Mountain Biking – Outdoor Sport, Fun and Fitness

By Dick Carlson
Garnet Hill Mt. Bike Center

Mountain biking is really the sport for everyone. Some riders enjoy- well, riding up and down mountains. Others are content with a casual ride on a forest trail or on an old road. And, of course, they work fine on paved roads also. After a little introduction to the workings of the bike, riding technique, and route following – most everyone is ready to ride.

A few hints are invaluable: first, wear a helmet (yes, many deaths and injuries still occur in bicycle accidents). Bring water, snacks, and tools for bike repair. When riding on any road, ride to the right with the traffic. A bicycle is a vehicle and is subject to the rules of the road. The great thing about mt. bikes is that it allows riders to escape the roads and traffic – venturing off-road on to trails, at mt. bike centers, and on little used dirt roads.

The Lake George/Gore Mt. Region has almost endless mt. bike opportunities. There are three mt. bike venues in the area: Gore Mt. in North Creek, Garnet Hill in North River, and West Mt. outside Glens Falls. All offer rental bikes, trails, food service and other amenities.

To the North and West (I-87 exit 23, Rt. 9 to Rt. 28) riders can ride at Gore Mountain and the Garnet Hill Mt. Bike Center. Gore offers some of the hottest downhill terrain around. Beginners will find some easy trails near the base area. For the 2002 season, Gore’s signature lift, the Northwoods Gondola, will operate Friday thru Monday for mt. bike access and daily for scenic rides and hiking (July 25 – Labor Day then Fall weekends) Call 518-251-2411.

Just ten miles from Gore is the Garnet Hill Mt. Bike Center. Garnet Hill is cross-country ski resort in the winter. The wide cross-country ski trails are coupled with an impressive network of single track trails and wood roads for endless mt. bike adventure. Garnet Hill also operates a “bike down – ride back” shuttle bus allowing riders to enjoy the down hills! The lodge, restaurant and mt. bike center are open daily. NORBA X-C Race 9/15/02 call 518-251-2150., Rt. 28 to North River, 13th Lake Road.

For do-it-yourselfers, there are many trails and wood roads in the area. A good guide book to some of the rides is Gary Thomann’s book Mountain Biking in the Adirondacks: 25 Great Trail Rides (Singletrack Publishing). State Land in the Adirondacks is divided into different classifications and Wild Forest is the class that allows mt. bike use. Bicycles are prohibited in State designated wilderness areas. Beginners – Santanoni Preserve in Newcomb, NY (Rt. 28N from North Creek, 30 miles) is a collection of old roads into the Great Camp Santanoni, 5 miles each way, great views, easy terrain. For more advanced riding near Lake George (Lake George Wild Forest) try the Tongue Mt. trail (trailhead off Rt. 9N, 15 miles north of Lake George Village) or the Shelving Rock area on the East side of Lake George, or also find some good rides at the Hudson River Recreation Area outside Lake Luzerne off Rt. 9N. And as an easy ride, don’t forget the Warren Country Bike Path from Beach Road in Lake George to Glens Falls.

For additional information, stop in at the Adirondack Mt. Club Rt. 9N just south of Lake George Village, or ask for trail and equipment information at area bike shops or at the mt. bike centers. Happy riding!