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  1. #1
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    Need some advice- moving to eastern MA.

    I'm a little sad to say, but this spring, I leave the Rocky Mountains to find a home in Mass. My girlfriend got the opportunity to run a yoga studio in Bolton, and she couldn't pass it up, so we are headed east. I was hoping that the MTBR community could help ease the transition.

    1. If you were to move to a town that is NO FARHER THAN 45 MINUTES from Bolton, MA, where would you go? Ideally it's a place full of young (I'm 29) people, that's kind of hip and near some good riding.

    2. What's the best mountain bike town in New England?

    3. Where should I ride?

    I currently ride an Ibis Mojo HD 160. I love all day epics. I love technical climbing and descending. I also like to get airborne whenever possible. I'm also a big fan of downhill and free ride.

    I own a hardtail 29er but am generally bored on trails that it excels on. I'm planning on buying a fat bike for the winter.

    I'll miss the Colorado rockies, but I'm excited to ride east coast tech, again. I grew up in southern NH, so I'm familiar with New England. I swore I'd never move back there, though. It's really not so bad.... right??

  2. #2
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    Not sure where Bolton is, I live kind of north shore and I ride Harold Parker SF mostly, also, Mt Pisgah is good. I came from AZ, western Mass is better,

  3. #3
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    Actually, I can show you some tech, I ride a Firebird

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    Western mass is home to, imo, the best riding in new england. It just is.

    That said, buy that fatbike and sell all yer other bikes. Worked wonders for me. Im revisiting old stomping grounds all over and riding/making sections i never thought possible on a non fat bike. Fun!

    rog

  5. #5
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    Bolton is not too far from some pretty good singletrack. 20 min. south there are the Vietnam trails in Milford. 20 min. north and you'll find some good riding in the Lowell/Dracut State Forest. Also Russell Mill in Chelmsford and Harold Parker S.F. in Andover

  6. #6
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    Yeah, Bolton is in a great area for biking. You're just up 495 and, within 30-40 minutes drive, are close to a lot of great places.

    I love all day epics. I love technical climbing and descending. I also like to get airborne whenever possible. I'm also a big fan of downhill and free ride.

    I'm sure I'll get corrected, but since Massachusetts has less land, I don't consider much of the state as having all-day epics. Sure, western MA has some bigger stuff, but unless you're linking parks, Mass just doesn't have a ton of those.

    But as far as XC goes, there's some great riding here! Oh, and rocks. And roots. And rocks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fitch View Post

    I'm sure I'll get corrected, but since Massachusetts has less land, I don't consider much of the state as having all-day epics. Sure, western MA has some bigger stuff, but unless you're linking parks, Mass just doesn't have a ton of those.
    holy moly you haven't ridden much of mass have you.......

    rog

  8. #8
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    Waltham or Arlington is "hip" - from what I've seen a lot of late 20's/early 30's folks move out there once they're done living in the Boston proper. Might be too far away from Bolton though...not sure what you or your wife is willing to do for commuting.

    Can't speak to AM/DH stuff. All that seems to be more up in the mountains...lift accessed stuff.

    I've had a great time in Willowdale, Vietnam, Bear Brook, and of course Kingdom Trails. Check the NEMBA site. Great resource.

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    I am not sure you are going to find hip/youngish people in the suburbs, as said above, most people get sick of living in the city and move to the burbs to avoid high rents and find reasonably priced homes to buy. If you want to be in a hip neighborhood, yet still have reasonable access to mountain biking, you might consider Somerville or Medford. Somerville is like the Brooklyn of Boston IMHO, fun bars, restaurants, etc., but it is getting very expensive, I'm lucky I live in a pseudo rent-stabilized apartment (my landlord is a friend, who lived abroad, and keeps my rent artificially low because I take care of the place). Waltham is OK, as is Arlington, but I choose to live closer to the city. I can walk to the T from my apartment, and also ride to trails good enough for a workout up in the Middlesex Fells or the greenway in Waltham/Belmont. For more technical riding, I have to drive 20-45 min to trails mentioned above.

