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Mountain Biking at Hale

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Mountain bikers of all ages are drawn to Hale’s rugged, varied terrain just miles from Boston’s city line. Whether you like to ride on your own or through programs, we’re glad to welcome you to our community of riders.

Hale MTB Camp focuses on skill-building and ride time for young mountain bikers in grades 3–8. Hale on Wheels—Girls encourages young women to shatter stereotypes and ride. Wild Ones MTB offers cross-country and downhill programs led by a team of volunteer coaches who coordinate weekly rides and opportunities to participate in races and events throughout New England. Intrepid Academy at Hale students enjoy weekly after-school rides as part of their semester at Hale.

Read on to learn about the many ways you can pump up the tires and courteously explore the woods at Hale—we’ll be glad to have you learn, practice, and advance the sport across more than 20 miles of multi-use trails and varied terrain.

I’ve been mountain biking at Hale for about 15 years. The property and programs have changed a lot, and I continue to enjoy Hale’s diverse trail network and natural scenery. It’s an easy escape from the noise and bustle that surrounds Boston.Thomas McKenna, New England Mountain Biking Association

Youth Mountain Biking Programs

Youth riding is our specialty, and many of these programs offer opportunities for adults to participate as well—by joining us as a staff member or volunteer, you can help children learn about and love the sport.

Mountain Biking at Hale

Hale MTB Camp

Grades 3–8 focus on skill-building and ride time throughout summer. Campers execute drills, increase endurance, and learn about bike maintenance and trail stewardship in our private skills park and beyond. Click here to learn more about our camps.

Beginner MTB

Beginner MTB (Grades 3–6) starts with 2–3 hours of riding each morning followed by drills and practice time. Beginners develop basic skills such as reading trail heads, riding brakes while descending, down-shifting while ascending, and maintaining balance. They also learn about safety, basic bike maintenance (such as how to repair a flat tire), and trail stewardship—they’ve even been known to enhance or build elements in our skills park! Counselors incorporate one traditional camp activity and swimming every day, too. New campers should be comfortable riding up to 3 miles of trails and able to clear obstacles up to 6 inches in height.

Advanced MTB

Advanced MTB (Grades 4–8) is suited to confident riders eager to build speed and agility on longer rides. It introduces technical trails and offers ample time in our private skills park. Advanced riders also learn about teamwork and land stewardship as they help build and maintain features on trails and in the skills park. Campers also participate in our hobby elective program, which empowers them to choose a traditional camp activity each afternoon (or opt for more ride time, if they prefer). Swimming is included, too. New campers should be comfortable riding up to 5 miles of trails and able to clear obstacles up to 12+ inches in height.

Hale on Wheels

Hale on Wheels—Girls

Hale on Wheels—Girls (Ages 8–13) empowers young women by building self-confidence and challenging stereotypes that might otherwise deter them from the sport. After-school and weekend mountain biking clubs offer several weeks of skill-building and ride time during the fall, winter, and spring.  Older riders (and those interested in competitive racing) should explore Wild Ones MTB.

Spring 2022

Saturdays from 9:30–11 AM
Mar. 26–Apr. 30
$125 per rider

Register Now

Fall 2022

More information coming soon!

Wild Ones MTB

Wild Ones MTB

Shred with the best. Our premier mountain biking program for ages 11–18 includes options in cross-country (Wild Ones XC, which runs from March–June and September–November) and downhill (Wild Ones Gravity, which runs from March–October).

Wild Ones XC

Wild Ones XC (Ages 11–18) is best suited to novice and intermediate riders. It focuses on building skills and maintaining fitness as it introduces teens to the world of racing. XC offers roughly 30 rides in the spring and fall—one per week in March, two per week April–June, and two per month September–November. $275.

Learn More  Register Now

Wild Ones Gravity

Wild Ones Gravity (Ages 11–18) is suited to intermediate and advanced riders. It focuses primarily on racing and offers roughly 30 practice rides in the spring, summer, and early fall—one per week in March, two per week April–June, and one per month July–October.  Gravity riders compete in 10+ Eastern States Cup races (including enduro and downhill) throughout New England on weekends between May and October. $675 per year.

Learn More  Register Now

Meet the Coaches

Wild Ones MTB is led by Sean McQuilliams (XC Head Coach), Rob Levangie (Gravity Head Coach), Jen Kruger (Club Manager), and Craig Dunbar (Program Director).

Adult Mountain Biking Programs

Adult programs include clinics and special events that improve skills and build community. Mountain bikers who wish to explore Hale on their own are welcome, too—and we encourage you to help steward the property by joining us as an annual member.

Adult MTB Clinics

Clinics and Events

Hale offers adult skills clinics with BICP-certified mountain biking instructors who teach technique and increase confidence. Participants maintain an adventurous spirit and embrace the ‘challenge by choice’ motto—clinics aren’t about achieving the group’s or the instructor’s goals; they’re about each rider’s growth as they set their own pace and explore features and challenges.

