Introduce yourself to mountain biking in Charlotte on the Carolina Thread Trail
Our article series on going out in the Charlotte area to be active on the Carolina Thread Trail and Catawba River network is presented in partnership with local orthopedic provider OrthoCarolina.
The Carolinas are home to some of the best mountain biking opportunities on the East Coast, with a ton of trails located within an hour of Charlotte through a growing network of trails and greenways known as the Carolina Thread Trail.
Approximately 300 miles of Thread Trail are currently open to the public and more are in development, providing trail users with many options to explore. Mountain bikers in particular, whether they are beginners, intermediates or experts, will find a wide variety of routes where they can both improve their skills and challenge themselves.
To help you find new ways to get out and be active in the Charlotte area, we’ve put together a guide to the best mountain biking trails on the Carolina Thread Trail based on feedback from trail experts.
We also reached out to The Spoke Easy team in Elizabeth to recommend mountain bikes for every type of rider and budget, as well as winter riding gear you can buy at the store. Get on a mountain bike and experience the Carolina Thread Trail.
RULES OF THE TRAIL
Hikers and cyclists of all skill levels enjoy the Carolina Thread Trail year round, so it is important for everyone’s safety that ATV riders follow trail etiquette when sharing the trail with slower users.
For starters, Carolina Thread Trail manager Bret Baronak said mountain bikers should give in to hikers, although they don’t always follow this rule, so hikers should be aware of this. Bikers should also not wear headphones when riding the trail so they can hear people nearby, and should vocalize or ring a bell while slowing down when approaching another person.
Baronak said trail users should be aware of their surroundings and communicate with each other without surprising each other.
“We want the trails to be a friendly place and where people are always happy and having fun and go out and have that experience in nature, so you don’t need conflicting relationships between trail users,” said Baronak.
ROCKY BRANCH TRAIL
Starting point : 103 Sacco Street, Belmont, North Carolina and 700 Eagle Road, Belmont, North Carolina
Distance from the trail: 1.2 thousand
About the route: Rocky Branch Trail is a wide, non-technical crushed concrete trail that forms part of the 55-acre Rocky Branch Park in Belmont, approximately 15 miles west of Charlotte. The trail winds through the middle of the park, covered by the canopy of trees, and provides access to a network of mountain bike trails in the park. Cyclists will encounter many curves and several bridges that Baronak called “destinations themselves”.
PRESERVATION TRAIL OF THE SEVEN OAKS
Start of the trail: 6900 S. New Hope Road, Belmont, North Carolina
Distance from the trail: 2.6 miles
About the route: Seven Oaks Preserve Trail winds along the shore of Lake Wylie and is located on 78 acres of land preserved and managed by the Catawba Lands Conservancy. This is a non-technical, natural surface trail without a lot of roots and rocks, making it enjoyable for cyclists of all skill levels. It connects to the trails at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, so it is heavily used by hikers. Riders should be extra careful.
MOUNTAIN VICTORY TRAIL – LAKE WHELCHEL SEGMENT
Start of the trail: 198 Concord Road, Gaffney, South Carolina
Distance from the trail: 6.7 miles round trip
About the route: Overmountain Victory Trail circles Whelchel Lake, about an hour west of Charlotte and just beyond the South Carolina border. The trail is part of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail which traces the route used by the Patriot militia during the Kings Mountain campaign in 1780. It is smooth with a few bridges and not too technical, although some steep climbs and descents are a problem. challenge for cyclists. Most of the trail is in the woods except for a section that goes through open fields.
MORE TRAILS FOR BEGINNERS
South Fork Trail (119 Willow Drive, McAdenville)
Girl Scouts, Hornet Nest Council Trail (1763 Turnersburg Hwy., Statesville)
Mountain Island Park Trail (400 Mountain Island Road, Mont Holly)
MOUNTAIN BIKE WINTER RIDING
Now that the colder weather is here, that doesn’t mean the end of mountain biking, but there are some important considerations to take into account when riding in winter.
What to wear: Ignore the urge to wear thick, warm clothes and instead layer breathable fabrics to keep the skin as dry as possible: a long-sleeved thermal base layer; a well-fitting technical softshell; and maybe a compressible windbreaker hardshell for descents or an unexpected change in conditions. Wear gloves like the Bellweather Coldfront Thermals or the GORE WINDSTOPPER Thermo gloves, and winter riding shoes like Shimano SH-MW701 or shoe covers like the Lizard Skins Dry-Fiant Insulated Boots.
Prepare your bike: Tires with a more aggressive tread that are able to provide additional grip and remove mud more effectively are a good idea in winter. If it is snowing, try reducing the tire pressure a few PSI to increase grip and install a front fender like the MSW Splash Pad Fender if you expect a particularly muddy ride.
After driving: Wash your ATV with a bucket of lukewarm water, a sponge and a brush. Remember to dry it well and lubricate all moving parts with specific products, such as wet lubricant on the chain and lithium grease on the headset and bottom bracket. Finish Line and Dumonde Tech are two brands that can be found at The Spoke Easy bicycle store in Elizabeth.
Batch The Mountain Bike – Beginner
Wheel size: 27.5 inch
Price: $ 469.99
What the experts say: “It’s a great entry-level bike for greenways, parks and mountain biking trails,” said Dread Fiyah, director of The Spoke Easy. “At that price, you get an aluminum frame, a suspension fork, and a Shimano gearing. It’s the perfect bike to get your feet wet in the mountain biking world.
Surly Karate Monkey – Beginner / Intermediate
Wheel size: 29 inches or 27.5+ inches
Equipment: Chromoly steel
Price: $ 1,799 – $ 2,599
What the experts say: “The Surly Karate Monkey is one of my favorite mountain bikes of all time. It promises a resilient and lively ride on all kinds of gnarly terrain, ”Fiyah said. Described by Surly as a canvas for any dirty masterpiece your brain might whip up, it can be adapted in multiple ways and will happily roll on 29in or 27.5+ wheels. So if you’re looking for a bike for exploring the trails on weekends and which will also allow you to move around town during the week, this bike is made for you.
Scout Transition Alloy – Intermediate / Advanced
Wheel size: 27.5 inch
Price: $ 2,099 to $ 4,999
Sentinel Transition Alloy – Intermediate / Advanced
Wheel size: 29 inch
Price: $ 2,099 to $ 4,999
What the experts say: “The economy aluminum Sentinels and Scouts are great to ride and maintain the same clean look and frame design as the carbon versions, with the same geography and character that built their reputation,” said Fiyah. “These bikes are nimble and fun, great on climbs, stable in the air and roll like rails on descents. These bikes are ready to take whatever you put in front of them. We have a few racing team members who ride these bikes and they love the way they handle the North Carolina ATV trails.
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