Welcome to “Switchback”, a column dedicated to mountain biking in and around the Prescott National Forest. In the following weeks, topics ranging from trail and route suggestions to bicycle setup, repairs and everything in between will be covered.
With several hundred miles of single track and dirt road options easily accessed right from downtown, Prescott is one of the better places to explore while rolling on knobby tires behind a set of handlebars. We have a wide range of difficulty to choose from. Mild bike paths that offer impressive views of the outcroppings of granite found in the Dells to winding much skinnier trails over rocks and roots just below Thumb Butte.
One of the more impressive options is the Prescott Circle Trail which connects the system network to circumnavigate the entire town. Over 54 miles in length with around 6,000 feet of climbing, completing it is no easy task. But the views offered along the way as well as the exceptional trail design has put the PCT on the bucket list of riders within the state and far beyond.
This column will also explore the strength of the mountain bike community that runs so deeply here in Prescott. As well as driving tourism and visitors to the area, our ever expanding trail system has riders moving here to live and enjoy our forest year round.
This appeal has brought the southwest regional director of the International Mountain Bike association, a multiple Tour Divide finisher, an Olympic athlete as well as many professional mountain bike racers… and that’s in addition to the depth of quality local riders.
Passionate business owners run their shops offering quality repairs, guide services, trail advice and event coordination. Countless volunteer hours have been applied to trail building, maintenance and repair. Mountain bikers love the outdoors and work hard to educate new riders about the joys and responsibilities representing the sport to other trail users in an effort to help it grow.
I have been in this world since 1989 when I purchased my first all-terrain bicycle. It was clunky, worked poorly and operated vaguely at best. But it allowed me to begin to explore the backcountry. From there I began learning to repair this bike. Sometimes by choice but many times by necessity just to make it back home.
Time passed and my knowledge increased to the point I would become an asset wrenching for my local shop. I soon became fully engulfed in anything and everything that involved two wheels rolling across the dirt.
Riding, racing, bike packing, photography and trail finding. This passion also became my profession now running some 25 years strong. Having the opportunity to express these experiences and knowledge with written word through this column will be a great expression. Looking forward to sharing it with you in the near future.
Steve Reynolds is a columnist for The Daily Courier. Contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.