Steve Klink (Slovenia) Riding in Marin County

Celia Graterol is a fantastic biker, leader, trail guide and organizer. The cross-country mountain bike tour she put together for me was a great day of riding and worth every penny! I can strongly recommend her services.

There is very good biking where I come from in the southern alps of Europe. But when a family gathering gave me the opportunity to be for two weeks in the San Francisco area, the chance was too great to pass up: I had to go bike riding in Marin County.

But how does one just "go" to a place and start riding there? I needed a bike (transporting mine from Europe would have been too complicated and costly) but more importantly I needed to know where to ride. I didn't feel like getting lost in the hills during my holidays.

Celia Graterol organized some of the best holidays I have ever had! Celia is a great rider, both cross-country and downhill, and she is also good at working with people. Even more important, she knows every nook and cranny of Marin County and she is a thorough organizer.

I have to admit I did not know what to expect when Celia and I finally met for our first ride on a cold (by California standards) sunny, wintery morning at China Camp. A lot of things can go wrong on a bike tour, especially when you're organizing for someone you don't know. But Celia had thought of everything. She organized an amazing bike for me that was the perfect fit (the many email exchanges regarding measurements and body size paid off), and through her thorough questionnaires she had figured out exactly what kind of biker I was. Celia knew the terrain so well, and she had exhaustively researched what kind of day-ride I wanted. She was also a supportive bike partner. She listened and watched, but was not scared to comment on my biking technique, and I learned a lot!

It was a day of riding that I will never forget.

In Slovenia and Austria there are some incredible downhill rides because the mountains here are very steep. When I had been previewing Marin County on google maps I noticed that the hills were not so high compared to the alps, so I was a little skeptical at first about what I consider the fun factor (I love downhill). But the rolling hills of Marin County are unique and completely special, something that everyone who loves mountain biking should try at least once in their lifetime! The easy, undulating pace is so satisfying that the singletracks seem to go on forever. After you have ridden here you can start to understand why the sport of mountain biking was born here.

So what can I say? Was it worth it? Yes! Like I said above: every last penny. I liked it so much that two days later I had to go again...

Steve Klink

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