Dave Smith runs a business called “Shuttle Smith” which provides a service to shuttle riders from Aptos to Buzzard Lagoon road near the East entrance of Nisene Marks. You can also use his shuttle to get from Aptos to Soqel Demonstration forest. With his converted cube van he can securely carry 9 bikes and riders.
We heard about the shuttle service and headed down to Aptos to check it out. Parking is conveniently located by the Epicenter Cycling Shop. Not only can you stock up on gels, energy food, tubes and coffee, but they have one of the biggest bike shop pump tracks we’ve seen. The shop makes for a great starting or stopping point, as you can leave a pump track bike in the car for later without the worry of coming back to shattered glass and a missing bike.
The shuttle service is a good way to get an all day ride in without having to know where you’re going and dealing with getting to the trail. It’s especially great for novice riders looking to explore the area, as the dirt road back through Nisene Marks to Aptos is mostly downhill. One thing it is not, is a gravity run. While there is single track trail in the Forest of Nisene Marks one could use as a connector route between Demo and Aptos, technically they are off limits to bikes. Sadly, instead of working on building multi-use connector trails, the park has chosen enforcement over connectivity and being pro-cycling.
We found the shuttle service a good way to explore the area and cover quite a bit of ground. However, this is definitely a trail or all mountain shuttle. While there are a few sections in Demo that can take advantage of dual ply tires, the pedal back up favors a dual ring or solid fitness and strong lungs.
During our session at Demo, we did a loop down the Ridge Trail to Sawpit before pushing back up Tractor, which was about to be put out of commission. Turns out I prefer the fire road option much better, as it is preferable with a single ring set up. After the push up, my riding companion was running low on gas so we elected to take the scenic route through the Forest of Nisene Marks. While the fire road twists through some beautiful forest, this bike friendly multi-use route wouldn’t be my personal first choice in routes back to Aptos. (especially given my all mountain rig with its aggressive build) However, for visiting mountain bike tourists, or riders of beginner to intermediate skill levels, it makes for a nice long day on the bike and a nice way to see this park.
The service costs $15 and starts from the Epicenter Cycling in Aptos Station. See the Shuttle Smith website for more details. If you are planning a trip down and aren’t familiar with the area, Epicenter Cycling sells a map so that you can find your way around. You can also check out a map posted here.
Looking for an address to GPS? You got it: 8035 Soquel Drive, Aptos, Ca 95003
Dave is also available to provide shuttle services for other locations. You also rent Dave and his van for special events.
Call Dave at 831-234-3383 or email him to make a reservation.