Early into 2013, my now fiance and I had been planning to visit San Francisco on our way back from the UK. This gave me the great idea of allowing my fiance a day to herself pampering in San Fran which meant I had to occupy myself and what better way than a day of mountain biking. I searched the web and found Mountain Biking Marin. From the first email from Celia to the final beer from the local craft Marin Brewery at Larkspur after the riding day, I knew this was the right choice.
Mountain Biking Marin was able to offer me a complete variety of riding in all types of terrain and ability. Arranged the hire of my bike from Sunshine Bicycles which is where we first met and started our ride. I opted for a one-on-one guided mountain bike tour 25-30kms 3-4hrs+/-.
We headed towards Tamarancho which was a circular loop and some good climbing through switchbacks etc, good way to get the blood pumping and settle into the bike, my first 29er. Along the way we stopped at various points for a clinic now and then which was great, Celia is very knowledgeable and encouraging, not only did I have a great ride but learned a few things too.
After every ascent there is always a great descent and this was no exception through a reasonably fast paced rock garden with great views over the San Fran Bay. From some more climbing and on to a flow track which descended 100mts in elevation, this was AWESOME and a great reward for the previous 20 minuets of uphill switchbacks. Once back to the top of the flow track we cruised at a reasonable pace on some fire roads, single track and back into Fairfax. The ride and guided tour was more than I expected and of great value for the money.
After handing back the bike with huge smiles, I was off to the ferry terminal but not before stopping for a well earned specialty Mt. Tam Pale Ale at Marin Brewing Co. with Celia before catching the ferry back across the bay to reality, well as much reality as you get when you are still on a great holiday!
Thank you Celia, Mountain Biking Marin and Sunshine Bicycles.
Marty, New Zealand
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Over the past 2 years, Northstar has been high in my sites of places I was really really excited and stoked to say the least, to check out! I mean downhill awesomeness without having to pedal to the top to ride it! I'm in! First time I went with friends all of us newbies to "DH" riding so we rode our full suspension cross country bikes. A few runs into the awe inspiring park, one of us crashed pretty bad, resulting in broken glasses and deeply "scraped" arm, hip and leg. Needless to say the "Epic Day" of "Riding Northstar" was over.
Still with the bug in me about a year later I went again for the second time with one of the same newbie buddies. This second time I rented a DH bike at Northstar and they also provided me with a full face helmet, pads and body armour. My buddy had bought a bike, so we were all set this time! Well 1 - 1/2 runs into another "Epic Day" of "Riding Northstar", my buddy crashed (face planted) on Livewire and got a concussion, we were AGAIN done!
So I talked to Celia Graterol of Mountain Biking Marin and she said some things that she does when she rides there that I hadn't even thought of and also she backed me up with some things I had thought of. She said I should go up with her for a day, so 2 weeks later I went to Northstar for the third time, on August 16th 2013 we did it. And I can finally say I had an "EPIC DAY" of "RIDING NORTHSTAR!" I had a full fun fun fun and safe day of riding and now feel much much more confident and better rider as I always do when I ride with Celia, she is not only a great great rider but an excellent teacher. Not all great riders are good teachers, that is for sure! I still have the bug in me and now on a different level, CAN'T WAIT to go back again and again SOON!
For my 30th birthday present, I
was offered a bike clinic to improve my bike skills. At the occasion of a trip in San Francisco in July (I live in France), I
chose to do it in California, and I got in touch with
Mountain Biking Marin.
It was perfect!
Celia taught me some tips, and I had the bike I
Since that day, I feel more confident and enjoy more my rides!
After several weeks hearing stories about the improved Northstar trails, I decided to bring some clients from the Bay Area to show them Tahoe's downhill riding.
The great rumors about Northstar were true! And as they continue to improve the trails, our Northstar will be our own Whistler right here in Tahoe.
New or improved obstacle transitions have been installed along several trails. The transitions have made smoother trails with better flow.
Many of the old table top jumps have been re-designed to better respond to the speed you build up by the steepness and length of the trail sections before the jumps. I am particularly thrilled that many table tops have been flattened in the filled areas between the take off and the landing, eliminating gaps or the double bumps they used to have on the top. This allows for "progressive learning" when trying obstacles that require getting air. This means that if you are a shyer rider wanting to add air little by little, you can start by just rolling the jumps to get a feel of them, then hit the jumps fast enough to lift your front wheel or a bit faster to lift both wheels to land on the top flat area, to finally let the trail dictate the right speed you need to clear the jump and land in the smooth landing section.
Here is a sample of the new jumps with the flattened top you now find in Northstar.
I am also thrilled with the new features on the Gipsy trail. The wooden trails are super smooth and their berm design allows you to ride them at the right speed. It does feel like a fun roller coaster! Below is one of the new features called the "Whale tail". The feature design allows you to hit it at a slower speed to get the feeling of it or to hit it fast to get bigger air. In the video below, Kristy was hitting this obstacle for the first time. It only took her watching me do it after discussing how to ride it. There is even a railing on the right side to protect riders from falling off from the highest spot. It is just amazingly safe and fun!
My wife and I were in Marin County for vacation and wanted to bike to the
top of Mt. Tam and then descend. Luckily, we contacted Celia who made a
simple adventure a super fun adventure. Had a blast from a ride point of
view and a personal point of view. Don’t spend time in Marin
without spending time with Celia!
- Nathan and Ruth, Pioneer Power Solutions