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  1. #1
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    East Coast vs. West Coast- Riding Preference

    What does everyone think. Either, neither, or both?

    I would say if you can ride in the rocky, rooty, wet technical single track out here in the East, you can ride anywhere. They say that about skiing as well come to think about it.

    I've never been riding out west yet so I can't compare it in terms of effort from a physical or technical standpoint.

    Any thoughts?
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  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mapkos13
    I would say if you can ride in the rocky, rooty, wet technical single track out here in the East, you can ride anywhere.
    I hope that's true, 'cause if it is then if I ever make it out West with a bike I'll end up feeling much better about my riding skills!

  3. #3
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    I have ridden both

    I lived on the West coast when I was in the Marines, down around Oceanside California. I rode some of the fastest fire roads I have ever seen in my life. This was back in the early 90s before disc brakes, hell it was before V brakes. At that point in time I thought that if I could lock up the rear tire, The brakes could not be any more powerful. Once, on the mainside of Camp Delmar, I pushed my Giant Butte steel bike, fully rigid, (sans a Girvin flex stem) up a hill for 45 minutes. It was too steep to pedal. I got around 3/4 of the way up and then headed down. My Cateye clocked 57 as a top speed. At some points I was pulling the brakes so hard they were hissing, but I was not able to lock up the wheels. When I would release the brakes, I would get this increadble burst of speed. It was an amazing ride.
    I went to college in North Carolina, on the banks of the Cape Fear river. That is an entirely different kind of riding. Like you said, slipery roots, washed out trails, ferral dogs, bee hives, and scary-ass back woods "local people". This is a more stop and go type of riding, highly technical, head on a swivel type of riding. In the middle of one of the best trails is an old railroad bridge. It spans about 75 yards, is about 50 feet high, and the train runs 3 times a day. My biggest fear was having a "Stand by Me" moment while crossing.
    I went to Graduate school in the mid west. I rode the Lewis and Clark trail, and every corn field from St Louis to Kansas City. Booooooring.
    I am going to agree with you, if you can get it done in the woods, you can handel the open spaces of the west. But the thing that may surprise you is how fast almost everyone is out there. I am now in China, and I ride with a couple of Canadians and these boys fly.
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  4. #4
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    hey, the midwest has some tough sh!t too.

    The midwest riding (at least here in missouri) may not be as scenic have descents/ascents that last more than a mile. but it is anything BUT boring. I've ridden here my whole life, and having ridden in colorado and utah, i can say that (once aclimated to the altitude) i can ride most of what all of the trails have to offer me in terms of technicality. just because we're at lower elevations doesn't mean that the riding is any less technically challenging. ever ridden the Chubb Trail or Klondike in St. Louis? How about Council Bluff near Bourbon? The hills may not go on for miles and miles and end at a 2000 foot cliff, but there are plenty of other things that make a trail difficult.

  5. #5
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    the east coast is really sucky when you hit a tree root and just go down....most of the trails i rode (Georgia, Tennesee, North Carolina, and W Virginia were slow and technical. Trails in the west are more flowey so you get higher speeds and tend to be faster through rock garden sections...We don't have all the trees to twist and turn around...therefore slowing you down
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  6. #6
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    I've ridden in Maryland and live in Arizona. The trails were ok back in MD. I do like roots. But, that is all I really encountered well, that and mud and more mud....dang rain! Out here in Phoenix you have rocks and rocks and more rocks! Rip over a rock garden while trying to stay clear of a cholla cactus or saguaro arm going 20-30 miles an hour with a perm-a-grin on your face! I will take that anyday!
    So, my vote is for the west side of this messed up nation.

  7. #7
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    I don't think you can really generalize that much. East vs West... is that CA west? WA west? ID west? North Shore west? Or New England east? Florida east? North Carolina east? They're all so different.

    I've ridden all of the above. Er... haven't ridden NC yet. But I've also ridden eastern and western WA trails and they're about as different from each other as you're making out the generic E v W comparison.