    Bolton would be a bit of a commute from Somerville/Cambridge/Arlington/etc, about an hour, but maybe working in a yoga studio it would not be typical commuting hours? That might not make it so bad. Kind of depends where you plan to work as well.

    I don't think you will find DH/freeride here, mountains are too small for long downhills, you need to head west or north to NH/VT for that, lots of tech around here though, and a few of the trails systems have some fun jumpy areas and some short flow trails, you gotta work for it though. No long climbs/descents like in CO.

    I moved here from Boulder 3 years ago, PM me if you have any questions. I have a Mojo, but find myself riding my rigid SS 29er, makes easy trails a lot more fun and is making me a much better rider. Building up a 29+ bike soon.

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  11. #11
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    There is no "mountain biking center" in Massachusetts. Bolton is farily well located, there's the rides mentioned already, but also leominster, harold parker, callahan, etc... check out NEMBA's site. You won't find anything like the rockies out here, but you can find big climbs if that's what you want, or all day epics if that's what your looking for. You may have to drive a bit to get to them. Make sure you make a trip up to the kingdom trails (Vermont, bit of a drive) when you get out here. Some of the best riding in New England.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dompedro3 View Post
    Kingdom trails, Some of the best riding in New England.
    Now that's a huge stretch. Western mass is 10x better than kt. As well as at least a dozen other riding areas in vermont alone. Then of course you have mt washington valley........

    rog

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    You might want to check out Lowell. Mid sized city with a little bit of the 'artsy' thing going on downtown (or at least trying for it). Within striking distance of tons and tons riding, only about an hour to chairlifts at Highland, good access to a number of major highways, less than an hour to the ocean, and less than 2 to the White Mts. Also, Nashua NH might work. Everything else is really pretty much suburb unless you stay right in close to Boston, but the RE prices are stupid inside 128, or even 495 these days for that matter.
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    It really is quite cool how much great riding there is relatively close to boston.

    Not having to deal with 1-70 traffic is reason to celebrate.

    rog

  15. #15
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    Thanks for all of the thoughtful responses! It's still a year before we're there, but I'll keep you all posted and probably ask more specific questions as the move draws closer. Honestly, I'm really sad to leave Colorado and think that more than anything I was just looking for some reassurance that it won't be that bad. I lived in Asheville, NC for seven years-- the views out west are hard to beat, but the East Coast has the best technical riding i've ever experienced. (Except the pacific northwest...). I hope to find some good trail in New England and you all have me convinced that I will. Thanks! I think that the relative lack of avalanche risk in the winter will make for some great backcountry skiing, too!

  16. #16
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    I'll certainly reference this post as we decide where to live. I might as well ask: Anyone near Boloton want a yurt on their property?

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    a yurt would be very cool.

    as far as bc skiing goes, we have it pretty good here. the high whites in winter is where it's at. low to no crowds and a nice "relatively" stable maritime snowpack. you'll be able to ski much steeper lines, much sooner in winter snow after a storm than in the continental snowpack you're used to. and our spring corn snow quality can only be matched by maybe the eastern sierra. we don't mank out like colorado and utah do after the sun bakes the surface for more than 5 minutes. killer top notch supportive peel away corn all day long. don't even need to change aspect/elevation once it's cooking.

    along with our fabled steep terrain, we also have lovely high alpine lower angle options when the avy danger is elevated down lower.

    this winter we had some nice bouncy pow days in the high fields. nice 4000 + vert climb to get up there to stretch the legs.

    example from this winter, not uncommon to see no others for days up there



    rog

  18. #18
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    Ha! "Not bad." Looks awesome!

  19. #19
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    Yurt? Do I get the goat milk for my A.M. coffee? How's your bike fix skills?

  20. #20
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    I can certainly fix your bike. And you definitely get goat milk... if I can have a goat. Can I have a goat!? And maybe some chickens....?

