Demo Flow Trail of Soquel Demonstration State Forest now open

All six segments of Demo Flow Trail open for fun

Event Travel
Linda Bookman rails one of the dozens of berms of the Flow Trail

Linda Bookman rails one of the dozens of berms of the Flow Trail (click to enlarge).

Update: May 4, 2015

The Soquel Demo Flow Trail opened on April 17, 2014 and for the first time, riders were able to experience the complete trail with its six segments of bermed glory. With a descent of about 1250 feet and trail length of 3.75 miles, the Flow Trail snakes down the Santa Cruz Mountain crossing the old ‘Tractor’ trail several times. Built with many objectives in mind, the trail was completed with over 6300 of labor and over 500 individuals working on the trail.

The results so far have been mind-boggling as riders of all levels come out of the trail in a state of bliss or euphoria. It takes the average rider about 15 minutes to descend the trail with very little pedaling involved. The trail is simply that long as the hundreds of berms and undulations never cease to excite and involve the rider. Unlike most trails with straightaways and mundane parts that rack up the mileage, this trail always undulates up and down an turns left and right with massive berms demanding complete focus from the rider.

Mtbr rides the Flow Trail with Ryan Leech, Rob Roskopp, Joe Lawwill and Cedric Gracia.

Mtbr rides the Flow Trail with Ryan Leech, Rob Roskopp, Joe Lawwill and Cedric Gracia (click to enlarge).

Another quality of the trail is it builds up in intensity as one goes down the six segments of trail. It starts the rider off with flatter descents and smaller berms and it gradually builds up speed, turning g-forces and jump opportunities. The flow builds up to a crescendo challenging the rider, backing off and then delivering more thrills. Though not all have the endurance to do it, the true experience of the Flow Trail is achieved by riding the trail non-stop from top to bottom.

Andrew Taylor descends the Flow Trail with Style.

Andrew Taylor descends the Flow Trail with Style (click to enlarge).

All levels

One of the greatest achievements of the trail is it delivers an amazing experience to riders of all levels. As we poll first year mountain bikers at the bottom of segment 6, the accolades and high-fives are unbridled. Yet, checking in with the likes of Cedric Gracia and Joe Lawwill gets the same reaction as they are completely stoked by the ride too. The Flow Trail is designed such that it delivers more and demands more from the rider the faster and higher they go. Such is a rare attribute when a single trail can satisfy the descending needs of many different levels of riders.

Hannah Barnes works on Segment 6 of the Flow Trail.

Hannah Barnes works on Segment 6 of the Flow Trail (click to enlarge).

Some first impressions from riders

“I can’t even begin to put words to how that fateful monday changed my life. Demo Flow Trail, thee be thy holy trail. Hallowed by thy shred.” - Frank Martinez, Shimano Crew

Joe Fabris flies through the air.

Joe Fabris flies through the air (click to enlarge).

“Great piece of work, that is a fitness challenge as well as a skills challenge. For me, 13 minutes of pedaling out of corners, whipping the bike around, pumping left me spent, but ecstatic.” - Dave Silvas, SF Bay Area

“Rode it for the first time on Saturday: impeccable design and execution- a truly amazing trail. I rode it on a 29″ carbon hardtail, and the flow was near-perfect. That said, it was almost good enough to make me quit my job, move to SC, buy a 120mm travel bike, work at a coffee shop, and ride it every day. Superb work.” - Alex Broadwick, Wisconsin

Anneke moves heavy objects.

Anneke moves heavy objects (click to enlarge).

“Sawpit + Braille + Flow = Fun3, a solid ride.

I am liking this flow thing ! Slightly increase in speed means huge increase in difficulty. I think it has been my fourth time there, and as I get to know the trail I am taking more air each time and I am starting to practice a more ‘aggressive’ position on the berms. I am also enjoying more the transitions, and learning when to pedal and when to pump the bike so to keep momentum and not get tired.” - Oscar Sanz

Joe Lawwill of Shimano thunders down the trail.

Joe Lawwill of Shimano thunders down the trail (click to enlarge).

Curtis Keene loves dirt.

Curtis Keene loves dirt (click to enlarge).

Mtbr leads a group of 40 down the Flow Trail.

Mtbr lead a group of 40 down the Flow Trail (click to enlarge).

From MBOSC, The grand opening announcement

MBoSC is excited to announce the completion of the flow trail at Soquel Demonstration State Forest (SDSF). Over 530 unique volunteers have donated 6,300 hours of labor since February 2014 to build this epic 4-mile trail. We could not have done this without the generous support of our volunteers, sponsors, donors, and members, and we’d love to celebrate the completion of this amazing endeavor with you!

Please join us at the GRAND OPENING ceremony and celebration on Saturday May 9, 2015 at Badger Spring Picnic Area at SDSF from 1-4pm. Badger Spring is located just down Hihns Mill Road from the bottom of Sawpit trail, and is a beautiful spot next to the creek. We’ll have a short opening ceremony plus food, drink and live music.

Please note that RSVP’ing for the grand opening is required. Please do so at: MBOSC.ORG

Continue to page 2 for more about the build »
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About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.


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  • Don says:

    Too bad the trail is in California! =P

  • Seneb says:

    First off, this is awesome and I hope to be able to hit those trails soon. Not to be an annoying stickler for detail, but Santa Cruz is actually on the Monterey Bay, which isn’t really the San Francisco Bay.

  • shredchic says:

    Thanks mtbr for the great coverage! I am so proud of mbosc for putting this together, and grateful for cal-fire for supporting this trail to begin with, and all of the sponsors for the funding. I have done 3 of the trailwork days this year, and a few last year as well. Riding the new trail segments is out of this world, but even working on them were a blast! There are definitely some amazing berms on there. They will dry out and get smaller over time, so they were built super-high for the moment. So much fun!

  • Mr. K says:

    I am going to be in the Soquel in August. Anybody know of any bike shops to rent/demo a bike for the day? Anybody know of any shuttle service to the top? Thanks

    • Morgan Holly says:

      Mr.K, Go on santacruzbicycles.com and reserve a bike to demo. It’s only $20 for 4 hours. Grab the 5010. You won’t be disappointed! Cheers!

    • Jim Jab says:

      For $20 you can demo a top of the line Santa Cruz for 4 hours form the factory a town over from Soquel.

    • griz says:

      Ibis is right around the corner from Santa Cruz Bicycles…demo the HD3

    • haybine says:

      shuttlesmith adventures is the local shuttle service. Shop at the base of the trails rents as well as several shops in Santa Cruz. I rented from Another Bike Shop. Great guys and very helpful. It was an awesome trip, you won’t regret it. Tip, just because you shuttle it, don’t let that fool you into thinking you won’t be doing a ton of climbing. The run down Braile was amazing, the climb back up was torture. Best bike trip ever.

      • joey says:

        Not really a shuttle, you still have to pedal to the top, and after you do the flow trail, you have a LONG, LONG, LONG, way to the top…………

        Plus, shuttle smith increases the illegal trail activity in the area.

  • Mr. K says:

    Thanks Morgan! Great news since I already ride a Santa Cruz. Is there a shuttle service to the top or should I just pedal up?

  • turbodog says:

    This trail is smoother and less exciting than the highways I drive to work. Does anyone else see a problem with that?

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