    So far, the roots out west (western WA) are worse than anything I've ridden out here in New England. The baby head rocks out here still confound me. Roots out here are negligible.

    Not sure I could choose one over the other. I guess my nod would have to go to the west.. as in Anacortes, WA but only because the trailheads (4 of them) were less than a half mile from my front door!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mapkos13
    What does everyone think. Either, neither, or both?

    I would say if you can ride in the rocky, rooty, wet technical single track out here in the East, you can ride anywhere. They say that about skiing as well come to think about it.

    I've never been riding out west yet so I can't compare it in terms of effort from a physical or technical standpoint.

    Any thoughts?
    You know, it really doesn't matter the terrain, fast is fast. A good rider will adapt pretty quickly to anything. As far as fitness goes, racing in SoCal or Colorado is a very humbling experience for many newcomers to these areas.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mapkos13
    What does everyone think. Either, neither, or both?

    I would say if you can ride in the rocky, rooty, wet technical single track out here in the East, you can ride anywhere. They say that about skiing as well come to think about it.

    I've never been riding out west yet so I can't compare it in terms of effort from a physical or technical standpoint.

    Any thoughts?
    I've lived and ridden extensively in the southest (VA-WV-NC) and the northeast (NJ-NY-CT). I now live in Tahoe, CA and ride around here as well as in the foothills. I've done some riding in CO and UT. Overall, from a technical standpoint the east coast is far more brutal, especially the northeast. Yeah, I go much bigger out here and the terrain is sometimes knarlier, but it is so wide open and so dry most of the time that it is easier to go big.

    I really noticed the difference this past summer when I went back east and rode. I feel like my riding has really progressed in the year I have lived here in CA. I am taking bigger drops, charging technical sections faster, and doing bigger climbs than ever before. However, a few rides back east (Maine, CT, and VA) seriously put me back in my place! Climbs were generally steeper and harder, and things are generally more challenging technically. Largely because the singletrack there is TIGHT, twisty, rocky, rooty, and often wet. There is often little room for error.

    Out here, many trails are wide, swooping buff singletrack. Trails that are technical are often conquered through "point and shoot" with lots of suspension and speed.

    I think in terms of shear fun, it is better out west, but I'm glad I learned to ride back east, and I look forward to having my @ss kicked when I go back again.

  10. #10
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    Mine is for outback Australia, personally ....
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cabin Fever
    The midwest riding (at least here in missouri) may not be as scenic have descents/ascents that last more than a mile. but it is anything BUT boring. I've ridden here my whole life, and having ridden in colorado and utah, i can say that (once aclimated to the altitude) i can ride most of what all of the trails have to offer me in terms of technicality. just because we're at lower elevations doesn't mean that the riding is any less technically challenging. ever ridden the Chubb Trail or Klondike in St. Louis? How about Council Bluff near Bourbon? The hills may not go on for miles and miles and end at a 2000 foot cliff, but there are plenty of other things that make a trail difficult.
    Sorry about that Cabin Fever. I have not riden the trails you mentioned. As I said, the places I rode were limited. The one thing a midwest rider will have is fitness. After cranking in that sun for any length of time, you will know if you are drinking enough water, the answer is no. The humity in Georgia is so high, you sweat all day. In Cali, you get that nice Pacific breeze to wick the sweat away. In Missouri, the sun just pulls it out of you all at once, along with the air from your lungs. The lack of top cover will make you ride faster to generate a breeze. I guess I should have compared the landscape. East coast is paranoia from the tightness of the trail and the trees. Visibility is at best tens of yards. Out west, it is just the opposite. Sometimes it feels that you can see forever and that is scary in itself, you feel gigantic and insignificant at the same time.
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  12. #12
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    ive ridden both and...

