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  1. #1
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    Eastern Pa: Where's the best scene?

    It's time for me to move again, and I need your advice.

    I'm looking for suggestions on a cool town in central to eastern Pa. I hope to find enthusiastic riders, at least one great shop, and plenty of technical singletrack (let me stress that point: varied, technical singletrack) within a few minutes drive, and hopefully some riding right from the house. Mountain biking is most important, road riding secondary, but I'd still like some quiet roads.

    I'll be bringing my tiny framebuilding operation and hope that people would think it a neat addition to the scene. I don't need a town big enough to support the business, really, but being able to serve the local community with repairs and mods would be cool. Philadelphia is too big, and Galilee is probably too small. I don't need the symphony or museums, but nearby access to a major city would be nice. And not towns that are dominated by a college; don't want to be the only person in town who ever gets any older.

    I'm just looking for a good vibe. I love eastern Pa (I just haven't spent much time in the western half), and I hope that you may have some suggestions.

    Thanks!

    Steve Stickel
    bystickelbicycles@yahoo.com

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by D.F.L.
    It's time for me to move again, and I need your advice.

    I'm looking for suggestions on a cool town in central to eastern Pa. I hope to find enthusiastic riders, at least one great shop, and plenty of technical singletrack (let me stress that point: varied, technical singletrack) within a few minutes drive, and hopefully some riding right from the house. Mountain biking is most important, road riding secondary, but I'd still like some quiet roads.

    I'll be bringing my tiny framebuilding operation and hope that people would think it a neat addition to the scene. I don't need a town big enough to support the business, really, but being able to serve the local community with repairs and mods would be cool. Philadelphia is too big, and Galilee is probably too small. I don't need the symphony or museums, but nearby access to a major city would be nice. And not towns that are dominated by a college; don't want to be the only person in town who ever gets any older.

    I'm just looking for a good vibe. I love eastern Pa (I just haven't spent much time in the western half), and I hope that you may have some suggestions.

    Thanks!

    Steve Stickel
    bystickelbicycles@yahoo.com
    Perhaps Lancaster county would work. Still somewhat rural, but can be congested in certain areas. I can't say whether or not you would be close to any good singletrack, though as I ride locally (King of Prussia area).

    Best wishes in your search.

    Clyde
    'If Wal-Mart sold parachutes, who would jump?' Frank Havnoonian (quoting his father) Drexel Hill Cyclery

  3. #3
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    Steve,

    I sure as hell think your frame building shop would be a great addition to the scene. But sadly I can't recommend Lancaster. It's becoming too urbanized, and the trails are increasingly scarce and farther away.

    Check out something farther north, in the "mountains" of PA. I would have recommended State College, as there are excellent riding opportunities there (and it's missing a local frame builder since Grove Innovations shut down), but it certainly qualifies as a college town.

    I'm personally looking for work in Williamsport, since I have family there too. It's in a beautiful valley of the west branch of the Susquehanna River and nearby Pine Creek. It's still close to the Rothrock, Moshannon, and Susquehannock state forests that have miles of excellent singletrack, it's easily accesible by major roadways, and close (but not too close) to Penn State, Bucknell, Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield Universities, while being home to Lycoming College and Penn Tech. But it's certainly not a college town.

    I'm obviously biased, but you should check it out.

    -Matt

  4. #4
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    Lehigh Valley area

    is what you are looking for- several local clubs (Im partial to bikevmb.com) plenty of singletrack, a great road club (lehighwheelmen.org) the LC Velodrome, Bicycling Magazine, etc....all within about a 30-min radius. Plus there are two really good shops in the area- my favorite is Saucon Valley Bikes (ask for Steve) www.sauconvalleybikes.com and S. Mountain Cycles (no website yet but ask for Mark). Jobs in the area are a little weak, but it seems that way all-around. I personally commute to Philly (1- hour) and several people I know go to NYC (1.5 hours)