  21. #21
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    I was in your shoes in 2008. Lived in Colorado Springs but took a job out here. Since the day i have lived here i have wanted to move back. My own opinion is just that - my own. A few notes:

    - The riding is nothing like Colorado, just accept it. Lot less vert, but more techy stuff
    - I love in Milford and Vietnam is my main stomping ground. Its fine, but certainly overhyped - maybe cause i ride it so much.
    - No all day epics here. No High Country rides. For that type of stuff it's good to head up to northern Vermont (Waterbury, Montpillier, Kingdom Trails, etc.) and Western Mass.
    - There are a crap load of small trail networks around. Up and down the 495 corridor there is riding.

    I tell people the major difference i have noticed (i moved here when I was 29 as well) is that people are from Boston, whereas people move TO Colorado. It's a very different mentality.

    On that note, I am moving back to Colorado Springs next Spring thanks to a new job. Just can't stay here any longer!

    Quote Originally Posted by circlesuponcircles View Post
    I'm a little sad to say, but this spring, I leave the Rocky Mountains to find a home in Mass. My girlfriend got the opportunity to run a yoga studio in Bolton, and she couldn't pass it up, so we are headed east. I was hoping that the MTBR community could help ease the transition.

  22. #22
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    no ocean in coloRADo. not as charming as new england either. deal breakers

    oh, and full of trusty trannies.

    rog

  23. #23
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    I've been living in Bolton the last 20 years and have had the opportunity to sample a huge amount of trails in every direction within roughly a 100 mile radius. I also drive around central and eastern Mass all week for my job so i'm pretty familiar with most towns.

    It is pretty shocking how many awesome areas are within 20-35 minutes. Vietnam, I've even made it to F.Gilbert Hills in Foxboro in roughly 35 minutes (driving FAST). Leominster State Forest is fantastic and only 20 minutes from Bolton. Russell Mill, Great Brook, Pisgah, and Callahan are all fun. There are a ton of trails in Groton/Littleton/Harvard (The Promised Land in Groton is extremely technical and has some sweet freeride features similar to Nam). There are also some great trails in Bolton itself. Rattlesnake Hill is very technical and definitely challenges everyone who rides there, and the Vaughn Hill/Bower area is great and really nice.

    The poster above who mentioned Acton may be on to something, great town and lots of affordable living possibilities. Also consider Maynard, Boxborough, Littleton, Hudson, Lancaster, and Sterling. Clinton sucks.

    Lowell would also be a really solid choice. The state forest is awesome and as mentioned above the location would put you near SO MUCH. If you think you'll be really active in the winter in terms of hiking/skiing/whatever you may want to aim for a town closer to NH (such as lowell) Mt. Watatic in Ashburnham is epic for backcountry skiing

  24. #24
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    ShredJekyll, thanks for the thoughtful post! I'll definitely reference it as we are looking for a place. I'll be in touch when I get there. Maybe we could ride? It's a small town so I've got to ask if you know the Moyer family that lives on Meadow. Do you?

    DHPimp, Thanks for the response. I grew up near Nashua (in Hollis, NH), so i've got no illusions that I'll be riding 3,000' descents. I do look forward to the techy riding, though. Haven't really ever been to western Mass, so I'm intrigued. Congratulations on getting a job back in CO! My gf and I plan on spending no more than a couple of years back east before we find a place to launch a yoga studio somewhere in the west.

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    from co springs, how much driving, if any would you do to access different rides. i've spent limited time on the front range between boulder and pueblo and ridden more in telluride/durango, but know that many folks out there drive longer distances to access play than they might out here where things seem to be closer.

    rog

  26. #26
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    Rog, in Colorado Springs you have you have more riding in the city limits than I could ever count - one of the primary reasons it gets on the top 10 biking cities in north america consistently. Palmer park, Ute valley, Cheyenne canyon (endless trails), Cheyenne Mountain State Park, Pikes Peak, and Red Rocks park are all within 15 minute drive of the center of town. About 15 minutes north is Monument where they again have crap loads of riding.