    imho the east coast is much more technically challenging overall. out west you can get up so much speed that technical sections can be overcome with momentum. plus west coast singletrack is at times as wide as east coast fireroads. lots more room for error correction . the climbs out west crush those on the east coast in length for the most part. however the climbs in the east are usually found after tight corners (cant use momentum like out west) and can be very technical. i like riding in both places. ive ridden in arizona, iowa, ohio,virginia,maryland,penn.,north carolina,new jersey,conneticut, and mass.
    i do believe if you learn on the east coast you can ride anywhere. that being said the west coast cant be beat for speed, those cats are fast!. they have real mountains out west , something you only see in a few eastern states. the wide open feeling you get out west is special, i understand why people love it. technical east coast singltrack is awesome too though. to me, its all good .
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drewdane
    I hope that's true, 'cause if it is then if I ever make it out West with a bike I'll end up feeling much better about my riding skills!
    If you move out here (like I did) you won't be presented with many technical challenges to prove those skills.

    I've lived on the East Coast since I was a wee tyke and mainly lived around Baltimore/DC and in Providence. I feel very confident in my technical ability. Having moved out to Portland, I've found that tech skills don't do squat for me out here. I've done some riding down near Bend, out in the Coastal Range, out near Mt. Hood and just west of PDX in a town called Scappoose. The only place that resembles riding out east is Scappoose, with all the steep ups and downs, but there aren't any rocks and it's not as rooty.

    The biggest differences are that the climbing is sustained rather than the stand and hammer that I'm accustomed to having ridden Avalon, Schaeffer, McKeldin and Gambrill for so many years...also the speed. You get up to and carry much more speed out here as the DH sections I've ridden can be upwards of 5 miles. With no rocks and roots to slow you down, it's basically up to the contents of your sack and your ability to hold a line at speed. Sadly, MY sack isn't up to the challenge as I haven't done much riding that requires me to sustain a high speed for 15 minutes.

    If you come out here, bring an extra set of lungs, and maybe a granny...it's all you'll need.
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  14. #14
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    I like both

    I finally got to ride Norcal this October. What I rode was not as technical as what I'm used to in the east but who cares? It was just as much fun. Longer climbs and faster downhills but I only got a very small sample of what is out there. BC is on the west coast too, don't forget, and that is pretty damned technical.

    From what I've ridden in the mid-west, it reminds me more of eastern riding.
    Last edited by Rev Bubba; 11-14-2005 at 07:24 AM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mapkos13
    What does everyone think. Either, neither, or both?

    I would say if you can ride in the rocky, rooty, wet technical single track out here in the East, you can ride anywhere. They say that about skiing as well come to think about it.

    I've never been riding out west yet so I can't compare it in terms of effort from a physical or technical standpoint.

    Any thoughts?
    It's all good!

    Having ridden in NY, CT, ME, NH, MA, NJ and VA out east, and NM, AZ, CA, CO, ID, NV and UT out west, I have to say that statement isn't entirely true. Yes, you may be able to handle the tech stuff, but go from near sea level to Crested Butte, Tahoe or Taos, and you better have your Camelback oxygen tank with you! ;^P

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  16. #16
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    I would say if you can ride in the rocky, rooty, wet technical single track out here in the East, you can ride anywhere. They say that about skiing as well come to think about it.
    I completely agree. East Coast Hardcore!!!

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    you know, ive only ridden east coast (new england to be specific) and yea its a techy wonderland, but i guess what i really like is how close the riding is to you. i mean, within a one hour driving radius from my house theres gotta be like 15 or so good riding spots, each with their own little "personality" if you will. and probably half of those are within a half hour drive. heck, there are spots in that hour radius that ive never even been to yet. a two hour radius?? its almost countless. from what i can tell and maybe im wrong, you cant really make that claim with western riding. also, most riding spots around here are setup for you to do anything from a 1-3 hour loop, depending how you want to do it, which is plenty for me. and finally i guess, except for probably NH-VT-ME, at least in MASS-CT-RI you might get lost, but youre never really LOST as in "im gonna die out here if they dont find me" kinda lost. and oddly enough, as densely populated as it is around here you just dont really run into alot of other riders, not as many as you might think. im not putting down the stuff out west by any means and would love to try it some day, tho doubt if i ever will. im sure its fantastic. i guess that im just blessed to have what i have so close to me

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    I always thought the key to happieness is to be satisfied with what you have. It's great that different parts of the country offer different types of challenges.

