Want to Go Riding in Santa Cruz?

04.30.2015 | 7:06 am

A Note from Fatty: Today is your last day to enter the “Buy Gear, Make a Donation, Win the Ultimate Dream Bike and Vacation” contest. If you buy some Fat Cyclist gear, or make a donation to WBR, you could be the one to any Specialized S-Works bike you want, outfitted with top-of-the-line ENVE and SRAM components.

And you won’t just win a bike, either. You also will win a trip to — your choice — Utah or California, where you’ll receive your built-up bike, get custom-fitted for it, and then spend a weekend riding with my fellow WBR Ambassador Dave Thompson and me.

For this last day, I brought out the big guns. Specifically, Dave is going to describe if you choose to have your biking weekend in his neighborhood, Santa Cruz.

If You’re a Mountain Biker…

The Santa Cruz area offers a wide choice of rides, from beginner to the “sick edit” category.  

On the beginner side I would recommend Wilder Ranch: it offers some very nice trails through open meadows and trees that range from easy to moderate difficulty with nice views of the Ocean as you climb from the sea up into the mountains.  


Moving up the scale Demo Forest, located high up in the Santa Cruz mountains, offers moderately difficult climbs and a variety of singletrack decent options. One of the new trails, the Flow Trail, which is more than half complete, has a nice smooth descent through the redwoods with high banked turns, gentle rise and falls with no drops or big surprises.  

The Braille trail has loads of steep sections complete with jumps and teeter totters.  The nice thing about Demo is all the single track options start at the same place on the top and end at the same fire road on the bottom so you can easily ride back up and ride as many of them as you’d like. 

The most challenging is a short drive away and one of my favorite spots, Henry Coe Park.  The only problem with Coe is the climbing is a bit steep.  I took Carlos there a few weeks ago and we did a 32 mile ride with a bit over 6k feet of climbing. Carlos said it was the hardest thing he has ever done.  There is no real easy way to ride in Coe so I would only recommend this for the advanced rider or the young (like Carlos).  Coe is 87,000 acres so rides range from a short 10 miles to as far as you want to go. A nice collection of single track descents through forests of oak and Manzanita followed by brutal fire road climbs but with nice scenic views well worth the suffering.  

If You’d Rather Ride Road

In and around the Santa Cruz area there are many road rides to choose from.  One of my favorite easy rides is a bike/walking trail that winds along the bluffs of Santa Cruz with spectacular views of the ocean.  The trail starts in Santa Cruz, by the Boardwalk and takes you up to Wilder Ranch about a 12 mile ride round trip and almost dead flat. You are almost guaranteed to see surfers and sea lions as you pass the lighthouse.

For more difficult and longer rides all you need to do is head east up any of a number of great roads that climb up through the redwood forests in the Santa Cruz mountains.  


One of my favorites is Eureka Canyon, a small less traveled road that climbs gently up through the forest to Summit Road. From there you can take the optional additional climb up to Loma Prieta avenue were you are rewarded with spectacular views of the ocean, see pic “Loma Pieta”.  

From there you can head north along the top of the Santa Cruz mountain range and descend back down into Santa Cruz by a couple of options, depending on how long you want your ride to be.  There are so many great roads to choice from a day in the Santa Cruz mountains can be as long and hard as you want.  

Then there is also the beach. I’m sure we could get our hands on a few fat tire bikes; that would make for some fun.  

Something for Everyone

As for non biking, all these areas are also great for hiking and also range in difficulty accordingly.  There are also several good wineries in the area and the Monterey Bay aquarium is only a short drive away.   

As for the beach house we have rented this place — The Black Pearl — for the past several years:


Who doesn’t want to stay in a place with a pirate name?

It is walking distance to the harbor, several good restaurants and the house is overlooking the ocean. 

A Final Word From Fatty

No matter what bike you choose, or which components, or which place to go riding, this is a ridiculous prize, and having Dave along guarantees it’s going to be a great time. Dave — along with the whole Thompson family — is one of the nicest, best people you will ever meet.

Whoever wins this prize — which ends today — is going to be incredibly lucky. 

But you can’t win if you don’t enter. And how do you enter? Well, buy some Fat Cyclist gear, or make a donation to WBR. It’s that easy. You’ll be doing some good for the most practical, effective, instantly-life-changing charity in the world. You’ll be getting the best gear I’ve ever offered (if you’re buying gear, that is). 

And you just might win an incredible bike and vacation.

Good luck!

PS: I’m flying to San Francisco in 20 minutes, to meet up with Jeff D, who won another of my contests. I think it might be only fitting to have him do the drawing for this winner tomorrow.


  1. Comment by BostonCarlos (formerly NYC) | 04.30.2015 | 8:17 am

    If you win, and you choose California for MTB riding… be forewarned that Henry Coe is no joke. Dave wasn’t exaggerating. It’s the HARDEST THING I’VE EVER DONE. I’ve never bonked so hard in my life. 6000 ft of climbing in 30 miles. BUT! If you can handle it, it’s also one of the prettiest places I’ve ever been, and the most rewarding ride I’ve ever completed. Wilder Ranch is also quite gorgeous and has amazing views of the ocean. And Demo… Demo is full of amazing single track and lies about how much climbing you have to do to get back to it…

    If I’ve learned one thing from my annual West Coast FoF pilgrimage, it’s that you can NEVER trust Dave Thompson when he says “just a bit more climbing and we’re there”.

    PS: Jeff, PICK ME!!!!!!!

  2. Comment by wharton_crew | 04.30.2015 | 8:32 am

    Having lived in San Jose and now Utah, I can say that either place will offer amazing rides. My heart is (and always will be) in California, and I need to second Dave’s opinions about riding through the redwoods in the Santa Cruz mountains – words cannot describe how cool it is.