    I live in Milford and have Vietnam about 7 minutes from my house. Goat hill in Uxbridge is decent for XC, then farther you have Sutton, Rayburn, Singletary, and Gilbert Hills in Foxboro. Those are all within 30 minutes. After that its a 45 drive to get to anything else. So i think it's fair to say there is much more riding in a small area in Colorado Springs than there is where I live in the Boston area.

    Skiing is farther away - 1/5-2hrs from the Springs. That said, you can't compare skiing at Monarch or Breckenridge to anything out there, it's just not at all on the same level. Not even Jay Peak (which i love and skied at for 8 years).

    if you need water - CO is not the place for you.

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    co springs sound awesome for riding. skiing on the other hand........i've skied a whole bunch in colorado. total different than new england skiing, so you can't compare. lift served skiing in colorado resorts like breck, copper, steamboat, loveland, and others were nice and all, especially if was untracked pow, but was pretty much a big YAWN experience when compared with techy/interesting skiing like at MRG, stowe, smuggs, sugarloaf, ect.

    give me a foot o fresh and i'd take many of our east coast techy areas over some of the wide open ho hum co resorts any day.

    and we don't have I 70 to deal with which is huge.

    personal preferance is all.

    rog

  28. #28
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    Having recently visited CO Springs and sampling the riding in and close to the city I can testify that it deserves its reputation. This- even though I was there in March and didn't catch a whiff of the high country trails. (The highest I got was Captain Jack's.) So, I feel your pain buddy.

    I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Leominster. Is it really that bad there? I mean folks mentioned Lowell, but no mention of Leominster? Cmon!

    It's a good sized town with an active downtown center, and you could ride out your door and up into Leominster State Forest, which has miles and miles of challenging New England style trails.

    Also, Wachusett is a short distance for skiing in the winter. (I know it isn't the high Whites, but the trade off is a ten minute commute versus an hour and a half.)

    I also think Western MA has some great biking. I'm not ready to say its the best in New England, but it gets far less attention that what it merits.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by noreasterbackcountry View Post
    I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Leominster. Is it really that bad there? I mean folks mentioned Lowell, but no mention of Leominster? Cmon!
    If he hadn't mentioned the 'hip' angle, I would've suggested the Leominster area, but there really isn't any sort of the nightlife, arts/entertainment, etc like you can find in Lowell. It's pretty much a vast wasteland as far as that stuff goes unless you hike in to Worcester.

    I actually live near Leominster in Westminster; if you want a nice, quiet 'rural' town with plenty of woods right out your door, a brewery, and even a little ski hill (Wachusett), but still easy access to shopping, highways, etc, I'd recommend taking a peak. Your money will go much, much farther real estate-wise than it would inside 495. But there's really nothing 'hip' going on unless you're into chickens and under-utilized singletrack. Good striking distance to both Western Ma and Merrimack Valley riding though. If I were to be looking in the Leominster/Fitchburg/Gardner area, I'd make the same choice a million times and buy here. Doesn't hurt that the town is supportive of trail building and we've got a small local crew of trail gnomes that tries to keep pretty busy.
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  30. #30
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    Like what dhpimp said, you sould go and check out the Vietnam Trails in Milford. From Bolton its about 25-30 minutes away. Also there are some state forests to check out. What i personally do is ride the SNETT trail thats towards Rhode Island, and that trail brings you to the franklin state forest and douglas state forest.
    But definitely check out the vietnam trails. You can find videos of it on youtube also.

  31. #31
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    I'm surprised no one suggested Worcester. Its about 20 minutes from Bolton, has a bunch of REALLY good restaurants and bars, a pretty young demographic (5+ colleges in town) and great riding within 30 minutes of the city. Leominster SF, Assabumskit (sp?), Rayburn, Singeltary, Vietnam, Goat Hill, The Zoo Trails in Mendon, Sutton etc. You could drive a bit further into RI and hit Diamond Hill (awesome tech), Lincoln Woods, Big River and Arcadia. You would also be within about an hour of some great places in Western Mass. Worcester has some crappy areas, but there are some really cool neighborhoods as well....

