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  1. #1
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    Possible Move to PA

    I am looking at a possible move to PA and wanted to ask the experts what the riding is like. I'm looking at a job in the Cranberry Township area hoped you guys could give me some insights on the riding conditions, typical weather, etc. I've done some research online but true-life experience tends to be more accurate. Anything you guys can share would be hugely appreciated.

  2. #2
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    There is some good riding in the Pittsburgh area. The closest area to Cranberry Twp is North Park and if you go north, there's Moraine State Park. North Park is mostly twisty, smooth, off-camber, trails with a bunch of quick steep ups and downs while Moraine is a rock tech fest. There's other parks in the Pitt area, as well. Check out Pittsburgh Offroad Cyclists (PORC) for trail info.

    Other great areas about an hour or a little more East of there, too--Seven Springs, Laurel Mtn, Blue Knob, etc.

    South of the city, near the WV line, is Quebec Run State Park.

    There's a start, I'm sure someone else will chime in.
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    Thanks for the insights Lugboot! When is the best season for riding?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaySlowWhitey
    I am looking at a possible move to PA and wanted to ask the experts what the riding is like. I'm looking at a job in the Cranberry Township area hoped you guys could give me some insights on the riding conditions, typical weather, etc.
    Riding conditions:

    Depends on where you ride. If you were to google map cranberry and zoom out to 5 mi scale, you can see quite a few parks that have great riding. South of you is where a lot of the Pittsburgh Riding is going to be, you have (In proximity to Cranberry) North Park, Hartwood Acres, and Deer Lakes. If you want to go further south, there is a park called Frick that is definitely worth the extra drive. Going north you would be headed to Moraine State Park that has miles of single-track.

    North Park: I have not spent a lot of time riding in North Park, but I have ridden it enough to know the trail conditions. There is a lot of technical climbs, and downhills. Be prepared for a great ride here. Its going to be tough, but you can piece together about a 15 mile ride.

    Hartwood Acres: I live in Fox Chapel, so I live a short 10 min ride from Hartwood. I learned to mountain bike 6 years ago in Hartwood, and can still have a great ride there now. Hartwood is a both a great place to learn and to challenge the advanced rider. As for trail conditions; there are not many rocks, tons of logs, technical turns, and lots of bends in tight trees. Beautiful landscape, traffic is minimul, horses are a PITA, but hikers are cool. As a plus, all the trails are really well maintained by the Dirt Rag Guys, who have a trail leading to the house where they edit all of the magazines. I have pieced together my favorite route, which is between 8-12 miles depending on how I'm feeling and trail conditions. For someone new to the area, I would highly recommend it due to how easy it is to navigate due to the road that runs right through the middle of the park which all the trails start/end on.

    Deer Lakes: I have done the drive over to Deer Lakes quite a few times. The trails are really nice and very well maintained. I dont know the trails as well as I would like to, but from the loop that I have done was about 9 miles. The trails are really smooth with not too many rocks and only a few log piles and even fewer log features. In the spring, there are more thorns than I though was humanly possible. After a ride in May, I went home and my girlfriend asked what animal attacked me, it was just the thorns. The beginning of the trail is mostly a pine forest, needle covered trails, which transitions to normal western PA trees and clean trails.

    Moraine State Park: Moraine is a challenging loop. There are a ton of trails, but they are all very rocky and very technical. This is a great place to train for the 24 Hour challenge at 7 Springs on Labor Day weekend, due to the similarities in the non stop rock gardens. The trails are fun, and easy to navigate on. First couple of times I went I found it almost impossible to get lost. The trails are well maintained and every time I have been there I have seen groups of other riders, so its pretty popular. There are great views at some points of the trails that look over the pretty large lake which always has sail boats on it.

    Riding seasons for all of the parks is year round. When I get home (Im in college in Mass.) I am most likely going to buy a new bike and ride all winder. I have ridden all of the parks above in the winter.

    Check out this site for trail maps, and other parks around Pittsburgh:

    http://www.probikesllc.com/trails.html ****

    **** I am by no means advertising for the shop that I work for, it is just a good resource and commonplace for maps of local trails.****

    AMillMTB

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the details! In researching the move / weather / riding conditions one question stands out ... am I gonna have to learn to like to ride in the mud?

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    YES.

    get fenders.

    Most places in PA (except northern tier) you can reliably ride most of the year, That being said, always check the policies of the local park or other location before you ride in wet conditions.
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    I was hoping you wouldn't say that. Mud sucks

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    Another caveat is that some areas drain much better than others. You'll soon figure out which areas are which.

    Where are you moving from?
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    I'll be moving from Denver, CO. Much different terrain and season. Many here ride year-round but I'm not big on riding in the snow.

  10. #10
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    ah, front range. I think you'll end up diggin' it. There's lots of good riding in PA--we just don't talk about it much. I know some guys that ride at North Park on regular basis. If and when you make the move, I can try to hook you up with them.
    People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

  11. #11
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    Thanks for all the insights and I'll definitely touch base with you if/when the move takes place.

  12. #12
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    OP, don't "poo" out on the mud riding before you hit it.

    I moved to NE-PA in July from Austin TX. It's, er, quite a change. In TX we could basically not ride when wet at all. The good bit was 350+ dry days a year. Since July I've had to learn that it's ok to ride when wet, but it does help to be prepared.

    My summerweight and hugely-vented cycling shoes are NOT the best for NE-PA.

    Small-knob dry/hardpack tires on the bike? No so much happy. Rolling bigger knobs.

    Fender? Best 20 bucks I've spent on my bike since inception.

    Glasses? Check - protect the eyes from flung-stuff.

    So far, at least, there's always been *some* wet on a ride, but not until Nov did my bike STAY dirty.

    Now if I can just keep riding through the winter. Remains to be proven. My blood is TX-thin still!

  13. #13
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    Having lived in N FL for about 5 years and know what it's like to ride in mud. Both MTB and moto. Growing up in NM I got set in my ways with dust and hard-pack. If the PA move happens I'll need to drop the LarsenTT 2.35 on the rear for certain. Too small on the knobs and packs the rear-end of my 575 with mud too quickly. I'll have to run something a little narrower with more knobs.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lugboot
    Another caveat is that some areas drain much better than others. You'll soon figure out which areas are which.
    Bavington is the best place in the area to ride when it's wet IMO. During hunting season you can only really ride there on Sundays and maybe at night? Dense pine forest that keeps a lot of the moisture from reaching the trails. The trails are covered in pine needles which keeps the mud to a minimum...

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