Sunday, April 28, 2013

Burlington Landlocked Forest

It is getting warmer and it's time to start riding my other bike more frequently. This weekend, I decided to visit a new place, which is close to my workplace but so far remained unexplored - the Landlocked Forest in Burlington.
This piece of land is bordered by two highways, Rt 3 form the east and I-95 form the south, which makes it a bit difficult to access. The only good entrance to the forest is available from  the west at Turning Mill Rd. I have heard a few things about the Landlocked Forest previously and one of them was that it was mountain bikers' favorite place in the area. And once I entered the forest, I quickly found out why. (You will not see it in the pictures, though, as somehow I forgot to photograph those most difficult sections of the trial.)
First, we arrive at the small parking lot at Turning Mill Rd where we can get the mountain bike off the roof of our car. Well, that was at least what most people I saw there were doing. I, on the other hand, decided to consult the map first. The yellow trial takes us around the entire area and seemed like the best way to ride. Unfortunately for me, the entry blue route consisted of a very loose gravel that my skinny (-ish) tires struggled with.
Once I got off that route and entered the forested area, the situation improved and the trail turned into a narrow, sandy path.
But not for long. Most of the trial is clearly much more suitable for mountain bikes than vehicles like my Poprad. Roots, large rocks, sharp turns, steep inclines - all these made my life very hard over there. My bike lacked wide, knobby tires, very low gears and the seating position was way too high making descents risky. On the top of that, I am not comfortable riding a bike in such a heavy terrain using clipless pedals. I used to do some mountain biking many years ago in Polish and Austrian mountains, but I always used large, knobby platform pedals for that. This let me react faster in some dangerous situations and while riding Poprad, I was close to falling down twice because I nearly failed to unclip in time.
Nevertheless, the Landlocked  Forest trial is beautiful and leads us through many interesting areas: ponds, streams, narrow boardwalks, etc. Originally, I thought I could explore the entire forest but after completing the southern loop I made a decision to turn back home. My bike became more of a mountain bike there, than anywhere before (maybe except of the Middlesex Fells Reservation I visited earlier). And since I was struggling with the trial, it didn't make much sense to continue. At least not on this bike. I rode a bit further north and connected with the blue trial called The Gas Line on the map. This was a much smoother path and looked much more familiar.

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