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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Best trail network in New York/ New Jersey

I'm currently visiting NY this week. I did'nt come here to ride but did rent a city bike from Waterfront Bike shop in the city and checked out the 9/11 memorial and then rode up to Central Park where I did a lap around, the park, racing the guys on $10,000 BMC's, Trek Madones and Spec. Venge's.

Anyway, my son was at leadership conference at Fordham and now he would like to go to school here, then hopefully live here. I know its early for him to decide the rest of his life.
I thought this East Coast thing is pretty cool, went upstate to the Baseball Hall of Fame and now at Niagra Falls. Cooperstown was awesome, looks like a great place to live.
My thoughts were, there is so much open, hilly, forested land, there has got to be tons of great riding, right? I do all mountain, enduro, XC, road and cross. Is there an area that can accommodate my riding? can be near the city or upstate some.
I'm from So Cal, which where I live, is close to a lift assited bike park, tons of roads and single track and some semi-quiet roads and highways .
 

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I'm currently visiting NY this week. I did'nt come here to ride but did rent a city bike from Waterfront Bike shop in the city and checked out the 9/11 memorial and then rode up to Central Park where I did a lap around, the park, racing the guys on $10,000 BMC's, Trek Madones and Spec. Venge's.

Anyway, my son was at leadership conference at Fordham and now he would like to go to school here, then hopefully live here. I know its early for him to decide the rest of his life.
I thought this East Coast thing is pretty cool, went upstate to the Baseball Hall of Fame and now at Niagra Falls. Cooperstown was awesome, looks like a great place to live.
My thoughts were, there is so much open, hilly, forested land, there has got to be tons of great riding, right? I do all mountain, enduro, XC, road and cross. Is there an area that can accommodate my riding? can be near the city or upstate some.
I'm from So Cal, which where I live, is close to a lift assited bike park, tons of roads and single track and some semi-quiet roads and highways .
Fordham is a GREAT school - Vin Scully alma mater - big communications & broadcasting school - excellent networking school too in getting a job.

Gurney Lane - Lake George about 3 hours from where you are . Fantastic, maintained by county. You are also close enough there to Fort Ticonderoga ( do they teach you about that in Cali? :) - where you could hop on the small ferry over Lake Champlain and hit Kingdom Trails - if you're feeling adventurous.

Hit Ringwood & High Mountain in Jersey for a serious rock garden outing.

Or Mountain Creek NJ aka the old infamous Action Park ( of death ) which people come from all over the country to ride.

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I know about trailforks, was just trying to get a personal feel for the area and some thoughts of what I'm looking for in a town.
Where I currently live, Big Bear Lake, Ca., I can ride 100 yards from my house and hit single track and fire roads.
While I know that's a lot to ask for, it would be great to have a trail network within riding distant.

About Fordham, that's exactly what my son would love to get into, sports broadcasting.
 

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I live in the 'burbs north west of Syracuse and don't have any trails close by, the closest which is a multi use trail system is about a 20 minute drive. What I consider good or great trails are at least 1 hour away so consider yourself lucky to have trails that close to your home.

Are you still near the falls? Buffalo has good riding. Check out the WNYMBA page, www.wnymba.org

Rochester area: Check out GROC, www.mygroc.com

The Syracuse area has at least one group but no official web page. Most significant trail is Skytop (next to SU)

South of Syracuse: Morgan Hill, Highland Forrest (near Tully), Ithaca area Shindagin Hollow and in the Binghamton area Oakley Corners.

The capital region also has a ton of trails, use trailforks for that.
 

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I know about trailforks, was just trying to get a personal feel for the area and some thoughts of what I'm looking for in a town.
Where I currently live, Big Bear Lake, Ca., I can ride 100 yards from my house and hit single track and fire roads.
While I know that's a lot to ask for, it would be great to have a trail network within riding distant.

About Fordham, that's exactly what my son would love to get into, sports broadcasting.
Well Fordham & Syracuse have pumped out countless sports broadcasters ... can't go wrong.
Good luck

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I'm not familiar with the trails in the Hudson valley, but I know there is some good riding down that way (Catskills, etc.) I will say IMHO that the road riding in upstate NY is some of the best in the country with seemingly a never ending amount of quiet lightly trafficked roads and gravel. The cross scene is pretty good as well, with a good number of grass roots races scattered across the state (NYCROSS, WNYCX, etc.), and UCI level races in Rochester, and LI (and it's relatively close to the extremely competitive New England series). I will say the MTB infrastructure is likely not as well developed as many other places but is growing quickly (Lake Placid alone has gone from having very little good MTB riding to turning into a legitimate destination over the last few years). But be aware the weather in NY can be...challenging...

w
 

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A little NY state review...the ice age dumped all the rocks from Canada in north nj and south ny. The whole area is 6 inches of top soil on top of a giant pile of rocks. I find people from California that think they are good at tech have no idea what people here ride. You like loomie wild trails, stay in north NY, you want to rock crawl, check out the southern part of the state.
 

