Moving to Towson/Baltimore area. Where to ride- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Moving to Towson/Baltimore area. Where to ride

    Hey everyone,

    So the last time I lived in Baltimore I basically didn't ride for a year. I do not want to repeat that. I am a west coast rider and am used to big climbs and long descents. The mid Atlantic trails felt so foreign to me. I am bringing all three bikes and want to use them though. But where do I ride? Willing to drive to Eastern PA as well to ride as I have family there. The last time I rode in Baltimore it was at Patapsco state park but I think the drive bummed me out more than anything added to the fact that I had no idea about the trails there. Hoping I can get some good suggestions here.
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  2. #2
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    Little Gunpowder is up that way, and is great. Loch Raven will be right in your back yard, although the legal trails are boring (there are definitely not any better trails there that we avoid talking about publicly, but a local could show you).

    Patapsco... I've been all over the US, I don't think there is a better trail system this close to 2 major cities, and in the middle of a huge overlapping suburban area. Matter of opinion of course, if I were to leave Baltimore, Patapsco would be the thing I miss most.

    White Clay and Fair Hill are worth checking out, Frederick, Emmitsburg... There's a lot of riding around, depending on how far you're willing to drive.

  3. #3
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    Thanks. I rode Little gunpowder once but it was the side that abutted up against interstate side. Never crossed the highway to try the access across the street. Will definitely check that out since it is close to where I will be living. I guess I will try trail forks app to figure out the Patapsco trails. It is just a rough commute for me considering traffic potentials (I will be living in White Marsh area). Tried Loch Raven Res once but had ni clue about the trails there also. Hopefully trail forks will have good info and I will try to follow locals. I am a but shy and have a hard time asking to join groups. But this time I am determined to ride.
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    Quote Originally Posted by spunkmtb View Post
    Thanks. I rode Little gunpowder once but it was the side that abutted up against interstate side. Never crossed the highway to try the access across the street. Will definitely check that out since it is close to where I will be living. I guess I will try trail forks app to figure out the Patapsco trails. It is just a rough commute for me considering traffic potentials (I will be living in White Marsh area). Tried Loch Raven Res once but had ni clue about the trails there also. Hopefully trail forks will have good info and I will try to follow locals. I am a but shy and have a hard time asking to join groups. But this time I am determined to ride.
    If you have three bikes I'm guessing one of them is long-legged... Bring that hog up to Frederick! It's not quite like out west (far from it really) but we at least have long (600-1000 climbs/descents. If you want bigger with a more backcountry feel you need to go to George Washington National Forest in VA.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDwayyo View Post
    If you have three bikes I'm guessing one of them is long-legged... Bring that hog up to Frederick! It's not quite like out west (far from it really) but we at least have long (600-1000 climbs/descents. If you want bigger with a more backcountry feel you need to go to George Washington National Forest in VA.
    Is that an invite? Yup it's an Ibis HD3. I'll also do some research on GW national forest. I will have every other weekend off at work and only will be working 4 days a week so guess I will have to travel and explore some places.
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    FWIW there are no long ups/downs in this area like out west.
    I live in Bel Air and work in WhiteMarsh, LGP is my home trail. It's not next to the interstate (95), it runs along the river so not sure where you were riding. It has 30+m of true singletrack and is a lot less crowded than PTAP.
    I can drive to PTAP in about 45min from my house, or 30min from work, not sure why that would be a "rough" commute, even on weekdays it may only take an extra 5-10 min with traffic.
    Joules gave you a couple of other good options. There are about a dozen trails systems within 1 1/2hr drive of B-More, lots of good riding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by spunkmtb View Post
    Is that an invite? Yup it's an Ibis HD3. I'll also do some research on GW national forest. I will have every other weekend off at work and only will be working 4 days a week so guess I will have to travel and explore some places.
    My riding schedule is sporadic, I usually don't know I'm going until I'm going if that makes sense, but shoot me a message when you're here and set up and maybe we can make it work.

    There are also some group rides you could jump in with, Bike Doctor Frederick's weekly ride starts tonight in fact - it's a great way to learn the trails and make some friends.

    Hope to see you on the trails!

    Quote Originally Posted by SoftballGuy View Post
    FWIW there are no long ups/downs in this area like out west.
    Out in GW Forest you can climb/descend 2k feet on a bunch of trails, which is still a big climb/descent out west. We don't have the epic ones like TWE, but it's not like we don't have anything worthwhile either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDwayyo View Post
    Out in GW Forest you can climb/descend 2k feet on a bunch of trails, which is still a big climb/descent out west. We don't have the epic ones like TWE, but it's not like we don't have anything worthwhile either.
    Never been to GW so i'll take your word. I always wanted to try out a big climb/descent trail system, I need to check it out.
    I have ridden LGP, Susquehanna, PTAP, W/C, Fairland, Fountainhead, L/R, Rosaryville, Cedarville, Fair Hill, Meadowood, Schaeffer-- none of these have that.
    Never been to Bryce either but that is a downhill only park I believe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SoftballGuy View Post
    Never been to GW so i'll take your word. I always wanted to try out a big climb/descent trail system, I need to check it out.
    I have ridden LGP, Susquehanna, PTAP, W/C, Fairland, Fountainhead, L/R, Rosaryville, Cedarville, Fair Hill, Meadowood, Schaeffer-- none of these have that.
    Never been to Bryce either but that is a downhill only park I believe.
    Never been to Frederick Watershed, Michaux or GW? Damn, that's why you think there aren't big climbs/descents around - you're staying where there are no mountains.

