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  1. #1
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    Exploring on your MTB. Not really MTB trails. Abandoned land. Old landscapes etc.

    Around where I live, I always see a random trail somewhere off of a dirt road or connecting to mtb trails, sometimes it's totally un-related to mtb trails. I love to explore. Sometimes it's a bit risky, a bit sketchy, because I don't always know the ownership of the land. Usually I try to stick to land that isn't active or looks like it's municipal, provincial or federal. I don't go looking to tresspass on private or otherwise active occupied land. Sometimes it happens by accident that I trespass and I record the neat aspects of the trail and area I found, maybe take a picture and try not to return. I've come across old sawmills, old cabins, random old buildings. Old trail networks between farm fields. Lot's of stuff. It's rare that the trail and area I find is completely un-used, and often un-fortunately it is frequented by party teens etc, but it's still fun to explore. I try to resist the urge to Google Earth map anything before or after, at least until I have exhausted my ground truthing search.

    Does anybody else use their MTB to explore for the sake of exploring?

  2. #2
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    Yes, this too is my long time passion. [< see moniker]
    Have yet to be arrested, or threatened, and if confronted am polite, and explain that I'm just following an old trail /road,
    trying to find XYZ, and get a lay of the land.

    Land owners, and employees seem taken by this direct approach, my willingness to give contact info, and then give permission.
    In 25 years I've only had three people not allow me access. Google Earth and GPS make good friends.
    Happy splorin'
    The best is the one you want to ride most often..

  3. #3
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    Cool. Glad to know somebody else is into this. Google Earth and GPS can be your friend in some situations, but...I am saying that if you use those too much, it can, in other situations, spoil the fun. I like discovering where I am and sometimes I have to guess.

    I think a FAT bike would be the better tool in many situations. Sometimes you see something off in the distance and you discover the terrain is too mushy so you have to walk a bit. Huge tire FAT bikes would solve this issue.

    I've not come across people yet for the most part. That should say something about how remote the places are that I explore. Things change too. I've seen many areas that I used to explore, become developed.

    Another reason I like exploring is the escape and solitude. Sometimes you get away from it all...literally. Even become lost. But that is the fun part...heheh.
    Quote Originally Posted by Flyin_W View Post
    Yes, this too is my long time passion. [< see moniker]
    Have yet to be arrested, or threatened, and if confronted am polite, and explain that I'm just following an old trail /road,
    trying to find XYZ, and get a lay of the land.

    Land owners, and employees seem taken by this direct approach, my willingness to give contact info, and then give permission.
    In 25 years I've only had three people not allow me access. Google Earth and GPS make good friends.
    Happy splorin'

  4. #4
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    I think there was another thread about this awhile back ('11?). Most places near me are becoming developed and a lot of those old trails have housing developments or Wal-Mart stores on them.
    We even used to have what we called an enduro - someone had stitched together all the old trails into one long ride through and around town. It finally ended the year a housing development went up and blocked the route. That wasn't the only reason, but it contributed. We rode all over gas lines and power line right-of-ways, a couple abandoned railbeds (before they were rail trails), as well as back alleys, tunnels, staircases, etc. Riders from out-of-town hardly knew where they were half the time, but it was really fun. You gotta get wayyyy outta town now to do any real exploring.

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  5. #5
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    Yeah, losing trails to urban sprawl svcks, and gives incentive to explore for re-routing.
    Agree that pure exploration exists deep out in the willywacks, and apologize if my earlier post sounded D-baggish.
    Now live 20 mi west of DC, in a highly populated area, yet have found a few places to get lost & discover.
    Think that today I'll go bumble here..

    Exploring on your MTB. Not really MTB trails. Abandoned land. Old landscapes etc.-2012-04-29_16-09-37_93-1.jpg
    The best is the one you want to ride most often..

  6. #6
    Clyde on a mission!
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    Quote Originally Posted by morkys View Post
    Does anybody else use their MTB to explore for the sake of exploring?
    Always, that's how I find new spots to ride.

  7. #7
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    I live in a major city (Philly), but there's an area nearby that's ripe for exploring. It's the industrial area on the northern part of Delaware river, couple miles north of Ben Franklin bridge, that's been largely abandoned and overgrown. Some of the local ghetto boys go up there on dirtbikes and even have some trails worked out, but for the most part it's pretty safe. There is also a mostly abandoned railway line that goes out into North Philly. Lots of fascinating urban grit and industrial abandonment, if that's what you're into. Thought I had some pics, but can't seem to find any.

  8. #8
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    i go any were i can. i find some really interesting places like following old abandon rail road trails. where i live theres a lot.
    mountain biking is my passion. ill bike just about any were even it its off limits to bikers.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyin_W View Post
    Yeah, losing trails to urban sprawl svcks, and gives incentive to explore for re-routing.
    Agree that pure exploration exists deep out in the willywacks, and apologize if my earlier post sounded D-baggish.
    Now live 20 mi west of DC, in a highly populated area, yet have found a few places to get lost & discover.
    Think that today I'll go bumble here..

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Looks like you came across an old prison with that guard tower there. Is that what this is?

