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  1. #1
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    Learning to trail ride, where to go Capital District?

    I am a newbie on the trails, rode bikes as a kid just around the neighborhood and been road riding somewhat seriously for about 3 years. Starting to branch into Mountain Biking and picked up a Trek 4900 over the winter.

    So far I have taken
    1 ride in Thatcher Park, very hilly.
    1 ride in Luther Forest, some trails I could handle, some were a little tough, ended up in the dirt twice and almost in the dirt plenty more.

    I had a blast both times and plan to come back for more, wondering where else I can go to get my skillset up this spring and early summer. Should I just head back to Luther Forest all the time? Is there a trail map for it anywhere? Any other suggestions?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    I'd try the Pine Bush, great place to start out. The trails could be described as similar to Luther, but a little less technical - sandy, fun, not too many hills. Just do a tick check 2-3X a ride.
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  3. #3
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    Tick check for sure. I was out tuesday for about an hour. Got back to my car and noticed a few on my shoes.

  4. #4
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    Schenectady Central Park has trails. I'm not sure where to park, but I imagine others will chime in for it.

    There are also trails near the Colonie Town Park, on the opposite side of the Bike path that are pretty decent. Maybe slightly more technical than Luther Forest.
    Park here, 42.795054,-73.744504 - Google Maps
    Head north on the bike path and look for trails off to the right.

    You can also check out here for more trails in the area.
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  5. #5
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    I have heard that about the Pine Bush, it makes me a little reserved about going there. I will have to check out Schenectady Central Park, that's not to far from where I work so it could be a nice after work ride.

    I will have to check out CapitalMTB, thanks.

  6. #6
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    Ticks aside, PB is a good place to start. Search the forums for info on the Cemetery Loop in the PB. It's a fun loop - as far as I know it's still there. I admit I don't go to PB much anymore because of the ticks. Check frequently throughout your ride.

    If you want something fairly easy to get used to having tires on the dirt, maybe go to Kinns Rd park in Clifton Park. Nicely wooded and very wide trails - lots of dog walkers. Easier than Luthers but similar terrain.

    As for Central Park trails - not too hilly but some technical sections. Park at the pull-off on Fehr Ave by the intersection of Golf Rd, opposite side of Fehr as the park. There's a metal gate - that's where you start.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by eboshua View Post
    Ticks aside, PB is a good place to start. Search the forums for info on the Cemetery Loop in the PB. It's a fun loop - as far as I know it's still there. I admit I don't go to PB much anymore because of the ticks. Check frequently throughout your ride.

    If you want something fairly easy to get used to having tires on the dirt, maybe go to Kinns Rd park in Clifton Park. Nicely wooded and very wide trails - lots of dog walkers. Easier than Luthers but similar terrain.

    As for Central Park trails - not too hilly but some technical sections. Park at the pull-off on Fehr Ave by the intersection of Golf Rd, opposite side of Fehr as the park. There's a metal gate - that's where you start.
    Awesome info, thanks.

  8. #8
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    Come and watch the race this Sunday (Easter) at noon on the Central Park trails. It's a fun race to watch and photograph.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwikshift View Post
    I have heard that about the Pine Bush, it makes me a little reserved about going there. I will have to check out Schenectady Central Park, that's not to far from where I work so it could be a nice after work ride.

    I will have to check out CapitalMTB, thanks.
    Where do you work? I do lunch time rides at Colonie a few times a week if you want to join up.

  10. #10
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    miatagal96 - That would be awesome, sadly I am out of town for the weekend.

    jmitchell13 - I work in Niskayuna, I have a pretty strict 30 minute lunch, so midday rides might be tough, but I get out of work pretty early so I can make evening rides. Weather looks rainy first half of next week, but hoping to get out 2nd half of the week on the Schenectady trails.

  11. #11
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    I haven't been in the capital region for a couple years, but Grafton Lakes State Park east of Troy has a whole lot of really nice trails for most difficulty levels. Some are a bit rocky (for the northeast anyway).

  12. #12
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    Grafton lakes has some good trails, only hiked them tho. A friend of mine rides Pittsfield state forest pretty frequently and loves it.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwistedMemento View Post
    Grafton lakes has some good trails, only hiked them tho. A friend of mine rides Pittsfield state forest pretty frequently and loves it.
    I ride Pittstown a couple times a month. I love that place. The trails there are not beginner friendly. Some decent climbing and definitly some good technical rocky challenges.

