By Joh Rathbun. Photos by Jason Van Horn.
Most ladies I know wouldn’t be too happy if you told them they “ride like a girl” — unless you’re one of the ladies from the Bicycle Trails Council of the East Bay, that is.
On February 1, I joined up with ladies from the BTCEB for the monthly Ride Like a Girl event. Ride Like a Girl is the first Saturday of the month, and is ladies-only. According to the group’s meetup.com page, “The emphasis of these rides will be [to have] fun and to meet other women who love to ride. We have rides geared towards all level of riders with experienced leaders.” This was my first time riding with them, but not my first time at El Corte de Madera Creek Open Space Preserve, commonly known as Skegg’s. It’s part of a green belt just south of San Francisco comprised of 62,000 acres of land, in 26 open space preserves.
BTCEB was founded in 1987, and is a founding member of IMBA. From its website, “BTCEB has been a leader in encouraging low-impact environmentally friendly riding, volunteer trail work participation, cooperation among different trail user groups, and grass roots advocacy. Of course we also love to ride bikes and have fun!”
While the sun was out, the temperature was low compared to our recent weather—about 50 degrees. After introductions, Amy Arcus led while Jane Moorehead swept the eight of us. We entered the park on a downward singletrack. The redwood forest welcomed us with the hush of wind through the trees and the smell of wet earth. The singletrack led us past the redwoods and lush bracken ferns, to tight madrone and tanoak groves. After the dryness we experienced in Santa Cruz, the forest felt fecund.
“Strava clocked us at 10.5 miles and 2,400 feet of climbing, I think the elevation gain is a little high but I’ll take it,” Amy said, but it didn’t feel like 2,400 feet of climbing, as the downhill and uphill changed frequently. We rode trails like Sierra Morena, Methuselah, Giant Salamander, Blue Blossom Trail, and rode the Fir Trail back out—which was a nice graded fire road. Ten women, one crash, lots of laughs, and 10 miles later, we exited the park, blissed out.
BTECB stoked us out on snacks after the ride—and there was even beer. Big ups to Inga Beck for arranging the Ride Like a Girl Ride, and to Amy and Jane, who may not have known the names of all the trails, but knew how to have fun. Lastly, here’s a big thank you to Family Cycling Center for the loaner bike—the Santa Cruz Blur LTC was built for Skegg’s! Like my carpool buddy, Donna Riggs said, “It was worth the drive.”
Joh Rathbun is a freelance writer, and columnist and ride leader for Shine Riders Co. To stay up to date on West Coast events, like her Facebook page, or contact her at johrathbun.wix.com/freelancewriter.