1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
Results 1 to 19 of 19
  1. #1
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    Is this kind of trail normal?

    I recently got back into mountain biking. I got myself a new bike after a couple of rides on my old one (10+ years) made me remember all the things I didn't like about it.

    I also moved recently and I decided to find somewhere to ride in my borough of NYC. I found a patch of "wilderness" to ride with the help of Google Maps and it turned out to be a mixed use trail with a couple of joggers and one or two bikers but people were few and far between.

    The trails are very hilly with very little flat area but not really uphill or downhill more in any one direction. The trails are also mostly what I'd consider medium gravel (about the size of the face of a men's watch) but there are some sections, mostly one or both sides of a steep hill that are asphalt. There are also some decent ruts in the the gravel areas and some were filled in with much finer (about a quarter the size of the normal stuff) gravel.

    As I'd expect some of these transitions from asphalt to gravel aren't very smooth but some of the places where the transitions are happen to be right in the middle of a sharp curve at the bottom of a fast downhill section. I guess the orientation depends on which way you're riding from, but it just seems not to make much sense to me. One was so bad that my riding partner lost control and wound up with some stitches for their troubles.

    I haven't had a chance to explore any other trails, but is this what I should expect to be riding on? Are we just not riding correctly? As I said, there's a lot of hills, so we try to keep momentum from one to the next.

  2. #2
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    This could be called mountain biking IMO. It does not sound like single track, but you could continue to ride there and still work on technique for cornering, braking, bike control, etc. I would suggest you talk to some other people around town that mountain bike or go to a bike shop. They should be able to give you other places to try as well. This will give you perspective and you can choose where to ride. Go have fun.
    Last edited by OLx6; 07-17-2012 at 07:48 PM.

  3. #3
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    Medium sized gravel is not the ideal media to be riding on. Sounds like it would suck all of the fun out of riding. Look for some dirt singletrack.

  4. #4
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I don't know the answer to your question, but here's a link.
    NYCMTB
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  5. #5
    My little friends
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    As stated, gravel that size, especially on a grade can be a bit difficult to ride on. Of course, the bigger the gravel, the more interesting the ride.......





  6. #6
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    I ran across that site the other day. It's weird because there is a trail shown on their map that's a little further away from me but the one I've been riding isn't listed on there. I'm sure it's a trail for bikes since there's signs everywhere depicting a bicycle.

    I think I may have to try that other trail to get some perspective.

    I also looked at what single track is and I think there may have been some trails like that that (about a foot wide of dirt) split off from the gravel road.

  7. #7
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    What borough are you in?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  8. #8
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    i live in long island. if you're willing to travel to the island, there's a ton of trails here. where in nyc are you? i've done a few trails on the queens/nassau border that were pretty good from what i remember, but i live in northport so i stick to the suffolk trails now. stillwell is really technical and fun for its size, no gravel or anything. my favorite beginner trail out here is the edgewood preserve. i bring a lot of beginners there, its a good place for them to get the feel for dirt and long rides, and then we go to meadowlark or stillwell, which are more technical, and then rocky point for a longer ride. check out CLIMB, they have a lot of info about trails in the nyc/li area.

  9. #9
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    i was just checking out your profile, says you're from staten island.. is this the place you're talking about?

    Mountain biking on Staten Island - New York Outdoor Recreation | Examiner.com

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by miketrains03 View Post
    I recently got back into mountain biking. I got myself a new bike after a couple of rides on my old one (10+ years) made me remember all the things I didn't like about it.

    I also moved recently and I decided to find somewhere to ride in my borough of NYC. I found a patch of "wilderness" to ride with the help of Google Maps and it turned out to be a mixed use trail with a couple of joggers and one or two bikers but people were few and far between.

    The trails are very hilly with very little flat area but not really uphill or downhill more in any one direction. The trails are also mostly what I'd consider medium gravel (about the size of the face of a men's watch) but there are some sections, mostly one or both sides of a steep hill that are asphalt. There are also some decent ruts in the the gravel areas and some were filled in with much finer (about a quarter the size of the normal stuff) gravel.

    As I'd expect some of these transitions from asphalt to gravel aren't very smooth but some of the places where the transitions are happen to be right in the middle of a sharp curve at the bottom of a fast downhill section. I guess the orientation depends on which way you're riding from, but it just seems not to make much sense to me. One was so bad that my riding partner lost control and wound up with some stitches for their troubles.

    I haven't had a chance to explore any other trails, but is this what I should expect to be riding on? Are we just not riding correctly? As I said, there's a lot of hills, so we try to keep momentum from one to the next.
    Pretty easy riding imho

  11. #11
    FKA Malibu412
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    Quote Originally Posted by ou2mame View Post
    i live in long island. if you're willing to travel to the island, there's a ton of trails here where you can bunny hop kids lying on the trail. where in nyc are you? blah blah blah blah... blah blah blah.... some more blah blah blah blah...what's the weather like where you live? blah blah blah blah...blah blah blah blah... check out CLIMB, they have a lot of info about trails in the nyc/li area.
    Fixed. This is getting old.
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  12. #12
    Perpetual n00b
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    This is the type of trail you should be looking for

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by miketrains03 View Post
    I ran across that site the other day. It's weird because there is a trail shown on their map that's a little further away from me but the one I've been riding isn't listed on there. I'm sure it's a trail for bikes since there's signs everywhere depicting a bicycle.

    I think I may have to try that other trail to get some perspective.

    I also looked at what single track is and I think there may have been some trails like that that (about a foot wide of dirt) split off from the gravel road.
    You found yourself some sort of multi-use trail system that permits bicycles but is not specific to mountain bikes. that's why it's not listed on the mtb club's site.

    I've lived lots of places that had bike trails that were not really mtb trails. I ride them all just the same, but for different reasons and sometimes with a different bike.

  14. #14
    'Tis but a scratch
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    If it is Wolfe's Pond you rode, I'm not familiar with it. You may want to check out Cunningham which is much different from what you described. I have ridden there. Its listed on the NYCMTB site above. Its hard pack dirt with some roots and some logs. There are some dirt jump sections and some pump track type sections. It is purpose built for mountain biking. Sounds like it would be a whole different experience for you.

    As for the place you desribed, I am curious to know where it is if you'd care to share...because quite frankly, to me, it sounds like something I'd go check out. I like diversity. And I like the oxymoron that NYC mountain biking represents :-)

  15. #15
    local trails rider
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    In My Opinion...

    It is not all about what is "normal".

    Much more important is "what is accessible", and "what do you like to ride".

    Personally, I don't much care for gravel and, riding a MTB, asphalt is a means to get to the next interesting piece of trail.

    I like my rocks either large and round, or blended with organic matter:





    Sometimes I'm in the mood to ride on smooth dirt roads, but I still don't like "medium or larger gravel".

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  16. #16
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Gravel pretty much just sucks. No matter which bike I'm on.

    I guess I like small gravel as a running surface, though.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  17. #17
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    Yep, not a fan of gravel myself. Although I have spent a few hours on a gravel trail and it really helped my handling abilities. Still sucked though.

  18. #18
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    I agree with everyone that says Gravel Sucks! I hate every trail I've ever been on that has gravel. It will definitely teach you some handling. It's about the same as a trail that has sand on it. Bleh!

  19. #19
    No good in rock gardens..
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    That's true offroad riding for you. Who wants to ride on strict hardpack anyway?

    This is pretty normal for hereabouts:









    My Cannondale Lefty keeps failing....

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