Many of us have that one trail that keeps getting ridden. It may be the most interesting or technically challenging, or even have a cafe at the trail head like some trail centres, but it is local and you feel like you know it very well. Those little kickers off to the side, the A and B lines, the secret sections – this is what keeps you coming back the ease of access and familiarity.
But what if you could join the dots on creating that perfect local trail?
What would you include?
Below are my 5 must haves for that perfect local trail…
1. Ride In / Ride Out
As with Ski resorts and the Ski in/Ski out promise – the ability to access trails from your door is ideal. No loading up the car, no battling traffic to get the to the trail head. In small communities and mountain towns, this may not be such an issue, but in heavily populated areas, good trail access is hard to come by.
2. Multiple Trails of Varying Degrees of Difficulty
The ability to have a choice of well built singletrack from out your front door has been enough pull for individuals and families to move towns, states and countries, to access world class singletrack. The annual Outside Magazine best palces to live (US cities & towns) often cites mountain bike trails (amongst other factors for the outdoor enthusiast) as a key consideration for it’s attractiveness and high ranking. What would be better than that perfect local trail is having multiple local trails.
3. Stunning Scenery
This is obviously subjective, as we may not have snow capped mountains filling the horizon, but a cityscape, river, gorge, can be just as interesting and spectacular as an alpine vista. – Ok maybe not
4. Pre & Post Ride Refreshments
Coffee, Beer, Cider – whatever your preference, if you can arrange for a ride that includes these, or better yet a local trail that has that cafe/brewery/bakery to look forward to, then all the better. Micro breweries seem to be a common denominator with mountain biking.
5. Friends to Ride
A core group of like minded riders, whether this is a shop ride, work friends, regular riding buddies or a night ride crew that you can share the experience. While a solo ride is good to blast the cobwebs and have some thinking time, a shared experience is often all that is needed to re-connect.
My Local – Yarra Trails Melbourne, Australia
“If only Parks Vic were as good at managing and education as they are at making rules”
The Yarra Trails in Melbourne are a collection of flat singletrack trails that follow the Yarra River from inner city Melbourne through to the northeastern suburbs and beyond.
To have any such trail in a major metropolitan city is simply incredible and thanks must be given to those that provide upkeep – namely Parks Vic and the various councils. Whilst not marked trails – these trails have been in use for many years and are well known for the singletrack available and the mid-week shop rides that go out to Hans Loop and back.
The trail is pretty straight forward and any wrong turns are usually rectified with getting back on the paved ‘Main Yarra Trail- – a cycling and walking path that also runs the length of the Yarra, through to the outer suburbs..
What makes a mountain biking in Melbourne a joy is the abundance of re-fueling stops. Melbourne’s coffee and cafe scene is world class and there are several options that are short detours off the trail, that can be utilised.
Ora Specialty Coffee is a short detour both at the start and end of my 17km loop and makes for a perfect excuse as a final stop before heading back home.
What the local trail does lack is hills – The Yarra Trails are essentially flat with minimal gradient so they can be ridden fast, but can lack the challenge that hills (both ascent and descent) provide.
What the trails are perfect for, is a fast training ride or solo ride that can be easily squeezed in, for those that live north of the river.
Have you got a local trail worth talking about? Let us know in the comments of your local trail experience.