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  1. #1
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    Kingdom trails for a super beginner?

    My girlfriend is expressing interest in learning to mountain bike but is kinda scared. Is kingdom trails an OK place to take a super beginner? Is there a decent amount of flat/low angle single track to keep her entertained for a full day without repeating trails over and over, and give her a proper initiation to the sport without scaring her off? I haven't yet been to kingdom trails, I mostly just ride big river, Arcadia, and out west a bit a few times a year but plan on making a kingdom trails visit soon and wonder if I should bring the lady friend along or if I should let her get initiated somewhere else.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Couloirman---You have struck upon one of the big problems for the sport of mountain biking--little or no entry level beginner singletrack. And I mean beginner beginner, not just the "easiest" at a location like Kingdom. For the sake of your relationship and many others in a similar situation, I would not drag the GF to a place like Kingdom. Lots of climbing, and that means lots of descending--not something that beginners are very comfortable with. I was at the Vermont Mt. Bike Fest last weekend and saw the online map showing a fair amount of Green/Easiest trails. When I got there and got hold of the trail map with contours it became apparent that there was a lot of climbing even on the "easiest" trails--and my female friend and another guys' had to drop out of the 'easy guided tour" ! I can understand that the people- bless them- that are building new trails are usually skilled riders and are building more towards there level. But for the sport to grow, beginner- beginner single track is needed for mere mortals to get the thrill of their first bike experiences. Sorry for the diversion--just take her somewhere where she can get some skills and some little hills under her belt.

  3. #3
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    While I agree with Damnation to a certain extent, I will say that KT is probably one of the best places for a beginner to learn if you are willing to pay for the lessons. Mountain biking is about challenges to me. If your GF is willing to take on a challenge then KT could be a great place to advance her skills. I have taken beginners to much worse places.

    Also, what is she scared of? Is she looking at extreme mountain biking on TV? Does she understand the sport is only as scarey as you make it?

    Just a couple of weeks ago we were there and the ladies in the unit next to us were in their 50s and 60s and were beginners and they were already planning their next trip there.

    She will probably do much better if you can get another girl beginner to go along and let them do their own thing with lessons and such.

    Last thing you want to do is scare her away forever and riding with an experienced rider, as I assume you are, is just the way that could happen.

  4. #4
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    I don't think it gets much better than KTA for a beginner. The very best thing you can do for her IMHO is to take her to the bike park and ride the lift. She'll learn more there than anywhere else.

  5. #5
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    My super beginner wife loves darling hill. Ask the guys at the shop to line out a scenic flowy ride. She will love it.

  6. #6
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    I ride Arcadia and Big River all the time as well and I've been to NEMBAFest both years and one other time with friends. As long as you have patience and plot out a course, she'll be fine - as mcandy said, the people at either the bike shop or the office will plan out a route for you that is begininner friendly.

    You're not going to be doing Sidewinder, Jaw, Troll Stroll or Tap 'n Die, but there is nothing wrong with Web (drawing a blank on the name) but the trail along the river before Hogback and many of the trails on the Darling Hill part.

    If she is up for some fun, even try Roly Grail at Burke.

  7. #7
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    I have only ridden Darling Hill, how are the trails on the mountain side, are they all basically DH (lift accessible) or are there some XC trails there?

  8. #8
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    The Burke trails are DH that I'm aware of - Jester and Roly Grail are the easier of them - both are fun.

  9. #9
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    There are XC trails on the mountain. They are on the NE side of the mountain and can be accessed mostly from the touring center or the mid Burke lodge. I would not consider them beginner except for the ones int he touring center. Check out the map.

    When we were done riding the lift we scooted across to the mid Burke lodge and then onto Parrs Yard, Pinkham rd., Magill DFields, Moose Alley and White School back to town. Picked up the car later.

    Could also catch Burnham Down to town from the touring center but no beginner.

  10. #10
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    damnation, I think you're a little confused. The VT Mtn Bike Fest was at Ascutney on the STAB trails. Kingdom Trails is an entirely different network about 2 hours north of there with lots of great trails for a beginner. Couloirman, KT is an excellent place to introduce someone to the sport. If you go to the Welcome Center when you get to town, they'll give you a map and all the trail info that you'll need to know where to go. Take here on the easy trails, don't try to challenge her right off the bat. Let her gather confidence on the easy stuff so she doesn't get discouraged. Follow this recipe and you'll have a riding partner for the future

  11. #11
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    Kingdom trails for a super beginner?

    Thanks for the replies and info everyone. I think ill head up there alone this week (I assume they allow people to ride solo?) and see for myself. Hope to see some of you on the trail

  12. #12
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    Fair Maiden - Try reading my comment again! I have been to KT about 8 times. What I was saying was that the "easiest" trails at Ascutney include a fair amount of climbing, not necessarily a beginners forte. As the STAB trail map says, their trails are rated for "technical ability", not for the climbing involved. And then there is the question of what is a beginner? Is that a fit beginner with no tech skills, a non-fit beginner who is discouraged by hills, a totally new beginner who has not ridden a bike since a kid...and other beginners of various ilk. I have done all the trails on Darling Hill at KT--and as I look at the map I only see 3 trails that are rated "easiest"-- Loop, Cupcake, and most of Bemis. That is not a lot of riding. Then you are on "more difficult" which at KT can be double track with a fair amount of climbing, or a single track quite a bit above the beginner level. Every body has there own take on difficulty levels; you can read trail reviews until you are blue but still not know the reviewers level of skill, either actual or in his/her mind. Couloirman has probably made a good decision to check it out first and get her some riding skills before tackling the big one. I have been an alpine skier for 60+ years----it is a classic scenario to drag the beginner girlfriend onto the chairlift to the top of the mountain, and then suffer the painful ordeal of watching her get to the bottom of the hill--she might not ski again and you might not see her again!

