Posted in Blogging Marin on Friday, September 30, 2016 by MCVB Staff
By Megan Eileen McDonough
Whether visiting in spring, summer, fall or winter, Marin’s outdoor adventures are only a bike ride away. The sport of mountain biking actually started here (more on that later!), but you don’t need to be an athlete to enjoy the views. From the Golden Gate Bridge to the Marin Headlands, there’s a trail for every interest and skill level. Pick up a rental bike for the day or opt for an interactive tour led by a local. Now, time to hit the open road!
For Mountain Biking, Start With Mount Tamalpais
Mount Tamalpais in Marin County is the birthplace of mountain biking. It's true! You can read up on the history in this crash course. For regular mountain bikers, Marin County will feel like your personal playground, although newcomers are always welcome should they feel up to the challenge. Mount Tamalpais trails vary in terrain, from rugged to smooth, so choose your route according to skill. For even more adventure, bike the coastal bluffs at Point Reyes National Seashore for a bird's-eye view of San Pablo Bay at China Camp State Park.
For Road Cycling, Begin in Fairfax
When in doubt, start your cycle journey in Fairfax. From here, you have a few options. There's a 17-mile climb that takes you up Mount Tamalpais. It's not an easy ascent but the views of the Pacific are definitely worth the trip. Alternatively, you can enter rural West Marin from Fairfax for a more leisurely ride. Point Reyes is just about 28 miles away and Tomales Bay isn't too far, either.
For Family Rides, Stick to Preserves and Ponds
Traveling to Marin with the fam? Good news! The county has plenty of scenic routes that won't leave you huffing and puffing up a mountain. Las Gallinas Wildlife Ponds near McInnis Park in San Rafael is a go-to spot for families, with its gravel trails that span a 2.1-mile loop. Keep an eye out for hikers, runners and even cyclists, as this is a popular spot for multiple sports. Then, in Novato, have your pick of two peaceful preserves: the Indian Valley Open Space Preserve or the Rush Creek Open Space Preserve.
For Organized Rides, Trust the Experts
If you’re new to Marin and unsure of your surroundings, it's best to sign up for a group tour or ride. Since 1963, Marin Cyclists Road Club has brought cyclists together to experience the wonders of riding in Marin. With organized rides on the weekends, and shorter, informal ones during the week, members and nonmembers with a range of abilities unite to share their passion for cycling, the road and the great outdoors in Marin.
For Rough Riding, Go to Stafford Lake Bike Park
When gravel roads and flat terrain aren't rough enough for your taste, head to Stafford Lake Bike Park for a ride on the wild side. As the North Bay's first public bike park, this is a go-to spot for adventure junkies just as much as it is for beginners. Upon its completion, the park will span 17 acres, giving cyclists plenty of space to roam. Skilled riders can test their limits on the progression jump course, where they'll leap into the air and land back on a dirt path. Intermediate to advanced riders can also have a whirl on the dual slalom gravity zone.