Posts Tagged ‘mountain biking’

Friday, January 25, 2013

Phil Brown: Mountain Bikes and Wilderness

essex map croppedGenerally, I regard the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan as a sound document, but when it comes to mountain bikes I have some qualms. It seems to pit environmentalists against bikers, and the bikers I know consider themselves environmentalists.

I thought of this while reviewing the state’s proposals for the classification and management of the former Finch, Pruyn & Company lands.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is recommending that bikers be allowed to ride on a network of dirt roads in the Essex Chain of Lakes area and on the access road to the Boreas Ponds Tract (known as Gulf Brook Road). » Continue Reading.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Barkeater Trail Alliance Makes Tracks

I’m following Keith McKeever and his friends up a mountain-bike trail on a bright summer afternoon. The trail climbs smoothly but unrelentingly as it switchbacks up the side of Winch Mountain in Wilmington.

I’m feeling good at first, legs spinning, tires grabbing the soil. But after a few minutes I start to feel an ache in my chest, my breathing gets more labored, and my speed falters. Soon I come to a stop. Sweat drips off my forehead as I hunch over the handlebars and re-oxygenate my lungs.

Keith looks back as he turns up the next switchback. “Nice job!” he yells. “You’re almost halfway up.” Then he disappears around the bend. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Bike Ride to Benefit Ausable River Association

The Ausable River Association will host a Ride for the River bike ride on Sunday, September 16.  The event will include a  37-mile scenic bike ride following the river from headwaters to lake designed to raise awareness of issues affecting the Ausable River’s vital natural resources and raise funds for the Ausable River Association (AsRA), a local organization that stewards the watershed’s resources and connects communities around protection of the river.

Ride for the River  will start near the source of the Ausable East Branch by the Ausable Club and follow the gentle path of the river valley to conclude with a picnic on the Main Stem at the famous Ausable Chasm. For the more adventurous, a ride back to start will accomplish a total of 74 miles. The Ride has an intermediate grade along the river and is entirely on state roads, the majority of which have wide shoulders. A portion of this route is used in the Ironman Lake Placid Triathlon. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Gore Mountain: New Summer Amenities, Renovations

Gore Mountain is introducing new activities and installing several new attractions for visitors this spring, with a Grand Opening slated for Saturday, July 7. Several amenities have become available during June weekends, including “The Rumor Climbing Wall,” the “Wild Air Bungee Trampoline,” disc golf, and daily hiking excursions.

Other attractions coming soon include a huge inflatable obstacle course, base area and Bear Mountain interpretive walks, several educational opportunities featuring cooking classes, yoga retreats, photography camps, and jewelry workshops, and Friday evening Happy Hours. The Northwoods Gondola Skyrides and downhill mountain biking will also be open. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Family Activities: Easy Mountain Biking Trails for Kids

Matt McNamara, Founder and Chairman of the Barkeater Trails Alliance (BETA), has some great ideas for easy places to mountain bike. McNamara recommends that young mountain bikers start with simple trails such as the Hardy Road trail system in Wilmington. He recommends this coniferous trail because for the most part the trail is smooth with no significant climbing.

“In the Adirondacks it may be difficult for people to know where to start to begin mountain biking with children,” says McNamara. “It is always about having fun and finding your comfort level.” » Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Wilmington Whiteface Bike Fest Set for June

The June 16-19 Wilmington/Whiteface Bike Fest celebrates the bicycle with activities and events including the Wilmington/Whiteface 100k bike race (one of three qualifiers for the Leadville 100), the Whiteface Uphill Road Race and the “Brainless Not Chainless Gravity Ride.”

The festival kicks off Thursday, June 16, at 8 a.m., when the Wilmington Dirt Jump/Skills Park opens in the Wilmington Bike Park. Registration for the Uphill race and the “Brainless Not Chainless Gravity Ride” will also continue at the Whiteface Business and Tourism Center from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday also includes a “Fun Not Fear” MTB instructional clinic on the Flume trails from 4-6 p.m.

Friday’s schedule features the opening of the Whiteface Mountain bike downhill park, at 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m., a free dirt jump clinic with Kyle Ebbett, 5-6 p.m., a jump jam & trials exhibition, 6-9 p.m., and the “Brainless Not Chainless Gravity Ride.” The parade of bikes begins at 4 p.m. with a Mass LeMans start at Santa’s Workshop and takes the participants downhill, 1.6-miles to Route 86. Awards will be presented at the Wilmington Bike Park for the best themed bike and for best costume.

