Gravel biking is a great way to still ride while the trails are closed. Photo Credit: Zach Walbridge.
Gravel biking is a great way to still ride while the trails are closed. Photo Credit: Zach Walbridge.

Mud season, COVID-19 concerns and social distancing needs have unfortunately caused most Vermont’s trail systems to close (as of 4/20/20). These include mountain bike, backcountry ski, hike and several others (for a full list head to vmba.org).

In order to spread the word on trail system closures and help mountain bikers get through this difficult time, we have come up with 5 things you can do instead of hitting the trails on your bike! Once you read, share your own tips with us.

1. Hit up a dirt road:
Dirt roads are much wider than trails or sidewalks, have fewer cars and people to allow for social distancing and safe passing. Lucky for us, most Vermonters live within 10 miles of a dirt road, which is the maximum distance recommended to travel per Vermont Department of Health guidelines.

Do you need a gravel specific bike? Not necessarily. You can still pedal your mountain bike on a dirt road. However, on a gravel bike your pace will be faster because the drop handlebars and larger volume tires provide more efficiency, allowing you to ride further or to the dirt road of choice. If you are interested in browsing our gravel bike selection, click here.

2. Learn a thing or two about bike maintenance:
There are so many resources available to learn bike maintenance - online tutorials, books and video chatting with a knowledgeable friend. A good start is learning how to clean your bike and change a tire. Once you tackle those, keep going! Of course, if you have any major service needed or have questions, let us know.

3. Host a Zwift indoor group bike ride via “Meetup”:
The Zwift app allows you to ride your bike on a trainer and still enjoy the social aspect of riding with your friends. We recently published a blog post on how to get started, click here to read.

4. Joining or renewing as a Vermont Mountain Bike Association (VMBA) member:
Even though the trails are closed, VMBA still needs your help to prep for opening the trails in the near future. Being a member allows VMBA to:
- Support the trail maintenance/building of your local chapter.
- Support a strong platform of administrative services that every chapter utilizes.
- Support the critical advocacy needed to protect your riding.
Learn more at vmba.org

5. Practice some backyard skills:
Vermonter Phil Metz aka “Skills with Phil” recently released a video (below), showcasing 5 simple bike skills for your backyard. When you’re done, create your own and share them with us!

Michelle Peters, Skirack Marketing