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Riding From Your Doorstep: Uncovering Passed-Over Dirt

If you’re a mountain biker, you’ve probably dreamed of having killer trails right out your front door. And if you’re committed, and lucky, you may have already made it a reality. There’s often a sacrifice associated with living close to a trailhead. They may be far from your family, your job, your friends, or another aspect of your life that you just can’t be without. But for those who’ve pulled it off, calling the reward sweet just wouldn’t do it justice.

Above Photo: Re Wikstrom

Park City is one of those mythical places where you can have it all. The home to the world’s most famous film festival has an expansive network of trails, which earned a Gold rating from IMBA—your favorite trail advocacy group. Naturally, this means that it’s possible to ride out the door of your condo, house, or apartment, straight onto the trails. Most of the time, the short pedal to the trail head isn’t long enough to get your legs warmed up. In other words, it’s convenient. But you don’t have to move to Utah to achieve this type of easy access. It’s actually more common than you might realize.

Living in central Vermont, there was a rapidly expanding trail network just down the street. Unlike Shangri La, or Park City as it’s sometimes called, riding to the trailhead required pounding some pavement, which was sufficient to keep my roommates driving to the trailhead to meet me. Personally, the handful of miles amounted to a pleasant pre-ride warm up, and an equally enjoyable post-ride cool down. It’s worth noting that it’s considerably less efficient than covering that ground on a road bike.

If you live a hundred miles from the closest trails, riding there probably isn’t your best option. But there’s a ton of places that are closer to trails than you may realize. There’s worthwhile riding to be done within New York City limits. Same goes for Richmond, Virginia. Word on the street is that there’s amazing mountain biking just a quick pedal from Miami. That’s right, the flattest, sandiest, most retired-est state in the Union apparently has better trails than many of the highly regarded riding destinations. And that’s just the East coast. Seriously, though, if that doesn’t inspire you to find somewhere fun to ride in your neighborhood, you probably knit. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but you may be better served by our sister site, competitivestitching.com.

Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with getting to the trailhead via automobile. Even if you have trails within riding distance, the desire for a change of scenery will naturally drive any dedicated cyclist progressively farther away in the pursuit of something new, something better. But don’t think that just because you live in a neighborhood that there’s nothing worth riding nearby. Take a spin and see what you find. Worst case scenario is that you ride your bike. And unless you’re reading this for tips on the perfect purl stitch (which we can get into in the Comments section), pedaling around for a few minutes just might uncover some hidden gems. Time to get digging.