The opening of the Bike Fest Village, at Whiteface Mountain, a ribbon cutting ceremony to open the Hardy Road Trail Network, at 10 a.m., and the 10th annual running of the Whiteface Uphill Bike Race highlight Saturday’s schedule. The village opens at 7 a.m. and throughout the day visitors can enjoy vendor displays, children’s event, food and entertainment. Admission is free.

The Uphill race begins at 5:30 p.m., and more than 340 cyclists are expected to climb New York State’s fifth highest peak via the Veterans Memorial Highway. The race is open to both road and mountain bicycles. The Whiteface event is the first race in the nine-race “Bike Up Mountain Points Series” (BUMPS) Series. An award ceremony and barbeque will be held at Santa’s Workshop beginning at 7 p.m.

Sunday’s Wilmington/Whiteface 100k begins at 6:30 a.m. and the festival’s village re-opens, at Whiteface at 7 a.m. More than 800 cyclists will race from Whiteface to Lewis and back to the Olympic mountain on the area’s paved and dirt roads, mountain bike trails and the Whiteface Mountain trails. It’s a test of determination, guts and even sanity for the opportunity to earn one of only 100 coveted entries into the Leadville Trail 100, mountain biking’s most prestigious race.

The weekend long festival is expected to bring 4,000 biking enthusiasts to the Wilmington region. For more information about the second annual Wilmington/Whiteface Bike Fest, log on to www.whitefaceregion.com.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mountain Biking The Whiteface Bike Park

With summer on the way, biking at the Whiteface Mountain Bike Park is about to begin. High Peaks Cyclery in Lake Placid stepped in to operate the park in 2005 after the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) decided to eliminate the biking to focus on winter improvements, while Gore Mountain’s biking program was also discontinued.

“Downhill Mike” Scheur, a representative of the bike park says, “That’s when [High Peaks Cyclery] decided to step up with doing 100% of trail maintenance, take over shuttle operations and all work associated with running a successful bike park at Whiteface”.

All ages and abilities can enjoy mountain biking, even though it is commonly considered a risky sport. Like skiing, the bike park has novice, intermediate, and advanced trails. The unique aspect of mountain biking is the terrain, however, which is often through woods and over rocks and streams, providing an entirely different experience from regular biking. Beginner mountain bikers should stay at the lower mountain, as the upper mountain trails are indeed some of the most advanced trails anywhere. A gondola transports advanced riders to the upper mountain. A shuttle is available for beginner and intermediate transport, and a lift pass for $35 per day provides unlimited transport via the gondola or shuttle bus. With a little bit of practice, beginners should be able to graduate from beginner trails, to intermediate, and finally to advanced. For new bikers, lessons are available for $35 an hour.

Lift service mountain biking became popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when ski resorts started adding mountain biking to their list of mountain-based activities during the summer. According to Scheur, the potential is enormous for mountain biking in Lake Placid: “At least 25 resorts within a few hours of Lake Placid run their lifts in the summer for bikes. Whistler actually profits more in the summer than the winter now, due to their bike park”.

There is more than just mountain biking available at the Whiteface Mountain Bike Park – the facilities also include a pump track. Pump tracks are oval shaped tracks with rolling bumps on the straight-a-ways and banked corners, which enables the rider to gain speed without pedaling. The track also teaches the rider efficiency skills which will increase their mountain biking prowess and provides a fun diversion from the mountain trails.

For those without equipment the park handles rentals, service, and sales at the base area. “We also have regular (cross country) bikes and kid’s bikes,” Scheur said. “It turns out many are afraid to ride Whiteface thinking it’s only for the very experienced. Then when they get here, they notice most others are just like them.”

Scheur has high expectations for this coming season. “We have seen an increase of over 350% since we took the bike park over,” he said. “Basically, you need bikers to run the bike park and skiers to run the ski center”.

The Park opens a week before June 17th, which is the date for the Whiteface/Wilmington Bike Fest.

For more information, visit their website at www.downhillmike.com.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Do Bikes Belong in Wilderness Areas?

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) last week approved a management plan for the Moose River Plains that allows for mountain-bike use on a corridor between two Wilderness Areas.

As the Adirondack Explorer reported last week, the APA had been asked to vote on reclassifying as Wilderness about fifteen thousand acres of the Moose River Plains Wild Forest and add it to the adjoining West Canada Lake Wilderness, while leaving a Wild Forest corridor between the two tracts to allow mountain biking.

Neil Woodworth, the Adirondack Mountain Club’s executive director, objected to maintaining a Wild Forest corridor within a Wilderness Area.

