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  1. #1
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    Anyone familiar with dirt roads/trails on Long Island?

    I'm going to be seeking them out for fun this winter. Ideally, I'd like to link up a bunch and get from Queens to Suffolk county. Obviously I'd have to use paved roads to connect them, but I am curious how possible it is. If anyone knows about Suffolk County from about Riverhead heading West, that would be of interest as well.

    I know about the various parks with mountain biking trails, but I am wondering about stuff a bit more off the beaten track. For all I know this is totally unreasonable, but there's only one way to find out.

  2. #2
    Senior Member chasmm's Avatar
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    I'm not familiar with any of the trails, but if you haven't, you might check out the LI bike clubs for more info:

    CLIMB
    Huntington Bike Club
    Suffolk Bike Riders Assocation
    Massapequa Park Bike club
    Long Island Bicycle Club

    You might also find some info at Bicycling on Long Island

    Good luck!

  3. #3
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    I perused CLIMB for a bit this morning. I don't even know if such paths exist on LI anymore. The middle of the island may be too populated. I am pretty confident that the forks have some routes.

    I know when I go to Europe I am practically required to buy maps because google, etc, is not at all reliable. Dirt roads are clearly marked on the paper maps I have, though I've only avoided those roads when I travel. I'm wondering if a paper map of LI might help me, but I sort of doubt it.
    Last edited by lukasz; 11-10-10 at 01:24 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member chasmm's Avatar
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    I know there is a paper map available at most LI bike shops. It might be the one you can get here:

    http://www.transalt.org/files/resources/mapnassau.html

    Request a paper version:
    Your Guide to Long Island Bikeways (Free)
    NYSDOT - Region 10 Office
    Mr. David Glass
    Region 10 Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator
    250 Veteran's Memorial Highway
    Hauppauge, NY 11788-5518
    Phone: (631) 952-6128
    E-mail: Dglass@gw.dot.state.ny.us

  5. #5
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    Very few dirt roads on L.I. and most will be in central to eastern Suffolk. The few that exist are usually in some sort of lands owned by the towns/county (Suffolk) or State of NY. Some have restrictions, some don't.

    Off hand, the puplic lands just west and SW of Riverhead offer wooded area's often crisscrossed with old paths and roads. Google shows Bald Hill County Park, LI Pine Barrens Preserve, Brookhaven State Park, Edgwood Preserve as typical. These parks are also surrounded by private lands with any roads/trails often continuing in to the private sections. That said, you can sometimes explore these area's by bike, but be prepared to see "No Bikes" signs. Rocky Point Preserve is a typical area with restrictions. Not only do you need a free permit, but cycling is restricted to the marked bike trails (generally) to avoid user group conflicts (horses and hikers).

    As you head further west into Suffolk, some of the properties are bike accessible, but often times there's a marked mt. bike trail, so you're good to go, Glacier Ridge, East Setauket, Edgwood, etc... being typical. Once you hit the West Hills area on the Nassau/Suffolk border, just north of the L.I.E, you need to pay attention as West Hills County Park is off limits to bikes, where as Stillwell Woods, Mannetto Hills County Park as well as Trailview State Park are the only bike accessible area's.

    Note that in general, the dirt road riding on L.I. is somewhat more difficult then typical Euro or western US dirt road riding, if only due to the extremely sandy soil surface, thus riding on anything other then a mt. bike or cross bike with 32mm and up tires is problematic and often no fun.

    Steve B.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lightingguy View Post
    Note that in general, the dirt road riding on L.I. is somewhat more difficult then typical Euro or western US dirt road riding, if only due to the extremely sandy soil surface, thus riding on anything other then a mt. bike or cross bike with 32mm and up tires is problematic and often no fun.
    That has been my experience, but I have not had much of it. That beachy sand sucks, although I dabbled in it on ~29 mm clinchers with no tread, that were pumped up for road use, and managed not to fall! I guess that I'll stick to the MTB singletrack for now and see how that goes. I just glued up a set of box section tubulars with 32 mm cross tires. My home base out there is near where 347 and 112 meet, so I am very close to a lot of CLIMB maintained trails. I hope that the MTB dudes are friendly, haha.

    One issue that I've come across recently is that some of the parks just closed until APRIL (!!!) for hunting season, including Rocky Point, which I hear it the best of them all. While doing some google research on this topic, I came across a description of a pretty cool sounding randonee. I'd love to be able to recreate it on LI but I am sure it is not to be (and I am nto even talking about the climbing): http://www.rusa.org/newsletter/08-04-14.html

    PS, Have I seen you post on the CLIMB boards? I think I saw a lightningguy on there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lukasz View Post

    PS, Have I seen you post on the CLIMB boards? I think I saw a lightningguy on there.
    Yup that's me.

    The CLIMB folks, both the club officials as well as the members and folks on the forum are about as nice a group as you will find. If you post your question on the forum, you'll get many additional responses from many folks living further east on LI who will have better suggestions and info. then mine.

    As well, the mt. bike trials that CLIMB has built make LI a terrific area to ride. Yes, Rocky Point is a jewel, but so are East Setauket and Glacier Ridge. The many others, including the original at Stillwell Woods, plus the easy stuff at Cathedral, Calverton and Eastport are also well designed trails. Not dirt roads for sure, but well thought out.

    FWIW, the only CLIMB trail that is closed is Rocky Point, that closes for the hunting season from 11/1 to 4/1. Eastport closes for January, but all else stay open conditions permitting. The big issue come late Dec. and into the heart of winter is the mud. The soil tends to absorb some moisture (recent rain, light snow), then thaw's during the day and re-freeezes at night. So you end up with a cycle and need to get out on the trail early in the AM before the thaw. If you ride on/in the mud, it leaves bad ruts that then freeze and make riding impossible, so it's a constant battle with folks that feel the need to ride even though the conditions are bad and the riding destroys the trails. Just a head up.

