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  1. #1
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    Visiting Boise and bringing at least one bike!

    I'm planning a road trip to Boise. Currently, I live in Nebraska and may relocate there in the near future IF I like it...just decided to take a week off work to check out the area. I'm planning to bring my mountain bike because I hear there is awesome mountain biking out there. Should I bring my cyclocross too or is that overkill? I see there is already a thread here about Boise trails, so I won't ask about that, unless there is something I need to know about since the thread has started. However, I'm riding a 1X8 with a 36t in the front. How much climbing is there on local trails? Should I move down to a 2x8 with a 32/22 in the front?

    Is there a good resource for biking events for the area? Assuming I don't have any setbacks, I would be there from September 2nd to the 7th. May get there a day sooner if I drive all night, or maybe late on September 1st. Anything else I should know about the city? Places to avoid? Places I should see? Is there a place to buy good beer? Thanks for your input!

  2. #2
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    I moved from WI to Boise about a year and a half ago. Compared to anywhere in the midwest, yes there is a LOT of climbing here. My first ride out here I climbed about 400 vertical ft and was so dizzy and dry-throated I laid down in the dirt for 5 minutes just to get my wind back.

    -Go to Camelsback park on a Saturday morning... there are more mtb'rs there on a saturday than all of Nebraska.

    -Check out Eastside trail up on bogus for some sun relief..

    -Check out Bend, OR for some smoke relief...

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by stackwalker View Post
    I moved from WI to Boise about a year and a half ago. Compared to anywhere in the midwest, yes there is a LOT of climbing here. My first ride out here I climbed about 400 vertical ft and was so dizzy and dry-throated I laid down in the dirt for 5 minutes just to get my wind back.
    Thanks for the warning. LOL I guess I'll continue to ride the 36t here until a day before the drive to Boise. Then I'll switch to the 32t/22t. If you pass a guy on a red Leader hardtail, who sounds like his lungs are about to explode, chances are, that'll be me. Heck, I have a hard time on the Nebraska hills!

  4. #4
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    Most the hour-ish rides here are around 12-15 miles with 1000 - 1200 ft vertical.
    It's dry here compared to the midwest so bring a lot of water..

    Check out this map to give you an idea of where to go..
    Interactive Map - City of Boise

    Hulls Gulch, Bobs, Corrals, Shane's, 3 Bears are some of the popular lower trails. Dry Creek, Eastside are good ones in the upper elevations...

    If I were starting over again, I'd want my 22t chainring. I run 33:36 as my lowest gear for now, but I've put in about 800 miles this season.

  5. #5
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    Yeah, if you have a hard time on Nebraska hills I would definitely bring some easier gearing. stackwalker gave a great link for an interactive map. If you give us an idea of how long of rides you like to do and what kind of elevation then we could give you some recommendations.

    As for the city, what other things do you like to do? If you're single there is a great downtown night life that you can go have fun at. There really isn't any place to avoid in the area. It is a very safe town. Garden City would be the closest we have to a shady area and that's a joke compared to other cities. We do have a lot of excellent places for beer. Plenty of them brew their own like Highlands Hollow, TableRock, The Ram, Sockeye, and others as well. Or for just a great selection of micros and food go to Bittercreek Ale House downtown.

    There's lots of other stuff to do just depends what you are into.

  6. #6
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    Thanks guys! Sounds like a great town.

    Just to clarify my gearing: I'll have a 32/22 up front, with an 11/30 (I think) in the rear. Not the best, but could be worse. I was thinking I'd start the week with the easier trails with less elevation in the beginning of the week, and then work towards the harder trails with longer climbs toward the end of the week. I may also throw in some cyclocross rides in town in between rides, as I'm not used to riding for more than an hour at a time on my mountain bike.

    To give a comparison of the trail in Omaha that I frequently ride, here is a link, so I imagine the Boise trails will be a shock to my system:

    Tranquility Park, Omaha, Jan 10, 2012 5:38 PM in Omaha, NE | cycling Map | MapMyRIDE

    I thought stackwalker mentioned something about getting thorns in your tires easily or something like that? Any recommendations there? Just bring lots of extra tubes and a pump?

  7. #7
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    If you're riding around town then you might want some sort of protection from the thorns (goat heads) but I've honestly never had one puncture a tire in the foothills here in over 5 years of riding. Supposedly they are bad this year but I have still not had any issues with them.

    You might be in for a rude awakening based on your normal trail. I don't know if we have any trails that only have 200 ft elevation gains. On the trail map posted above you might try something like Bucktail first. If you have more in you, do Shane's.

    Just remember, you'll feel much better after you puke .

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    I had 5 punctures at the beginning of the season, though I haven't gotten a single one on Camelsback trails or Reserve trails. I get them out by my house at Red Tail/Polecat. As soon as I get comfortable enough to ride without a pump and tube, I get one of those @#$@#$%# in my tire.