    GW/Jefferson National Forest is massive. It stretches basically the entire length (North to South) of VA. There are probably countless 1k+ foot climbs/descents and many over 2k feet. The Stokesville area is probably most noted for this, but only because it has so many close together.

    Bryce is lift-served only and only has 400 foot of elevation or so... It's well built (same crew that built Whistler) though so it's pretty damn fun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDwayyo View Post
    Never been to Frederick Watershed, Michaux or GW? Damn, that's why you think there aren't big climbs/descents around - you're staying where there are no mountains.

    GW/Jefferson National Forest is massive. It stretches basically the entire length (North to South) of VA. There are probably countless 1k+ foot climbs/descents and many over 2k feet. The Stokesville area is probably most noted for this, but only because it has so many close together.

    Bryce is lift-served only and only has 400 foot of elevation or so... It's well built (same crew that built Whistler) though so it's pretty damn fun.
    I have been to the shed but that is a rockfest that I didn't really enjoy and almost killed me-- lol -- maybe i'm just too old for that kind of beating.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SoftballGuy View Post
    I have been to the shed but that is a rockfest that I didn't really enjoy and almost killed me-- lol -- maybe i'm just too old for that kind of beating.
    I live in Frederick, that's all I ride... Different strokes for different folks.

    You can probably skip GW and Michaux though.

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    Why skip GW? There is plenty of riding there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker64 View Post
    Why skip GW? There is plenty of riding there.
    That was directed at SoftballGuy who said he doesn't like rocks. I'm guessing he rode the Hamburg area in the Shed, since that's what most out of towners/first timers tend to ride... If he thought that was too rocky then nothing in the Shed, Michaux or GW is going to be significantly better for him.

    I love GW for the record, it's got some of the best riding in this area IMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SoftballGuy View Post
    I have been to the shed but that is a rockfest that I didn't really enjoy and almost killed me-- lol -- maybe i'm just too old for that kind of beating.
    My wife (she is 40) said the same thing until she found the rhythm in the Shed. Last season it was the only place close she could ride, now she loves it.

    If you want climbing and mostly hardpack trails Patapsco and Raystown are about it.

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    Kind of odd nobody mentioned it, but the longest trail that is the closest to Towson has to be the NCR. Starts at Paper Mill Road, and goes to the Mason/Dixon, and then up to York PA as the York County Heritage Rail Trail. about 41 miles total. And it does have a bit of a climb. This is a great trail for anybody. The first mile is crowded especially on the weekends. There is a tiny parking area two miles in, and a larger one just past the 7 mile marker with a snack spot.
    If you want to get dirty muddy this isn't the trail for you. But it's a great trail that you can ride for hours if you like. And you can get up there in a reasonable amount of time after work from Towson. Although there is traffic on Paper Mill at rush hour.
    I wish they would extend the trail further south. It's only two miles from where I am typing this but trying to get there by bike would be treacherous because of Paper Mill. Anyway.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by StarBiker* View Post
    Kind of odd nobody mentioned it, but the longest trail that is the closest to Towson has to be the NCR. Starts at Paper Mill Road, and goes to the Mason/Dixon, and then up to York PA as the York County Heritage Rail Trail. about 41 miles total. And it does have a bit of a climb. This is a great trail for anybody. The first mile is crowded especially on the weekends. There is a tiny parking area two miles in, and a larger one just past the 7 mile marker with a snack spot.
    If you want to get dirty muddy this isn't the trail for you. But it's a great trail that you can ride for hours if you like. And you can get up there in a reasonable amount of time after work from Towson. Although there is traffic on Paper Mill at rush hour.
    I wish they would extend the trail further south. It's only two miles from where I am typing this but trying to get there by bike would be treacherous because of Paper Mill. Anyway.....
    It’s not odd at all. NCR is a rail trail. Not what anyone considers “mountain biking.” It is more closely related to road riding as the main difference is only the lack of an asphalt surface.

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    Yeah, okay.

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    Quote Originally Posted by StarBiker* View Post
    Yeah, okay.
    Rail trails are fun sometimes, but they're not mountain bike trails. I question if you do know what mountain bike trails are if you find it odd that no one mentioned a rail trail here...

