CORRECTION: In the video I referred to “JORBA” with an N, instead of a J. That’s what happens when you’re up late editing.

Coming from New York, I’ve always had mixed feelings about New Jersey. Mention its name, and I used to think of angry drivers sipping 20oz RedBulls, cutting each other off in their BMW’s. Although this assessment is 100% correct, it doesn’t quite paint the entire picture. Venture off the beaten path, and you’ll see why New Jersey has been dubbed, “The Garden State”. In the foothills of the Appalachians, lies a mountain bike trail system only minutes from New York City.

I drove to Ringwood on Saturday morning to meet with locals, Dave, Bob, Al, and Brian.

Al was in charge of leading the ride and keeping us safe. If you ever wondered why full suspension fat bikes even exist, look no further than Ringwood. We headed out towards Skyland’s Ridge, and I got a taste of what North Jersey terrain is like. There were plenty of features to stop at, on and off the trail. I was having a great time with my new friends, and really liking what New Jersey had to offer.

The Release 3 I’m riding was lent to me by my friends at Diamondback, who by now understand the implications of lending me a bicycle. I was feeling really good on the release, and getting terrible ideas.

This fallen tree was clearly not part of the trail.

Riding with locals is definitely the way to go. Having never ridden here, holding Al’s wheel was challenging. He shouted out the turns and features up ahead which ended up being really helpful. If I had gone by myself, I would have missed out on a lot of cool stuff. Luckily I was able to find Dave on, checking into the trail.

A few more miles of pure rock garden and we were back in the parking lot. Al offered to take us on another outing through the New White Line, but he seemed to be the only one crazy enough to do that after the exhausting ride we were just on. I couldn’t say no, so off we went for round 2. This route started off with pure climbing.

Al paced himself, nonchalantly pedaling a sustained climb for what seemed like 40 minutes straight. I followed far behind, slowly making my way up. When we were finally done pedaling, it was clear that all that climbing would be well worth it. We had over 15 minutes of downhill switchbacks ahead of us, complete with big freaking rocks everywhere.

According to JORBA, the New White Line took 3 years to build by hand. Since then, people all over the Northeast have been checking into Ringwood, to brave the rock gardens of the garden state.

On just a few hours of sleep I had ridden over 12 miles and climbed around 1500 feet. 12 miles doesn’t seem like a lot, but this wasn’t on sand or gravel. Riding this place gives your upper body just as much of a workout as your legs. This type of singletrack isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and it’s most definitely not for beginners. With so many trails getting dumbed down and smoothed out, it’s refreshing to see what JORBA is doing here. So thanks JORBA, thanks to my new friends in Ringwood, and thanks to Diamondback for lending me this sweet bike.

Oh yeah, and thanks for riding with me today, I’ll see you next time.

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