Best beginner/intermediate loops at Batchelor St/Earl's- Mtbr.com
Results 1 to 13 of 13
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    540

    Best beginner/intermediate loops at Batchelor St/Earl's

    This summer I both took up mountain biking and moved to Massachusetts. As of a week ago, I'm now 3-4 miles from Bachelor St. and Earl's.

    I was hoping some of you guys could give me some recommendations for loops that are good for advanced beginners/lower intermediates. I'm looking for somethings that I can ride regularly to get in better shape and improve my bike handling skills.

    To describe where I'm at riding-wise a bit more in detail as I'm not sure about level-labels: I'm not super fast, more because of lack of skill and confidence than conditioning (though that plays a part too). I'm at the point where I'm good to go over most single logs/rocks you find on a trail, but sometimes hang my rear wheel on bigger logs especially. I also tend to get hung up from time to time in rock gardens due to a tendency to not go into them with enough speed. I'd like to be able to practice on both of these things, hopefully in areas without too much consequence for errors, I don't want the trail to be all rock garden though. The stuff that makes me most nervous are downhill turns with some rocks/log midturn. i also avoid drops and bigger features, though I'm perfectly happy to walk my bike if the trail is good otherwise.

    If anyone rides in CT, my riding has been at places like Nathan Hale, Miller's Pond, Rockland (probably my favorite), and Trumbull.

    If anyone has suggestions for something at Bachelor St or Earl's that would be good for someone of my level, I'd love the recommendation.

    Thanks a lot!

    Edit: And if this has been asked before, I apologize. I did search, but my terms brought back so many hits, I didn't find anything on my actual question.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    48
    Since no one more experienced is chiming in, I'll speak up. I'm a beginner/intermediate myself, living in the Valley, and have been cutting my teeth on a few local trails, including Earl's. There's not much in the way of technical challenges there, but you can find them, and session them.

    Naming trails at Earl's seems to be a highly subjective art; I've rarely heard one referred to by any one name. However, the part of the system that centers around the entrance across the street from (and just west of) the Eric Carle Museum on Bay Road (long dirt pull-off on left, corn field on right, gate straight ahead) has some wonderful beginner areas. Particularly down at the bottom of the hill, near the trailhead -- you can make a 1-2 mi. loop down there circling around the small reservoir (it should be on your left) and then heading up the hill behind it and hanging your first left. You can loop around eventually, back to the res.

    If you're too confident for that level, take any of the trails that head right (uphill) after the left behind the reservoir. You can climb a ton at Earl's, and steep, too. If you don't want to, try turning again, on to trails that cut east-west in order to continue the beginner's level stuff. Descents from there -- about half-way up the mountain -- are fun and not super-scary.

    I got my start riding a fully rigid bike (which is soon to change) so I've stayed away from Batchelor Street; I've heard from many that it's more technical. However, if you can get someone to show you around, you supposedly can find a few nice loops that aren't too rugged, towards the West side of that system.

    Shoot me a PM if you'd like a bit of a guided tour through Earl's. I still get lost there (there are a ton of spur trails, which makes it crazy-fun) but I always find my way out reliably. Earl's has been a perfect place for me to sharpen skills and fitness. If you want fun -- it's there. If you want a little fear -- that's there, too.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    540
    Thanks so much, velophoric. That's great info! The loop you describe sounds like an ideal introduction to the trails and I'll branch out from there. I have no problem with being lost for a while, so once I get a bit of general sense of the place, it sounds like it offers endless exploring fun.

    And I'd love a tour sometime, PM incoming.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    1,064
    There's nothing 'beginner' at B-Street. But, that doesn't mean you shouldn't ride it. Mountain biking isn't SKIING, that is: you do not progress through a series of levels from beginner to expert based on ski school ranking or a rated trail system.

    Lot's of 'beginners' ride B-Street, it's hard and they know it, but they love it just the same. Start riding it this week. Accept that most will ride it better (for now) than you, and you'll find much of it intimidating, but after a few weeks you will be BLOWN AWAY by what you can handle and how quickly you gained comfort on these technical xc trails. If you can find someone to ride with you, all the better.

    I see adolescent kids learning to ride at B-Street, lots of old timers like me, and a large number of young guys and gals, too and all are doing just fine.

