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  1. #1
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    Union county nj bike paths

    Hey all,

    I recently started mountain biking and love it! However on the average weekday, by the time I get home from work 530/6 it is typically too late to make it to Morristown (closest legal mountain bike area).

    I live in Springfield where it meets summit and milburn. I'm basically looking for some legal dirt/gravel paths less than 1/2 hour from there that I can grind out an hour or two after work to work on my fitness and enjoy the outdoors instead of being relegated to the gym on a gorgeous evening.

    Bringing my bike to work isn't really an option since I can't bring it into work and I work in a fairly crappy neighborhood and would feel extremely uncomfortable leaving my bike on my roof all day. Someone will try to steal it or slash my tires or do something otherwise spiteful and selfish. Poor enough area where people are resentful of anything even moderately nice and I can't afford to deal with fixing/replacing stuff on my car because of that haha.

    So where to go? I know kenniworth has some
    Trails I sometimes skateboard on but would much prefer dirt/gravel to pavement. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oz Von Toco View Post
    Hey all,

    I recently started mountain biking and love it! However on the average weekday, by the time I get home from work 530/6 it is typically too late to make it to Morristown (closest legal mountain bike area).

    I live in Springfield where it meets summit and milburn. I'm basically looking for some legal dirt/gravel paths less than 1/2 hour from there that I can grind out an hour or two after work to work on my fitness and enjoy the outdoors instead of being relegated to the gym on a gorgeous evening.

    Bringing my bike to work isn't really an option since I can't bring it into work and I work in a fairly crappy neighborhood and would feel extremely uncomfortable leaving my bike on my roof all day. Someone will try to steal it or slash my tires or do something otherwise spiteful and selfish. Poor enough area where people are resentful of anything even moderately nice and I can't afford to deal with fixing/replacing stuff on my car because of that haha.

    So where to go? I know kenniworth has some
    Trails I sometimes skateboard on but would much prefer dirt/gravel to pavement. Any suggestions?
    I'm wondering if there are any trails or paths in Watchung that you can use?

  3. #3
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    I spoke with some of the guys at LBS and he said the plan for new trails basically got cancelled, so unfortunately it's still illegal back there. Apparently it's only like a $30 fine though.

    Apparently some people raised hell about legalizing mountain biking and all the work got cancelled. Yeah they say it's too dangerous to have bikers and hikers. Seems kinda silly - I've hiked in watching since I was a kid and I've seem people mountain biking back there for years and never even had anything remotely resembling a close encounter

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oz Von Toco View Post
    I spoke with some of the guys at LBS and he said the plan for new trails basically got cancelled, so unfortunately it's still illegal back there. Apparently it's only like a $30 fine though.

    Apparently some people raised hell about legalizing mountain biking and all the work got cancelled. Yeah they say it's too dangerous to have bikers and hikers. Seems kinda silly - I've hiked in watching since I was a kid and I've seem people mountain biking back there for years and never even had anything remotely resembling a close encounter
    I used to ride there about 30 years ago. Too bad, there is lots of land there. I work in Springfield but live in Hillsborough. If not too far from you, there are a couple of trails this way, 6 mile and the canal towpath which is what I ride these days, mostly flat packed dirt, gravel, some roots and rocks. The 6 mile is more technical with lots of trails. There is another that seems to be more difficult... Chimney Rock Park right off Rt22 going up the hill towards Martinsville and it is closer to Springfield, perhaps 20 minutes?
    Hope this helps you.
    As far as the bike... can you remove the wheels and put the bike in the trunk of the car?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oz Von Toco View Post
    I spoke with some of the guys at LBS and he said the plan for new trails basically got cancelled, so unfortunately it's still illegal back there. Apparently it's only like a $30 fine though.

    Apparently some people raised hell about legalizing mountain biking and all the work got cancelled. Yeah they say it's too dangerous to have bikers and hikers. Seems kinda silly - I've hiked in watching since I was a kid and I've seem people mountain biking back there for years and never even had anything remotely resembling a close encounter
    Seriously consider making time to show up at the Freeholder meeting this Thursday, the 18th, at 7:00PM

    Union County Administration Building
    10 Elizabethtown Plaza
    Elizabeth, NJ 07272

    Say exactly what you said in your first post--you are a resident of the county, who just wants to be able to use the recreation land than you are paying for...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by wschruba View Post
    Seriously consider making time to show up at the Freeholder meeting this Thursday, the 18th, at 7:00PM

    Union County Administration Building
    10 Elizabethtown Plaza
    Elizabeth, NJ 07272

    Say exactly what you said in your first post--you are a resident of the county, who just wants to be able to use the recreation land than you are paying for...
    We'll, actually I'm a resident of Somerset County.
    If you do happen to go, please post how the meeting went.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the tips on where to go, I've heard great things about 6 mile, about an hour. Chimney rock I've heard as pretty fun as well but never heard of the canal towpath but definitely be looking into thank you for the advice!

    There's actually a pretty good chance I can make that meeting on the 18th so I will plan on attending to voice my opinion. I honestly thought it was a closed case I'm glad to hear they are reconsidering

  8. #8
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    You wouldn't happen to know how long these meeting usually take, do you? I'm assuming like 2 hours

  9. #9
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    Get there early. By 7pm, it will sell out!

  10. #10
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    Anyone knows how the meeting turned out?

  11. #11
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    As far as I know, the vote was 5-3-1 no access-access-abstain.

    I was unable to attend for health reasons, but there is a very long thread about the affair on MTBNJ.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by wschruba View Post
    As far as I know, the vote was 5-3-1 no access-access-abstain.

    there is a very long thread about the affair on MTBNJ.
    That's correct. JORBA is continuing to work with Union County, but I saw some tracks in the Watchung Reservation this weekend. That means despite FOUR (!) police cars at the Playground loop parking lot North of the Trailside Museum and an ATV roaming the park, there are some riders out there.

    How long with the Union County government continue to spend the taxpayers dollars this way? Did ISIS declare peace, so they have extra resources? Is the opioid crisis canceled?

    Look in the Advocacy subforum on MTBNJ.com for all things Wachtung.
    Don't post, ride.

  13. #13
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    Hey all. I got stuck at work so I wasn't able to make the meetings. Read the whole thread from njmtb.com. Seems like politicians did what they do best - lie. However it looks like the fight is not over.

    Side note I found about 1 ish mile of gravel road through a park behind the mountainside police department... it even says bikes ARE allowed in the signage. And it's also right next to echo lake park so strung together it's about 2 in each direction of low/no traffic biking. Maybe not ideal but not an awful way to work on fitness

  14. #14
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    And agree, seems like a lot of work to issue $30 tickets. Unless they start confiscating bikes. However, I don't think they can really do that. But I won't underestimate a cop's ability to bend the rules if he doesn't like your attitude - learned that all too well back in the day as a teenager haha.

  15. #15
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    You can also ride over the pedestrian bridge across Rt 22 north of the Mountainside Police Dept and pick up a MUT that parallels Deer Path Road going north for over half a mile.
    Don't post, ride.

  16. #16
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    As far as confiscation of bikes go, the Parks Department has regulations on its web site (ucnj.org) that are very specific. Many of the people with whom I ride comply with these rules to the letter.

    The Union County police are very professional and I doubt that they would bend the rules.
    Don't post, ride.

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