A Review of Mountain Bike Instruction on San Diego’s Urban Trails

This weekend Bike SD was invited to attend a two day “Better Ride” mini mountain bike training camp .  The owner and founder of Better Ride, Gene Hamilton, a resident of Bolder Colorado, is well respected for developing a way to teach and understand “The Core Skills of Mountain Biking”.   He developed his curriculum from scratch starting in 1998, and has been improving it for over a decade by coaching over a thousand riders including some of the top professional racers.  His company offers classes around the country including here in San Diego.  Being a believer in the value of expert instruction I jumped at the chance to improve my mountain biking skills.

Mountain biking in college was my original avenue into cycling as an adult, and although I am now primarily an urban transportation cyclist I occasionally get a thrill from riding dirt and love using a mountain bike as a vehicle to explore the outdoors.  Since I currently don’t own a car I was a little concerned about getting to the trail head.  The class was being held in Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve 20 miles from my house.  That is a long way to roll on knobbies.  Luckily, the number 20 bus, stops within a mile and a half of the Los Penasquitos trail head. Thus, I was able to hop on my bike yesterday morning, eat breakfast at one of my favorite coffee shops in Golden Hill, and ride down to the City College bus stop and catch the 20.  Within minutes of getting off the bus I was riding on dirt.

I have only lived in San Diego since December, but I have quickly learned that San Diego has a world of possibilities for the city dwelling mountain biker.  Hooking up with the bi-monthly “Punk-Rock Mountain bike Ride” that you might remember from a post earlier this year, I have explored the back-door and the underground dirt trails of San Diego.  I will be heading back up to Los Penasquitos for the second day of mini mountain bike training camp today.  I will post about my experience after I have completed the course, but after the first day of training I have already taken away a core lesson from Gene’s curriculum, “smiling.” More about that in my next post.
The San Diego Mountain Bike Association has a list of area trails and information that includes several urban trails such as Florida Canyon, Mission Trails Regional Park, Sweetwater Regional Park, Sycamore Canyon/Goodan Ranch, and Los Penasquitos Canyon.

I shall report back on my impressions of the training camp after I’ve completed the course today.