The Capital City is just steps away from an All Around Adventure!
Written by: Carolyn Grodinsky, Montpelier Alive's Events and Marketing Coordinator and Katie Trautz, the Executive Director
Montpelier is a hub for outdoor recreation, and is nestled in a valley where The North Branch and the Winooski rivers converge and public lands connect multiple networks of trails. Access to nature couldn’t be easier, from the Hubbard Park trails behind the Golden Dome to the mountain bike trails in North Branch Park. Montpelier is making its mark in the world of outdoor recreation and tourism, and we can’t wait to celebrate that!
Montpelier Alive has launched a new All Around Adventure website featuring the many activities both locals and adventure seekers enjoy in our area. Spring is biking season in Vermont, and the outdoor site is host to plenty of ideas and routes, and businesses who support cycling. Be it on asphalt roads, gravel rides or on mountain bike trails, the Capital City has it all! We decided to check in with the professionals for their updates and thoughts about cycling in and around Montpelier.
We asked Flora Phillips, a bike mechanic at Onion River Outdoors, for the top three things to know about your bike. She said “fixing a flat tire, knowing how to check over your bike for safety and feel if something is wrong and needs to be adjusted, and that your bike fits correctly and if not, to get professional help to fit it properly”.
We also asked her what are the top 3 things to bring on a ride, and she recommends a flat tire kit, including tubes, tire levers, a patch kit, a multi-tool for making on the road adjustments, and food!
We also checked in with Ian Downing, owner at Slopestyle for his top 3 accessories to get with a new bike. He recommended “switching out pedals that suits your purpose, switching out the saddle for the most comfortable one and, getting a good floor pump to keep your tires inflated”
One of Montpelier’s most popular outdoor recreation events that officially kicks off the spring biking season is the annual Muddy Onion in late April, hosted by Onion River Outdoors. The Muddy Onion winds through beautiful gravel roads starting and ending in Montpelier. There are three loops this year that will give you plenty of dirt, fun, and cow sightings.
Local biking associations have offered a few trail updates for this year. Cross Vermont Trail Association maintains the trail spanning from Lake Champlain to the Connecticut River. The 3.7 mile Siboinebi path that runs through the Montpelier is one of many sections of the trail. Greg Western, Executive Director of the Cross Vermont Trail Association (CVT), gave us an update. “CVT staff and volunteers will be working this spring and summer to finish the trails in the U-32 Forest and to connect the trail up to the school. By the end of next year, the trail will cross Route 2 and then come out at Route 14 where the rail trail starts now (across from the Central Vermont Humane Society’s shelter).
Montpelier is home to the Montpelier Area Mountain Biking Association (MAMBA). We are so lucky to have these enthusiasts in our midst who are working hard to expand the trail networks around town! MAMBA recommends staying off the trails in North Branch and Hubbard until the soil dries out. Check out MAMBA’s website or the kiosks at the entrance to the trail network to learn the trails open back up, hopefully in May!
For all bikers, Montpelier offers a perfect out and back tour, starting with breakfast and one of the many amazing bakeries or finishing with lunch and beer at a local pub or restaurant! After an early morning croissant and coffee at my favorite local spot, my go to intermediate ride (16 miles) is to head up North Street, make a right onto Horn of the Moon Road, a left onto County Road, and right on Haggett Road. This road brings you to Adamant, and a stop at one of my favorite little stores, the Adamant Coop. Follow Adamant Road for a short jog to Sodom Pond Road that takes you around the pond (think Spring Peepers!). At the end of this stretch you pass by Fairmount Farm’s beautiful historic barn and take a left on Sibley, which turns into Putnam. Go right, at Dodge road, left on Center road until you reach the T at Main Street, which brings you back into downtown Montpelier.
Visit one of Montpelier’s bike shops for all your repair needs and accessories this spring:
Freeride - 89 Barre Street, (a bike Coop, fix your bike yourself)
Onion River Outdoors - 20 Langdon Street
Slopestyle - 92 River Street
Montpelier Parks Department just published a beautiful map of trails in and around the City. The map outlines Hubbard Park, North Branch Nature Center, the Bike Path, and the trails at U32 School. It’s a great resource for locals and tourists alike.
To learn more, keep an eye on the adventure.montpelieralive.com website, and come explore with us!
Muddy Onion photo courtesy of Onion River Outdoors