Most often when I hop on my bike I know exactly where to point it. As a commuter and non-driver I have set ride patterns. Every once in a while I diverge from the ride to or from the Bart station, take a side street home from grocery shopping, or ride around Lake Merritt after a show. So rarely in the urban jungle do I need guidance. My rides are driven by pure faulty intuition.
I recently started mountain biking with my friend Nell. We are both semi-beginner mountain bikers and long time urban cyclists. I'm always amazed at how much she researches rides before we head out. She seems to spend hours on websites reading reviews of trails and tips for along the way. She's smart like that. This past Monday we road the Redwood Regional Loop in the Oakland Hills. We went off a suggestion Nell read on the internet to take the loop clockwise to enjoy a steady long downhill. Which differed from the popular choice to take the loop Counter-clockwise. Much to our dismay after a thrilling sunny decent on Westridge and onto Eastridge then crossing Canyon trail back on to Westridge we confronted a veritable wall of an ascent. Nell pushed her single speed up the mountain and I followed suite (just 'cause I'm a really good friend).
(The view from what ended up not quite being the top. photo by Nell)
Really though, it was for the best. We figured out our way and even though we looked sweaty and dumb to those zipping down the hill by us. It's never really as bad as it seems.
After this ride I thought a lot about how we get around. Sometimes at lunch Eric will take "tours" of the world with Google Earth. It really is remarkable how much you can see with this tool. Though, something is still lost. For all Google's surveillance it never quite tells you how a place feels.
We got some maps here:
I never thought a lot about 'em till now.
Whether your looking to do some trail riding or just the best way to get from The Marina back home they provide very tangible guidance.
Krebs Cycle Products makes some of the most beautiful maps of Northern California that I've ever seen. As a teen rambler I collected hand drawn maps of places I went. I still have most of these, stacked up in a box under my bed. So if you need to know how to get to the show/crawfish boil in New Orleans 2004, the train yard in Raleigh 2002, or how to get to the San Francisco Bookfair from the Albany Bulb in 2001 just let me know.
Krebs maps are full of first hand information, beautiful colors and hand drawn maps, They're kind of like the cyclist's Crew Change (free water bottle offer for anyone who knows what that is). Krebs maps are printed in California for... well... California. They make very accurate and helpful touring guides as well as offer suggestions for a weekend trip or after work ride. They are a necessary dose of fading analog in a digital world. It's rare the human who knows where they are much less is able to impart how to get there.
Come check em out!
Now I just gotta convince them to reprint their East Bay Mountain Bike Map.