    You'll friggin love it here though. Once you get past the climbs, you'll be rewarded with some of the fastest downhills around.

  9. #9
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    go tubeless with sealant. you'll be fine with the gearing you currently have. the climbs here are long but not that steep.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bwick84 View Post
    You might be in for a rude awakening based on your normal trail. I don't know if we have any trails that only have 200 ft elevation gains.
    Yeah, I'm pretty much expecting that. At Tranquility, I can do the whole trail using the 1X8setup with the 36t up front. So, I think the fact that I never even ride in the 22t now should offset the harder climbs in Boise while I'm in the 22t up front and lower gear in the back. Usually, around here, I get tired toward the top of a climb, but before you know it, I'm coming right back down the other side of the hill. For Boise, climbing up a hill that keeps going and going makes me wonder if I'll have to get off the bike and push. The idea of a long downhill sounds fun, though, and a little scary too. How technical are the trails in Boise? I've been riding clipless since last Winter (about 6 months), but I'm wondering if I should bring an extra set of platform pedals just in case...seems like there would be the risk of falling over while clipped in toward the top of a hill as momentum starts to approach a full stop, or if the trail gets too technical.

  11. #11
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    Stay at or near downtown Boise; I often recommend the Modern Hotel to visitors. You can park your car and ride your bike to everything you'll need, especially on a crossbike. Check out the Boise Greenbelt to get around town. If you don't feel like moving here after 2 days of this, Boise is not your kinda town.

    This may also be worth your time: Upcoming Events

  12. #12
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    I visit Boise a couple times a year for work, and am here this week. I think it'd be a great place to live (especially if you are within walking/riding distance of downtown), but we have too much invested living in NorCal.

    As someone from reasonably flat lands, definitely bring your 22T to Boise. At least out of Camel's Back and Military Reserve (all easily rideable from the downtown hotels -- I always stay at the Courtyard Marriott on Broadway) all of the trails have a significant amount of climbing from the very start.

    I find the PDF map at the Ridge to Rivers website to be easier to use than the interactive... And you can easily print out a portion of the map if you want.

    From my novice experience, steer clear of most of the trails open to motorbikes. They've got monster deep sand and rarely follow the contour lines, rather they go straight up and straight down. There are a couple exceptions, and I mostly have used those to connect the trails open to the MTBs.

    I've only done one ride while I've been here this week (up Freestone, Femrite's, Watchman, 5-Mile Gulch, down 8th Street moto trail and 8th street), and my Garmin says it was 27mi and 4500ft of climbing. Subtract a couple miles for riding on the road to/from the trail. It felt like it was all climbing or descending, with very little in between.

    I'm going out to Camel's Back with a coworker this eve, who said the ride would stick to the lower trails and 60-90min, so I'll get to see what is local-approved.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by getagrip View Post
    Yeah, I'm pretty much expecting that. At Tranquility, I can do the whole trail using the 1X8setup with the 36t up front. So, I think the fact that I never even ride in the 22t now should offset the harder climbs in Boise while I'm in the 22t up front and lower gear in the back. Usually, around here, I get tired toward the top of a climb, but before you know it, I'm coming right back down the other side of the hill. For Boise, climbing up a hill that keeps going and going makes me wonder if I'll have to get off the bike and push. The idea of a long downhill sounds fun, though, and a little scary too. How technical are the trails in Boise? I've been riding clipless since last Winter (about 6 months), but I'm wondering if I should bring an extra set of platform pedals just in case...seems like there would be the risk of falling over while clipped in toward the top of a hill as momentum starts to approach a full stop, or if the trail gets too technical.
    I wouldn't worry about it. The trails aren't very technical and you shouldn't have a problem unclipping even if you tire out.

  14. #14
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    You can do a fair bit of climbing in the area. If you want to get epic, you can climb to the top of Bogus which would be a good 5000 feet above the valley floor.
    Most of the trails around here are very tame. In the lower foothills they are like nice sidewalks, and up higher you can find some really nice singletrack with some techy steeper sections. The terrain up at Bogus definitely has a north shore feel which really gives you a good variety.
    The best part about our trails though is that they all funnel back to town. It is always fun to just go out and get lost for a day..
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  15. #15
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    10 days ago I managed to injure my ankle in a pathetic slow moving crash while clipped in (see photos of my nasty injuries in Beginners Corner section). The injury seemed to get worse as time progressed, and I didn't stay off my bike for more than 2 days until Friday. Wasn't sure if I was going to make the trip to Boise or not, but today I finally went to the doctor's office and got the official word - no broken bones or infections, I have a contusion and maybe a sprain, but I got the all clear to ride!

    Anyway, I do have a couple of more questions.

    Are there any good camping spots in the Boise area? To cut my costs, I was thinking about staying at a camp ground close to Boise for at least a night or two. Has anyone stayed at any of the local hostels?

