The green spaces managed by East Bay Parks feature some amazing views, and we’re lucky as Bay Area residents to have so many natural areas located close to home. Unfortunately much of the recreational experience is tarnished by the giant natural surface roads that are passed off as trails. These “trails” are wide— I’m quite sure two sherman tanks could progress up the hill side by side in many sections without any problem. They’re essentially giant scars on the hillside that can be seen from miles away, “designed” and constructed by the worst in the business. There is hope though; changes to the Master Plan that oversees management of these spaces is currently underway, and it’s possible that after 20+ years, recreational needs of the off road community may actually be addressed.
Our stance on poorly designed trail experiences are the reason we stand with the BTCEB. Last weekend we joined the Bicycle Trails Council of the East Bay for their monthly Gala Ride the Pleasanton Ridge. Each month the group organizes a large group ride at a different cycling destination in the Bay Area. These rides serve both as introductions to new recreational areas, and raise awareness of the cause. The large group is split by skill levels and is not only a pleasant social event (beer and snacks are provided after the ride) but is great way to explore a new area, as the groups are guided by riders familiar to the location. We’ve taken to joining many of these rides to ride areas that we wouldn’t normally be inclined to explore on our own, and have always been psyched to find at least a few short bursts of the narrow, flowy and desirable trail experience we’re addicted to. This month’s ride didn’t start out that way though.
The ride began with an ascent up a ridiculously steep grade that left resulted in a number of the less fit/ beginner riders of the group turning around and heading home. Those that held on were rewarded with some fantastic views of the valley.
A few miles in though, our group was rewarded with a section of narrow trail that made the unexciting route up worth it.
Unimpressed with the minimal amount of trail we rode, a few of us split off from the group on the way down to explore. While avoiding sections that were clearly marked as off limits to bikes, we managed to come across and experience a ribbon of trail that put smiles on our faces and make the trudge up it all a distant memory.
Sometimes getting lost is the best thing that can happen to you. When we met up with the group, already a few rounds in, we had some great stories to tell of sections of trail that served up exactly what we’re looking for. It’s not Colorado riding, and I’m actually unclear on whether or not these trails are bike friendly, but in this case ignorance is bliss.
Plan a trip to do some exploration of your own via the East Bay Parks website: Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park
Join a BTCEB Gala Ride via Meetup