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dankilling
    is what you are looking for- several local clubs (Im partial to bikevmb.com) plenty of singletrack, a great road club (lehighwheelmen.org) the LC Velodrome, Bicycling Magazine, etc....all within about a 30-min radius. Plus there are two really good shops in the area- my favorite is Saucon Valley Bikes (ask for Steve) www.sauconvalleybikes.com and S. Mountain Cycles (no website yet but ask for Mark). Jobs in the area are a little weak, but it seems that way all-around. I personally commute to Philly (1- hour) and several people I know go to NYC (1.5 hours)
    I would check out Wellsboro, Pa. I went out there to visit and rode some excellent single track in Tioga State Forest. Also they have there own version of the Grand Canyon which is beutiful. I rode on the trails with a guy name mike from the downtown Wellsboro bike shop. Real nice guy who gave me a nice tour of their single track, place is really untouched.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmaz44
    I would check out Wellsboro, Pa. I went out there to visit and rode some excellent single track in Tioga State Forest. Also they have there own version of the Grand Canyon which is beutiful. I rode on the trails with a guy name mike from the downtown Wellsboro bike shop. Real nice guy who gave me a nice tour of their single track, place is really untouched.

    Wellsboro, excellent suggestion. In the same region I was aiming for with Williamsport, but an even better location for access to the trails.

  7. #7
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    Good job! Mountain Top or Wellsboro

    I would recommend you check out Mountain Top or Wellsboro. Mountain Top is near Wilkes Barre and Jim Thorpe. Great Local riding, right out your back door available plus JT , Red Rock, Blue Marsh Creek, Stroudsburg, Carbondale are a short drive away.

  8. #8
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    Punk's right...

    I'm originally from east central PA, coal region, Mt. Carmel but moved on up past Williamsport and Wellsboro, to Coudersport (Potter Co.). Great area; from my front porch I can ride into over a quarter million acres of the Susquehanock State Fortest. IMO anything east of my home town Mt. Carmel (Rt 61), seems to have become to urbanized, and strip mall developed. I know that's a generalization and I'm sure there is still lots of good riding, but that area is teeming with commercialism.

    I'm familiar with Bloomsburg, nice town, and State College. Went to school at Penn State and it's a super town, but that too is becoming urbanized. Williamsport's in a good spot from where you can hit a lot of good riding within a relatively short distance.

    I guess it depends on how much civilization you want. A good way to judge is the Wal Mart factor. How close is the nearest Wally World? For me it's over an hour away. Our county has something like 6 people per square mile. You can ride by yourself in the woods all week and not see another person, cigarette but, or tin can. It may not be your thing, but I sure love it. I do wish there were more riders here, though. One man trail maintenance is tough. Since moving here not long ago, developed a very technical trail system that would provide a long day of riding.

    Prine is great. One of my favorites to play on the guitar.

    Mike

  9. #9
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    Have you tried Northeast PA. ?, lots O good technical riding here, with litterly miles and miles of trails. If you are more interested let me know.

    Happy riding
    Lefty

    ps: the snow is here...put on the spikes... now the FUN starts !!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by D.F.L.
    It's time for me to move again, and I need your advice.

    I'm looking for suggestions on a cool town in central to eastern Pa. I hope to find enthusiastic riders, at least one great shop, and plenty of technical singletrack (let me stress that point: varied, technical singletrack) within a few minutes drive, and hopefully some riding right from the house. Mountain biking is most important, road riding secondary, but I'd still like some quiet roads.

    I'll be bringing my tiny framebuilding operation and hope that people would think it a neat addition to the scene. I don't need a town big enough to support the business, really, but being able to serve the local community with repairs and mods would be cool. Philadelphia is too big, and Galilee is probably too small. I don't need the symphony or museums, but nearby access to a major city would be nice. And not towns that are dominated by a college; don't want to be the only person in town who ever gets any older.

    I'm just looking for a good vibe. I love eastern Pa (I just haven't spent much time in the western half), and I hope that you may have some suggestions.

    Thanks!

    Steve Stickel
    bystickelbicycles@yahoo.com

  10. #10
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    I would definitely go with Wellsboro. The town is an awesome place. The surrounding area is great for riding and you get to see STPR! I would probably see you if you went to STPR becasue my dad is friends with all the good rally drivers. He he! (He used to rally)

    www.stpr.org

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by D.F.L.
    It's time for me to move again, and I need your advice.

