Just Getting Started?
You've decided to be a mountain biker - awesome! Vermont has some of the best riding opportunities in the country. We're also a community of people just like you. Everyone has had their first season where we thought our lungs were going to fall out during rides, we explained a bunch of new leg bruises to co-workers and overcame what appears to be an intimidating crowd. New riders quickly learn that after introducing yourself to a few other riders you're suddenly more social, healthier, happier and have become a bike nerd. The best part is that you connect with Vermont in a way that only riders understand.
VMBA & Chapters
VMBA is the state level advocacy voice of mountain bikers in Vermont. The association seeks access, develops public land manager relationships, pursues protections for private landowners and provides a full suite of administration benefits for chapters. Click here to learn more about VMBA. Chapters build trails, host fantastic events and steward landowner relationships. Vermont is the only state in the country that has organized mountain biking this way. When you join, you'll choose a base chapter (there are 28 of them). As you get to know the riding in Vermont a little better, you may choose to add additional chapters. Riding in Vermont means you're connected through membership, trail day participation and incorporating your voice regarding the future of riding in Vermont. We do this whole thing with each other - people just like you. Click here to learn more about your membership and benefits.
Bikes & Trails
Mountain biking generally falls into a few different categories, which are determined by bike design and the type of terrain being enjoyed. That said, riders of all abilities ride all types of bikes in varied terrain with success. "Cross-Country" is a broad category that encompasses a lot - much of riding falls under this category. Modern bike design and trail building techniques have created a wide range opportunities for riders - all still technically falling into the "cross-country" category. Think of bikes as being a little like those ape evolution T-shirts (no... bike choice is not an indication of intelligence). Bikes range from heavy beasts with tons of suspension set up for steep/technical descents to super light and fully rigid bikes that climb like goats. Which one you end up with depends on your appetite for adventure and budget. There is no shortage of opinions about bikes out there. Ask 10 people and you'll get 10 completely different opinions about "what you should do."
First thing first, get into a bike shop and get some expert advice. There isn't a shop in Vermont that wouldn't be stoked to talk with you about your new adventure. The people that work in shops know a great deal of information and are the most definitive source for all things local. VMBA's partner shops include:
- Outdoor Gear Exchange - Burlington
- Earl's Cyclery - South Burlington
- Mason Racing - Upper Valley
- Ski Rack - Burlington
- Onion River Sports - Montpelier
- Green Mtn. Bikes - Rochester
- West Hill Shop - Putney
- Frog Hollow Bikes - Middlebury
- Bootlegger Bikes - Jeffersonville
- Bike Express - Northfield
- Alpine Bike Works - Killington
- Woodstock Sports - Woodstock
- East Burke Sports - East Burke
- Old Spokes - Burlington
Vermont plays host to over 800 miles of fantastic singletrack. Some of this is easy to find via published maps and access to other networks is earned through riding, building and making more friends. In the meantime, you're best bet is to connect with other new riders in your local chapter.
Getting Connected & Chapters
VMBA's membership is growing - there are literally hundreds of other new riders that are eager to learn where the trails are located and with whom they can ride. Chapters host organized rides - some every week. You won't have any trouble finding riders that match your ability and location preferences. The best ways to find these opportunities is to join a chapter so you start getting their newsletter. If you want more beginner/organized rides you can let your chapter know - your voice is key and we want to hear it. Shops also host demo days all the time in an effort to get riders to check out the latest model of bikes. Also, be sure to stay tuned into the VMBA.org homepage events calendar.
Clinics & Lessons
Keep an eye on the VMBA.org events calendar for instructional opportunities. Chapter newsletters are also a great spot for learning about lessons and beginner rides. The reality is that every rider regardless of experience learns something on every ride. For the most part, riders are more than willing to ride with groups of varied abilities. Also feel free to reach out directly to our guide/lesson partners:
- Vermont Mountain Bike Tours
- Northeast Shejumps
- Downhill lessons: Killington, Mount Snow, Okemo & Burke
We're stoked you're here! Please let the association know if you have any further questions. Thank You!