"Take Me to the Forest"

Some Frequently Asked Questions about the Stewart State Forest Bike Tour

I'm not a super duper mountain bike rider - can I do the ride?

Yes! Both the short course and the intermediate course use the old roads (the intermediate about 40%), which are gravelly in spots, but easy to navigate. And the trails on the Stewart State Forest lands are typically wider and faster, which makes them a little easier to navigate, than many other trails. So come on out!

I am a super duper mountain biker - should I do the ride?

Of course! These are great trails, with some technical sections that you'll have fun with. (For everyone's safety, we encourage saving your gonzo riding for a different day! ) SSF is often used for ATB races - so you know it's good! You can also help us put on a great ride by volunteering as a marshal -- and you ride for free. E-mail us if you're interested.

What should I expect at the different ride levels?

Beginner/Family: Ride on old gravel roads, wide with gradual hills, good for kids and people who want an easy sightseeing ride through the forest. Additional easy trail options for the beginner who wants to get off road. Approx 8.5 miles

Intermediate: Ride on gravel roads and well worn single track including
moderate climbs and rocky areas. Approx 10 miles

Advanced: A longer ride along the intermediate route with some more
difficult side routes along the way. It includes some tighter single track
with forest debris, mud, roots and rocks. Approx 17 miles

Thanks to our fabulous volunteers, all routes will be marked with arrows, and every rider will receive a route map.

I'm coming to the ride solo but want to ride with other folks - can you help?

Sure, we can help connect riders of similar abilities who would like to ride the course together. Just because you're one person on one bike doesn't mean you can't be social! Feel free to let us know and we'll try to match you up with fellow riders.

I want to ride with my family, can my kids do the ride? 

Yes! Choose the short course, which relies on old roads through the lands for most of the ride. These don't present the challenges of forest trails, and thus are great for kids who are comfortable on their bikes off-road, and their parents, of course!

I'm supporting my favorite rider - can I come if I'm not riding?

Sure, you can come and enjoy the Forest, and take a mini-tour with our nature experts too. If you'd like lunch and dessert, that will be $10 so we can cover our costs. Tour riders will have ID to indicate they are registered riders; only paid riders get lunch of course!

What kind of bicycle do I need?

For the Stewart State Forest Bike Tour you'll need a mountain bike, aka ATB (all terrain bike).. unless you're doing the beginner/9-mile and staying on-road (we'll have some optional trail sections), for which a hybrid bike or cruiser is OK; BMX is fine for the short course too. Off-road riding (even on the old roads on the lands) is definitely not for skinny tires, so save your road bike for another day!

Can I rent a bike to ride?

Yes, contact our sponsor Wheel and Heel (on East Main Street in Wappingers Falls) to coordinate bike rental you can pick up right at the start. You can also contact other bike shops, of course, to rent prior to the event and bring the bike that morning.

Will you feed me?

Yes, we will! We'll have breakfast items like coffee and bagels...lots of fruit out on the trail, and then a great lunch with delicious (local!) burgers and hot dogs. Something for the vegetarians as well. And if you don't want a meal, how 'bout just dessert? Maybe some homemade pie...and ice cream!

What should I bring?

Bring your bike, your helmet (required!), a water bottle/CamelBak & water, sunscreen, and anything else you like to have with you on a ride (it never hurts to have a tube/tools & mini-pump!). We'll have an en-route rest stop. Also consider bringing/wearing insect repellent - ticks are a fact of life in this area of NY now. Make sure to be prepared for the weather. 

If you haven't pre-registered, bring a check or cash for the entry fee; sorry, no credit cards accepted. 

What should I NOT bring?

While SSF is a great place for you and your dog, it's not the best idea to bring you, your dog and your bike! So kindly leave your pet at home.

Where's the start?

We start at the intersection of Weed Rd and Ridge Rd, inside the Forest. Come to the Weed Rd entrance to SSF where volunteers will direct you on parking, and ride to the start. If you can carpool, please do! The Weed Rd. entrance is just a few miles from Exit 5A off I84; take the exit, head south on Rte 747 (toward the airport); when you get to the T intersection with Rte 207, take a right. The Forest entrance will be on the right. 

Transit-bike directions for those folks sans auto - would be Hoboken (or Penn to Secaucus) to Salisbury Mills, or Grand Central/125th to Beacon. Salisbury Mills is closer, but the earliest train gets in at 10:41, a tad late. There are trains to Beacon arriving at 8:05 and 9:10am; a trip to Beacon requires a ride over the Newburgh Beacon Bridge bike path, then a quick jump south and then west on 17K .... If we have enough interest, I'll look into shuttles, but right now you're on your own to get you and your bike from train to the start.

When should I get there?

Event check in starts at 9am for expert, 9:30 for intermediate, and 10am for family/beginner. The rolling check in means less on-line time and more ride time and less time waiting for lunch! As soon as you're checked in (and had your coffee and bagel or donut, of course) you can go ride! We will work to have everything set up before 9, but please don't come before 8:30!

What if the weather is perfect?

We ride!

What if the weather is less than perfect?

We ride!
Since SPARC is all-volunteer we really can't swing a rain date, so do your sunny dance early and often!

What are rules of the trail?

The lands will be open, as usual, to all users. So you may encounter horse riders, cyclists in pre-race training, walkers and their dogs, etc... . IMBA, the International Mountain Bike Association, says:
  • Ride Open Trails Only
  • Leave No Trace
  • Control Your Bicycle
  • Always Yield Trail
  • Never Scare Animals
  • Plan Ahead
And we agree. SSF is a pack it in, pack it out area - plan to carry your trash with you, ain't no trash cans on the trails! (Well, we'll have one at the mid-route rest stop, but you know what we mean.)

More FAQ as we think of them! Send questions to info@stewartstateforestbiketour.com.