    I'm looking for suggestions on a cool town in central to eastern Pa. I hope to find enthusiastic riders, at least one great shop, and plenty of technical singletrack (let me stress that point: varied, technical singletrack) within a few minutes drive, and hopefully some riding right from the house. Mountain biking is most important, road riding secondary, but I'd still like some quiet roads.

    I'll be bringing my tiny framebuilding operation and hope that people would think it a neat addition to the scene. I don't need a town big enough to support the business, really, but being able to serve the local community with repairs and mods would be cool. Philadelphia is too big, and Galilee is probably too small. I don't need the symphony or museums, but nearby access to a major city would be nice. And not towns that are dominated by a college; don't want to be the only person in town who ever gets any older.

    I'm just looking for a good vibe. I love eastern Pa (I just haven't spent much time in the western half), and I hope that you may have some suggestions.

    Thanks!

    Steve Stickel
    bystickelbicycles@yahoo.com
    Ever been to the Carlisle area? I think you are going to have to stick to central PA to find the trails you are after, although there is a lot of good stuff up in the Jim Thorpe area obviously. The Wellsboro area isn't called "Gods Country" for nothing, although it is a really beautiful little town. Send me a PM or email if you get a chance.

  12. #12
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    Although the trails are excellent in NE PA, I would not recommend living there. I spent 7 years in Mountaintop and couldn't wait to get away. The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area hit its population peak in the 40's and has been decreasing ever since. Very depressing area to live in.

  13. #13
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    Nepa

    I'll second that Scuba...I grew up in Scranton, and could not wait to leave the area. Definitely some good riding around, but literally nothing else. It's an area where the population just keeps getting older and there's no reason for young people to move in. You will be happier somewhere (anywhere) else.

  14. #14
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    I really appreciate everyone's input.

    I've seen a number of towns (all over the US) that had a depressing, downtrodden feel to them. It would be a mistake, though, to assume that you could not be happy in a particular place. No place can make one happy. But enough of that sensitive crap...

    It looks like Asheville, NC may be my best bet. I took trip down and learned a lot, but much remains to be decided.

    Again, thanks for the suggestions. It's led to me meeting some very cool, super enthusuatic people in eastern PA, and I appreciate that. Shi t, I move every 2 years, so I'll live there eventually!

    Thanks,

    Steve

  15. #15
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    check out york

    york is great. we have three great places to ride, ake redmen, spring valley, and the greatest single trak in the county. theres plenty of great shops, adventure cycling. its an hour from baltimore, 2 hours from philly, close to gettysburg. great location

  16. #16
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    you may not want to cross out philadelphia due to its size. if you are doing a shop/frame operation philly would be perfect. yeah the city is big and all - but the biking scene is also vibrant. you can actually live in the city and bike to some sick trails (belmont plateau, wissahickon, etc). also there are tons of other places within a 1/2 hour driving distance.

    the roadie scene may very well be even more vibrant than the mtb scene. either way, philly is unlike most other cities because you do have very easy access to great mt biking and road riding. most people who dont live here - dont realize it.

    good luck.

  17. #17
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    waterville is also a very nice area. my parents have a cabin there and you would be near everything. williamsport, wellsboro, i live in bloomsburg. great area but very limited trails

  18. #18
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    A friend just dropped off a "Mountain Biking in PA" book and it has a lot of trail in that area it looks really nice !

    Quote Originally Posted by spitfire
    waterville is also a very nice area. my parents have a cabin there and you would be near everything. williamsport, wellsboro, i live in bloomsburg. great area but very limited trails

  19. #19
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    I live in Lehighton (Franklin Twp) which is 5 miles from Jim Thorpe. As for riding, it is hard to beat. In addition to the famous MTB trails, there are countless miles of good roads to bike.

    Both myself and my wife work in New Jersey. The local economy is not good unless you are in the recreation business. I belive there is room for another good full service bike shop in this area. There are a couple of other aspects of life in Carbon County that hurt my head, mainly in the tax dept., but it is much cheaper to live here than my native new jersey. Home prices are very low compared to even the Allentown area.

