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Friday, January 16, 2015

Here Is How We Can Bring More Mountain Bike Trails to S.F.

Posted By on Fri, Jan 16, 2015 at 10:40 AM

click to enlarge spokesman.jpg

While the Bay Area might be a major destination for road cycling, it hasn't got much in the way of mountain bike trails. Sure you can slog up and down the fire roads like I do but there isn't much legal singletrack designated for mountain bike use.

Bell, the company that makes helmets, has partnered up with the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) to offer a $100,000 worth of grants for worthy mountain bike projects. Somebody should get on this and help bring a real trail system to the region.

Last year, Stafford Lake Bike Park in Marin County narrowly missed out on the grant. This project was one of three finalists in the Bell/IMBA grant contest, but missed out on collecting enough votes last year. Luckily, the project has moved forward and construction has started even without that $100k.

This project, sponsored by the Friends of Stafford Lake and the Marin County Bike Coalition, could potentially throw a helmet in the ring again to compete for funding, since according the project's website, more is needed to complete the full planned bike park.

Construction has stopped during the rainy season, but the park is organizing and training volunteers for the upcoming work in the summer.

Another one of the finalists from last year's contest also happened to be in the Bay Area: The Demo Flow Trail at Soquel Demonstration State Forest. This trail system, set northeast of Santa Cruz, is also under construction, despite missing out on the Bell grant. I'd put good money on the Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz getting another campaign together to fund this trail or more trails in the Soquel Demonstration State Forest or elsewhere in the Santa Cruz area
click to enlarge The mountain bike trails in McLaren park.
  • The mountain bike trails in McLaren park.

But neither of those really puts mountain biking at the doorstep of San Francisco or East Bay riders. Are there any projects out there that might do that. Maybe an organization with enough pull could persuade McLaren Park to develop more mountain bike trails? Or maybe if the funding was already there someone could convince the University of California in Berkeley to make the the illegal trails that wind around the Berkeley fire roads in Strawberry Canyon legal?

Or maybe there could be more dedicated mountain bike trails in Joaquin Miller or Redwood Regional Park in Oakland?

click to enlarge A view that includes Side-O, one of the illegal mountain bike trails on UC Berkeley land.
  • A view that includes Side-O, one of the illegal mountain bike trails on UC Berkeley land.

Perhaps the illegal trails on the University of California Berkeley land might be the perfect candidate for this project. Rather than get irresponsibly poached by teens (see here, here, and here) maybe it would be better to make a planned, sustainable, and ecologically friendly set of trails that are easily accessible from anywhere in the Bay Area. 

If you've got some plan to pitch to Bell, now is the time to start working.  
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About The Author

Leif Haven

Leif Haven

Leif Haven is a writer and cyclist living in the Bay Area. He can be spotted dragging himself up a hill — literally and metaphorically.

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