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Up the Hudson Valley area would be my recommendation.

Lot's of stuff in the Catskills region or just south. Not too far from the northern NJ string of trails at Wawayanda, Ringwood, etc... Bunch of places in Westchester. And a few downhill parks at Windham and Plattekill. As MUSTCLIME stated, lots of rock gardens in the region, though some area's are not too bad, Stewart Forest comes to mind as do the carriage paths at Minnewaska and Mohonk.

Lake Place in the Adirondacks as well as the southern Daks as mentioned. Note north of Albany gets a lot more snow in winter that stays longer. Some area's the season might only be mid-May to mid-November.

But even in the NYC area, a bit of snow can shut you down for weeks.
 

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A little NY state review...the ice age dumped all the rocks from Canada in north nj and south ny. The whole area is 6 inches of top soil on top of a giant pile of rocks. I find people from California that think they are good at tech have no idea what people here ride. You like loomie wild trails, stay in north NY, you want to rock crawl, check out the southern part of the state.
This is actually scientifically accurate and riding accurate.

New Jersey was covered by a glacier which shaped the landscape.

I rode with a guy from Florida last year who said take me back to the car after an hour here:

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Up the Hudson Valley area would be my recommendation.

Lot's of stuff in the Catskills region or just south. Not too far from the northern NJ string of trails at Wawayanda, Ringwood, etc... Bunch of places in Westchester. And a few downhill parks at Windham and Plattekill. As MUSTCLIME stated, lots of rock gardens in the region, though some area's are not too bad, Stewart Forest comes to mind as do the carriage paths at Minnewaska and Mohonk.

Lake Place in the Adirondacks as well as the southern Daks as mentioned. Note north of Albany gets a lot more snow in winter that stays longer. Some area's the season might only be mid-May to mid-November.

But even in the NYC area, a bit of snow can shut you down for weeks.
NYC only place I know is Cunningham Park

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I'm currently visiting NY this week. I did'nt come here to ride but did rent a city bike from Waterfront Bike shop in the city and checked out the 9/11 memorial and then rode up to Central Park where I did a lap around, the park, racing the guys on $10,000 BMC's, Trek Madones and Spec. Venge's.

Anyway, my son was at leadership conference at Fordham and now he would like to go to school here, then hopefully live here. I know its early for him to decide the rest of his life.
I thought this East Coast thing is pretty cool, went upstate to the Baseball Hall of Fame and now at Niagra Falls. Cooperstown was awesome, looks like a great place to live.
My thoughts were, there is so much open, hilly, forested land, there has got to be tons of great riding, right? I do all mountain, enduro, XC, road and cross. Is there an area that can accommodate my riding? can be near the city or upstate some.
I'm from So Cal, which where I live, is close to a lift assited bike park, tons of roads and single track and some semi-quiet roads and highways .
Jeff,

Close to NYC there's Sprain Ridge, Blue Mountain. At Cooperstown you were just over the hill from 40 miles of singletrack in Oneonta. I went to college there (SUNY) and built a good portion of the singletrack there....multi-use but designed truly for bikes and shreddable in both directions.

In Western NY, south of Buffalo/Niagra falls is Ellicottville, which is also loaded with all sorts of old-school XC trails rideable on hardtails but shreddable on a 5-6" full squishy bike.

Several friends and I ended up with careers as a result of outdoor education/MTB/recreation club involvement in the Northeast schools.

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I live in Ringwood and work in Manhattan.

Ringwood, Sterling, high mountain, and Lewis Morris are all very accessible from Manhattan. Ringwood for tech, Sterling, LewMo, and High Mountain for more buffed our trails.

Fordham is a GREAT school - Vin Scully alma mater - big communications & broadcasting school - excellent networking school too in getting a job.

Gurney Lane - Lake George about 3 hours from where you are . Fantastic, maintained by county. You are also close enough there to Fort Ticonderoga ( do they teach you about that in Cali? :) - where you could hop on the small ferry over Lake Champlain and hit Kingdom Trails - if you're feeling adventurous.

Hit Ringwood & High Mountain in Jersey for a serious rock garden outing.

Or Mountain Creek NJ aka the old infamous Action Park ( of death ) which people come from all over the country to ride.

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I would say the Albany, Kingston, or Catskill (windham) area is your best bet. Each of those areas puts you relatively close to local trails and then within an hour driving distance of wider range of trail systems. All 3 of those areas will get you close to some of the downhill parks as well, Windham area puts you closer (Windham, Plattekill, not sure if Hunter mtn still operates their DH park, and I heard Belleayre is potentially working to open something).