  10. #10
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    We ride some very cool trails and often get off our bikes to explore structures like old bridges, carcasses, abandoned vehicles, caves etc







    F*ck Cancer

    Eat your veggies

  11. #11
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    #cyclicious

    Where are those photo's? I guess I have to take pictures on my next explorador ride.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by morkys View Post
    #cyclicious

    Where are those photo's? I guess I have to take pictures on my next explorador ride.
    Thanks Morkys! These are local trails, in southern Ontario. We always bring a camera on rides (even for dh) It's amazing what's out there when you look around.
    F*ck Cancer

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclelicious View Post
    Thanks Morkys! These are local trails, in southern Ontario. We always bring a camera on rides (even for dh) It's amazing what's out there when you look around.
    Right! I love the Cave picture, such beauty. I consider my bike as a way to see such things that i would normally not be able to reach. Great pictures.
    -always thinking about the next ride-

  14. #14
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    The pictures looked familiar, in fact, the people almost looked familiar. Is that last one Milton? Mono Cliffs? I live in Pickering but I've ridden out in Milton and beyond.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by morkys View Post
    The pictures looked familiar, in fact, the people almost looked familiar. Is that last one Milton? Mono Cliffs? I live in Pickering but I've ridden out in Milton and beyond.
    the last one is kolapore (one of my favorite trails). I like Mono Cliffs too.. which has caves as well
    F*ck Cancer

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  16. #16
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    Oh, I remember Kalapore. The bridge reminds me of the 'Ghost Towns of Ontario' books.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fremenrider View Post
    Looks like you came across an old prison with that guard tower there. Is that what this is?
    Yes, a jail jr. (defunct juvenile reformatory) that effectively separates 3 nearby parks with fun trail systems.

    Licsious, Enjoy the pix, especially the quarry (last). Is it rideable, or are you just scoping out that gnarly line?
    The best is the one you want to ride most often..

  18. #18
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    Oh yeah.

    An old abandoned railroad tunnel from last summer. I posted it somewhere on mtbr back then, can't locate the post right now but here it is again.



    If I remeber correctly, this used to be the longest railroad tunnel in Finland when it was built. Lots of debris from the roof, water dripping, very cold on a hot summer day and humidity high enough to blur the view from those of us wearing glasses. There was actually still lots of ice inside towards the other end too.. that was a bit of a surprise with already the vision blurred out by the humidity to be suddenly riding on ice.. yeah, that was funky.

  19. #19
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    I like following game paths and cow trails, anything to keep the adventure alive.
    course I am also famous for turning our little side trips into some hike a bikes out of hell

  20. #20
    It's about showing up.
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    Don't do this much anymore but have had memorable times.
    I don't rattle.

  21. #21
    'Tis but a scratch
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    Exploring unmarked/unmapped trails is one of my favorite aspects of mountain biking. I do the same when I hike. I'm also always trying to figure out if there is a way to connect from 1 ride location to another without touching pavement.

    Often when I go out for a road ride (on a cross bike) I end up in the woods checking to see where a particular path goes. Thats why I don't think I'll ever actually own a real road bike. I'd probably ruin it going off-road.

    Luckily I have a good internal compass. But, I also carry a compass and I typically do track my ride so I can later pull it up on Google Earth and overlay other rides to see what I've learned.

    This is just another aspect of MTB that keeps it interesting and not seeming like exercise - even though it is.

  22. #22
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    I do tons of exploring, but it is for the purpose of putting together bigger rides and connecting other known trails together, more so than just for the sake of exploring.

    I don't hesitate to use google earth to find stuff, and since we don't have a lot of tree cover it is a great way to save time. You still have to check it out on the ground because it is hard to tell the condition of a trail or road from the imagery. And sometimes there is private property I was not expecting, which happens a lot in rural areas near town. I normally don't cross it if it is someone's personal land - corporate and government land I am not so bothered by.

    I get bored easily by riding the same stuff all the time, so going exploring keeps me sane. Sometimes it is amazing what you can find out there just by going off the beaten path.

  23. #23
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    Rinseflow: would that water freeze up in winter or dry up in summer?
    I would love to ride my bike through that tunnel.... wow what a rush that would be!
    F*ck Cancer

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  24. #24
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    This is awesome! I haven't done much exploring yet on the mtb but I loved finding old roads jeeping and found some long neglected and cool cemeteries.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclelicious View Post
    Rinseflow: would that water freeze up in winter or dry up in summer?
    I would love to ride my bike through that tunnel.... wow what a rush that would be!
    Ice must have been leftovers from the winter. The temperature difference was amazing. Inside it was like being in a refrigerator even though it was +20C outside.

    I've never considered myself claustrophobic but crossing that tunnel was a bit of a head trip on the first time with the "danger do not enter" sign and such. I remember riding and riding and the tiny light source at the other end not getting any bigger at all then looking back to see how far I'm inside and realizing I'm not even half way there. A tiny source of light:



    The riding in itself was actually really easy as it wasn't a rough surface most of the time and most of the debris was at the sides of the tunnel. Also I went in at the ugly end then came out to find this which would have made it look more like a road trip:





    Some rotting hinges from the uglier (or prettier if you like) more watery entry:


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