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 November 2019


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November: Month of Popup Rides
by Mike Udkow, BTCEB President

BTCEB has many other smaller, less formal last-minute rides, known as "popups". In just the past month we've had popup rides at: Fernandez Ranch, Tamarancho, Tilden, Napa Skyline, Crockett Hills, and Joaquin Miller Park.  Thank you to the small group of organizers for sharing the stoke with our group.

This month there is no Gala ride planned.  As we've found in years past each time we plan a large group ride this time of year the weather seems to always get in the way.  Rather than deal with
the hassle of rescheduling (and re-permitting) these rides we've elected to informally fill the month with popup rides instead.  So stay on the lookout for a popup ride coming to a trail near you!

Look for Popups at anytime on the Meetup page:

Or join and subscribe for automatic email notifications here:

Wednesday Nov 13, 2019
6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Z Cafe
2735 Broadway · Oakland, CA

Come join us for our bi-monthly Board and General Membership meeting. BTCEB is a very active organization with lots of interesting things happening. We meet at a nice restaurant with great food and beer at a central location with lots of parking. Come just to listen or to present your ideas or concerns.

If you want an advanced copy of the agenda email Mike Udkow.  Also please be sure to RSVP to reserve a seat.

For details, ask questions, and to RSVP go to the BTCEB Meetup page.

Hope to see you there!  

BTCEB via Facebook

​Finally, if you want to hear about other last-minute news, such as demo rides, and volunteering opportunities, "like" and follow BTCEB's Facebook Notification Page, and also request to join BTCEB's Facebook Discussion Group.



October Gala Ride at Crockett Hills
by Mike Udkow

October is always a great month for riding (as are all the other 11 months!). And what could be better than riding at Crockett Hills. We had some 40 riders of all abilities coming out to ride. 

The fast group did 2 loops in record time, while the slow group was well, slow but managed to ride all the trails and get back before sunset with smiles on their faces.

Thank you, Jim and Amy, for leading the group. And thank you Scott and company for all your work you do in maintaining the trails.  And most importantly, THANK YOU MARK for bringing the beer!

As mentioned earlier we are going to try something a bit different for November. Rather than a set ride, November will be pop-up ride month. So, you get to choose where and when you want to ride with friends. Anyone can organize a pop-up ride. Just send me the exact details along with your phone number and I will copy it into a Meetup page.

Remember, BTCEB is an all-volunteer organization, so volunteer and do your part. If you want to purchase post ride snacks, BTCEB will reimburse you.  Also please RSVP for all our rides, especially in the rainy season when rides get cancelled. 

October Ride Like a Girl: China Camp
by Alex Kay

Ellen led the group at China Camp in October. Lots of new riders this month!

A couple very new riders got some good tips and encouragement from the group. They can’t wait to hit the trails with us again. 

Giving the Gift of Stoke:
Beginners' Ride and Skills Clinic
by Yvette Skinner

Time to start a new tradition… this was our first and it won’t be our last.  On October 19th we held our first ever BTCEB members-only, beginner-friendly ride designed with the pure novice rider in mind. Our goal was to help new riders build confidence on the trail, improve their bike handling skills, and learn about trail etiquette and bike safety.

Experienced riders were on hand to help the new riders, offering tips, support, and some hearty encouragement. Dave Sturgis, Jim Arth, Amy Arcus, and I were able to coach four intrepid novice mountain bikers who came out to our skills clinic at Fernandez Ranch. We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day.

Here are some of the topics we covered:

Basic bike handling skills - Braking, cornering, descending, switchbacks.

We demonstrated proper stance on the bike and how to shift weight back and forth for climbs and descent. We gave pointers on how to control speed, look ahead on the trail, and feather the brakes.

Pack check - we showed the beginners what kinds of things we haul in our backpacks like tools, tubes, basic first aid items, water, nutrition, etc. 

Bike safety – pre-ride safety demonstrating the routine checks we do prior to a ride: air pressure, brakes, chains.  We even helped with some basic bike setup like adjusting seat height and suggesting air pressure based on expected terrain. 

Trail Etiquette – following the “slow and say hello” motto of communication with other trail users we started by sharing basic safety information and guidelines on trail etiquette.  We discussed how to yield the trail to other trail users and how to communicate when another trail user is encountered.

All this and MORE!

I ABSOLUTELY would be willing to do this again. I will plan ahead for 2020 with beginners clinics in the Spring and Fall. I believe that one of our goals as mountain bikers should be to get more people out riding. What better way to do that than to help new riders to ride with confidence, ride prepared to handle minor mechanical break-downs on the trail, ride courteously, and HAVE FUN TOGETHER!

Mountain Bikers Rejoice!
Hess Brewing of Walnut Creek Helps BTCEB
by Mike Loar

Wow, what a fun and productive night at Mike Hess Brewing of Walnut Creek!!  On behalf of the entire staff at the Taproom, we want to thank all of the mountain bikers and trail-building advocates who came out in droves to raise their glasses (and funds) for the good of trail building and shared access. 