    Would I regret not bringing my montain bike and only bringing the cyclocross? Because of my injury, part of me wants to take it easy and just cruise through the city on my cyclocross, but that would seem to limit the number of trails I could ride. I'm also a little paranoid of brigning both bikes, and leaving one at a campsite (or maybe a hostel) while I go ride. I was considering looking into the possibility of demoing a mountain bike at a local bike store for one day while I keep my cyclocross locked up at a hotel. But maybe I should just leave my cyclocross at home. Its not like I can't see part of the city through my car and the rest on my mountain bike.

    Also, any other places on the way to Boise or on the way back to Nebraska that I should visit? I don't have to stay in Boise the whole time - someone mentioned Sun Valley is pretty good, and I'm sure there are other places to ride as well. Maybe some places that have a little less climbing!
    Last edited by getagrip; 08-27-2012 at 06:44 PM.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by getagrip View Post
    Are there any good camping spots in the Boise area?
    USFS campground at Mores Mountain - about 4 miles past Bogus Basin ski lodge - is the only official camp spot. There are several unofficial (and pitiless/waterless) camp spots along the Boise Ridge road. Burn ban is in effect so bring a stove.

    Stay at Mores Mountain and enjoy a couple of days on Shafer Butte and Eastside. There's usually a nice view from there but this year alls you see is smoke. It's a nice spot though and the CX-ridable forest roads go forever from there.
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  17. #17
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    getagrip:

    I know more than a handful of folks that have ridden all of the lower foothills trails on a 'cross. One even rode entire ridge road on a cross. Also, Twisted recommendation is the best camping sport for riding.

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  18. #18
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    Thanks guys! I'm happy with both fire roads (not leading to actual fires LOL) and lower foothills. However, my cross is a double up front, with the smallest chainring being a 39t. For a cross bike, how would that gearing work for the lower foothills?

    I'm going to check that campsite out. I found a hostile in the countryside to stay at for the last three days. I was happy that they allow beer! Ideally, I'd like the idea of a little more privacy, but at $20 a night you can't go wrong. I mean, the savings vs a hotel pays for a smaller chainring! I guess if my snoring keeps other people awake, I'll sleep in my tent outside. Still deciding what to do for the first 3 nights. They are full on the 4th, but they said they could probably squeeze me in someplace if I really need a place to stay. Never stayed at a hostel, but the community aspect of it makes it somewhat more appealing than a hotel.

  19. #19
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    Depends on your fitness. I used to run a 12-27 cassette with 48-36 up front on my cross there. However, my favorite thing was to ride the rigid 29er. If you had a hardtail, you would have more fun and you could still do Eastside, Deerpoint and a host of others from campsite.
    ...building wherever they'll let me...

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Visicypher View Post
    Depends on your fitness. I used to run a 12-27 cassette with 48-36 up front on my cross there. However, my favorite thing was to ride the rigid 29er. If you had a hardtail, you would have more fun and you could still do Eastside, Deerpoint and a host of others from campsite.
    Thanks. Turns out I have a 36t, not a 39t. I run a 12-26t in the back. Fitness level isn't so good, though. I've ridden close to 2,000 road miles this year, plus 30 to 40 hours or so on mountain bike trail rides, but you wouldn't think so by looking at me, and I'm feeling really out of shape. Prior to this past week, I had about 400 miles in during the preceding 4 weeks. I was hoping to use this week to do lots of training to get in a little better shape for the Boise hills, but I haven't ridden a bike since last Thursday, and will probably stay off until Thursday because of my injury. However, bringing both bikes is looking good, though. I like the fact that the one hostile is in the country, and I may try and stay more nights there - makes me feel more comfortable about leaving my bikes there. Anyway, Boise is going to kick my butt physically, but I think its going to be fun.

  21. #21
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    Caveat- I don't live in Boise. Yet.
    However, we spent last July there, and I rode quite a bit. If you're out of shape and live in the flatlands, I'd recommend bringing your mountain bike if you have to choose just one.
    Your gearing will still be tall enough to get around town efficiently enough, and you'll have a much better time off road.

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  22. #22
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    Tomorrow I'm leaving for my trip! One question: how are the fires effecting the riding in the Boise area?

  23. #23
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    The fires haven't affected my riding at all. They have more just made the view at the top not as clear. Although there have been a few days where the smoke came into the valley and I was glad I hadn't gone for a ride that day.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by getagrip View Post
    Tomorrow I'm leaving for my trip! One question: how are the fires effecting the riding in the Boise area?
    It would depend on which way the winds are blowing. There have been some clear days and there have been somedays you can barely see the foothills. Expect to see (and breathe) some smoke ... But it shouldn't stop you from riding unless you have a respiratory condition.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by flipnidaho View Post
    But it shouldn't stop you from riding unless you have a respiratory condition.
    The orange level days are supposedly unhealthy for everyone.

    But it's usually a LOT clearer up at bogus than in the valley, so if you're camping up there, expect more rideable days.

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