Much in the same way that skiers feel a jolt of excitement when those early flakes start swirling around the mid-autumn air, that same switch clicks on for mountain biking enthusiasts right around the time our kids start returning to school. As fun as the summers have been for exploring the region’s expansive networks of single- and double-track, fire roads, forest trails, and other assorted biking terrain, fall is prime time.
Fall riding is especially unparalleled in New England. It is the time when oppressive heat gives way to cooler temps, giving us better grips on our bars and the benefit of dialing in day-long comfort through thoughtful layering. It provides better breathing when humidity levels drop, not just for our lungs, but for the trails themselves, which make rider-friendly gains — both in their texture and consistency – welcoming surfaces for those on two wheels.
Autumn is also the time when our favorite trails are returned to us. Gone are the summer-heavy crowds, who, through no fault of their own bring, an element of pause to those who prefer to let loose. Gone too are the mosquitoes and horseflies, allowing us to focus more clearly on the trails without worrying about being eaten alive.
And lower-angle sunlight in the fall ignites the forest canopies in a rich blaze of rewarding colors. Throw on a headlamp to extend the shortening days and add a new depth to your senses in the autumn twilight. Combine all this with your well-earned summer fitness base, and you are primed to enjoy. Just be cautious past peak foliage, as a blanket of fallen leaves may hide trails and disguise menacing terrain features.