    SMBA is building more singletrack in there. You can email pittstownsf@saratogamtb.org or check out our website (see my sig) if you're interested in helping out. The new Red Pine trail is nearly complete and is more beginner level.

  14. #14
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    Go to the Luther Forest facebook page. You can get a trail map there. After you have progressed a bit, come up to SMBA in Saratoga but make sure you bring mosquito repellent!

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    I agree with SeaBass_. Saratoga is definitely a place for more expert/technical riding. HOWEVER; If you want to increase your confidence and skill level I would suggest riding in Saratoga. There are certainly very difficult trails up there, but there are also the more flowy, XC-esque type trails. The trails you should definitely avoid for now are the "Bee Trail" and the "Dam Trail". "From Here to There" is moderate and loops around quite a bit. Make sure you bring a map with you or else you will be stuck in what us computer nerds consider an "infinite loop".
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  16. #16
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    So I got an update that should be helpful to any other noobs that happen across this thread.

    So far I have been on 5 trail rides, I am not counting around town or bike path stuff.

    Thatcher park has wide trails but lots of climbing and hills, you need to really like climbing and have strong lungs here.

    Luther Forest seems very very tight the first time, but you get comfortable fast. It's really a great 2nd or 3rd ride spot and gives you room to grow. I see this as a great place first to get the basics down, and later on to get your confidence up with increasing speed.

    Schenectady Central Park, great place to ride, definitely a step harder than Luther Forest, much more built obstacles and technical section...probably not nearly what I have heard about Saratoga, but there is plenty of challenge here depending what trail you find yourself on. The outer trails aren't too bad and better for beginners, the inner trails have some really challenging parts, sections with tough technical obstacles and features, some very rooty sections, and some tough climbs and switchbacks. If you want even more challenge....ride it all backwards.

    I am enjoying myself a lot and appreciate the input. Hoping to get up to Luther Forest this Saturday for another ride.
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  17. #17
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    Let me know when you're ready for Saratoga, I'd be happy to show you around.

  18. #18
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    Great thread. I have not ridden it yet, but there are some trails between Rensselaer and Troy along the river that RPI owns. They allow access, but motor vehicles are prohibited. I am planning on getting there since it is just up the street from me once the weather allows me to. I will let you know how the terrain is once I can get there. you can park at the boat dock in Rensselaer and enter the trails from there. Or there is parking at RPI's Tech Park also if you want to start there.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwikshift View Post
    So I got an update that should be helpful to any other noobs that happen across this thread.

    So far I have been on 5 trail rides, I am not counting around town or bike path stuff.

    Thatcher park has wide trails but lots of climbing and hills, you need to really like climbing and have strong lungs here.

    Luther Forest seems very very tight the first time, but you get comfortable fast. It's really a great 2nd or 3rd ride spot and gives you room to grow. I see this as a great place first to get the basics down, and later on to get your confidence up with increasing speed.

    Schenectady Central Park, great place to ride, definitely a step harder than Luther Forest, much more built obstacles and technical section...probably not nearly what I have heard about Saratoga, but there is plenty of challenge here depending what trail you find yourself on. The outer trails aren't too bad and better for beginners, the inner trails have some really challenging parts, sections with tough technical obstacles and features, some very rooty sections, and some tough climbs and switchbacks. If you want even more challenge....ride it all backwards.

    I am enjoying myself a lot and appreciate the input. Hoping to get up to Luther Forest this Saturday for another ride.
    I think I will give Luther Forest a shot this Saturday. I am pretty close to the trails off of the Town of Colonie bike path. I have only been in there a few times....but I always seems to get lost (even though, it doesn't seem that big in there). It may also be a step above where I am (technically).
    Last edited by del518; 06-18-2012 at 06:31 PM.

  20. #20
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    I did not make it to Luther Forest on Saturday. I went back to the Town of Colonie bike path trails again. I felt a little better on the trails, but still got lost. All in all it was a good outing.

  21. #21
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    Once I get my new bike I will have to take a look at some of these trails for when we visit my in laws since we go out that way quite often.

  22. #22
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    Let me know when you are in the area, I have to fix my rear wheel from the other day, but maybe we could meet up and explore some more of the RPI trails I am mapping.
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