Best of Marin 2018: Fitness & Recreation

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Illustration by AVIcon.

Those who are health-conscious are naturally drawn to Marin. Biking, hiking, yoga, surfing, kayaking and more are available at nearly every turn, so staying in shape is at our fingertips wherever we may be. Thank you, Marin County fitness and recreation businesses, for helping everyone stay young.

Outdoor Adventure

Want to go on a great outdoor adventure but don’t know where to start? Or, even worse, know where you want to go and what you need, but all of the winter gear stores are closed for the season? No worries—Any Mountain, this year’s winner for Best Snow Sports Shop, is open year-round and is dedicated to helping you begin your outdoor journey. One of the biggest snow sports retailers with multiple shops in the Bay Area, Any Mountain’s inventory is unparalleled; from skiing and snowboarding to basic outdoor needs, this business has it all.

The store and its employees have a broad knowledge and passion for aiding in snow sports needs. Employees also realize that proper fitting boots are a major key to a great, and safe, time on the slopes. Any Mountain provides professional boot-fitters who are committed to making sure that feet are happy. A full-service ski and snowboard repair station is located in every store as well, just in case your equipment experiences any hiccups.

Any Mountain also offers ski and snowboard rentals, at certain times of the year, for those with varying levels of experience. But no matter what a customer’s skill set is, Any Mountain employees will encourage one’s adventurous side.—Sierra Sorrentino

anymountain.net.

Sweat it Out

If you’re yearning for a place to work that body of yours, there are lots of choices for how to do it at Body Kinetics, winner in two categories this year—Best Health Club and Best Pilates Studio. A family affair started by three brothers, John, Michael and Joey Hoeber, it offers a full calendar of classes at three locations in Marin. Work on a rock-solid core at Pilates, dance your pounds off at Zumba or jump in the saddle for a cycling class. No more excuses.—L.O.

bodykinetics.com.

Giddy Up

Point Reyes National Seashore offers countless opportunities for hiking, but exploring the area’s natural beauty on horseback with Five Brooks Ranch, voted Marin’s Best Horseback Riding Company, opens up a whole new world. The ranch staff guides horseback riders through the 120-mile park to amazing views of mountaintops, meadows and beaches, and is committed to making the riding experience fun and comfortable—no matter one’s age or level of experience.

The friendly and open-minded dispositions of the staff come in handy with new, possibly nervous, riders. And Five Brooks Ranch even offers private rides that are great for birthday parties or romantic dates.

Need to board an equine friend? The ranch covers that, too.—S.S.

8001 Shoreline Highway, Olema. 415.663.1570.

Family Legacy

Founded as California’s first commercial sea kayaking business in 1982, Sea Trek has been giving water-lovers the chance to “get out there” for quite some time. The owners and professional guides of Marin’s Best Outdoor Adventure Tour offer kayak and paddleboarding trips in one of the most beautiful places in the world. The mom-and-pop feel of the business adds to its appeal. The original owner’s son is the new head honcho, continuing the family legacy.  

A popular destination is the water under and around the Golden Gate Bridge, but Sea Trek has been leading trips along the coast of Baja California for decades. And you don’t have to worry about bringing your own camping and boating gear, or packing food; the guides have you covered. If you prefer to get on the water without a planned itinerary, Sea Trek has single and double kayaks for rent.

Typically, Sea Trek guided tours are open to everyone, but the company also offers private tours perfect for a corporate bonding event or a cool and different party with friends. If you want to create your own custom trip, that’s an option as well. Just make sure to call and plan ahead.—S.S.

2100 Bridgeway, Sausalito. 415.332.8494.

Cast Away

When it comes to water-related sports, Marin has it covered. And if your passion is fishing, no need to look any further than the Salty Lady, which hooked the title this year for Best Sport Fishing Company. Let Captain Roger Thomas take you out on his large, comfortable 56-foot boat on the San Francisco Bay to hunt for aquatic creatures. Everything you need for fishing is available for rent or sale, including rods, tackle and fishing licenses. You might even snag a large salmon, striped sea bass or halibut. And if fishing isn’t your cup of chowder, you can charter the Salty Lady for whale watching, sightseeing or funerals/burials at sea.—L.O.