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDwayyo View Post
    Rail trails are fun sometimes, but they're not mountain bike trails. I question if you do know what mountain bike trails are if you find it odd that no one mentioned a rail trail here...
    Have you ever road on the NCR?

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    Quote Originally Posted by StarBiker* View Post
    Have you ever road on the NCR?
    I have not. I'm curious to hear how you're going to try to position the NCR as a mountain bike trail and again think that points to you not understanding what a mountain bike trail is... So if you'll allow I'd like to ask you a question as well; have you ever ridden a singletrack mountain bike trail?

    From Wiki: "The Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail (TCB), the official name of the Northern Central Railroad (NCR) Trail, is a rail trail that runs along an abandoned railroad corridor where the Northern Central Railway once operated... The trail is 10 feet (3.0 m) wide with a stone dust surface."

    No matter how you slice it, that is NOT a mountain bike trail. I think you're confusing our classification as derogatory - it isn't. I rode a rail trail (C&O) on Saturday and had a great time, but I also rode mountain bike trails Saturday and Sunday and they were VERY, VERY different. Different strokes for different folks is just fine, but we should call things by their right name.

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    Quote Originally Posted by StarBiker* View Post
    Have you ever road on the NCR?
    I have ridden on the NCR. It is a nice ride and very beautiful, but all the miles I did were a smooth path appropriate for strollers and city bikes. I would call it a 'bike path' not to disparage it but to communicate clearly so people don't expect the kind of ride we look for in a 'mountain bike trail'

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    I have been riding/running the NCR trail for years. That is not a MTB trail, not even close. It's a very scenic & relaxing trail.
    I take the family on it sometimes, you can ride basically any type of bike you want on it.
    I see a lot of hybrids and a lot of roadies also. My kids used to ride their 16" bikes on it when they were 6...
    I have run marathons on it because it's hard packed gravel and easy on the legs.
    Rail trail yes, MTB trail no.

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    Quote Originally Posted by StarBiker* View Post
    Have you ever road on the NCR?
    This is the best Freudian slip I've seen in a while.

    I've ridden the NCR many times and never on a mountain bike. It's not remotely like a mountain bike trail. Gravel roads are more technical. It's a great rail trail and a nice way to ride in nature traffic free.
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    Quote Originally Posted by riderx View Post
    This is the best Freudian slip I've seen in a while.

    I've ridden the NCR many times and never on a mountain bike. It's not remotely like a mountain bike trail. Gravel roads are more technical. It's a great rail trail and a nice way to ride in nature traffic free.
    Okay, I didn't know we were getting that technical. I thought of a long trail close to Towson. I guess it's taboo to mention a trail.
    But this puzzles me, gravel roads are more technical, but a large part of the NCR is gravel. Yeah, New Freedom, paved.
    And you are going to have some issues riding it on a road bike. I road that trail for years, (Not in the last several) and was on it around the time it first opened.
    Psst, I never road it on a mountain bike either.

    Okay, flame away.........

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    Quote Originally Posted by riderx View Post
    This is the best Freudian slip I've seen in a while.
    Thought the same!

    Quote Originally Posted by StarBiker* View Post
    Okay, I didn't know we were getting that technical. I thought of a long trail close to Towson. I guess it's taboo to mention a trail.
    But this puzzles me, gravel roads are more technical, but a large part of the NCR is gravel. Yeah, New Freedom, paved.
    And you are going to have some issues riding it on a road bike. I road that trail for years, (Not in the last several) and was on it around the time it first opened.
    Psst, I never road it on a mountain bike either.

    Okay, flame away.........
    Nobody is flaming and it's not taboo, you're missing the point here. I'm sure it's a lovely trail, but when someone asks me about a good Mexican restaurant in town I don't suggest an Italian joint.

    To my knowledge the NCR is crushed gravel, very different from the gravel used on gravel roads... The wiki above calls it 'stone dust.'

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by StarBiker* View Post
    Okay, I didn't know we were getting that technical. I thought of a long trail close to Towson. I guess it's taboo to mention a trail.
    But this puzzles me, gravel roads are more technical, but a large part of the NCR is gravel. Yeah, New Freedom, paved.
    And you are going to have some issues riding it on a road bike. I road that trail for years, (Not in the last several) and was on it around the time it first opened.
    Psst, I never road it on a mountain bike either.

    Okay, flame away.........

    No flames coming but....gravel roads are not technical. I see little kids with training wheels on the NCR.
    I see a whole lot of roadies and they don't seem to have any problems, they are usually flying past me at a high rate of speed.
    I usually take my hybrid and it has skinny roadie type tires, no issues with it.
    Maybe when you rode it last it was more loose gravel, not sure.
    I do really enjoy the trail but don't take my FS on it, no need.

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    OP must be out shredding the NCR gnar!

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