Frequently asked questions

What is our mission?


Our mission is to get more kids on bikes. We focus on mountain biking, because it is safe and fun, and keeps kids off the roads, which in our area can be very dangerous. It gives kids an opportunity to get outside, get exercise, explore, and learn about the natural world around us. We want all kids to be able to experience this sport, regardless of income, and as much as we are able, we try to make that happen. We want to give kids who don't do a sport a chance to try an activity that might be a good fit for them. We want to teach all kids the basic physical skill of riding a bike for safety, fun and confidence. We want to help teach life lessons through coaching kids to ride and race mountain bikes, building strong minds, bodies and character in the process. We hope to produce lifetime riders. In our team, there are NO CUTS- kids race or participate at all levels, from adventure riding all the way to international competitions.




Who Can Ride?


Any Alameda High School kid can join the team, which is an official member of the NorCal High School Cycling League which is also part of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA). We have two kinds of riding; Race and Adventure. The Race team competes in the NorCal High School Cycling League's mountain bike race series in the late winter & early spring. The Adventure team rides for fun, and does some adventure rides that involve travel, exploration and challenge. We also have a Devo (Development Team) for middle schoolers.




Do I have to Race?


You don't have to race to be part of our team. But we encourage it because it's so much fun. You don't have to try-out to be on our team. Don't know how to mountain bike? No problem, we'll teach you! Our team is open to any high-schooler, girl or boy, that attends Alameda High.




How Much Does it Cost?


There are some costs involved with high school racing which vary year to year depending on sponsorships and donations received. For the 2018 season the team fee will be $200. Financial aid is available. There are additional fees to register for races in the NorCal League. Total season cost, with our team fee and race fees can be as high as $550. Obviously Bikes and clothing add additional exspenses. Again, financial aid is available. Depending on need, cost to participate can be as little as $0.




What do my Fees Cover?


Your $200 team membership fee covers...

  • Basic Coaching support at weekly practices
  • Coach training subsidies (Wilderness First Aid Training, CPR, MTB101, background checks, risk management training)
  • Team liability and injury insurance,
  • One weekly spin and core and flexibility class with professional instructors throughout the entire season (every Tuesday & Thursday and rainouts),
  • 20% off at Cycle City in Alameda
  • 20% at Trek Store Berkley
  • NICA member benefits (30% - 50% off bikes & parts)
  • Race support (Nutrition education, warmup education, pitzone support, race timeline & start support)




Do You Have Scholarships and Financial Aid Available?


YES! If you want to bike, and you are worried about the cost, contact Coach Mike.




What Kind of Commitment is Needed?


The season kicks off in December and runs through the Spring. We ask that team members commit to at least one team practice per week. We hold regular practices on Sunday mornings and generally meet at Joaquin Miller Park in the Oakland Hills with kids from several other teams. There are practices mid-week, from one to three days after school, depending on the level of commitment by the student athlete. Practices are indoors until Daylight Savings Time begins. Four to six races are held each year beginning in February and ending in May with the State Championships. Races are held on either Saturdays or Sundays at locations throughout Northern California. This year we will have four Adventure rides.




Where does the team ride?


We ride in the East Bay hills, primarily. We ride outdoors as much as we can, but after-school practices are indoors at CRUfit in Montclair and Alameda Beachbody in Alameda until Daylight Savings Time begins. Races and Adventure rides are all within two hours driving distance of alameda, often less than two hours.




Who Does the Coaching?


Michael Karp is the Head Coach and Team Director and Allen Yip is the Assistant Coach and Director of Athletic Training. Allen is a Licensed professional Cycling coach, affiliated with Carmichael Training Systems (CTS) and both Mike and Allen are NICA-licensed coaches. Several other trained coach/ride leaders help out throughout the season. Everyone associated with the team has undergone, at a minimum, a thorough background check and concussion training.




Does the team offer transportation to races and rides?


Transportation to practices and races is often provided, but all parents ( and kids) assume responsibility for transportation. We have an extensive team, and families work together to help with carpooling. If you want to ride with us and go to races or adventure rides, we can help you find rides, but separate permission is needed from parents, as the NICA insurance does not insure coaches that transport kids.




How Can I Join?


Send me an email at mike@bluefinprop.com or call Coach Mike at 510-813-0113. We will invite you to our Teamsnap and Pitzone to get you started on the registration process.




