a fun new route, it's always great to have all the major route details already worked out. Any info/directions/strava on that route?
 
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