    I've never ridden the East Coast or Midwest, and have only ridden near Castaic Reservoir (Socal) on the west coast. The California fire roads seemed pretty steep (for a road) and they were very fast, the single/double tracks were fun and flowing. I've seen some rooty sections of trail in Colorado, but have no idea how they would compare to the east coast roots.
    I've done 99.99% of my riding in Colorado & Utah, with a dash of New Mexico, and have found stuff there that seems plenty technical by my standards. As far as a brutal climb, there can be no equal to The Barr Trail on Pikes Peak. This climb was so hard and long that I would NEVER recomend it to anyone I didn't hate.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mapkos13
    I would say if you can ride in the rocky, rooty, wet technical single track out here in the East, you can ride anywhere. They say that about skiing as well come to think about it.
    I'm a California rider but I have ridden a lot in the Rockies and a little in the East. The East is certainly as you describe it, rooty and rocky, but my California skills were sufficient when I have ridden there.

    There is no level off-road riding in my neighborhood. You are either climbing or descending or you are not on your bike. To me the biggest difference between the coasts is the downhills in the mountains and the West, because you can spend a couple of hours riding uphill, and ride back down in ten or fifteen minutes. I never saw any place in the East where long open descents let you go as fast as you care to for mile after mile.

    There is a reasonable amount of singletrack around where I live, but most of it has all been built specifically for bikes, and it's not at all challenging except for some tight switchbacks. The challenging rides are the illegal trails, and they will match the East for the ruts and rocks, and you can add some long, steep slopes.

    I like to ride up on the (legal) singletrack and hit the fire roads for the high-speed downhills. The illegal trails are designed for going downhill, and they are mostly too steep to ride up, so you generally have to come up some other way.

  20. #20
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    If you ask Snoop Dogg, he'd say the West Coast. If you asked P-Diddy, he'd say East Coast. This thread sounds like the start of a gang war.

  21. #21
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    Whatever.

    I didn't even think they had riding on the west coast. I live in the SE and I can't see why anyone would want to ride out west in the rockies or where ever "jeez". Who'd want to have all that wide open space with all those flowy trails and hour long fast dh. man why ride if you can't ride rocky, rooty, herky jerky wet slippery 2 mile an hour good o'l east coast singletrack? Everybody knows wet mud is better for you'r bikes bearings anyway.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by steveit
    you know, ive only ridden east coast (new england to be specific) and yea its a techy wonderland, but i guess what i really like is how close the riding is to you. i mean, within a one hour driving radius from my house theres gotta be like 15 or so good riding spots, each with their own little "personality" if you will. and probably half of those are within a half hour drive. heck, there are spots in that hour radius that ive never even been to yet. a two hour radius?? its almost countless. from what i can tell and maybe im wrong, you cant really make that claim with western riding. also, most riding spots around here are setup for you to do anything from a 1-3 hour loop, depending how you want to do it, which is plenty for me. and finally i guess, except for probably NH-VT-ME, at least in MASS-CT-RI you might get lost, but youre never really LOST as in "im gonna die out here if they dont find me" kinda lost.
    Well it's all relative. I can leave from my backdoor, on the bike and hit a number of rides that are above 8000 feet and many would consider verging on epic. Some of these are rides, especially as the weather changes that you would classify as being able to get "LOST". As you said, jump in the car for and hour to two and that number increases greatly.
    It's all good. I think the major differences are length of trail. There are just more BIG rides in the west, all day epics with BIG altitude gains. I also feel that when I go home and ride back east I feel like my legs and lungs are freakin' huge meaning I can go all day in that O2 rich air. All this is simply my humble opinion of course.