How can I help?


Come on out for a ride with us! We need ride leaders, coaches, volunteers (admin, race day duties, fun ride duties) and we really need WOMEN coaches and ride leaders!




Questions about Equipment : What Kind of Bike and Gear Do I Need?


A mountain bike, helmet, safe clothes, a water bottle and some basic tools to fix a flat are all you need. A way to get the bike to rides and races is good, too. If you don’t have a bike, we can help you get one.




Do I have to buy a bike?


We have a limited number of loaner bikes available, and we encourage you to use one if you can't afford a bike, or if you want to try the sport out, before buying one. Student athletes (and volunteer ride leaders and coaches) qualify for significant discounts on bicycles from Trek, Santa Cruz and Specialized. Contact us to learn more.




What Kind of Bike do I Need?


There are two common divisions of mountain bikes; full-suspension and hard-tail. A full-suspension bike has a rear shock, and the frame is made of pieces which move on pivots. Full-suspension bikes can have lots of travel, and be more for going fast downhill, or have short travel, and before more cross-country use. A full-suspension bike with lots of travel is going to be pretty fun, but it's also going to be heavier, and will require more maintenance. (The pivots and rear shock need to be serviced once or twice a year.) Depending on how much it's designed to be fun going downhill, it may be less fun going uphill. For cross-country racing, which involves climbing and descending hills well, it's hard to beat a "hard-tail" (no rear suspension) bike. We like 29" wheels (the bigger wheel size) for medium-to-tall kids, and 27.5" wheels (the next wheel size down) for small-to-medium kids. For the race courses and training rides we'll do, a hard-tail 29er is optimal. It's also really good for most Bay Area terrain. You don't really need a full-suspension bike around here, but the faster you go downhill, the more fun full suspension bikes are. There are some trails that reward them. Many of our kids have them for a second bike, some race on them. A "cross-country" bike is best for our sport, whether full-suspension or hard-tail.




Do I Have to Wear Silly Looking Bike Clothes?


  • No, comfortable clothes that you can safely ride in are fine, but there’s a reason bike shorts have padding. We can talk about that. Tight, stretchy clothes are comfortable, don’t get too sweaty, and stay out of the way. We recommend that kids not wear cotton for riding, as it gets wet and cold, doesn't wick sweat as well as other materials and can cause chafing.

  • If you race, you are required to wear a team jersey, per NICA regulations.




Do I need a full-race helmet? Should I get one with a detachable chin-guard?


  • Do not get a full-face helmet; they are hot, heavy, you can't hear well while you’re wearing them. Lots of kids want them because they see them in videos. If you decide to ride/race downhill, get one, but there's nowhere around here you'd really need to use it.
  • The detachable chin-guard helmets work. But they are very expensive. We’d ecommend a regular XC MTB helmet. Tougher trails do not require tougher helmets, they require better skills. We can teach you those skills. Let's just make sure you minimize the need for a helmet through skills in the first place!
  • Coaches wear basic mountain bike helmets. We also have some donated helmets available to kids.




What should I expect, for bike maintenance?


All new bikes will need tune-ups, once they’ve been ridden for a bit. This is also true of any used bike. Additionally, used bikes often need their brake pad, chains, cassettes (cogs in the back) and cables replaced. We race rain or shine, and our athletes will ride their bikes a lot. Kids are hard on bikes. Develop a good relationship with whatever shop will be doing your maintenance, and bring it in for service early. Our races are on about a two-week cadence. Bringing the bike in, washed, first thing after a rainy or muddy race for repair is a good idea. Bringing it in right before the next race means you might not have it back in time, or in good shape for the next race. Expect certain things to wear out and need replacing; chains, brake pads, tires. Expect tune-ups / adjustment for suspension, drivetrain, brakes. Expect to have to rebuild the suspension at least once a year. Many tires can be run tubeless. I can explain more about this, but if the bike has the option of being run without inner tubes - tubeless - then we recommend the athlete go that route.





We're a bunch of high school kids and coaches who love mountain bike riding and racing. Our team consists of boys and girls who attend Alameda High School. We are an officially a sanctioned Club Team at the High School, and have an active cycling club at school where kids can learn more about the team.

CALL US:

+1 510-813-0113