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    The 40+ mile ride from belchertown to leveritt back to beltchertown on the mm is awesome and pretty demanding. The 50 miler from sturbridge to mansfield hollow ct. Is awesome a well.

    rog

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    Quote Originally Posted by mdc View Post
    I'm surprised no one suggested Worcester. Its about 20 minutes from Bolton, has a bunch of REALLY good restaurants and bars, a pretty young demographic (5+ colleges in town) and great riding within 30 minutes of the city. Leominster SF, Assabumskit (sp?), Rayburn, Singeltary, Vietnam, Goat Hill, The Zoo Trails in Mendon, Sutton etc. You could drive a bit further into RI and hit Diamond Hill (awesome tech), Lincoln Woods, Big River and Arcadia. You would also be within about an hour of some great places in Western Mass. Worcester has some crappy areas, but there are some really cool neighborhoods as well....
    Yeah, plenty to do around Worcester. We used to hit a sort of shuttle run over by the airport, not real familiar with the area, but seemed like there'd probably be some other trails over there. Couple skateparks around too, if you like park riding at all.

    I'll also throw Groton out there - there's a ****-ton of trail in and around, 100+ miles. Lots of good techy stuff too. Solid riding and building scene there.
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    I'd volunteer waltham. Vibrant downtown sandwiched between two colleges, easily the best restaurant scene outside of boston/cambridge, commuter rail access to Boston, a straight, 40 minute shot down 117 to Bolton. Affordable compared to the surrounding areas (like Acton) and your likelihood of getting stabbed is still slightly lower than medford. It's an easy shot up 95 to harold pakkah or 3 to russell mill, and there's even a spot that nobody goes to on 117 (stow town forest) that isn't a bad place to get a lap or two in, and it's beginner friendly. Hour and a half to highland, two and a half to Jiminy, 4 on the nose to plattekill. Two and a half to kingdom trails, a little more to stowe. Right in Waltham is the start/end of the western greenway, which is a super fun little string of trails that stretches from waltham to belmont. I'd put that trail at least as fun as harold parker, and up there with willowdale.

    Otherwise worcester might not be too bad. Further from the real city, but a vibrant riding scene around there. Plus they have monster trucks every February, so they've got that going for them.

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    agreed. I moved out here a couple years back from the front range. I REALLY miss the riding out in CO (and the lifestyle in general). Yeah, there's some good trails out here. But nothing like super walker, heil/hall, devil's backbone/bluesky, three sisters, Bergen, CO trail, etc.

    It lacks that sense of adventure, the feeling of accomplishment after a crushing climb, and the one of adrenaline as you bomb you're way back down. I finish every ride out here feeling a little flat. The one thing that MA has over CO is the dirt. The trails are almost always tacky and you can rail the corners. I was never a big fan of the gravel in CO.

    The mtn biking here is ok. It's just on a different level.

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    Go faster^^^^^^^^

    rog

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by geneseo View Post
    The mtn biking here is ok. It's just on a different level.
    New England roolz dood.

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    For both skiing and biking:

    East Coast = technical
    West Coast = EPIC

    You just won't have the feeling of epicness on the east coast if you're used to the Rockies. Every time i go out west i stand in awe for like a day. Everything is huge. Generally easier, comfier, smoother, but honestly more beautiful and adventurous and big time. I've taken ****s in the Rockies and it just felt EPIC.

    But at the end of the day, all the best skiiers and bikers are from the east coast.

    I love the Boston area though. It's a really great city full of smart energized people. Great history, culture, food. Not too big, not too small. I live in Somerville near Davis Square and love it. Great community feel with lots to do to, see, and eat.

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    The east skis epic with new snow. So does the west. No new snow? Neither skis epic.

    rog

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