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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey,
I'll be visiting and have one day to ride. Can someone recommend some quintessential CA trails and a good shop to rent a bike for a serious ride?
A 3-5 hour loop? Expert trails are A-ok.
I looked on Trail Forks but can't decide where to go.
thanks!
 

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I think you'll find more help if you can be even more specific - SF area / North Coast is a bit vague - where exactly are you looking at staying / riding? Do you prefer long XC rides or more DH gravity focused?

And just to set realistic expectations - there are pretty much no expert level trails that are sanctioned- you'll have to go unsanctioned for that - we have a saying here: "If it's fun, it's probably illegal"

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Demo a bike from Santa Cruz, or Ibis...book in advance, it’s Summertime. Go ride Soquel Demo Forest, or Santa Cruz illegal trails. Skyno will show you around :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I think you'll find more help if you can be even more specific - SF area / North Coast is a bit vague - where exactly are you looking at staying / riding? Do you prefer long XC rides or more DH gravity focused?

And just to set realistic expectations - there are pretty much no expert level trails that are sanctioned- you'll have to go unsanctioned for that - we have a saying here: "If it's fun, it's probably illegal"

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Hi,
I'm coming out for a Route 1 road trip. No definite destinations as of yet. I'm looking for trails for a ~ 150mm FS bike. Like the Hightower LT for example.
How about the Santa Cruz area?
thanks.
 

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In that case, what Griz said - get a bike from SC or Ibis and ride Demo Forest which are on Trailforks, or try to hook up with a local on the SC unsanctioned trails where you’ll need a guide - by far the best trails in the area


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I have been to demo just once, a year ago next week. If you go on the weekend you will probably find plenty of people to connect with to get options of how to get to the trails.

When I rode Demo, the first day I did 2 laps of the Flow Trail, 24 or 26 miles, 4500'. The following day I rode 2 laps of Braille trail. About 13 miles and about 3,000'.
A common day is a loop of flow and a loop of Braille.

I'm not the best resource, but that is my experience. The parking area for Demo is a long windy trail (paved). Google maps work perfectly. I preferred the trip from Aptos better than coming in from the west (can't remember which road names that is). I made a loop, up the east side, rode the bike, back out counterclockwise and back to town. I hoped it would be an easier drive than from Aptos but it really wasn't too much better. Or maybe it was still just as long despite having better road conditions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
From the SC Bicycles Factory Demo website:
"Demo bikes are not to be taken to the Soquel Demonstration Forest."

... Anyhow, thanks everyone for the info.
 

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From the SC Bicycles Factory Demo website:
"Demo bikes are not to be taken to the Soquel Demonstration Forest."

... Anyhow, thanks everyone for the info.
Damn, that's a bummer. Three or four years ago I demoed a Bronson and was able to get it to Soquel, but it was a huge PITA, I had to book two back to back 3 hour sessions, and then they wanted to keep my license as collateral, I was like... umm I need that to drive to Demo. Wilder terrain is not nearly as good as Demo for... demos. But the descent into Enchanted Forest has a few good small drops.
 

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What day are you looking to ride? One of us locals might be able to show you around, which honestly is going to be your best bet for the most bang for your buck in a 3-5 hour ride. This should be arranged via PM.

If you can't get a demo from SC or Ibis I would check demos from Another Bike Shop.
 

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I wouldn't be too bummed about missing out on Demo. It's fun, but UC-Wilder has way more s/t and variety of terrain, ocean views, redwoods, and the trailheads are a short drive from Santa Cruz. Post up which day you're riding and get a guide!
 

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I wouldn't be too bummed about missing out on Demo. It's fun, but UC-Wilder has way more s/t and variety of terrain, ocean views, redwoods, and the trailheads are a short drive from Santa Cruz. Post up which day you're riding and get a guide!
More variety and ocean views, yeah.

More single track? Not sure about that.

More redwoods? Definitely disagree there.

But yeah it's still a really nice ride.

And Trailhead Cyclery is another option, I demoed an Ibis there but it was not cheap.
 

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It's not even close with the s/t. And there's more every season! As far as the redwoods, there used to be some bigger ones on Sawpit, but I assume those are gone now. In Demo I'm always aware that I'm in a managed timber forest. It just doesn't have the same beauty to me. If you do laps at UC you're in redwoods almost the entire time. Both places have their merits.
 

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A couple of ideas:

1. Take the Epicenter Cycles shuttle from Aptos. Do a Braille lap and/or a Flow lap at Demo, then head back down to Aptos. You'll want navigational help on the way back to avoid racing the gravel grinders down the fire road. If you're looking for more climbing and fewer $$, skip the shuttle and climb up the fire road.
2. If you're looking for a ride that goes somewhere vs. laps in a smaller area, it's easy (sort of, still best to have a guide) to link UC and Wilder together in a single ride. When you reach the ocean, you can climb back up and over, hitting UC again or you can take it easy and ride back through town. If I can get my wife to pick me up at Lupulo in DT SC afterwards, I like to link the Sand Hills, a couple of UC laps, and Wilder together from home.
 

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It's not even close with the s/t. And there's more every season! As far as the redwoods, there used to be some bigger ones on Sawpit, but I assume those are gone now. In Demo I'm always aware that I'm in a managed timber forest. It just doesn't have the same beauty to me. If you do laps at UC you're in redwoods almost the entire time. Both places have their merits.
Yeah I guess I was referring to Wilder only and not UC-Wilder, as I've (still) never ridden UC.

And yeah I miss sawpit.
 
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