I was born and raised adjacent to the Soquel State Demonstration Forest, which today is the premiere mountain bike riding destination for the entire San Francisco Bay Area.
All through the 70s and 80s the forest was an OHV haven, with amazing motorcycle trails throughout the lush redwood and madrone trees. I don’t recall the exact history, but I do remember visiting the forest a few times in 1995 and 1996 with some friends who were involved in re-opening the forest for recreation. A timber company owned rights to a lot of the land, and recreational usage had been halted. While the OHV usage was terminated with the reopening, and all dirt bikers were told to GTFO, mountain biking was luckily allowed.
By late 1996, I used my life savings to purchase a Motiv hardtail at our local Costco (in San Jose at that time!) and began riding demo forest with one of my best friends and his father. By late 1997 I was riding enough that it made sense to buy a close-out Bontrager Privateer Comp, and within a few months, I was doing massive solo rides through Demo forest, all at just 13 years old.
Fast forwards to today, and I’m living in one of the most progressive mountain bike communities in the world here in the Pacific North West. Mountain biking is so strong here that it is considered a mainstream activity, and riding opportunities are expanding daily. Heading back to Santa Cruz, to visit my parents and attend our friends’ wedding, was also the first time I’d returned to Santa Cruz after a couple years of living here in the PNW. With our family unit as strong as ever, this provided a new lens to view my old stomping grounds: as a parent, as a visitor, and as someone who would love to see the sport grow.
Seeing the forest through this new light, and the lack of new, legal riding opportunities, made me realize that we desperately need to grow the mountain biking community in the bay area. Demo forest is great, but more trails are needed, and the best way to do that is through supporting the mountain biker voice through the MBOSC.
Even if you can’t make any trail days, or can’t donate, or barely ride in the bay, please consider joining MBOSC. Every additional member they have makes them that much more of a contended when it comes to growing riding opportunities.
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