In a letter to the APA, the club argued that leaving a corridor of Wild Forest would be tantamount to allowing a prohibited recreational use in a Wilderness Area. “To arbitrarily carve out a ‘Wild Forest’ corridor for mountain bike use in the middle of the proposed West Canada Lake Wilderness Area completely defeats the purpose of the Wilderness designation,” the letter said.

Partly as a result of this objection, the APA amended the proposal to make the bulk of the fifteen thousand acres a separate Wilderness Area. So instead of having the corridor run through a Wilderness Area, it will run between two Wilderness Areas.

Of course, the facts on the ground remain the same. We’ll just be giving a different name to the new Wilderness Area. Nevertheless, Woodworth said it’s an improvement.

“It doesn’t make a lot of difference on the ground, but it’s a principle that I feel strongly about,” Woodworth said. “We shouldn’t be putting non-conforming-use corridors through the middle of Wilderness Areas.”

I’ll throw out two questions for discussion:

First, is this a bad precedent, an example of “spot zoning” that undermines the principles of Wilderness management? Another recent example is the decision to allow the fire tower to remain on Hurricane Mountain by classifying the summit as a Historic Area even though the rest of the mountain is classified as Wilderness.

Second, should mountain bikes be allowed in Wilderness Areas where appropriate? The corridor in question follows the Otter Brook Road and Wilson Ridge Road, two old woods road now closed to vehicles. Advocates contend that there is no harm in allowing bikes on old roads in Wilderness Areas. Other possibilities include the logging roads in the Whitney Wilderness and the woods road to Whiteface Landing on Lake Placid.

Bonus question: what should we name this new Wilderness Area?

Photo by Phil Brown: Otter Brook Road.

Phil Brown is the editor of the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Gore: Bike Season Opens, Construction Progress

Mountain biking, gondola rides, and hiking has begun at Gore Mountain. Operations will continue every weekend through October 10, Gore’s longest off-season operation, and feature more biking terrain, instructional camps, and an expanded barbeque menu.

There is progress toward the Interconnect with the Historic North Creek Ski Bowl. The bridge that joins the Ski Bowl terrain to Burnt Ridge Mountain has been completed, snowmaking pipe on the new Peaceful Valley and Oak Ridge trails has been welded, and the black-diamond 46er trail on the lift line has been graded. Installation of the new Hudson Chair has begun.

The Gear Source of downtown North Creek has a supply of full-suspension downhill bikes available, and downhill camps that include all-day instruction, lift ticket, lunch, and an optional guided hike are available on July 24 and September 4 for just $59. Sunday, August 22 will be a second opportunity for 2010/2011 season passholders to enjoy free access to Gore’s summer activities.

Ruby Run, the trail off the top of the Northwoods Gondola, was top-dressed to offer bikers a smooth start to their ride. Trails such as the Otter Slide Glades and Tannery are now included in available riding terrain.

Photo: Aerial view showing the 46er trails that runs along the new Hudson Chair lift line. This trail was named for the 1946 T-bar that serviced skiers of the Historic North Creek Ski Bowl. The profiles of the trails and lift have retained their original routes, and offer views of North Creek Village and the Hudson River.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Whiteface Bike Park Opens With Big Events

The Whiteface Mountain Bike Park opens for the season, Friday, June 18. Riders will have the chance to experience 27 of Whiteface’s mountain bike trails or ride the cross country flume trails from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day. Giant Bicycles will have their latest cross country bikes available for demonstration rides and there will be guided tours of the new flume trails all weekend long by the crew that built the trails. Other events at the mountain include a Pump Track Challenge on Saturday, at noon, and a Super D race on Sunday, also at noon.

After experiencing the hand-built downhill and cross country mountain bike trails visitors to the bike park can head down to the Wilmington dirt jump and skills park for the Kyle Ebbett & Friends Jump Jam, from 5 to 11 p.m., Saturday, June 19. The Jump Jam is open to all levels and abilities and prizes will be awarded for style and creativity. Some of the top pros will be on hand, but prizes are for the amateurs in all age groups. Other events during the Jump Jam include live music from Damaged Goods and a free showing of a local bike film. The evening ends with the feature film, “Follow Me.”

The ninth annual Whiteface Uphill Bike Race is also slated for Saturday. Riders from all over the country will ascend up the eight-mile long scenic Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway. Cyclists begin the 3,500-foot climb at 5:30 p.m. in group waves.

A barbecue dinner will be held following the race and awards will be presented to the men’s and women’s overall winner and the top three finishers in each class. The Whiteface Mountain Uphill Bike Race is a part of the Bike Up the Mountain Points Series (BUMPS), which includes nine competitions across four states and eight mountains, with Whiteface being the first race of the series.

