Mountain biking on Mount Tamalpais
Mount Tamalpais (locally referred to as Mt. Tam) and the surrounding areas in Marin County, California are recognized as the birthplace of mountain biking. In the 1970s, mountain biking pioneers such as Gary Fisher, Otis Guy, Charlie Kelly and Joe Breeze were active. The 2006 film Klunkers chronicled their story, solidifying Mount Tamalpais' legendary status as a mountain biking destination.
The area is popular for mountain bikers due to Mount Tamalpais’ proximity to a highly populated geographic region, ease of access, beautiful and varied terrain, and magnificent views. Many trailheads surround the mountain, and the paved and dirt fire roads that cross Mount Tamalpais and adjacent foothills provide many options for people of all fitness levels. Most offroad cyclists reach Mount Tamalpais through the towns of Ross, Fairfax or Mill Valley, and the less used access points that exist through the towns of Larkspur and Kentfield. The Old Railroad Grade fire road that begins in Mill Valley, once the right-of-way of the Mount Tamalpais Scenic Railroad, is the easiest route to traverse up the mountain to its peak of 2,571 feet (784 m) at East Peak.
Like other popular mountain biking areas, there has been considerable controversy around trail access on Mount Tamalpais for mountain bikes, both in terms of environmental impact and the safety of other trail users. As a result, bicycles are generally restricted from narrow, single-track trails, though bicycles are allowed on most fire roads. However, through the growing connections of trails established by the Bay Area Ridge Trail, mountain bikers have access to multi-use trails such as the Dias Ridge Trail. In addition, the non-profit Marin County Bicycle Coalition is playing a growing role to improve access for mountain bikers to singletrack and multi-use trails by working collaboratively with the Marin Municipal Water District, which manages 18,500 acres in the Mt. Tamalpais Watershed, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and other organizations.
- "which manages 18,500 acres in the Mt. Tamalpais Watershed". MMWD. Retrieved December 8, 2012.
- Mount Tamalpais State Park – Official website
- "Illegal bike trails threaten riders, rankle officials" by Tom Stienstra, San Francisco Chronicle, March 16, 2007.