On this trip, I have been fortunate to stop off at some destination-worthy mountain bike trails in Texas, Alabama, North Carolina, and Georgia. Previous to this trip, even, even I have been lucky to ride some world-class trails in Vermont, Washington, Oregon, Utah, Colorado, and Texas (Louisiana, Arkansas…)
On this trip, I have also stopped off at some mountain bike trails that are not destination-worthy; I would not recommend building a trip around these; nobody vacations cross-state or cross-country to ride in De Soto National Forest in Mississippi or the Blackwater River State Forest in northern Florida.
But you know, I find inspiration in these places, too. A different kind of inspiration. Horry County Bike & Run Park in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina was a surprise: in this coastal plain of flat sandy country, a sweet little 7-mile course involves lots of berms and even pumps and jumps. Many of these were constructed using carpeting, admittedly. But it was a fun ride, and I appreciate a local community that makes its sport work where it must. I come from a trail system like this. Nobody travels to Houston, Texas for the mountain biking. There is something comforting and admirable about trail-building in the places that are not the Pisgah, the Moab slickrock, or the steepnesses of British Columbia.
As I shop for a place to settle, I’m not necessarily looking for the world-class destination. For one thing, I know the lines will be so long (and all that that means). But a local community that invests in its imperfect topography? That’s for me.