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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got my sons entry level MT bikes. We have been out to shaffer farms a few times and the learning curve was a little high for them. I want to take them out to some fire roads so they can learn some shifting techniques and stuff before we go back to shaffer.

Any suggestions?
 

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C&O Canal

Not sure where you're at, but the C&O canal is a good option for kids. It's fire road-esque and all flat. Riley's Lock up towards White's Ferry sees little traffic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
bd279 said:
Not sure where you're at, but the C&O canal is a good option for kids. It's fire road-esque and all flat. Riley's Lock up towards White's Ferry sees little traffic.
I went there a couple weeks ago and the bugs were swarming. :( got about 20 bites.
 

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There are some dirt/gravel roads in the Sugar Loaf area, but you'd have to connect them with a lot of pavement. There aren't a whole lot of fire roads anywhere until you get into the mountains, so you may have to get a bit creative with how you drill the shifting practice. You could do road laps around the Frederick Watershed. The roads that go around the Watershed are all gravel, except for the section of Gambrill Park Road between 40 and Tower Road.
 

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Years ago, my brother and I rode the Patuxent Wildlife Refuge out in Laurel. It was all fire road trail. I remember it to be a bit boring and sandy, but it might be what you're looking for for the kids. I think I found out about it from that "Mountain Biking In MD, DC, VA" book. You may want to check with the center to see if it's still allowed.
 

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RubberSideDown34 said:
Years ago, my brother and I rode the Patuxent Wildlife Refuge out in Laurel. It was all fire road trail. I remember it to be a bit boring and sandy, but it might be what you're looking for for the kids. I think I found out about it from that "Mountain Biking In MD, DC, VA" book. You may want to check with the center to see if it's still allowed.
Not allowed anymore. Unless you're president. Of the United States.

That does remind me, though; there are some gravel roads at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center. Low traffic, rolling a bit, but not many hills at all. Most of the roads are paved, though.
 

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Trails near Lorton are referred to as 'Laurel Hill'. I think they are the most newbie - friendly ones around. They are in big open meadows mostly, meaning not a lot of "oh crap, a tree!" encounters. No logs to hop, etc.

Good directions and map here:
http://www.more-mtb.org/forum/showthread.php?t=18029

You may also consider riding the Fairfax County Connector Trail (referred to as CCT). It is a chain of trails connecting parks from Laurel Hill all the way up to Great Falls. The section running through Wakefield and Accotink Parks is gravel road, and links up to some moderate singletrack trails if you're so inclined.

Clickable map:
http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/cct/cctoverviewmap.htm

More info on Wakefield:
http://www.more-mtb.org/forum/showthread.php?t=18131
 

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Interested in the same type of thing for my daughter- but North or west of Baltimore- let me know if anyone has any good ideas. Took her on some 'real trails' and now she is not very excited about riding any more...needs to get her confidence up before we do that again. And boy am I tired of the local bike path.
 

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Kyri said:
Interested in the same type of thing for my daughter- but North or west of Baltimore- let me know if anyone has any good ideas. Took her on some 'real trails' and now she is not very excited about riding any more...needs to get her confidence up before we do that again. And boy am I tired of the local bike path.
have you tried the ncr trail,http://www.dnr.state.md.us/greenways/ncrt_trail.html,
 

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Rockburn Park in the Ellicott City - Columbia area is a great place to learn to ride. There are some dirt roads (not very much), some paved roads and about 5 miles of beginner trails in the woods. These feature easy ups and downs, a couple of stream crossings and one pretty rooty section (can be avoided). Nothing really steep or difficult, but fun and interesting. I've seen kids riding there many times.
 

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I was going to say the CCT from Wakefield/Accotink but I see jared j already mentioned. So I'll just second that - good easy trail.
 

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I am the owl
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If you want a big list of dirt roads in MD and VA, check this map a bunch of us have collaborated on. If you scroll down the road list on the left, you'll see a link for page 2 which will reveal more roads. This was put together as part of the DirtData.org project that has stalled a bit lately, but is open for anyone to contribute.

Also, I've got a bunch of routes with dirt roads on Bikely, most in the Frederick, MD area. This Middletown route is a great, low traffic intro.

Oh yeah, Patuxent Wildlife is still open and has dirt roads.
 

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In Ellicott City there is a nice fire road down by the Daniels dam which is located in the patapsco river valley at the end of Daniels road. It winds along the river for about 2.5 miles. It ends at the railroad trestle between the two tunnels. You can cross the tracks and pick up a nice singletrack for about another 1/2 mile. It comes out on the other side of the short tunnel.

I always take beginners there and they love it. You get to see a lot of wild life along the river, it's mostly shaded and not rough at all.

My son & I cranked out an after dinner ride there tonight. It was like riding in a sauna, but the trail was 95% dry.

Best wishes!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
jared_j said:
Trails near Lorton are referred to as 'Laurel Hill'. I think they are the most newbie - friendly ones around. They are in big open meadows mostly, meaning not a lot of "oh crap, a tree!" encounters. No logs to hop, etc.

Good directions and map here:
http://www.more-mtb.org/forum/showthread.php?t=18029

You may also consider riding the Fairfax County Connector Trail (referred to as CCT). It is a chain of trails connecting parks from Laurel Hill all the way up to Great Falls. The section running through Wakefield and Accotink Parks is gravel road, and links up to some moderate singletrack trails if you're so inclined.

Clickable map:
http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/cct/cctoverviewmap.htm

More info on Wakefield:
http://www.more-mtb.org/forum/showthread.php?t=18131
we did laurel hill. Pretty decent ride. We did all the trails there. The tick count was very very high. We each pulled off about 4 ticks each. Fun ride.
 
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