    This area is very rural. If you need to be near lots of action, forget this place. Personally I like it, the schools are good, nice and quiet but I do have to commute to work.

    Tom
    Volunteer Firefighter/EMT SAR.

  20. #20
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    How about Long Pond, or Mt. Pcono? A stone's through from good riding all round from Carbondale to the Lehigh Valley. About half an hour to WB/Scranton and also Stroudsburg and Jim Thorpe. Maybe since you'll be closer to me, I may have to convince my wife that I need to have you build me one of your fabulous bikes!
    A good friend will come bail you out of jail.
    But a true friend will be sitting next to you saying
    "Damn... we fcuked up!"

  21. #21
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    Cool-blue Rhythm Its darkest just before dawn......................

    Mountain Top- White Haven area would be a great spot to relocate to. I do realize that the entire state of PA has an aging population. There are some not so great things about living here but the positive far outweighs the negative IMO.

  22. #22
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    ironic

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffSkisMontana
    Mountain Top- White Haven area would be a great spot to relocate to. I do realize that the entire state of PA has an aging population. There are some not so great things about living here but the positive far outweighs the negative IMO.
    Ironic how the person who says the positives of PA outweigh the negatives uses a screen name with the state that fled PA to get to.

    Not to bash my homestate but after being born and raised in Stroudsburg I got the itch to move on. Settled in Montana and wouldn't dream of moving back. I pray that my parents have the sense to leave too. All things change but it breaks my heart to go "home" to the "burg" and see how up-tight, rude, crowded and crime-ridden it's become since I left. My sisters-in-law left Stroudsburg to move closer to the Blue Bell/Philly/Delaware area. That's better but I'm still not jealous.

  23. #23
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    If you move and setup shop in Wellsboro area, be aware that there's already an established custom frame builder in Mansfield, the next big town several miles to the east.

    There's maybe two ways to look at setting up shop there: 1-The start/continuation of a trend. Tioga/Potter county economies are based on outdoor recreation, there are many small family run businesses ... small lodges, cabins, campgrounds, tackle shops, deli/convenience/gas stores in the small villages, a few (three that I recall) outdoor gear stores, one of which sells bikes (Country Ski and Sports in downtown Wellsboro). 2-You'd have lots of competition for walk-in/local sales, it being a rural area, and not many high paying jobs, so people don't readily spend their money on custom frames.

    P.S: There's a local bicycle club named Twisted Spokes who have weekly organized rides, and sponser two races every year (one street and one MTB). There's a newer group, Tioga Ridge Riders, but I don't know much about them.

  24. #24
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    Thanks everyone!

    Well, I made a decision and it doesn't include Pennsylvania. Nothing against the folks or terrain, but I decided to go to Asheville, NC. Not as technical as most parts in PA, but it's a great area and has a very established scene. I'm hoping that'll translate into a few more local sales.

    Thanks again, and I plan to check out a bunch of the towns listed on trips north.

    Steve Stickel
    ByStickel Bicycles

  25. #25
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    your decision

    to move to ashville was right on. good for you. i lived down there for almost 5 years and loved every minute of it. unfortunately, work forced me back to PA. i've rideen just about every area in northeastern and northcentral PA and still have not found a biking scene like the mountains of NC. 12 months a year, 6,800 foot mountains and everyone you bump into is either a pro biker, olympic paddler or world class climber. what a great scene.
    be sure to check out the stuff that runs off of 181 from morganton. oh yeah, don't forget about the 14 mile single track downhill on heartbreak ridge









    Quote Originally Posted by D.F.L.
    Well, I made a decision and it doesn't include Pennsylvania. Nothing against the folks or terrain, but I decided to go to Asheville, NC. Not as technical as most parts in PA, but it's a great area and has a very established scene. I'm hoping that'll translate into a few more local sales.

    Thanks again, and I plan to check out a bunch of the towns listed on trips north.

    Steve Stickel
    ByStickel Bicycles

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