  23. #23
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    Fun topic

    When I lived out west, I was a broke high school student, then a broke college student. As a result, options to ride were limited. However, my impression was this: you go up, for a really, really long time. Then you go down. Miles and miles of down. The scenery was almost always spectacular.

    Now I live on the east coast. The singletrack out here rules, BUT, all those trees mean lots and lots of roots (and a carpet of wet, slippery leaves this time of year). I sort of thought, "I've ridden over mountains out west, this will be a piece of cake." WRONG. Bombing down a hill dodging trees inches away from my handlebars and trying not to stack it on the roots, I nearly sucked the seat right off the seat post. It was kind of a terrifying wake-up call.

    In part, I agree that "technical" trails can mean less flow. Sometimes you just wanna pedal, and if you're not in the mood, all the roots and rocks and rollers can make for a pretty frustrating ride. Overall, though, I'd say the trails out hear are great and once you're acclimated, tons of fun. I miss the scenery, though. Riding in the woods can get pretty monotonous. And the humidity bites, too.

  24. #24
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    Hard call,
    I lived in WA, BC, AZ and now MA.
    The riding is realy different everywhere. I like techy singletrack, so I am currently in heaven here in New England. The rocks, roots, short climbs, twisty and narrow paths are just fantastic. The biggest difference is in the length of the climbs and descents (comparing Northeast to Northwest). Anybody who says wet, rooty trails are the exclusive property of the NE have never been to Washington State (or coastal BC).
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    I love techincal riding...rocky, rooty, ledges, baby heads, major carnage potential- yes, I am a sick freak when it comes to that. That being said, I spend most of my time searching for the most challenging trail I can find in North Ga, Tn , NC. Personally, I think the legal mountian biking trails around here are far over-groomed for the most part. Sure, they are scenic and flowy, and full of rainbows & bunny rabbits. But Hardcore? Give me a break. Windrock & some parts of Pisgah are the only places down this way that are exceptions to that.
    I give the riding to the West Coast hands down. After spending six years out there I can tell you it's not the terrain that makes it so, either. It's the fact that there are more riders and more "aggressive" riders willing to step over the fringe of legality to build trails. Also, it is just more open. I mean, on the east coast land is either private or forest service/ WMA. You can get in a **** load of trouble of pirating trails or diverging from the accepted routes. Out west, there are miles and miles of nothing and no one gives a real damn what you do with it (weel, some do but you just avoid those folks ; ). Man, we rode pirate trails all the time and were forever blazing new trails. It was great fun as long as you stayed low and watched for the FS trucks. All the people I rode with out there were just cool, laid back, and ready to do what it took to shred some sweet trails. I miss the hell out of that.
    Back here on the east coast, most mtbrs are not down with breaking the rules. It hurts 'the cause". Mention riding an illegal trail, or breaking off an existing trail to bushwack and it is akin to heresy. Now, if you don't mind a little bandito action then the east can deliver the goods on par with anywhere out west. The terrain is here, and some of the trails are here, but riding them is against the law.

  26. #26
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    Having lived in NY and now living in CA and ridden in NY, NJ, CT, PA, CA, NM and NV I have found things that I love and loathe about the two coasts riding. My main gripe with the East coast is that the downhill sections often werent long enough but that was made up for by some scary assed tech sections. My main gripe with the West coast is that to enjoy the 11 miles of screaming dowhill you have to either climb for 1/2 a day or shuttle it. Either way, I love both areas to ride in but to compare them is like comparing a dog to a cat - they both have 4 legs, 2 ears, 2 eyes etc etc but the are wayyyyyy different. At the end of the day I love to ride and as long as the riding is good I dont give a f*#@ where it is!

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiahh
    I don't think you can really generalize that much. East vs West... is that CA west? WA west? ID west? North Shore west? Or New England east? Florida east? North Carolina east? They're all so different.

    West is west of the Mississippi and a East is.. well you can figure it out.

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