Clipper Yacht Harbor, 310 Harbor Dr., Sausalito; 415.674.3474.

Stoked on Spokes

Since 1964, Mike’s Bikes’ mission statement has been “Promote the Stoke”; that is, provide and promote bicycles and cycling to as many people as possible throughout Marin and the Bay Area, and provide the best service possible to the diverse cycling community in Marin County and beyond. That’s surely the reason that Marin’s cyclists named it Best Bike Shop.

“We set ourselves apart from other bike shops,” says General Manager Sam Bolster, “with the customer service experience we provide for each customer.” He says that they do this by making sure that customers always have the right gear, and advice for whatever bike they may be riding.

Mike’s is also known to volunteer with organizations such as the Norcal High School Cycling League, providing repair for their bicycle races. And when the Southern Marin Fire Protection District ran a donation drive for bicycles after the October fires, Mike’s Bikes was there to help transport donations across the Bay Area and make sure that they were in good repair.

The store started in Marin County in San Rafael, and has since expanded to 12 different locations around the Bay Area. According to Bolster, this has created a stigma against Mike’s Bikes as a large conglomerate store that pushes smaller mom-and-pop stores out of business, but he insists otherwise. “We’re a bike shop just like everyone else,” he says. “Everybody wants to have fun, enjoy what they do and make sure that the customers who are coming in leave stoked.”—A.R.

836 Fourth St., San Rafael; 415.454.3747.

Writer’s Pick

Skippy

Peter Van Camerik co-founded ArchRival Sports alongside Joel Fruchtman back in the ’70s. Forty-one years later, Van Camerik is still working at the Best Store For Making Feet Happy.

“We don’t sell just shoes here,” he says. “We sell the correct shoes. All of our people are trained to sell the right shoe to the right customer.” New employees are extensively trained by veteran employees, not only about the ins and outs of different types of shoes, but also about the differences between people’s feet, and even about biomechanics.

On top of selling shoes, ArchRival gives back to the community in other small ways. Local teams at high schools get a 10 percent discount, and a newly implemented loyalty program honors new and returning customers.

According to Van Camerik, the best thing about working for the same store is seeing the same faces year after year. “It’s an ongoing generational thing here,” he says. “People pass it on from grandfather to father, and father to son. That’s why [we have] a very loyal customer base.”—A.R.

Archrivalsports.com.

Writer’s Pick

Deep Dive

Marin County is not a good place for diving. Often times, the water is too murky or too rocky to make diving really enjoyable. However, Marin is a good place to learn how to dive, with several diving stores available to teach you everything you want to know about the sport. Marin Diving Center is the Best Place to Learn How to Wear a Rubber Suit.

Most of the training is done in the center’s extensive facilities, and when customers are comfortable with the procedures, they get hands-on experience diving in the ocean in Monterey.

Marin Diving Center’s founding can be traced back to the late 1960s, when diving as a sport was just taking off. “Lot of tradition, lot of experience,” says instructor Paul Maxwell. “We have been kind of a fixture here in the county for … well, I used to shop here with my dad as a kid.”—Alex Randolph

3765 Redwood Hwy., San Rafael; 415.479.4332.

Full List of Best of Marin 2018 Fitness & Recreation Winners

Best Beach

Stinson Beach

Best Bike Route/Trail

China Camp State Park

Best Bike Shop

Mike’s Bikes

Best Boating Company

West Marine

Best Cycling Event

Marin Century

Best Gym

FITNESS SF

Best Health Club

Body Kinetics

Best Hiking Trail

Dipsea

Best Horseback Riding Company

Five Brooks Ranch

Best Martial Arts School

Marin Mixed Martial Arts

Best Outdoor Adventure Tour

Sea Trek

Best Park/Open Space

China Camp State Park

Best Personal Trainer

Michael Krick, KrickFit

Best Pilates Studio

Body Kinetics

Best Skate Shop

Proof Lab

Best Snow Sports Shop

Any Mountain

Best Sport Fishing Charter Company

The Salty Lady

Best Surf Shop

Proof Lab

Best Swimming Pool

Osher Marin JCC

Best Tennis Club

Mt. Tam Racquet Club

Best Water Sports Company

101 Surf Sports

Best Yoga Studio

YogaWorks, Mill Valley

 

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