As an avid mountain biker and BTCEB member myself, this night was especially gratifying on so many levels as we all came together for exceptional beer, live music, and common goals--what a perfect combination! 

Many thanks to BTCEB for coordinating and contributing to a great relationship between the brewery and mountain bikers.  We look forward to hosting BTCEB as an annual event.

And of course you are always welcome to stop in after a ride!

Fighting the Good Fight: Advocating at the EBRPD Trails Workshop
by Yvette Skinner

The East Bay Regional Park District Executive Board opened its doors to  the public for a "Trails Workshop" focused on a collaborative plan for multi-use narrow trails.

During the meeting members of the EBRPD Trails Development staff began with an excellent presentation to the Board of Directors advising the need for more purpose-built, narrow-gauge, multi-use trails. Staff members Sean Dougan and Kristina Kelchner pointed out that although the park system has acquired tens of thousands of acres of new properties only about 13 miles of new trail have been built, most of those at Crockett Hills. They made the case that narrow-gauge multi-use trails can be designed for safety and sustainability. Their slides were full of diagrams from the IMBA Trails Solutions book that is well known in the mountain biking and trail building community.

The Directors then asked many questions about the presentation and also in response to the comments from the public. It was a packed house with standing room only for members of the public.

The room was filled with representatives from many different trail user organizations with vastly divergent agendas. Supporters of mountain biking turned out in good numbers: members of BTCEB and CAMTB, high school and middle school MTB coaches and even a few of the kids, and other riders. As expected the opponents of mountain biking had also turned out in force: members of STEP, the California Native Plant Society, and members of some equestrian organizations, and members of the Sierra Club.

The public comments turned out as expected: mountain bikers spoke with passion about their love for trails and their love for Nature. The coaches and the parents told the Board how mountain biking has kept their kids off the streets and out from in front of their TV and phone screens. A representative from the Bay Area Ridge Trail shared that multi-use singletrack is the preferred kind of trail to use by park users.

A representative from the TWHA (Tilden Wildcat Horsemen’s Association) argued that multi-use singletrack can be designed for different user types when built for safety. The opponents of the expansion of a narrow-gauge, multi-use trail systems offered up the usual complaints: mountain bikers ride too fast and are rude to other trail users. Most but not all equestrians who spoke claimed that bikes and horses cannot share narrow-gauge trails safely.

Some speakers even made the argument that building any kind of trail is harmful for the environment and its sensitive species. Their arguments were occasionally contradictory, for example, a member of STEP claimed that 90% of trail users are hikers, however, a member of an equestrian group claimed that so many mountain bikers were on the trails that they are pushing out other trail users.

The Board of Directors seemed to be open to the ideas presented by the EBRPD Trails Development staff. The Board indicated that more discussions and also more public comment would be needed. Although mountain bikers brought up many good points there is much more that needs to be shared with the Board members. I encourage you to contact the EBRPD Directors to share your own personal story why they need to build new narrow-gauge, multi-use trails.

Here are some messages that the Park Board needs to hear:

1) Fire roads are not trails. Some of the Board members are convinced that the legacy ranch roads and fire roads are “trails” suitable for park users. In the presentation the EBRPD Trails Development staff argued that roads are built for motor vehicles whereas trails are built specifically for trail users. 

2) Trails can be designed for safety and sustainability. The existing fire roads were built too steep causing erosion and cause excessive speed for a bike rolling down hill. Safe, sustainable trails are built with moderate grades, and trail features designed to control speeds such as grade reversals and pinch points. Properly designed trails will reduce illegal trail building by offering trail users the experience they desire.

3) Riding trails connect mountain bikers with Nature. They help get kids out in the parks and help aging adults with joint trouble to continue to exercise outdoors. Mountain bikers ride trails to enjoy both the scenery and the solitude on trails far from the crowded picnic areas and trails near the trailhead.

4) Mountain bikers are environmentalists too. We care about protecting open spaces and cherish the breath-taking views from the summits of the East Bay hills.

5) People in the East Bay need more good trails close to home. Many mountain bikers would prefer not to have to use their cars and drive many miles to reach a trail that delivers an enjoyable trail experience. Some residents of the East Bay cannot afford the cost of a personal vehicle and others simply choose not to drive for the sake of the environment – these people also deserve access to a desirable trail experience.

Direct advocacy not your thing? Not to worry - one of the best actions you can take to ensure the growth of expanded trail access to mountain bikes in the East Bay is simply to ride often, safely, and courteously. In Marin County when the park staff did a trail user survey that revealed a whopping 40% of their users were mountain bikers not only did that reveal the stunning imbalance of access for narrow-gauge trails for mountain bikers vs. equestrians but it also jump-started the oh-so-slow wheels of change.

BTCEB Membership Drive
by Mike Udkow

While membership on our Meetup site continues to grow to over 3,800 followers, membership in the BTCEB, your mountain biking organization, has been lagging.

