The Escondido Hill Ride for First-Timers

Christiane Staninger

The EHrides come with their own set of horror stories. But fear not…

  • RAC alumni exaggerate terribly about past riding experiences. Volunteers are worse. 
  • You (and the few years before you) are much better trained than previous groups were. In my early RAC days, two EHrides were the ONLY mandatory rides we had and 200 miles were the requirement miles ridden. Parents trained by themselves, often around Miramar Lake, and then the EHrides were monsters. You will have a much easier time.

What we have learned about the Escondido Hills, in no particular order.

  • As always, start where you ride. If you typically ride in the middle of the pack, start in the middle. If you typically end up in the front, start in the front. We want to minimize passing.
  • Scan and tell your kids to scan. Traffic and riders on this road are fast and often quiet.
  • The bike lane is narrow and often bumpy. Do not ride on the white line that divides the road from the bike lane “because your butt hurts”.  You are setting a bad example.  Half of you is in traffic and that is dangerous.
  • Try to make it up the hills without stopping.
  • A low gear, ‘slow and steady’ is more effective and ultimately faster than “rush and stop.”
  • Getting started on a hill takes a lot of energy.
  • If you must stop on a hill
    • Stop where the road is flat-ish and not steep-ish.
    • Move to the right so that those behind you can pass easily.
    • Don’t stop in the middle of a curve where the road banks and getting back on is harder.
    • Don’t stop right behind a curve. Cars can’t see you.
    • Stop before a curve, in the shade, if possible.
    • When you stop, don’t climb all the way off your bike; straddle it, scoot to the right, catch your breath, then keep going.
    • Make hill stops short (30 seconds)
  • Often, kids want to start back up when they see other riders come up behind them.  They want to get in front of that group, and they often underestimate the time it takes to get on your bike on a steep hill. Let the group pass. Don’t struggle on your bike as another group is about to pass you.
  • Kids may not walk their bikes. “But I can push my bike faster than I can ride it.”  Not the point. Walking their bikes will not train their muscles.
  • Make sure your child is comfortable drinking without stopping.
  • Do not carry your children’s water.  If they are not comfortable with a heavy camel back, have them practice carrying it around the house during the week.
  • If you typically give your kids a push to get them started on hills, stop that now.  Practice quick start during the week.  You cannot push start your kid all the way up the Escondido Hills or across the RAC, for that matter.
  • Make sure your child sheds clothing that has become too warm BEFORE and not on a hill.
  • You must complete two Escondido Hill Rides with us.  We offer ten.  Plan accordingly.
  • You may not leave in front of our front person, i.e. at 6 a.m.
  • Ride two back to back!
  • Yes, you may ride all ten EH Rides with us.  
  • Please don’t wait until the end of the months.  Kids get sick.  Rides get rained out.