Mountain Biking in the Lehigh Valley
Welcome to my MTB Page!
I've been bicycling offroad for more than 25 years, starting not long
after I moved to Easton in 1990. Since then I've gone mountain biking all
across the US, including many "name" destinations, but in the end I think
some of the best riding around, or at least my favorite bicycle
destinations, can be found right here at home.
I created this website to share my love of offroad bicycling in general,
and to share some of what I know about the local mountain biking scene in
particular, including where to ride in the Lehigh Valley.
Where To Ride
Our local riding does not feature the dramatic vistas you might find out
west, though there are a few overlooks to be found, as you can see in the
photo to the right. Most Pennsylvania mountain biking can be summed up
with one word: rocky, and Pennsylvania cyclists have learned to
embrace the rugged terrain we've been blessed with. There are a number of
these rugged trails here in the Valley, but we also have a bit more
variety, including some very scenic bike paths suitable for beginner or
casual riders. Here is a partial list of some of of my own local
favorites, ranked from easiest to hardest.
A partial list of mountain biking destinations in the Lehigh Valley
Use GPS on your rides?
and I can provide GPX tracks for these rides, and others.
Trail Etiquette, Stewardship, and Getting Involved
I'm a big fan of living in an urban area like Bethlehem, but one fact of
urban life, and of riding, is that you share your public space
with other people. Offroad bicyclists share the local trails with
hikers and equestrians as well as other cyclists — to say nothing of
the plants and animals who are the actual denizens of our wild spaces.
Mountain bikers were until recently the newcomers in the trail community,
and had a sort of probationary, "outsider" status. Organizations like
The International Mountain Bike
have advocated for mountain bike access to trails, and also promulgated
the type of mountain biker behavior that would make us a welcome addition
to those trail communities. Here is a copy of their "Rules of the Trail,"
which is mostly common courtesy and common sense. Hopefully you'll follow
it, for my sake as well as your own!
IMBA Rules of the Trail
IMBA developed the "Rules of the Trail" to promote responsible and
courteous conduct on shared-use trails. Keep in mind that conventions
for yielding and passing may vary in different locations, or with
Ride Open Trails: Respect trail and road closures — ask a land
manager for clarification if you are uncertain about the status of a
trail. Do not trespass on private land. Obtain permits or other
authorization as required. Be aware that bicycles are not permitted in
areas protected as state or federal Wilderness.
Leave No Trace: Be sensitive to the dirt beneath you. Wet and muddy
trails are more vulnerable to damage than dry ones. When the trail is
soft, consider other riding options. This also means staying on
existing trails and not creating new ones. Don't cut switchbacks. Be
sure to pack out at least as much as you pack in.
Control Your Bicycle: Inattention for even a moment could put yourself
and others at risk. Obey all bicycle speed regulations and
recommendations, and ride within your limits.
Yield Appropriately: Do your utmost to let your fellow trail users
know you're coming — a friendly greeting or bell ring are good
methods. Try to anticipate other trail users as you ride around
corners. Bicyclists should yield to other non-motorized trail users,
unless the trail is clearly signed for bike-only travel. Bicyclists
traveling downhill should yield to ones headed uphill, unless the
trail is clearly signed for one-way or downhill-only traffic. In
general, strive to make each pass a safe and courteous one.
Never Scare Animals: Animals are easily startled by an unannounced
approach, a sudden movement or a loud noise. Give animals enough room
and time to adjust to you. When passing horses, use special care and
follow directions from the horseback riders (ask if uncertain). Running
cattle and disturbing wildlife are serious offenses.
Plan Ahead: Know your equipment, your ability and the area in which
you are riding and prepare accordingly. Strive to be self-sufficient:
keep your equipment in good repair and carry necessary supplies for
changes in weather or other conditions. Always wear a helmet and
appropriate safety gear.
Etiquette is one part of the recipe for mountain biking sustainability;
the other vital ingredient is stewardship: building, maintaining
and in general caring for the trails where we ride.
Mountain biking is a social activity: there are races, and group rides,
and a mountain bike community that comes together when we work to maintain our
local trails. In the Lehigh Valley, that mountain biking community is represented by
The Valley Mountain Bikers, the
local mountain bike club. The VMB has built and maintains three of my
favorite local trails (Trexler, Nockamixon, and Sals), and also sponsors
rides and other local bike events. If you're looking for more Lehigh
Valley biking, people to ride with or ways to give back to our local
trails, the Valley Mountain Bikers website is the place to go.
Well, that's all I have to say about Lehigh Valley mountain biking — for now!
See you on the trails...