The Bay Area has long been a hub of mountain biking, beginning with the sport’s origins on Mt. Tamalpais in the 1970s.
Great weather, an abundance of trails and natural beauty, and an athletically-inclined population have made the Bay Area one of the most popular regions in the world for this challenging and fun sport.
The East Bay Regional Park District boasts hundreds of miles of trails that are open to mountain bikes.
Overall, most mountain bicyclists, hikers and equestrians share the trails with few problems. But, with ever-increasing numbers of park visitors, occasional conflicts are inevitable.
Here’s a quick refresher on trail rules for bicyclists, hikers and equestrians alike:
Mountain bikes are allowed on any trail over 8 feet wide, and most paved trails.
They’re also allowed on a handful of narrow trails throughout the District, including the Heron Bay and Swallow Bay trails at Del Valle; Zeile Creek trail at Garin; Panorama trail at Mission Peak; Clyma trail at Morgan Territory; Brandon trail at Lake Chabot; Brushy Peak Loop trail at Brushy Peak; and a variety of narrow trails at Briones, Redwood and Sibley. Check maps and www.ebparks.org for details.
A few areas are off-limits to bikes entirely because of narrow trails, crowds or sensitive habitat: Claremont Canyon, Huckleberry, Ardenwood, and portions of Coyote Hills, Mission Peak, Sibley, Tilden Nature Area and Eastshore.
Crockett Hills Regional Park offers almost 13 miles of outstanding single-track trails that are open to mountain bikes.
Throughout the Park District, the bike speed limit is 15 mph. Bicyclists should call out if they’re passing a hiker or equestrian. Most collisions happen when hikers are caught off guard, or can’t move out of the way fast enough.
“If you’re hauling down a hill doing 25 mph, even if you do call out a hiker won’t be able to move fast enough,” said East Bay Regional Park District police Lt. Lance Brede. “And if the hiker’s wearing headphones, they might not hear you at all.”
In general, all trail users should be courteous and accommodating, and remember that everyone wants to have an enjoyable experience at the park. Safety and consideration should be everyone’s priority.
Staying on the trail is important, as well. Creating bootleg trails or shortcuts causes erosion, degrades the landscape, and can be costly to repair.
Tour the historic Hazel-Atlas silica sand mine at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the visitor center. Tours will be at 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Participants must be age 7 or older.
And at Coyote Hills, spend the day doing sack races, egg relays, tug-of-war, kick-the-can and other activities. Drop by between 10 a.m. and 3:30.