    Nothing at B-Street is 'death-defying', everything can be walked if you get in over your head. And, there are way more flowy lines and smoothish (for B-Street) trails than there were 10 years ago. Earl's is great, but honestly, I'd never come to this area only to ride Earl's, but I come to ride B-street only a lot. Get out and start grinding your wheels on the best trails in that region ASAP.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    1,001
    If you have ridden all of Millers Pond, not just the XC loop than B-Street won't be that much of a jump in difficulty. B-Street does have a lot more climbing. I don't know Earls at all but do know B-Street pretty well and would be more than willing to be a guide some weekend.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    540
    Tim: I haven't ridden all of Miller's Pond. We did the cross country loop first, then a bit of the techy stuff, but I was walking a lot of it (from it being over my ability level especially when a bit fatigued), so we did a fairly short out and back. I'm working my way up to the stuff like the non-XC loop at Miller's Pond.

    Thanks for the advice to both you and SuperbMan! I plan to be out there riding regularly. Tomorrow I'm heading down to Robinson to ride with some friends from Springfield. We'll see how it is. I'm really exciting about the number of options in the area.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    1,001
    I actually live about 5 minutes from Robinson and it's my regular weekday riding spot. Robinson is a lot like Earls, just without all of the hills.

    My offer to show you around B-street still stands.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    1,001
    Out of curiosity what kind of pedals and shoes are you riding with, clipless pedals and shoes or flat platform pedals?

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    540
    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Mailloux View Post
    I actually live about 5 minutes from Robinson and it's my regular weekday riding spot. Robinson is a lot like Earls, just without all of the hills.

    My offer to show you around B-street still stands.
    Awesome. I'll definitely take you up on it sometime. I'd love to get a bit of a tour with someone that knows the place.

    I'm riding with flat pedals and stiff bottomed, sticky-ish rubbered approach shoes.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Pauldotcom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    938
    To respond to the above poster, Earls has much more climbing than Bstreet; it just isn't as stressful.

    When I first started riding about 4 years ago, I used to do a 4 mile (It's about that from what I remember) loop at Bstreet all the time: IMBA trail, Pond Trail, Jacobs ladder - Then, ride Jacobs ladder the other way, and Roller Coaster out. Jacobs ladder is pretty technical, but once you ride that same loop 4-5 times, you will see yourself progress nicely.

    After you conquer that loop, then you can try looping: Far East, Far South, Far Out, Southern Belle, Unsolved Mysteries, twister out.

    Then, you can put those together and really kick some ass.

    Let me know if you need a map.
    Paul

    BTW- I've done quite a few rides with MTBR members in the last couple months that are intermediate. Once you can handle yourself out there a bit, I will try and toss together a larger grouped intermediate ride again.
    “People fear death even more than pain. It's strange that they fear death. Life hurts a lot more than death." JM

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    540
    I'll definitely try out that loop, pauldotcom.

    I rode down at Robinson State Park last night. It wasn't the most challenging loop, but smooth, twisty, and fun. I'll definitely do it again sometime. If Earl's is similar but a bit more challenging with more climbing, I imagine it will be great.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    540
    Made my first trip to Earl's today. I went up the yellow marked Jeep road, then spent most of my time on the singletrack that comes off it to the right (I think I was in the central to northwest section of the trails. It was a blast. Thanks to everyone for all the advice.

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    48
    Pauldotcom, you talked me into giving B-Street a try. I've been eyeing a route like the one you detailed, but was unsure. Your vote sealed the deal.

    Hopefully I'll be getting my new Jamis Dragon 650b Pro (!!!) this weekend, but if not -- it may have to be a fully- (and very-)rigid aluminum ride. I'm ready for something new, and I've been putting off B-Street too long.

Similar Threads

  1. Batchelor/Earl's?
    By campykid in forum Massachusetts
    Replies: 86
    Last Post: 07-31-2015, 10:30 AM
  2. Best intermediate loops in Sedona
    By bugaroo in forum Arizona
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 10-09-2012, 04:55 PM
  3. Beginner - intermediate rider groups
    By sierrahsky in forum Nevada
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 05-02-2012, 05:06 PM
  4. (MTB) Beginner-friendly loops at Albion?
    By shapelike in forum Eastern Canada
    Replies: 40
    Last Post: 06-15-2011, 07:13 AM
  5. Beginner/Intermediate Tours?
    By backyard adventurer in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 03-26-2011, 01:49 PM

Members who have read this thread: 0

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

© Copyright 2019 VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.