VMBA Ambassador, Gabe McGann, brings us on a tour one of his local Chapter’s: Fellowship of the Wheel and his tips & tricks for a great day out on the trails!
Vermont, family, home, mountains, biking, good food. There are many ways to describe where we live and why we love it. Our home here in Vermont is filled with rolling hills, craggy mountains, and rivers filled with swimming holes. While I did grow up here, on a beautiful dairy farm, in my youth, the trails were private, and more prone to see dirtbikes or snowmobiles than bikes. Today, thanks to VMBA and its local chapters, Vermont is rife with incredible trail systems, from old-school rake and ride to machine-built flow trails and downhill adventures. And even with all that the area has to offer, my favorite trails here in Chittenden County are just a short ride from my doorstep: Sleepy Hollow Ski and Bike, The Hinesburg Town Forest (HTF), and Carse Hills.
These systems are less heavily ridden than some of the other local systems that are closer to Burlington, but the trail design and continued development provide amazing riding for all levels. The only riders who will not find something to their taste are those who require flat trails or lift service. All three of these systems allow you to earn your turns! While individual trails may have a general downhill or uphill direction, the climbing is spread across the trails to keep the heart rate elevated. There are a few epic downhill runs like the famous Sheep Thrills in the HTF, Preacher to Crucible in Carse, or Rogue One and The Sith at Sleepy; there are even more feature-packed cross-country trails like my favorites: Passing the Horizon at HTF, and the Tatooine loop (don’t forget to nab Kessel Run while you are out there! See if you can do it in under 12 Parsecs!!!)
So far, I’ve listed some of my favorite trails that most experienced riders will enjoy. I’ve also taught my kids to ride on these trails, and the build team has started to expand the options for newer and learning riders! In the HTF, the new Mainers Meander is a great trail for new riders, and the folks over at Sleepy Hollow have built Ewok, a beginner trail with loads of features to train up your little ones in the ways of the force!
These systems are about 30 minutes from downtown Burlington but only 10 minutes away from Richmond and Hinesburg, VT. After you are done with your laps or have completed an epic day connecting all the best trails across the three systems, you can get food and drink at some truly fantastic restaurants and breweries in these towns! In Richmond, check out Stone Corral Brewery, Stones Throw Pizza, and The Big Spruce. In Hinesburg, Frost Beer Works, the Public House, or head to Papa Nicks for creemees.
Finally, if you need some work on your ride or a new rig designed for your specific needs, stop by Belgen Cycles on Main Street in Richmond.