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  1. #1
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    Manayunk resident and noobish rider in search of noob trails

    Hey Guys,

    I'm new to mountain biking but not entirely new to bikes. I was a pretty good BMX racer when I was a youngin (28 now) so have some decent MTBing skills like bunny hopping pretty high, wheeling a few rotations (not manual-ing yet ), not afraid to get some air, and overall decent awareness and instinct on a bike. Other than that I am a complete noob and am looking to start honing my skills on some basic stuff.

    I live on Main Street in Manayunk. I would really prefer to be able to ride to trails as opposed to drive. I've headed over to the Wiss and entered at the Main Street/Ridge Pike entrance and explored but didn't have much luck. Everything I found within a couple miles was severely ahead of my current skill level. Is there anything near my side of the Wiss that is along the lines of what I'm looking for? My girlfriend is also taking this up with me at least part of the time, and although very athletic, she is considerably more noob than I. So we definitely need something alot easier than I have seen there

    If not, what are my other options. I hear Belmont is more novice, would I be best served just riding up there and exploring those trails?

    Thank you guys in advance for any insight. Also although this is my first post I used this forum quite a bit to gather a lot of information with regard to making my first MTB purchase and getting gear and such. So thank you to everyone for contributing!

  2. #2
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    I'd think the wiss would be better for a beginner than Belmont. you might need to walk down or up some of the hills at the wiss but there is allot of smooth single track in between. Belmont may not have the hills of the wiss but it has a log over about every twenty feet.
    Ask me about Evansburg State Park
    Trail days. 3rd Sunday
    of the month.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the response. I got the impression it was easier because of this:
    Belmont Plateau Pennsylvania Trail Reviews

    Which says there alot of easy trails there and a fireroad which sounds good for the GF and I. Would you happen to know where the easy trails at the Wiss are in relation to the entrance I use? The one not very good map I saw had the easy trails on the polar opposite side of the park, which isn't very practical for what I'm looking for.

    Thanks again and thanks for any further insight you could add.

  4. #4
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    I'm newer to both parks so I can't really help out much more. there are way more knowledgeable people on the boards that'll be able to help. good luck!
    Ask me about Evansburg State Park
    Trail days. 3rd Sunday
    of the month.

  5. #5
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    My first trail ride on my mountain bike was at wissahickon. I got lost and found myself on trails that were WAY over my skill level. When I made it back to civilization, my impression was one of wanting to take my bike back to my local bike shop and trade it for a road bike.
    Pennypack is much more beginner friendly, as are many of the trails in Jersey that are maintained by JORBA. The PA Trails tend to be wilder and "natural," especially Wissahickon and Belmont, while the JORBA Trails are generally more groomed and beginner friendly. There are a number of groups on Meetup.com that have regular group rides. Generally people tend to be very helpful with newcomers.
    JORBA CHAPTER - JERSEY ACTION RIDERS (Cherry Hill, NJ) - Meetup has a lot of rides and their skills clinics will begin next month. These are a great way to learn to improve your skills in a low pressure environment and the lead instructor, Jay Jones knows his stuff.
    Pennsylvania Mountainbiking (PAM) (Philadelphia, PA) - Meetup has a lot of rides, as does Philadelphia Mountain Biking Meetup (Philadelphia, PA) - Meetup

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by LTT777 View Post
    Hey Guys,

    I'm new to mountain biking but not entirely new to bikes. I was a pretty good BMX racer when I was a youngin (28 now) so have some decent MTBing skills like bunny hopping pretty high, wheeling a few rotations (not manual-ing yet ), not afraid to get some air, and overall decent awareness and instinct on a bike. Other than that I am a complete noob and am looking to start honing my skills on some basic stuff.

    I live on Main Street in Manayunk. I would really prefer to be able to ride to trails as opposed to drive. I've headed over to the Wiss and entered at the Main Street/Ridge Pike entrance and explored but didn't have much luck. Everything I found within a couple miles was severely ahead of my current skill level. Is there anything near my side of the Wiss that is along the lines of what I'm looking for? My girlfriend is also taking this up with me at least part of the time, and although very athletic, she is considerably more noob than I. So we definitely need something alot easier than I have seen there

    If not, what are my other options. I hear Belmont is more novice, would I be best served just riding up there and exploring those trails?

    Thank you guys in advance for any insight. Also although this is my first post I used this forum quite a bit to gather a lot of information with regard to making my first MTB purchase and getting gear and such. So thank you to everyone for contributing!
    Hey man, welcome to Mt Biking!! I'm in your neighborhood, just at the top of the wall. Send me a PM and weíll see if we can coordinate a time to ride. Iíll show you around the park. You have many options for the Wiss. There is nothing to be afraid concerning technical trails back there. If you come to a section that is beyond your limit, just clip out and walk it. The more you ride there the better youíll be as a rider. If you have the basic skills, the rest is mental. Having a patient guide helps.

    Belmont is a good place, but you can get turned around if you donít know the area. Pennypack is great as well, but best with a guide because so much is hidden. Especially once the foliage comes in this spring. At least in the Wiss, if you get turned around you can go back to the last fire road you passed and take it down to Forbidden Drive. Youíre either riding once side of the valley or the other side.

  7. #7
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    Thank you guys for all of the help.

    I've since done quite a bit of exploring and although I've yet to find a full length trail that I consider easy, I've found some stuff I can ride. At least for short periods. But still nothing easy enough for my girlfriend.

    Mtrosle,

    Thank you very much for the generous offer. That sounds great. I will PM you shortly to coordinate.

    Thank you again to everyone for the insight!

  8. #8
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    The absence of usable chunks of beginner-friendly trail in the Wiss is a real shame and I don't see much reason to hope that's getting solved any time soon. Just no easy solution. You're lucky to have a solid local like mtrostle offering to help show you around.

    Agree that Pennypack (not at all rideable from Manyunk) is better for beginners, Belmont not so much.

  9. #9
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    I made a map that shows the trails in the Philadelphia area that are accessible by train. There are even ore that you can get to by bus, but the map covers 75% of the trails in the area.

    https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid...41241ace&msa=0

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