• Danielle Gomes

Family-Friendly Mountain Biking in South Jersey




The excitement of speeding through trees, across rough earthen roots, over fallen trunks and around dirt berms sends jolts of adrenaline coursing through your tired limbs. With your heart pumping full speed and your lungs filled with the rich oxygen of forest greenery, mountain biking is good for the body and soul. It’s also the most recent sport my family has taken up!












It all started with a Peloton, a Christmas gift to my husband (Ben), two years ago. While it’s a much-appreciated addition to our home, it left us wanting more out of our normal outdoor bike rides. Sure, riding our bikes on the Boardwalk is nice, like an easy afternoon stroll, it just didn’t give us the workout our Peloton did. We wanted something with the workout of a HIIT ride, but with the beauty of the outdoors.


Last fall, out of boredom, I Googled mountain biking. Camden County College Mountain Bike Trails popped up in my search. Jake happened to have an early morning baseball game in the area, so we loaded up the bikes. We were on the trails by the afternoon and it was love at first ride!


Although, if you saw us, it wasn’t pretty. My beach cruiser wouldn’t cut it on a trail, so I rode Jake’s old BMX bike. It was so small that I stood up the whole ride. It also didn’t have any gears or shocks, so it was a very bumpy ride. Never-the-less, we had a blast! We’ve learned a lot over the past year. While we’re still beginners, I have some tips to share.



GEAR

Last Christmas, Ben gave me a Trek Mountain Bike, which was my first bike with gears! Locally, we go to Beacon Cycling for our bikes. They have a great selection and if something does break, they have an awesome service department.

Helmets, water and bug spray, it’s just common sense. After our last ride, even with bug spray, I pulled three ticks off of Zac, so just be aware. Helmets are a must, make sure it’s comfortable and fits well.

When you really get into mountain biking, there is a ton of specialty gear. We’re not there yet, but we did just subscribe to Vital MTB CClub and each month we get a box of mountain bike gear. For beginners, like us, this is a great way to get introduced to the vast world of biking gear.

To find mountain biking trails, we use the TrailForks App. This app will help you discover trails at every level. It will even track your rides.


OUR FAVORITE TRAILS


Camden County College MTB Trails are a great place to start out. They're easy, but still fun. Fun hills make it just exciting enough to leave you wanting more. When we first went, Zac had just turned 5 and loved it. It was just what we needed to give us the confidence to take up this sport, but exciting enough to make us love it!









Maurice River Bluffs have become our go-to place to mountain bike. It’s still beginner-friendly, but it also has some more advance features. So, it’s a crowd-pleaser. Overlooking the Maurice river, the trails wind through a diverse array of forest brimming with wildlife. This nature conservancy has both hiking and biking trails, but the trails are well marked.


Now grab your bike and get outdoors!




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