    Post over on CLIMB, nice folks there.

    As to an off-on road Paris- Brest- Paris on LI ?. Only thing that might come close is a link of the assorted CLiMB trails,

    Start at Eastport (10m) then over to Calverton (10m), then to RP (19m) then to Cathedral (10m) then to Glacier Ridge (9m) then to East Setauket (2 loops for 10m and it's just east of SUNY Stony Brook), then maybe to Edgewood for 8m or so, then a bunch of road to Stillwell for 2 laps (10m) then 9 miles down the Greenbelt for a lap at Bethpage (15m).

    120 miles or so of TRAIL riding, with probably 50 or road, or more if you ride back to Eastport. Go ahead and suggest THAT on the CLIMB site, you are certain to get a dozen crazies to join, some needing any excuse to buy a cross bike !

    Steve B.
    Last edited by Lightingguy; 11-11-10 at 07:15 PM.

  8. #8
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    170 miles may be a bit ambitious right now but it would be awesome to link the trails up like that. I need to ride each of them on their own first! I've noticed that Caumsett State Park has a lot of unpaved riding. Probably enough to sustain a few hours of cycling on its own. I'm definitely going to look into stuff out east though. It is so nice out there.

    I'm going to try to get out to East Setauket on Sunday to give the tires their maiden voyage. I'm also on the fence about just buying a dedicated mountain bike (single speed 29er sounds fun). Damn you, cycling!

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    Well, I tried out East Setauket last night. Took my bike lights and rode around in the dark for two hours, not counting the ride to and from. It was a definitely a blast, but some of the black diamond stuff felt pretty treacherous. It was hard to build up speed in the dark so I ran some of the uphills, and definitely walked down some of the "step" type downhills since I didn't want to injure myself too badly in the middle of the forest at night. Went over the bars once, fell in some other way another time or two, and bailed out maybe half a dozen times. Wheels are still true and no damage to the bike except for a lost cadence magnet off my crank--all things considered it was a successful outing! I have to go back in the day next weekend.

  10. #10
    Senior Member chasmm's Avatar
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    You might want to take a look at this thread. It discusses using a rare-earth magnet to replace the Garmin crank magnet...it would likely work with other cycling computers also...

    Using a rare-earth (neodymium) magnet to replace the GSC-10 crank-arm magnet

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasmm View Post
    You might want to take a look at this thread. It discusses using a rare-earth magnet to replace the Garmin crank magnet...it would likely work with other cycling computers also...

    Using a rare-earth (neodymium) magnet to replace the GSC-10 crank-arm magnet
    I actually have a few of those already. One of these days I will put them to use! I cannibalized a wheel magnet from another wheelset for a ride on Sunday, but I think that the sensor ran out of battery power anyway. Either that or the fact that the speed sensing part of it was mysteriously torn off over a year ago finally ended its' life completely.

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    And not for nuttin, but ES is probably the most technically extreme of all the CLIMB trails. Followed by Glacier Ridge, then probably Stillwell, then RP, then Cathedral and maybe Cunningham.

    IMO the only trails I would try at my skill level, on a cross bike, would be Eastport, Calverton and BP as well as the southern section of the Nassau GB (LIE South). All the others have designed in features and obatacles designed for pure mt. bikes. One salient feature of the CLIMB trails is they make up for a lack of natural obstacles by making the trails very twisty and weaving thru the trees, as well as creating assorted log sections and finding every kind of natural obstacle they can. I've ridden Cathedral behind guys on cross bikes and they have a much more difficult time thru the trees.

    As P.S.I would highly recommend you join the CLIMB forum and ask for some advice on good places to ride. As I commented earlier, there's a huge amount of knowledge among those folks as to the assorted places to explore. The east enders know the island better then I do and will have ton's of advice.

    SB
    Last edited by Lightingguy; 11-16-10 at 10:22 AM.

  13. #13
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    Good to know that ES is technical. There were only a few points that really sucked because of the type of bike I was riding, though. I am looking forward to trying it in the day. It wasn't what I wanted but I quickly forgot about what I wanted and had a lot of fun. I would like to find a course with more speed, less suicidal downhills, and less tree dodging--but I think that is asking a lot for Long Island. I will eventually post on the CLIMB boards and find out. I've already got my eyes on a single speed 29er someone is selling.

  14. #14
    Not so Senior Member Eureka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lukasz View Post
    Good to know that ES is technical... I would like to find a course with more speed, less suicidal downhills, and less tree dodging--but I think that is asking a lot for Long Island.
    You could try Bethpage. Lots of free-flowing trails. Unmarked, easy to get lost, but you are never far away from the parking lot, highway, or streets. There are fun beginner rides posted on CLIMB that will help you get the lay of the land and introduce you to other riders.

  15. #15
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    As well as the Greenbelt heading north BP. Park on Haypath a half block east of Evelyn. Trailview is across the street and goes about 4 miles north on easy trails before you get into some hills north of the LIE. BP is on the south side of Haypath. Lot's of wood roads, chip roads (for cross country running) and other stuff.

    Steve B.

  16. #16
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    Well, it is done:



    Although I noticed that I have to run significantly more psi in the crazy large 51mm tires than I have in my 32mm tubulars. This situation may call for going into the spare parts bin and creating a so called "monstercross" bike to use my good wheels: http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=535452

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