on September 17, 2004
If you love moutain biking in the San Francisco Bay Area, then this book is your new best friend!
Detailed maps, great photos and tons of great rides that will challenge and inspire you as well as leave you breathless (both figuratively and literally). This book's detailed descriptions of where to catch the trails and navigate some of the best mountain biking in the world is a must for both locals and visitors to the birthplace of mountain biking. I especially loved the Marin trails section because it opened my eyes to some rides I didn't know about which have now become some of my favorites. And if you love single track riding, then Jackson will take you on some of the most harrowing rides you can imagine -- I've got the scabs and scars on my knees and thighs to prove it!
Buy this book!
on November 21, 2004
As a serious S.F. Bay Area cyclist for over 40 years I approach any guidebook to my "back yard" with a certain degree of skepticism, as in "What new can you possibly show me?" I was delighted to find that Ms. Jackson did indeed show me some new mountain biking delights I'd overlooked, but along the way I learned even more new tidbits about what I supposedly already knew. Almost every featured ride has "enrichment" far beyond the necessary trail and topographical stats. No doubt the author learned things from her literary predecessors, which is as it should be, but there is also no doubt she has written the currently definitive off-road guide for mountain bikers of this region. The miracle of the S.F. area is that 5 million people can live so close to so much open space. It is no mean feat to review it all personally, provide directions that are simultaneously explicit and open ended, and simultaneously appeal to the first time rider and a "show me" old time rider such as myself. But Ms. Jackson has done this much, and more. I mean her guide book is not only that, but a fun read as well. Imagine!
on September 28, 2004
Mountain Biking the San Francisco Bay Area is what the title says it is and much more. Lorene Jackson has tackled a huge subject (argueably the area with the largest number of mountain biking options in the country) and covered it well, providing the rider with all he/she needs to know before hitting the trail. But she does more than that. Beyond describing the ride, the terrain, and what's of interest, she makes each ride enticing.
Beyond offering detailed descriptions of 40 rides around the Bay Area, plus 17 more "Honorable Mentions," she provides much background material and information that will equip the novice and intermediate rider to be prepared and assured of a pleasureable experience.
But what I enjoyed most was her breezy enthusiasm that will draw many armchair riders to actually get on a bike and head for the mountains. Lorene Jackson and this book should spread the mountain biking "gospel" beyond it's current circle. I can't wait for her book on Lake Tahoe rides!
on February 3, 2012
I moved back to the Bay Area a few years back and picked up this book to help figure out the rich variety of mountain bike rides in the this area. The rides included are comprehensive and more critically throughly and accurately reviewed. I have a few mountain bike books for other states and one in particular the author clearly did not even bother to ride some of the included rides. It's clear from the depth of the reviews and oft included history of each ride Ms. Jackson not only rode each ride but talked to other riders and experts (e.g. park rangers) about each ride. I have found Jackson's recommended loops nearly always spot on. Importantly her advice on the direction to travel is also very helpful and sometimes left out of other reviews of Bay Area rides.
My only nit is a small one but I think the difficulty level needs a finer gradation scale. Easy, moderate, and difficult is not enough. I find that many, if not most, of the moderate rated trails are fairly advanced regarding steepness and aerobic difficulty. I have found the trails rated easy and difficult to be accurate. A scale - like the ski areas use would be much more informative: Easy, Intermediate, Advanced, Expert Only, and Variations (combo of any two) would be markedly more helpful and useful.
This book makes you want to ride more and there is no better recommendation than that.