Upcoming Clinics and Events

MTB Wizardry Essentials (Ages 18+), 3 hours
June 12, 2:30–5:30 PM   Register Now
Several basic skills are needed to truly enjoy mountain biking and become an MTB wizard. Many riders never take the time to learn and practice them; they just hit the trails. MTB Wizardry Essentials focuses on riding positions, tackling small features, climbing and descending techniques, and a few key tricks that make hitting the trails more fun.

Past Clinics and Events

MTB Trail Skills (Ages 18+), 2.5 hours
Pedal forward in your riding journey. In this session, we prepare for more challenging terrain and slightly larger features. We build on what we learned in Wizardry Essentials and develop skills for rolling down slightly steeper features, maneuvering over logs, taking corners, and ascending hills.

MTB Session (Ages 18+), 2.5 hours
After a quick review of the Trail Skills curriculum, we head out to the trails and “session” climbs, features, and downhills put our skills to use. It’s the real deal. We find drops, jumps, areas for cornering, tricky rock sections, and fun climbs. Participants should feel relatively comfortable on a mountain bike to participate in this clinic, but it is NOT limited to experts—embrace the challenge!

MTB Coaches Clinic (Ages 18+), 2 hours
Our Coaches Clinic is designed for those who work with Wild Ones MTB youth riders, Hale MTB Camp counselors, Dover Demons coaches, and adult coaches from the Minuteman Road Club. This session is free and focuses on key elements of being a mountain biking coach and educator. In it, we cover drills, tips and tricks for working with kids, and unique ways to teach skills.

Mountain Biking Skills Clinic

Explore Hale On Your Own

Hale’s 20+ miles of multi-use trails are available for mountain biking year-round. Please see our Visit page for a trail map, general information about public use, and expectations for riders. Trailforks is a crowdsourced navigation tool popular with many riders, but know that it is not currently updated or maintained by Hale’s staff members.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I ride at Hale?

Let us know what you’re interested in by completing the form on this page. Provide details about your goals and ambitions that may be helpful for our staff members or coaches.

What kind of bike do I need to ride at Hale?

Unless you plan to ride one of Hale’s bikes (which must be arranged in advance through a program), you’ll need a mountain bike from a reputable brand with at least front suspension. Full suspension bikes allow riders to take on more technical features, but can be especially costly. There are countless frame style/material/wheelset/suspension/component options to choose from, so we encourage you to discuss your needs with our staff members or coaches and consult your local bike shop about which bikes match your ability and ambitions.

What other equipment will I need?

Our programs require and recommend the following items for participation.

Required

  • A mountain bike in good working condition
  • Bike helmet: no helmet, no ride!
  • Water bottle or hydration pack
  • An extra inner tube for your wheel size (even if you’re riding tubeless)
  • Tire levers
  • Mini-pump you can carry while riding
  • Mini tool
  • Snack—energy bar, gel, trail mix, or any favorite food
  • Saddle bag or hydration pack for carrying supplies

Recommended

  • Bike gloves
  • Padded bike shorts for comfort
  • Riding glasses for eye protection
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Phone (when age appropriate)—very handy for navigation, emergencies, and tracking rides

In terms of apparel: Riders rarely need to wear more than two layers on top and a pair of shorts in most conditions. An extra layer on top and leggings help when it gets close to freezing. Hands, feet, and ears freeze first on cold days and are easily protected with a good pair of gloves, socks (toe warmers if needed), ear covers, and neck gaiter.

Is mountain biking dangerous?

Mountain biking is an inherently dangerous sport with an injury risk profile similar to skiing, snowboarding, and contact sports such as soccer, hockey, and basketball. The most common injuries are minor cuts and bruises. Programs guide novice riders on trails that allow them to safely develop their stamina and technical skills so they can discover their comfort zone and limits. Always wear a helmet. Body armor is also recommended. Those who ride at Hale do so at their own risk.

How difficult is riding at Hale?

Terrain at Hale varies in technical difficulty. You may encounter tight switchbacks, banked turns, rollers, small bridges, table tops, gap jumps, and rock drops. Always ride within your ability and work your way up to more difficult features. Remember to inspect features before riding, as conditions change due to weather and use. Do not enter Hale MTB Camp’s skills park without staff supervision.

What if the weather is bad?

Programs typically ride in drizzle or light rain, but will delay or cancel rides during heavy rain. We steward the trails we ride, so we refrain from riding during mud season (usually March) and during heavy downpours that can result in damage. Wild Ones MTB races occur rain or shine.

Do I need to know how to fix a flat tire?

It certainly helps to be able to make simple repairs while you’re out on the trails, especially if you’re riding solo. Wild Ones MTB runs a bike maintenance night at the beginning of the pre-season to develop these skills and help you learn to keep your bike in tune.  During practice sessions, riders and coaches on the trails are ready to help. During races, professional support is available.

I'm interested in Wild Ones MTB. What's a practice session like?

We often start with simple skill drills like track stands, last one standing, slowest up the hill, group starts, and pursuits. We then break into three practice groups and hit trails suited to each group. Practice groups may be broken into sub-groups to ensure manageable group sizes of 10 or fewer riders. There are at least two coaches per group—a lead and a sweep—to ensure each group stays together and no one gets left behind.

Should I ride a 27.5 or 29 in wheels?

It’s time to get outside and ride your bike.

Learn More