Are you thinking about heading out on your own Marin ride? If so, make sure you compare all the costs of a do-it yourself mountain bike ride versus a private guided ride before you decide to go it alone.

We've often heard from happy clients that they initially thought our private guided rides seemed expensive before booking, that is until they started to look at the total cost of going for a ride on their own.

Who's going to snap pictures of you on your ride?

While it is definitely possible to come to Marin and ride on your own, with Mountain bike SF you get the best ride available (designed for you) without risking getting lost, choosing the wrong trails, or otherwise wasting your limited vacation time with the logistical work to do it on your own.

Comparing a guided ride to just the cost of a rental bike leaves out a lot. You have to find a bike to rent, find transportation, find a trail, all of which cost time and money. Even if you only look at the quantifiable costs, the difference is fairly small. If you factor in any of the non-quantifiable benefits, the value added of a professional guide starts to shine through.

Take a look for yourself:

Quantifiable Costs of DIY ride

- Full-Suspension rental bike- $85+ (remember to add California sales tax)

- Car rental or transport to trails- $40-$150 (plus time and gas if getting a rental car)

- Return trip- $0- $150 ($0 for rental car, $40-$150 for private transport)

- Map- $12

- Water Bottle- $8 (Disposable water bottles don't usually survive mountain biking)

- Clif Bars x2- $4

- Mountain Bike Hall of Fame entrance- $10

- Post Ride Beer- $6

Solo Ride Total: $165- $425

Mountain Bike SF Total: $250 (with full-suspension bike and roundtrip ferry ride)

Even if you are only looking at the quantifiable costs, you could potentially save about $85 by going without a guide, or you could end up spending more. You could always skip the bike museum to save money too, but we don't recommend it!

Sharing a ride with others is definitely more fun than riding solo. No spandex needed.

I know everyone's situation is different, but $85 is a pretty small cost to for all the benefits you get riding with Mountain Bike SF, not to mention the time and hassle you'd spend researching and getting to your ride. And then, at the end of the day, you'd still never know if you found the best ride for you.

All the benefits of riding with Mountain Bike SF:

- A private ride, with a tailored route to your interests and a scenic view you won't find on your own

- A local and friendly mountain bike guide who knows the best trails, food and drink in the county

- Someone to share the trails, views and laughs with along your ride

- The safety of riding with a first aid certified guide

- Skills tips from an IMBA certified Skills Coach (if riding with Mark)

- High quality full-suspension bikes from Santa Cruz Bicycles

- Pickup and drop off at the Larkspur ferry terminal, with bikes ready to go

- Water, Clif Bars, and a post ride beer included (and someone to enjoy it with)

- Pictures of you riding to show your family and friends

- No hassle of finding and renting a car and finding and renting a bike

- No stopping to look at your map at every intersection, a real flow killer!

- Complimentary entry to the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame.

I'd say any of those are a pretty good value for $85! Let us know what you think in the comments.