The Albany area puts you "close" to everything from the Kingston area, Catskills (elm ridge/round top/belleayre xc trails), Albany area stuff, and Saratoga/queensbury area trails. From albany though you are fairly close to a lot of good riding in VT and Mass. as well.

Keep in mind, the trail "systems" here are nothing like riding out west. Elm Ridge in Windham is about the only trail you can go and ride 3 - 4 hours and mostly not ride the same thing over and over. If you want to do a big ride you're going to end up riding a trail system over and over to get a long ride in. If you just want to get a good 1 - 1.5 in, then it's not as big of a deal.

But there are very few close "epic" places to ride and no place where you can go do 3 - 4 hr rides on completely different trails within a half hour from where you live.
 

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I moved to NY last fall from SoCal (Pasadena). We probably rode some of the same trails: Santas Village, Strawberry Peak, Skyline at Big Bear, Chilao, El Prieto, Gabrielino....

NY and SoCal could not be much more different. The San Gabriels and area trails are very exposed (cliffs and sun), hard packed/loose, rutted, with long climbs up and some great rides down for thousands of feet. Mt Wilson's shuttle runs are epic (frontside or dark side). You certainly have a high "Pucker factor" as I've heard it called. Switchbacks with cliff exposure, ruts that appear overnight with a slight drizzle, technical rock sections with a cliff going up on one size and several hundred feet down on the other. Clip you bars on Sunset and you are going the to hospital in many place.

Here in NY it is very different. There just are not the high peaks of SoCal. What mountains are here are old and very rounded. That means the climbs are less steep and the descents are as well. The trails tend towards XC vs SoCal's DH and enduro style (El Prieto). Here "Technical" often means rocks and roots all over that make for slow tedious riding. Challenging for sure, but a different kind of challenge. It tests your ability to time pedal strokes, power, and control. The "do I want to ride this" aspect of Sunset, Middle Merrill, and even parts of El Prieto are not as common or have ride arounds. I have yet to find a "if I screw this up I could die" section. The further south you go, the more the rock slabs, rollers, drops, and other "fun" technical stuff you'll find.

Road riding is not even close. Upstate NY is home to far better road riding. Wide roads, low traffic, shade, and amazing views. Oh, the air is also clean and clear. Plenty of old dirt roads for gravel riding too. For road riding, you can't do much better than upstate NY. Especially when you consider VT and MA are just an hour or so away from some places you may live.

I would recommend looking in the Wyndham area. Some good riding (Whydham bike park, Elm Ridge, Round Top, Tannersville) all 15-20 minutes away. Elm Ridge is great and could be a short pedal if you live in the area.

To the south you have Blue Mountain for more fun/risky technical. In North Jersey is some of the best you'll find. VT has some amazing riding as well. North of Albany you start getting some more great riding. SMBA/Daniels Road is definitely on the technical (any definition) side of riding. Gurney and Kalibus Perry have some nice flow trails. There are literally dozens of other options within an hour drive. Some are old school rake and ride trails, others well built berms with jumps and wood structures.

I would say NY is more like Big Bear's skyline. Long epic XC trail that is fun, but won't kill you. Gentle climbs with shade and rock. More roots and mud than Skyline but none of the loose over hard that I was never fond of.

The biggest challenge will be the weather. Come October the trails start getting wet and staying wet. Once December rolls around Fat Biking may be your only option. Its a lot of fun and different. Its like a whole new discipline: DH, XC, Fat Biking, Gravel, Road...

Feel free to PM me with any questions. I've explore a fair amount and did the same research you are now doing.
 

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Have you ended up doing some NY riding? I'm assuming you meant when visiting your kid at school. I'm in the WNY/Buffalo area, so not a feasible drive if you're staying downstate. That said, if you do find yourself out this way ever, Ellicottville has an excellent trail system (IMBA Epic), among a half dozen or so other trail systems. The biggest issue, as mentioned, is weather, specifically the rain/wet. Spring is pretty brutal (it's snowing today). Some networks have very poor soil for drainage and can take until June or later to dry out. Fall riding is typically pretty good, if not cold (usually gets down to freezing by lat October). Fat biking has gained popularity. Also as mentioned: roots, rocks, more roots, more rocks, all mostly tight (swimming bars between trees).
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
I haven't been back since July of last year. We were planning on touring some colleges this fall, Hofstra, Fordham, NYU, Seton Hall and Rutgers. We'll see where this Covid 19 thing goes to determine if we are still going back.
Last year we drove from NYC, to Afton, to Cooperstown, beautiful country indeed. After a night in Cooperstown we drove up/ or out to Buffalo/ Niagra Falls.

I was born in NJ and lived there for a short time. Still have some friends and family there.
If my son is accepted at one of these schools, I see myself splitting time between So. California and NY/NJ
 
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