  13. #13
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    The best absolute beginner trails I've seen are at the Plainfield Elementary School, Plainfield, NH (also called French's Ledges - but don't be scared off by the name - only a few trails venture onto the ridge). We included these trails in the Vt MTB Fest for newbies, because they are aesthetically appealing without being technically or aerobically challenging. Unfortunately, very few wanted to take the 1/2 hour ride from the fest site.

    They have several trails that are designed for skate skiing, so they are wide, smooth and don't climb very much. They go over rolling fields and venture into the woods, and some climb the hillside, gently. There's not more than a day's worth of the beginner terrain, but it might be worth a short trip.

  14. #14
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    Kingdom trails for a super beginner?

    Geez, what a bunch of differing opinions. Here's mine. Don't take her up the lift, that is a stupid idea, and costs money. There are lots of trails at kingdom for her to begin to enjoy riding. The majority of the trails are rideable by most, but stick to the greenies until she starts to feel comfortable. I agree, bring a friend of hers. She is going to be pissed at you at the end of the day regardless, might as well have a friend to leave her with while you escape for a bit. Lessons can be a great idea, and takes the heat off of you. Unless you are interested in riding rail trails, it doesn't get much more buff than kingdom trails. Go for it.

  15. #15
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    I go to KT every year with a group. We are all skilled riders and spend all day on the trails. However, many of the guy's wives come along for the short vacation and bring their bikes.

    I will agree that other riders of her ability would be great.

    But I also know these women had a blast, mostly on the double track and such around Darling Hill. I will agree the climbing can suck for a beginner, and I'll not these women road cycle/hike/etc. so had good cardio base.

    Also, as a bonus, while we rode from the condo (and back, damn you Burke Mountain) they parked at the Inn on Darling, which meant our lunch and beer was there waiting for us and we didn't have to carry it :-)

  16. #16
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    A quick suggestion for beginner riders and their others. If you are passing through NH do not miss Franklin Falls Dam in Franklin, 3 miles off 1-93. It is 10 miles of buffed, flow trails with no rocks and a small amount of roots, about 100 vertical from top to bottom. Also mellow double track connecting the singletrack. You can go as fast or as slow as you want--difficulty level just increases with speed. It is a favorite with families and couples of all ages. It is all within about 1 square mile, has ample parking, no fee, and clean toilets, even heated in the spring and fall. Very interesting ecology and excellent layout of trails. I am 66 and have been riding there for 4 years with a couple in there upper 50's. They started as beginners and because of the skills and confidence they garnered at Franklin have become upper level intermediates, at least. Franklin will put a smile on nearly any rider. For the best map go to cnhnemba.org (that is the Central NH chapter of NE Mountain Bike Assoc.)--they built the trails. Franklin Falls Dam is on US Army Corp of Engineers land. It is on NH Route 127 3 miles south of exit 22 on I-93. Google it or check out u-tube for videos.

  17. #17
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    I have never been to Acadia but how do the trails there compare to KT?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob_m View Post
    I have never been to Acadia but how do the trails there compare to KT?

    Are you asking about Acadia national park in Maine or Arcadia in California that is mentioned earlier in this thread?

    There are no legal ST trails at Acadia national park, only carriage roads. So there really is no comparison. One(KT) is an trail network with flowy ST riding and the other is a national park with wide carriage roads that allow biking, horseback riding and walking. It would be a good place to take a beginner to get used to bike feel and how it handles on dirt/gravel. The local tourist attractions are city-like compared to KT which is in a very small town. Much better hiking and boating opportunities at Acadia than KT.
    Last edited by likeaboss; 07-24-2013 at 01:39 PM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schott View Post
    Don't take her up the lift, that is a stupid idea, and costs money.
    Have you ever ridden the park with a beginner? Maybe it's not as stupid as you think. Just go and watch the parade of people that are riding there.

  20. #20
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    Acadia, thanks for the info.

  21. #21
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    My lady friend is also a beginner, and at this point is still intimidated by other riders on the same trail. If this is the case with your lady friend, you might consider trying to avoid riding KT on a weekend. The few times I've been there have been on weekends, and it gets pretty busy.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkVT View Post
    My lady friend is also a beginner, and at this point is still intimidated by other riders on the same trail. If this is the case with your lady friend, you might consider trying to avoid riding KT on a weekend. The few times I've been there have been on weekends, and it gets pretty busy.
    I was there July 4th weekend and I do not recall coming across more than 10 riders on the trails on Darling Hill. The mountain was hopping but the hill was fine.

  23. #23
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    Kingdom trails for a super beginner?

    I have to say I agree, no matter how busy it seems in town, out on the trail it seems quiet...but midweek is a sure bet, all to yourselves. BUT, the slower you ride, the more people you see.

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