    Personally for me, though, I’d try to convince Dave and Fatty to do a road route up and over the Santa Cruz mountains – starting in Los Gatos and ending in Santa Cruz for a dip in the ocean. Amazing ride, great climbs, fast descents – the whole package!

    Even if I don’t get picked, I’d be tempted to fly down to ride with you guys!

    PS: Jeff, don’t pick Carlos – he’s already won a contest. Pick me!!!! Make a winner out of a loser!! ;-)

  3. Comment by davidh-Marin,ca | 04.30.2015 | 9:09 am

    The winner of this event are the individuals whose lives will be changed by the Power of Bicycles and WBR. How awesome a prize is that!

    Thank you Fatty for letting us help.

    I saw Carlos the day after Coe, he wasn’t a pretty sight.

  4. Comment by Mikeb | 04.30.2015 | 9:29 am

    Flow trail is open top to bottom.

  5. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 04.30.2015 | 9:55 am

    I respectfully decline to do the drawing, as that would almost certainly raise all sorts of questions as to how it was that I came to draw my own name! [grin]

  6. Comment by AKChick | 04.30.2015 | 10:13 am

    Help! I went to order shorts on the site last night, and the site wants to charge me over $30 in shipping because it won’t let me select USPS over UPS. I used DNA Cycling’s online form to ask about this since I was able to select USPS (which was still pretty spendy at nearly $10) for the jersey. I love the shorts, but I can’t justify paying over $30 for shipping (almost a third of the cost of the shorts). :(

    I haven’t heard back from anyone at DNA yet. Very sad panda am I.

    I’ve been in contact w/ DNA and have sent email to you and them; they should be able to get you all taken care of. Thanks! – FC

  7. Comment by Katie Bolling | 04.30.2015 | 10:55 am

    I may just decide to ride whatever location the winner chooses that same day/time so I can join the fun. This is awesome! Thanks to ALL of you and Fatty, Team Thompson and the sponsors of this amazing prize. We’re changing a lot of lives via the Power of Bicycles!

    Thanks for all you do, Katie! – FC

  8. Comment by Corrine | 04.30.2015 | 11:19 am

    AKChick, I ordered shorts a week or so ago and I think I was able to do the “cheaper” USPS shipping. Hmm, wonder why it didn’t work for you. Hope they get back to you.
    If I get picked for the winner, it’s going to be hard to chose between Utah and California. They would both be great!

  9. Comment by pfonke | 04.30.2015 | 11:35 am

    You had me sold on the shorts, but it looks like they are all gone in Large. I could slim myself down to medium, but I’m much more likely to eat my way up to XL. Will you be restocking? If you do, will a portion of the proceeds still got to WBR?

    We’re actually in pre-order, so check back in an hour or so and it should show up back in stock. Showing as out of stock here means we just exceeded the number of that size we planned to pre-order and will need to increase the pre-order quantity for that size. Thanks! – FC

  10. Comment by leroy | 04.30.2015 | 1:11 pm

    I don’t mean to brag, but my dog informs me I am already a winner.

    I have to agree. Ordered some nice stuff, donated to a good cause. What more do I need?

    I had to stifle a chuckle though. He pronounced “winner” like “wiener.”

    Of course, I let it slide.

    It’d be churlish to correct a talking dog’s malapropism. That’d be like looking a singing gift horse in the mouth to check for Auto-Tune.

  11. Comment by Jill Homer (@AlaskaJill) | 04.30.2015 | 4:58 pm

    Corrine — Not to undersell the Bay Area, but if you win, pick Utah. Then come visit me later. :)

    I enjoyed the overview, and wondered how many other Bay Area cyclists would chime in. I make my way to Coe about once a year, usually in the late spring, and vow not to go back after a long day of pushing my bike uphill when it’s 90 degrees under direct sunlight, bashing through poison oak, skidding downhill in deep chunder, running out of water, and finishing up a 45-mile day with 9,000 feet of climbing in 9 hours. I go back the following year when selective memory has erased all but the pretty wildflowers and views and rare bit of flow singletrack that wasn’t lined in poison oak. Friends keep telling me Coe is fun, and I always suspect that they, too, simply haven’t been there in a while. Potential prize winners have been warned. :P

  12. Comment by spaceyace | 04.30.2015 | 5:29 pm

    I don’t see socks on the sizing chart?

  13. Comment by Brian | 04.30.2015 | 6:22 pm

    I would definitely NOT recommend Coe. Demo is really, really good. Wilder is pretty good too. After a day of mt biking then go cruise the bike/walking path by the ocean.

  14. Comment by AKChick | 04.30.2015 | 10:35 pm

    @Corrine I’m not sure what happened. It was erroring out and refusing to let me proceed with checking out. Grrr. I filled out the online form and then Fatty put me in touch with Joe. By then, another helpful DNA employee had tested it out and it was working. I’m wondering if I somehow got something wrong in the zip code and didn’t realize it. In any case, I was able to order a pair of shorts to go with the jersey that I ordered earlier. I also made a donation to WBR. :)

  15. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 05.1.2015 | 12:23 am

    I have it on good authority that DaveT will push your bike up some of the hills in Coe.

  16. Comment by esuvidha rtu results portal | 05.1.2015 | 5:53 am

    thanks you fatty, for let us know.

  17. Comment by Sem rgpv results | 05.2.2015 | 10:45 am

    It’s gonna be hard to choose.

  18. Comment by Bike tour Seville | 05.5.2015 | 10:09 am

    The bike is the best vehicle, everywhere!!!


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