Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, this is a great forum. I am just getting into mountain biking and am looking for good beginner trails around Manchester. My wife has a Specialized HardRock from the mid '90s (no fork) and I just picked up a Rockhopper Comp Disc. So far we've been riding real easy stuff around where we live, like rail trails, to get used to the bikes and build endurance.

Just ordered a rack setup for our wagon, so we are soon to be more mobile and are excited to check out some more adventurous, but not overly intense trails. Ideas I've gathered so far are things like Beaver Brook in Hollis and Horse Hill Nature Preserve in Merrimack. Also seems like some of the trails at FOMBA might be ok for noobs, but probably not for our first trail experience.

Any comments or other ideas are welcome. Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
143 Posts
I would suggest FOMBA. I've only been there twice, but I was impressed with the trails. Well marked. Try Woodpecker or Hemlock Loop. I rode a tandem for the first time on Hemlock Loop, and didn't crash, had a couple of "oh sh*t" moments.
 

·
tag007
Joined
·
98 Posts
Fomba

Definitely agree with webber that FOMBA is great for beginners. It's got plenty of short, well marked loops that connect to access roads. It's pretty hard to get lost out there, unlike many of the rougher places around here. DL a map off the internet, unless you have a photographic memory. Also, this forum is a great place to set up rides. It's always best if you can find a "tour guide" to take you around if it's your first time somewhere.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thanks guys. I had looked at the FOMBA trail map and the simplicity is appealing, plus there are a ton of fireroads if we just want to cruise around between loops. Any other good beginner trails there other than the two above? (although Hemlock Loop is not the most inviting name!) Seems like Sampler is an easy trail. Or put another way, any to avoid on our first time out?

My only slight concern is that I’ve heard it’s pretty technical. My wife is in better shape than me, but her bike has no fork and she has less overall offroad experience (I’m a beginner too, but used to ride a dirt bike and to a lesser extent a mountain bike in the desert when I was a kid, so at least have some experience navigating a two-wheeled conveyance over rocky terrain).

I’ll probably take that advice on group rides as well. I bought my bike at Goodales, but I’m going to check out Alternative Bike Shop as well as they are right near me and can probably show us some good trails within riding distance of our house.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
268 Posts
Ditto on FOMBA. Son and I have been riding at FOMBA a lot and we just started riding this past Fall.

Hemlock is one of the easy trails, in fact, when we first started, we did Hemlock the very first time out, just out of curiosity. Came from neighboring Tower Hill Pond (doubletrack/fireroads with good mix of climbs and descents). Hemlock was tough for us then but loads of fun. You'll see roots, rocks but not much of climbing at Hemlock.

The Sampler is only 0.2mi but let me warn you, it's not easy for a first-timer. May look/sound easy because it's short but it's far from being smooth at all.

I suggest you try out Woodpecker. You'll love it. Good ride both directions. It's the trail that has the most flow of all and not as boring as the fireroads. We always make it a point to ride Woodpecker every time we head out.

Next I would say Hemlock or Red Pine.

Advice I got from folks here, avoid Fireline, Long Trail and even Lady Slipper for now. Those are the tougher ones. Fox Tail, Moose Track and Fisher Cat are the intermediate ones.

I mentioned Tower Hill Pond above. It's also a nice ride with good views of the pond. It's just right off of Exit 2 of 101E in Auburn.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
268 Posts
You're Welcome. I've been the recipient of very helpful advice here so am doing my share this time around.

Yes, Woodpecker is not on the map but if you go through the fireroad that leads to the eastern trailhead of Fireline, the entrance to Woodpecker is just a few yards away. You won't miss it.

Every trailhead is very well marked so you won't get lost.
 

·
Tool
Joined
·
1,973 Posts
You've got great info here on FOMBA.

Horse Hill is a good one for you. It's very non-technical, and the bigger hills can be avoided if you're not up for climbing. Trail maps are available at the trailhead on Amherst Rd. (I'm not sure if the other access points have maps). The Loop Trail will serve you well in either direction.

Mine Falls Park in Nashua is excellent for beginners. There are no trails beyond 'beginner' there, and it's fairly flat as well. You may want a bell on one of your bikes for this place since it does get a lot of pedestrian use (people won't be constantly in your way or anything, they just behave more predictably when they hear a bell than if you shout something out to them).

If you're up for a longer drive, Franklin Falls in Franklin is another good spot that has a lot of smooth terrain that's perfect for a beginner. This terrain is also relatively flat.

-Pete
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Pete and everyone, tons of great information in this thread. I look forward to hitting up many of the places you guys have suggested. I'm thinking FOMBA first, it's close by and feels right. I'll let you know how it goes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
102 Posts
Having ridden fomba a few times myself with my wife I can honestly say the fire roads are beginner, but that the trails with names themselves are not beginner unless they've removed the rocks and roots. I respect everyones opinion here about fomba trails, but they don't seem to really understand the term "beginner" in it's true sense as in just beginning to learn to mtn. bike.

There are many places on all of fombas trails that can give a beginner a place to fall and potentially get hurt if they don't yet understand the concept of momentum and are new to the feedback a trail will give you. Not everyone can manage a hairpin turn at very slow speed while dodging rocks and roots. Now add in uphill, downhill etc.

I'm not trying to scare anyone away, but for a true beginner they need to spend some time with group riders who are willing and have the time to demonstrate different techniques for handling various obstacles.

What flow means to a better rider does not apply to someone who sees a large rock or root and slows in lieu of using momentum to go over it.

In your haste to praise the virtues of fomba(and it is a great place to ride)it is often overlooked what is truly a beginners place to ride and having had the pleasure of riding so called "beginners" places(Bradbury comes to mind)it is painfully obvious that too many people don't know the real meaning of beginner. And yes I've ridden 90 percent of Bradbury and the only true beginner trails are mostly gravel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
If you are just looking to get some time in the saddle and build confidence. The Rail Trial the runs by the Fomba trails runs all the way over to Newfields. There are also trails around Lake Massabesic that are mostly fire roads.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
102 Posts
There are local trails in Saco(not sure how many towns have them)and they are multi-use and single track with little to no obstacles. In lieu of that there should be beginner rides where there is a leader, someone to stop at any trail intersection to direct traffic and someone to ride sweep. The trail used should have some obstacles such as a few rocks and roots and then someone to demonstrate how it's ridden. Then when the beginner rides that part there should be spotters to catch them if they fall. This obviously takes some planning, but my wife and I learned with groups just such as this and it was marvelous. While we consider ourselves intermediate beginners we ride about 80 percent of Bradbury Mtn(excluding the boundary trail). The rock walls on the non-mtn. side are tough by our standards, but I'm sure by watching someone do them we'd get confidence. Nothing provides the desire to try than seeing someone else do it first. Having spotters for those sections and hairpin turns is a plus.

My only other suggestion is a beginner friendly loop that goes around the perimeter of the non-mtn. side of Bradbury and has as few obstacles as possible. The other more difficult single track would be accessed from this loop. It's just an idea, but if you want more people to get out and ride then you need to make it user friendly and whether we like it or not that means really easy trails to start with and any trail with mud holes, lots of rocks/roots or bridges scares a lot of beginners away.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top