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Thread: Berkshires Mountain Bike Trails/Scene

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Default Berkshires Mountain Bike Trails/Scene

    Howdy everyone,

    My wife and I are current Bay Area residents that are beginning to think about moving closer to our families in MA & CT. For us, the quality of life here, despite being high, no longer justifies the cost of living. I will never be able to wrap my head around spending $1.2M for a 1,200 sq. ft. home in Marin. (We're also working hard to cultivate careers that will allow us to work remotely to give us more location flexibility.)

    Despite having grown up in Western Massachusetts (Longmeadow, specifically), I'm not well versed on mountain biking in the Berkshires. This area is particularly appealing to us given proximity to family (close, but not too close), distance to major cities (close, but not too close), and a smaller town vibe we crave.

    For those that live & frequent the area, any general thoughts on the mountain biking trails and "scene"? Although biking is only a small portion of what would drive our decision, I view it as a harbinger for an area's attitude towards, and availability of, the outdoors.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    W Mass
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    Default Re: Berkshires Mountain Bike Trails/Scene

    Lift served? See this at Berkshire East ski area: Home - Thunder Mountain Bike Park

    There is a pretty good singletrack network across the street, too.

    Check out the Berkshire Mountain Bikers group on the Facebook machine.

    Hawley and DAR State Forest have some great riding, as does October Mountain.

    Do consider the small-town vibe and actual remoteness, and don't overcorrect. Some of the hilltowns are very remote for a young couple, while places like Greenfield and Northampton have a little more going on. And check out Mass MoCA in North Adams.
    Tödd Höllând

    Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate to buy shit we don't need. -- Tyler Durden

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Lanesborough, MA
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    Default Re: Berkshires Mountain Bike Trails/Scene

    I'm a native, and I think the trails and scene are both super and getting better. It's not a huge group, but it's active and inclusive. There's a Monday Night Ride in Pittsfield State Forest, Tuesday night training races, a regular Wednesday night ride in Stockbridge, and always people riding together on the weekends. For all that, there are so many trails that you don't see a lot of other people, with a few exceptions. The road riding, once you get out of the most-traveled valleys, is also superb.

    I agree with Todd that the hilltowns might be too rural for most people; Pittsfield might be the easiest place to move to in terms of making friends and having a social life year-round. Look around from there if you want something different. Great Barrington is fun, too, but there isn't as much mountain biking down there.

    The Pioneer Valley, particularly Northampton and Greenfield, is a great place to live. The big difference to me is that in the Berkshires you live in the mountains and surrounded by public land in a pretty unique way. If you like to ski, it's much better over here.

    Real estate is cheap, but it can be awfully tough to earn a living.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    feral, USA
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    Default Re: Berkshires Mountain Bike Trails/Scene

    IF you can work remotely, look at Charlemont and Hawley.
    There are some VERY reasonably priced homes(under $60k for sure, if you paid more you could buy enough land to build your own trails) on the market right now in both of those towns. Both are Franklin County, not Berkshire County. Both places have you about 40 minutes from what you'd recognize as civilization(but have population densities of less than one person per square mile). The Windham and Windsor County, VT area is about to engage in a professionally built XC trail boom and is also about 35 minutes north of those locations and still within very reasonable driving distance to the CT border via i91. Look up a Realtor named Phil Pless, he's probably the most XC mtb savvy real estate guy in West Franklin County.

    We spent most of the last month and a half either building new trails or completely re-routing legacy XC trails in Charlemont and Hawley to prepare for an Enduro race last weekend. I'm hopeful that the primary land owners(The family that owns Berkshire East/Thunder) will continue to let us direct their paid trailcrew into "fixing" the legacy xc trail system that existed before professional trail building came to Western MA 3 years ago.

    Berkshire County, proper has a great summer XC training series, but in ~20 years of living in Hampshire or Franklin counties I never really found a reason to head out that way to ride, as the best XC trail network in Massachusetts is likely the Earl's/Batchelor St parcel in Amherst/Hadley/Belchertown.

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