Braintree, Ridgeline Outdoor Collective board president shares insight, tips and tricks to enjoying the Rochester Trails full potential
What makes the trails in Rochester unique to the area?
The Rochester Trails offer a broad range of trail types from mellow double track, to rugged downhill, old school singletrack to machine built flow trail. There really is something for every kind of rider. We have also been very fortunate to be at the early beginnings of the Velmont Trail Project. Our executive director, Angus McCusker, has been at the helm of the Velomont Project and we are slated to see all of our zones (Brandon, Pittsfield, Rochester, Randolph, and Braintree) connected via Velmont Trail in the next year or two, all going according to plan.
What do you wish the first time riders knew about these trails before they arrived?
You’ll find a trail for everyone! Hikers and bikers alike, with plenty of options for viewpoints, river stops, and more. Another thing to know is many of these trails are two way trails! The policy to follow in this case is “Yield the trail!”. This means communicate with others on the trail respectively. This may be another rider, hiker, and in some case a Landowner partner!
What’s your favorite trail and why?
My favorite trail is Rube’s Run. This is a double black diamond super fun downhill thrill. Built by L&D Trailworks in 2022, this trail is a fun variety of Tom Lepesqueur of L&D’s building styles and makes for a really run option down after climbing for views at the top of Cassidy’s Chase.
Which is best for a beginner? Which would you recommend for an advanced rider who wants a challenge?
Creamery Run is a good option for a beginner, and a great way to get from town to the Ranger Station and other trails like Tunnel Ridge.
For an advanced rider, again Rube’s Run, or making a day of it and riding multiple trails with car drops or shuttles. Just make sure you know where you should and shouldn’t be leaving your vehicle! Otherwise you can tie together lots of options to easily surpass a 20 mile or more kind of day. Starting your day at Green Mountain Bikes downtown will be a sure way to get pointed in a good direction, whatever kind of day you’re in the mood for on trails, the folks at GMB have the local know-how for your ride plan.
When did you first get really into mountain biking? How did your passion begin?
I started biking in college in 2014. While attending Vermont Tech in Randolph Center, one of my good friends convinced me to get a bike and try it out. I always loved riding bikes, and this was another level of a wheelie fun time. At the same time I got involved with Ridgeline Outdoor Collective, then known as RASTA in the earlier days of the latest trail developments locally and around Vermont. and it’s incredible to be on board as the trail networks and mountain bike communities have continued to grow around the state since then.
Who or what inspires you when you ride?
I work a lot with the youth programs and Thursday Night Women’s Ride. Remembering we’re all always learning and growing as people and riding keeps me on my toes and focusing on something different every time I ride to focusing on improving. Anything from picking new line choices on trails I know well, to better control with my pedals and braking, and everything in between.
Do you have a favorite local spot you’d recommend for folks after their ride?
Sandy’s Books and Bakery, Maple Soul, Rochester Cafe, or a spot by the riverside are all great options!
Is there anything else local riders or visitors should know?
Don’t be shy! Say hi to those you meet on the trails, stop into the bike shop for some ride suggestions, and you may just get some extra intel from the locals for something I may have not mentioned here! And don’t forget to renew your VMBA Membership as a Ridgeline chapter member to support the work we do on and off the trail, and get great local perks in return to use around the state as you explore new trails!