Before you Ride: Mountain Biking

Always check in with Chamber of Commerce offices, bike shops and other sports shops in the area to get the latest information and review your route with someone knowledgeable of the area. When biking dress for the weather and carry water, snacks, map, repair kit and cell phone. While biking in a rural area the food and lodging services could be few and far between, and cell phone service may not always be available. Let others know about your planned route.

Trail conditions are not suitable for mountain biking until they dry out sometime in late Spring – mid-May or so. Many ponds and lakes have muddy or boggy shores, so ride responsibly and tread lightly leaving no tell-tale traces of fat tires. There are 17 wilderness areas with a total area of about 1 million acres where access by motor vehicles and bicycles is not allowed and wherever signage is posted.

The mountains in this region demand respect. The weather is unpredictable. Be prepared for sudden cold, windy or rainy weather conditions. Bring warm clothing, rain gear, food, insect repellent, water, emergency first aid kit, bike repair tools and a good map. It’s a good idea to be prepared for the unexpected, even an overnight night stay in the woods. Let someone know where you are going and expected time of return.

The northern winter doesn’t end until late April. Early Spring brings mud and water (mud season) which is especially prevalent in the higher elevations. Summer is short and sweet in the Adirondack region. Discover the beauty of Autumn colors – most national weather websites provide autumn color indexes or leaf-peeper alerts.

There are many quiet, rural roads in the region that are suitable for mountain biking; however, bicyclists should remember that motorists on quiet roads may be traveling rapidly, and may or may not have room to swing wide to avoid a cyclist. It is important to ride single file when motorists are approaching from either direction.

The surface on dirt roads can be inconsistent and trail surface conditions will vary drastically, with rocks, downed-trees, and wash-outs all possible on any trail, at any time. Trail bridges are likely not suitable for biking across, always dismount and walk your bike across bridges out on the trail.

Most paved road surfaces are in good condition, but not all.  Be aware that cracks and holes can appear at anytime. The pavement on shoulders is sometimes not as smooth as in the main lanes. Be alert when changing your travel lane.

Most importantly, stop at bicycle shops, other sports shops and Chambers to inquire about trail conditions in general, and specifically about the trail you want to ride. Obtain trail maps, if available.

Also keep these cautions in mind:

  • Watch the  Weather – Conditions can change quickly so wear or carry proper clothing to protect yourself from the cold, rain and sun.
  • Lodging – Call ahead to book a room or campsite so you are sure to have a place to rest at day’s end.
  • Hydration – Pack adequate water to stay properly hydrated during your trip.
  • Food – Carry a few protein bars or other high energy foods in case the eatery you hoped to try is closed or you grow weary before reaching your destination.
  • Shelter – You may need to seek cover temporarily so watch for possible places to wait out a storm.
  • First aid kit – It is always wise to carry some first aid basics including band aids and antiseptic cream.
  • Cell phones – Be aware in emergency planning that cell service may not be available in some of the more isolated parts of the region.

The Adirondack region is a beautiful destination because of the care taken to protect the environment.  If you pack items in, pack them out too.

Also see the Disclaimer notice.