For more information about the Whiteface Mountain Bike Park, the Jump Jam and the uphill race visit www.downhillmike.com, WWW.WhitefaceRace.com or www.whitefacelakeplacid.com. The bike park is operated by High Peaks Cyclery and the New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mountain Biking Returns to Whiteface

Although the alpine ski season has come to an end, skiers and boarders will be replaced by mountain bikers when the New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) and the Whiteface Mountain Bike Park, operated by High Peaks Cyclery, team up again to bring mountain biking to Wilmington’s Olympic mountain this summer and fall.

Season passes are available through the end of April and you can purchase yours for just $199, a $100 savings off the regular price. All season passes and daily lift tickets offer lift-serviced mountain biking via the Cloudsplitter gondola and the High Peaks Cyclery shuttle bus. From there, riders can access 27 hand-built downhill and cross country mountain bike trails, for all levels and abilities, which twist and run between the ski trails that go through streams and woods and meander next to waterfalls. Riders will also find single-track trails between some of the ski trails used for the 1980 Winter Games.

Biking on Whiteface begins with a Bonus Weekend, Friday through Sunday, June 18-20, from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. each day. Beginning Friday, June 25, and continuing through Labor Day, the bike park will be open seven days a week from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. From Labor Day to Columbus Day, biking will be available Friday through Sunday, from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

During weekends this year, at 11:30 a.m., there will be a free guided tour of the upper mountain, while at 3:30 p.m. each day, everyone is invited to participate in the traditional end of the day group ride. Adult daily tickets are $35, while children, 12 and under, can ride for just $24.

Bike rentals are available, as are protective gear including helmets, chest protectors and padding, everything that you need to have a safe experience.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Wilmington: New Multi-use Flume Trail System Opens

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has officially opened the Flume Trail System as the first trail system on forest preserve lands in the Adirondacks designed to allow mountain biking. Representatives and staff from DEC, the Town of Wilmington, the Wilmington Mountain Peddlers, Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) and Whiteface Mountain Ski Area and the members of the public attended a ribbon cutting ceremony at the trailhead in the Wilmington Wild Forest. Earlier that morning volunteers spent time working on the trails. Afterward the Town of Wilmington and the Wilmington Mountain Peddlers hosted a barbecue.

The Flume Trail System includes approximately eight miles of trails for four season recreational activities including mountain biking, hiking, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing. The trails were designed to meet the specifications of the International Mountain Bicycling Association and include trails rated as easy, moderate and hard. The system includes a trail along the West Branch of the Ausable River and a hiking only trail to Flume Knob.

The majority of the trails lie within the Wilmington Wild Forest unit of the forest preserve, however, approximately two miles of trail are located on the Whiteface Mountain Ski Area, which is operated by the Olympic Regional Development Authority.

The Town of Wilmington strongly advocated for mountain bike trails during DEC’s development of the management plan for the Wilmington Wild Forest. In addition to the Flume Trail System, the management plan, which was approved in October 2005, also proposes a seven mile multi-use trail system in the Beaver Brook Tract, off of Hardy Road, designed to include mountain biking. The Town also appropriated funds to pay for the Adirondack Mountain Club’s professional trail crew to construct new trail segments at the Flume in 2007.

The Wilmington Mountain Peddlers have been involved from the early days of trail development at the Flume, and have also been strong advocates for mountain bike trails. The group has volunteered countless hours to construct and maintain the trails. They will continue to maintain the Flume Trail System under DEC’s Adopt-A- Natural-Resource program.

In addition to work by their professional crew, the Adirondack Mountain Club has organized numerous volunteer work projects to upgrade existing trails and construct new trail segments at the Flume. An ADK volunteer trail crew will be constructing a new trail to connect the Flume Trail System with the Whiteface Trail from the Wilmington reservoir this summer.

The Whiteface Mountain Ski Area has allowed some of their trails to be included in the Flume Trail network for the free use of the public. These include a scenic trail along the West Branch of the Ausable River, utilized by bikers, hikers, and anglers. Mountain bikers can pay a fee to access the ski areas other 25 trails and the gondola to the top of Little Whiteface. Crews from Whiteface also assisted in the construction of some of the initial trails in the trail system. A proposed hiking only trail to Bear Den Cliffs, will be constructed in the future on the Whiteface Mountain Ski Area lands, and will be open to the public as part of the Flume Trail system.

The Flume Trail System can be accessed from trailhead on Route 86, approximately 2 miles west of the hamlet of Wilmington or from the Kid’s Campus parking lot at the Whiteface Mountain Ski Area.



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