Familiar Trails vs. Exploring

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Familiar Trails vs. Exploring

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    • #246504

      The threads regarding “Minimum Ride” and “How hard do you push” have had some interesting responses and conversations just in how they’ve revealed different riders’ preferences and habits. I figured I’d expand on the theme and ask people if they prefer rides on trails they are very familiar with and ride often or do you like to explore and constantly find new places to ride.

      During the week, when I’m riding after work, I have 3 trail networks within 30 minutes of work that I ride a lot on the evenings. With the limited time and daylight, I prefer a familiar ride that I can bomb through quickly and get a great workout where I know what to expect. But I got into mountain biking due to an exploratory nature that always had me hiking new trails, which brought me into contact with mountain bikers who looked like they were having a lot of fun. So, on weekends, I tend to drive further and further, heading to new (to me) trail networks I haven’t ridden or networks that I’ve ridden but I’m not too familiar with yet. These weekend rides tend to be a lot of fun with the change of scenery, albeit with a lot of starts n stops, turnarounds, and hike-a-bike sections on some of these rides.

      So, do you prefer riding well-known familiar trails or going out and exploring new places and trail networks?

    • #246505

      A little of both.  I like to explore so I have some places where I ride that the trails are not well marked and easy to find “new trails” because of a missed turn or unmarked trail.  But when short on time, like you I choose a trail I’m familiar with so I can get a good ride in and get out before dark (or at least be familiar with when it gets dark).

    • #246506

      I enjoy my local trails, but take an annual rode trip to Oregon (from Florida) and plan my route so I can ride new trails.  I look forward to the new dirt, rocks and scenery.  Occasionally I’m lucky to meet some local riders that add to the experience.  A few times the friendship has developed and we meet for rides in locations new to both of us.

    • #246512

      Well, as usual, it depends. If I’m staying local during the week, I’m usually riding solo so I stick to familiar trails so that if something happens, my friends know where to find me. On weekends, we ride an hour plus away on a regular basis to check out new trails. As far as actual trips to ride, I’m always in search of new areas to ride. My biggest obstacle is finding folks to ride with on these trips because most of my friends don’t have nearly as much free time as I do. I took a 2 week road trip this Summer and that’s going to become an annual event going forward.

    • #246528

      I most definitely prefer exploring new trails.  Like most, I ride familiar local trails during the week, but the day I have extended amounts of time I am off to the unknown.  Living in Mongolia for years, probably 50% of my rides were exploration.  Totally lived the dream of exploration and adventure … … unreal awesome experience.

    • #246533

      charding: “So, do you prefer riding well-known familiar trails or going out and exploring new places and trail networks?”

      <div id=”post-246505″ class=”bbp-reply-header”>I prefer some of both.  But like you, limited time and local trail availability, riding familiar trails is the norm.  Exploring new places is definitely what I do on vacations and some weekends, with a little trail revisiting mixed in there as well.</div>

    • #246534

      I love exploring new trails.  When you first start that’s all there is.  Obviously the trails that are easiest to access (closest to your home or workplace) will be the ones you ride most frequently and the more you ride them the more you can amp up the fun factor by riding it faster, taking different lines, etc.  But any time I can find a way to ride a new (highly rated) trail I do.  With that said, I’ve made the mistake of going out of my way to ride a new trail only to find out it wasn’t worth the effort.  That’s why I rely on Singletracks’s reviews for any new trail I’m considering.  This site has the most up to date trail reviews and I really appreciate it when a reviewer takes the time to provide some tips/insights about the trail.  My goal is to ride as many of the top 100 trails – as rated on Singletracks – as I can.  If I’m traveling for work I always look for highly rated local trails to ride if top 100 isn’t feasible.

    • #246698

      rmap (or anyone else), if your job or travels ever send you to MA or southern NH, I can direct you to or guide you on some great trails.

    • #246704

      rmap (or anyone else), if your job or travels ever send you to MA or southern NH, I can direct you to or guide you on some great trails.

      Thanks for the offer charding.  I will definitely take you up on that!

    • #246770

      I definitely always  prefer  exploring new trails and locations solo and only ride the local trails or do a repeat when there’s a time limit .

      Main goal is to check out all 250 Ontario trails ( worthwhile ones) and fill in missing trail reviews and add pics etc , I  spend a lot of time using google satellite searching out tracts of forest and atv trails or rail trails and then plan a trip to check it out  . I’ve been able to add in  numerous new ride locations so its hard to complete that list though . Still have to add more trips to the USA since my AZ trip this year was awesome .

      Even bought a truck camper for my pickup  so i can increase  my exploration trips to more than 1 day



    • #246791

      Most of the time I ride the same trail system that’s closest here to the house, Clinton Nature Preserve, it’s only a few miles from me.  The system they have there allows me to ride any number of configurations so I never feel like I made the same ride twice if I just want a different ride.

      When time allows, I go explore other trails systems every chance I get.  I’ve been burned a few times, most recently McIntosh Reserve which has been absolutely destroyed by horses.  There are the times when I’ve found a system I liked well enough that I’ll add into the regular rotation.

      That being said, I’m always down for exploration!!

    • #246944

      I like both riding familiar trails and exploring new ones.

      Where I live, trail riding is either atv/rail/road/open type trails, or are single track through a conservation area.  Riding a single track trail for the first time is nice to see something new, but you can’t safely ride at any speed as you simply have no idea what’s around the next bend.  I went blasting down a hill that had a wider section of trail, turned a corner, and suddenly was on a wooden bridge that led to a section that was nothing but roots.  Hit a big one square on a came to a sudden stop – even on a 29″.  The roots were so bad I could barely walk across them.

      The first time I rode Fanshawe (single track) I was on my own.  I rode easy and was doing ok, but going slow.  Halfway through the loop I met another rider who invited me to join him.  He knows the trail really well and I just followed him.  He would tell me if there was a hill/drop/etc coming up.  That half of the ride was a whole lot more fun, and much faster!  Now I can ride the trail as hard as I want as I know what’s ahead of me.  On the clockwise days, the last big downhill long, wide, and rolling.  I go flat out and don’t touch the brakes, because I know I can.

      When I finally get the chance to take a vacation, I intend to go camping in an area that has lots of trails nearby, and spend the days checking out new stuff.  Probably will head to Michigan, Ohio, or New York state.  Or, if I feel like staying in Canada, I’ll go north in Ontario or maybe go to Quebec if I can afford it.

      • #247009

        I ride the same trails alot. I do watch some youtube vids and then go out and try new trails also around here.

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