One of the best things about participating in group rides with the local mountain bike club is being exposed to new trails you might not ordinarily seek out to ride. Last week’s Gala Ride with the Bicycle Trails Council of the East Bay was a shining example of that, when we trekked out to Livermore to ride at Del Valle Regional Park.
The main attraction of Del Valle Park is Lake Del Valle. Framed by rolling hills with a few nice beaches, swimming is an option year round, as well as fishing, boating and camping. As is the case with all East Bay Regional Parks, their idea of “trails” are extremely wide dirt roads you could easily navigate a tank on. However, there was a surprisingly good amount of single track in the area. And while most of it was best suited for XC bikes and 29ers, some of it was really fun.
The best part of the park was a lack of “No Bikes” signs, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much potential for awesome the park contained. I really shouldn’t be- the East Bay actually is filled with extremely great terrain with rolling hills and epic views. The main issue is the lack of well designed trail. The surprise here was that we rode over half of our ride on single track. Most of the dirt roads that traverse the lake also had sweet little ribbons of trail that paralleled the fire access routes. Adding rolling grade dips and a few features to the single track would be all that’s needed to create a trail destination for the bay area- something we hope that East Bay Parks will wisen up to in the near future.
The ride had a few steep grinds, but we always chose the single track option over the fire road; it was definitely worth it for the final view before turning back. Our route ended up being more of a lollipop loop, as there currently aren’t options for navigating around the entire lake. (that I know of at least)
As is the custom for BTCEB Gala Rides, after 2-3 hours of pedaling the groups re-converge at the parking lot to share stories and enjoy a few cold ones.
Although the single track isn’t quite worth a regular drive (just under an hour from our location in Oakland) the trails hold remarkable potential. As it is, it’s a great option for those with XC bikes and big wheels looking to mix up their rides with great scenery and a bit of elevation. (we did about 2500 feet of climbing in 16 miles) The mellow tread was a bit deceiving, as a number of riders got a bit over their head on fast descents and a few drifty turns that had me in smiles with my foot out.