To grow, to survive, and to represent the mountain biking community, we need your support. Your membership dues support our Gala rides and our RLaG program, pays for our insurance, helps to support NorCal High School MTBing and supports trail work at China Camp, Rockville, Fernandez and Crockett. We are hard at work developing the JMP Pump Track.  Our Board of Directors meets bi-monthly to discuss all topics relevant to local mountain biking.

Membership levels start at $30, with a $15 student/hardship level. Lifetime membership is $500.

Aside from the dues, we truly need and value 
your membership.

Please join or renew today at


From the Dusty Trail . . .

Friends of Joaquin Miller Meeting
by John Roberts

Back on September 16th the Friends of Joaquin Miller Park (FOJMP) gathered for their annual member meeting. Attendees included Mike Udkow, President of BTCEB, as well as two senior leaders from the Oakland Composite Mountain Bike Team.

In addition, as part of the meeting, Stan Dodson, Executive Director of Oakland Trails, screened his new documentary production entitled: “Lone Survivor“. This exquisite film is about the only remaining old growth redwood tree in the East Bay. Mr. Dodson then facilitated a vibrant discussion on our East Bay redwoods.

Another highlight was BTCEB’s trailwork effort which was first on a list of accomplishments acknowledged by FOJMP’s leadership.  BTCEB volunteer work is crucial because it keeps fire roads and trails open for emergency vehicles for fire prevention as well as for safety purposes. 

Additionally, notably Bay Area celebrity Wendy Tokuda provided an animated and compelling presentation on the importance of volunteering at JMP.  Anyone wishing to support our beautiful Joaquin Miller Park is encouraged to consider joining the three organizations mentioned:,, and

Members Only: Columbia Sportswear ​Offer

In case you missed our direct mailing here's an offer from Columbia Sportswear:

Dear BTCEB Members,

As the colors start to change, the days get shorter, and the weather gets colder, you need warmer clothing for your outdoor adventures! Whatever those may be, the Columbia Employee Store is stocked with the latest season’s arrivals from our family of brands, ready to prepare you for all of your autumn activities. 
Bicycle Trails Council of the East Bay (BTCEB) is exclusively invited to access the store, take advantage as the invite runs October 25th - November 17th only! 

EMPLOYEE Discount (items marked at 40-50% off regular retail pricing) 

All of the latest product from the Columbia Sportswear Company family (SOREL, Mountain Hardwear, prAna, and of course Columbia Sportswear).


The attached invite (printed or digital)
Bring your current BTCEB Membership Card + Personal ID.

This invitation is valid for all individuals within BTCEB: members, family, etc., as long as they can provide proof of affiliation.

Invite is valid for you + 4 guests (you must be present)

This invite grants store access only (offer not valid online)

Find store location and hours here or on the invite.  
Thank you and happy shopping! 

Tamarancho No Dab Challenge Continues
Now thru December 2019


Can you ride a complete loop of Camp Tamarancho without a dab? A dab is when your foot (or hand) touches the ground. The trails at the Camp have gotten more difficult over the past 20 years, and it takes a skilled rider to clear all the roots, drop offs, ruts, and tight switchbacks in the 8 miles of trails.

So folks over at Camp Tamarancho decided to put on a fun competition to acknowledge those riders with that "no dab" skill. This will be a self-judged competition for 3 months, from Sept 15 to Dec 15, 2019. All riders who complete the loop without a dab, can enter to win a 2020 Camp Tamarancho Annual Pass, and in addition, they will publish a list of those riders who have accomplished this task.

Visit the Tamarancho website for a complete list of rules.

Reminder: As a BTCEB member, you can receive a 10 percent or higher discount for parts at many of the bike shops in the East Bay.  You just have to ask.  Thank you to the many bike shop sponsors for your support!


BTCEB is a one-stop shop.  We defend access rights.  We lead volunteers to build sustainable trails and repair historic trails.  We host social rides.  We teach underprivileged kids to ride.  We fund youth mountain bike race teams. The list goes on because  as riders we can do more together than individually.  If you have not already, please consider joining us as a member.  Many bike shops in the East Bay grant a 10% discount on bike parts to BTCEB Membership Card holders. It is just another benefit of joining BTCEB.  Thank you to all the East Bay bike shops that support our efforts both on and off the trails!


Do you have a good ride story, trailwork report, or other bike trail news? Tell us about it.  Please send a paragraph with 150 words or less with a pic (under 10MB please) and/or link telling us about trailwork, rides, events, or any good mountain bike effort to bring our community together, etc.  Please send via email to our editor Jamuel Starkey (with pictures if possible) at:


Mike Udkow, President 

Jim Arth, Membership Coordinator

Yvette Skinner, Vice President
Dan McAvoy, Secretary
Lauren Haughey, Treasurer
Henry Mitchell, Trails Coordinator
Dave Wolden, Director of Youth Programs (YMBA)

Amy Arcus, Director of Women's Programs
Tom Gandesbery, Member-at-Large
Tom Holub, IT Chair

Bicycle Trails Council of the East Bay
P. O. Box 9583
Berkeley, CA 94709
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