We asked friends, contributors, pros and industry insiders to give us the lowdown on their favorite trails and watering holes around the country.
Selene Yeager – Writer
“I’m a bit of a mountain bike stage racing nut, having completed (and occasionally done quite well) in Trans-Sylvania Mountain Bike Epic, BC Bike Race, Cape Epic, Brasil Ride, Israel Epic, Breck Epic and the Titan Tropic in Cuba.”
Favorite riding location: Laurel Tunnels in the Asheville, North Carolina, area with technical east coast singletrack, sweeping vistas, rocks, roots, everything that I love about the correct coast mountain bike scene is wrapped up in the many miles surrounding this funky region.
You must visit: Liberty Bicycles, owned and operated by Mike and Claudia Nix for 35 years; amazing generous passionate people. And Thirsty Monk with thousands of different beers on tap each year.
Eric Porter – Pro Mountain Biker
“I’m a very diverse rider, back- flipping dirt jumps one day and bikepacking the next.”
Favorite riding location: Chilcotin Mountains in B.C., Canada. Grab a float plane ride from Tyax Lodge to one of the remote glacial lakes and spend a few days with the grizzly bears riding the best backcountry singletrack around. You’ll hike your bike up steeps and through rivers and then be rewarded with 30-minute-plus unreal downhills.
You must visit: Book in advance to camp at the Tyax Adventure Lodge on the shore of the lake. You can still take advantage of the bar and restaurant in the lodge as well as swim in the lake.
Devon Balet – Photographer, writer, filmmaker
“For me the best riding is the type that takes days or weeks. Just putting everything on your bike and pedaling away. That is true freedom.”
Favorite riding location: Wheeler Pass above Breckenridge, Colorado. Ride it in both directions and get ready for some seriously fast descending. Bring some snacks to enjoy on the 12,400 foot summit.
You must visit: Empire Burger in Breckenridge for a mouthwatering patty and fries (get a milkshake to go!) or the popular Crepe Cart on Main next to the Patagonia store. Like a good margarita? Empire Burger takes the cake on that too.
Andreas “Dre” Hestler – BC Bike Race organizer, Rocky Mountain Bikes PR guy
“I started on a hardtail with a rigid fork and toe clips (a long time ago), carried on to do trials and cross-country racing all over the world and have always wanted to know why ‘biking’ is so awesome, but actually don’t want to answer that question – just happy continuing to ride bikes, any bike.”
Favorite riding location: Black Canyon Trail, from Prescott to Phoenix, Arizona, or there- abouts. What an amazing multi-day bike-pack. The trail has a cool history and winds through some diverse geography with a lot of really fun segments of singletrack to blast.
You must visit: There are a number of amazing stops along the way: Cleator Bar in Mayor is a one horse town and one amazing bar, plus they have a yacht club. Also, the Rock Springs Cafe in Rock Springs has a rustic pub, and you can buy glass enclosed scorpions and tarantulas; both are standout pit stops along an amazing route.
Joe Lawwill – North American Mountain Bike Marketing Manager for Shimano
“I’m a racer at heart and at my happiest when I’m pushing my limits. Last year’s highlights were finishing top 5 in the Master’s Enduro World Series and winning the BC Bike Race Team competition with my old buddy Brian Lopes.”
Favorite riding location: The more places I go the harder it is to pick a favorite. After doing the BC Bike Race I literally fell in love with the area, especially Squamish.
Adam Craig – Bike Rider for Giant Bicycles
“I’m trying to cover all spectrums of riding in the dirt, things like racing in the Beijing Olympics, finishing top 10 in the inaugural Enduro World Series and getting some tattoos for winning a few Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships … but mostly I just love riding in the woods.”
Favorite riding location: Nelson, British Columbia. Growing up on the East Coast I’ll always love trails that are almost too technical. Flow is easy to find these days, but tech-gnar-flow is elusive. Most people hate it and they don’t live in Nelson. For me, it’s perfect, only improved upon by moisture.
You must visit: Gerick’s Cycle and Ski and talk to Travis about what trails are riding good (then we usually go there together). It’s a bit of a grunt from downtown up to the trails, so a stop at Oso Negro to caffeine up. If you went too deep and need to ratchet it back, Up in Smoke is where you’ll find equilibrium reached.
Mark “Sevy” Sevenoff – Owner/guide of Western Spirit Cycling and Outerbike
“My first mountain bike was an ’85 Rockhopper in high school, from my earnings picking shade grown tobacco in Windsor, Connecticut. It was more about getting into the woods to have bottle rocket and BB gun wars back then, now I have to be slightly more professional. I love riding at home but really look forward to checking out a new race or event every year.”
Favorite riding location: Crested Butte, Colorado. I moved there when I was 21 and spent about 10 years there; it’s where I met my wife. Even though it’s changed a bit since then it’s still one of the most genuine ski towns I can think of.
You must visit: Apres beers on the Brick Oven deck and huge plates of Mexican food and margaritas at Donita’s Cantina are two of my favorites. Kochever’s Saloon also pours a good drink.
Sarah Rawley – Event Planner/Marketing/Athlete
“As a cross-country chick turned pro enduro racer, the last five years have been an evolution of discovering new heights and exploring the world through racing, adventures, and creating stories including 2015 North American Enduro Tour winner, 3rd 2015 Andes Pacifico, 4th 2016 Trans NZ, 1st 2013 and 2016 Moab Ho-Down Festival Enduro.”
Favorite riding location: Nelson, British Columbia, fuses some of the toughest terrain in the heart of the Selkirk Mountain on trails built by dedicated locals who have an obsession for slippery roots, long vertical descents, wood features and steep chutes.
You must visit: Oso Negro, widely known for roasting sustainably sourced coffee in small batches for the past 20 years, doubles as a cafe featuring a broad spectrum of whole- some, seasonal foods to cater to a wide array of dietary needs. You can enjoy your food and drink in a unique setting among the artwork of talented local artists or outdoors in their peaceful perennial garden.
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