Created by Satchel Cronk

The Santa Cruz mountain biking scene is a bit of a paradox; richly local yet famous the world ‘round. Those riders who call this paradisiacal wooded enclave home enjoy not only a sensational spider web of redwood singletrack, but a community that is all about milking every bit of stoke from the ride; before, during and after. Come along as Giro Sport Design takes you into the world of bikes, beers and burritos in this three part series – Locals, Part 1.

Stay in School

The University of California, Santa Cruz is conveniently located for those who study most effectively with loam underneath their fingernails and require plenty of physical education and forestry credits, if you get the gist. The school has an awesome cycling club, and is purpose built to support you if you’d rather focus on a Masters in Shred instead of an undergrad chemistry class. In Part 1, a crew of current and former Banana Slugs (yep, that’s really the mascot) shows you one of the many ways to have a good time riding bikes in Santa Cruz.


There’s a lot more flavor to this scene than the dining hall has to offer. The goods may be in the forest, but start and end the ride at some of the hip or classic eateries and watering holes in town and your tastebuds will thank you. On this particular day, Verve Coffee gave the kick needed for an afternoon of skids and high-fives. After a full-on bike check from a five year old, cranks started turning towards the trees.

Gram Grammin’

Chances are, if your grandma has ridden in Santa Cruz she’s posted a photo of “The Tanks” to her Instagram, Facebook and MySpace. They may be well photographed, but there’s a reason. Not only is this iconic set of four water tanks an ideal meeting place, but it’s a revolving exhibit of local art, social commentary and philosophy. Their adornment may not always be totally G rated, but hey, it’s Santa Cruz. The paint frequently changes, and there’s a high likelihood you’ll run into a buddy mid ride at the tanks and drop in for a lap together. If you’re looking to ride solo, don’t ride by the tanks. If high fives and party trains are your thing, we’ll see you there.

Business Time

There may be more high-fives slapped per day in Santa Cruz than most other locations on Earth, and there certainly are more taquerias per capita than just about anywhere north of Mexico. Ok that claim hasn’t been totally verified, but the point is that this town loves its burritos. Many cities have hipster coffee snobs, but Santa Cruz has burrito snobs. The pre-ride coffee shop conversation didn’t touch on the coffee or other brewhouses within a two block radius, but the taqueria conversation was definitely focused on burrito analysis and comparing and contrasting the meal to other offerings in the immediate vicinity. What can we say? Burritos are a serious business. When foil is emptied, it’s time to head home and hit the couch, then fire up the “Shred” group chat and make plans to do it all again the next day. The only real question now is, “Where we gonna ride?”

That’s just one essential Santa Cruz ride experience, and a happy soul requires more than just one ride. Trust us—Santa Cruz delivers. Check in next week for Part 2 of Locals, and a healthy dose of golden dust.