51 Mountain Bike Capitals of the US

The editors over at singletracks.com put together their list of the best destination for mountain biking in each state + a national capital that’s worth seeing as it will either a) give you motivation to make a trip or two with your beloved bike,  b) give you fodder for debate amongst your friends or perhaps both.

Before you fully engage the debate, however, it’s equally worthy to review their criteria:

The quality and quantity of mountain bike trails available in each specific area.

Current trail access issues and any recent hostility toward mountain biking.

The general popularity of a given destination with today’s mountain bikers.

Amenities and infrastructure to support mountain biking tourism, including bike shops, shuttle services, craft beer, restaurants, lodging, and more.

Living in the cradle of mountain biking here in Marin I was not necessarily surprised that it wasn’t the chosen capital of California but since they listed some of the contenders and it wasn’t listed there either (even if it as bundled under “many, many more”) I was a bit surprised but it highlights an omission of a criterion that would have potentially changed the outcome: climate, measured in solid riding days/year.  Of course despite that additional criterion I’m sorry to say it still wouldn’t have made the list at least in part due to the access issues and I’m certain this played a critical role in other selections too, cough-Idaho-cough,cough.

Personally, given those criteria and with the addition of # days of riding per year I would have chosen Santa Cruz. No offense to South Lake Tahoe, which is great and only getting better I might add, but Santa Cruz has way more of a mountain biking vibe,  hosts a premier manufacturer and has incredible trails that can be ridden 11 months of the year.

Not a surprise for those who know me but I would place zero value in the availability of shuttle services.

All that said perhaps another outcome of seeing this list, sort of in line with a) above, is counting the # of these destinations you’ve visited with your bike. I’m happy to report I’ve made it to 5 capitals: CA, IN, NV, WV, WY and after this year I may be able to add a couple more.

How many have you ridden? Does this influence your riding bucket list in anyway?