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  1. #1
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    Beginner Trails in Philly

    I am new to mountain biking. I recently bought a K2 Zed 3.0 and love it. I have been riding the Forbidden Drive at the Wiss. to build endurance and get used to my bike, but I am interested in heading out into real trails. I was wondering where would be a good place to start. I know the Wiss can have some tough trails so I want to find something a little easier so I can transition into harder ones.

    Any advice on where I should start?

  2. #2
    PMBA Beer Guy
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    Most of the IMBA Demo trail (in the Wiss) off of Wises Mill Road is pretty flat and not rocky.

    I would also suggest Penny Pack park, which is great for beginners.

    If you can make it out to Mercer County Park in NJ, that is great too. Flat, but still has it's challenges and is really fun.
    Board Member Philadelphia Mountain Biking Association (http://www.phillymtb.com)

  3. #3
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    The back part of Betzwood in Valley Forge is also good too.
    Click. Point. Chute.

  4. #4
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    be careful about Valley Forge because I think a lot of the trail are illegal now. Read this......(from www.phillymtb.com)

    I received a package from the NPS regarding the final proposed General Management Plan for Valley Forge National Park, and the outcome is not good. Worse than not good. Basically, the summary is that off-trail use of bicycles is not recognized as a legitimate activity for the park in any way, shape, or form. There are no plans or allowance for off-trail biking whatsoever. The vast majority of public comments seemed to be in favor of off-trail bicycle use, but one apparently very vocal and influential group, the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), took the position of the local park management that it should not be allowed based on “environmental impact”, although no study was ever undertaken. The vast majority of their arguments are completely invalid, but that did not seem to matter in the final analysis.



    The plan itself is terribly flawed with completely impractical proposals (closing Route 23 to through traffic, for example, is a complete impossibility), and demonstrates an ignorance and bias that has pervaded VF park management for nearly two decades. As Americans grow more and more obese, and even in light of President Bush’s call to action to the NPS to open up more resources for active recreation, VF continues to look backwards instead of forwards.



    At the same time, we’ve begun a very healthy and productive dialog and collaboration with the NPS locally in other locations, notably the IMBA Trail Care crew visit to Hopewell Furnace/French Creek and our collective involvement in the Hopewell Big Woods project. Julie Bell from the NPS has been very open minded and supportive of mountain biking. We need to find a way to get through to the park management at VF. I’m at a loss as to how to do so.



    This fight is far from over, but it seems time to take the kid gloves off and start exerting some political pressure. What we do need is a unifying organization for presenting our case, and the logical one for doing so is IMBA (combining HQ and local activities).
    Board Member Philadelphia Mountain Biking Association (http://www.phillymtb.com)

  5. #5
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    That's such a shame about Valley Forge because it has some good opportunity for some nice trails...

    I haven't done it yet but am sure temped to ride in some areas where it says no biking but I don't want to give mountain bikers a bad name in the park for hopes it may be allowed some day.

    I live 5 minutes from the park and it sure would be nice...

    I am new to the sport and am familiar to the bikers brige over 422 to the trail along the river, where are the mountain bike trails back there?

  6. #6
    PMBA Beer Guy
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    Quote Originally Posted by adoble
    I am new to the sport and am familiar to the bikers brige over 422 to the trail along the river, where are the mountain bike trails back there?
    I am not sure or familiar with that area.
    Board Member Philadelphia Mountain Biking Association (http://www.phillymtb.com)

  7. #7
    wot no bike?
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    Just ride the trails in the Wissahickon, nothing there that's going to kill you. Just walk the parts you can't climb, and don't go too fast down, that's all. You'll get stronger fast.
    pete

  8. #8
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    Betzwood and Belmont

    The trails in Betzwood always were and still are illegal. I've poached there (not often) and I was just out there on Sunday and saw a few mt bikers. If you cross the 422 bridge turn left on the Schuylkill River trail. About 1/3 to 1/2 mile up a dirt road crosses the SRT. There's a break in the fence there. Turn right and you'll hook up with a bunch of the trails. Those trails eventually return to and cross the SRT further up. You could also ride along the SRT to the power line cut and turn left.

    The other "beginner" place to ride is Belmont. It's hard in it's own way but less technically demanding then Wiss. Take the Mann Music Center exit off 76, go up the hill towards then Mann and take the first right. Follow this dead end road til where it ends at a gravel road. The trails start there and stretch west to Falls Bridge. There's a pirate (as in free, not patches and parrots) race there at 6:30 on Thursdays. Line up at the back and benefit from a laid out course.

  9. #9
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    I've followed the race courses in Belmont before and they are fun little rides. Nothing very physically demanding, just some logs to get over every once in a while. Pennypack is easy rolling stuff and it is fairly long, so its good for building your endurance.

    The real trails in Wissahickon can be difficult for a beginner, but they WILL build up your lungs super fast. I got back into riding this year after a few down years. A couple months ago I could only manage about 1/3 to 1/2 of a full loop with lots of stops. I went about once or twice a week and last weekend I did a full loop (supposedly about 20 miles) in about 2 1/2 hours. Still alot of room for improvement, but I'm happy with the progress.

  10. #10
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    I never knew the trails in Betzwood were illegal. Are you sure? Becasue it is even posted on mtbr.com under the trail sections.
    By the way, those trails are not too hard, but you can dead end a lot if you dont know your way around.
    I say to the beginner to ride wiss. If wiss proves to be too hard, Pennypack is an excellent place to start. I'll be glad to you out Danny.

  11. #11
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    definitely illegal

    In many, many places out there they have little "no bikes" markers at the trailheads. That and the conspicuous "stay on the (paved or gravel) trail" signs and the maps in the park showing which trails are multi-use and which ones are not. Only a small portion of the non-paved trails are even on the map but very, very few are multi (bike, hike, horse) use. To my knowledge (and confirmed by the map in the link below) the following unpaved trails are legal:

    -The trail across the creek from 252 from the covered bridge to GW's HQ. This does not include any of the trails going up Mt. Misery

    -The trail on the south side of the train tracks from GW HQ to the 422 bridge area. This is not the trail between the train tracks and the river

    -The trail on the Betzwood side (mostly gravel) that connects Betzwood to Pawlings Road and a little trail off the (Commissaire's Trail?)

    Nothing else is legal. I trail run all over the park (both sides of the river) and there's a ton of trails that are not on that map. Miles and miles. Much of this is sweet singletrack and is definitely occassionally ridden.

    http://www.nps.gov/vafo/planyourvisi..._overall-2.pdf

    The fact that some rider posted them on mtbr.com doesn't make them legal.



    Quote Originally Posted by CaballoLoco
    I never knew the trails in Betzwood were illegal. Are you sure? Becasue it is even posted on mtbr.com under the trail sections.
    By the way, those trails are not too hard, but you can dead end a lot if you dont know your way around.
    I say to the beginner to ride wiss. If wiss proves to be too hard, Pennypack is an excellent place to start. I'll be glad to you out Danny.

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