There’s nothing better on a summer weekend than leaving behind the everyday hustle and heading into the woods with a mountain bike. Being away from the city, closer to nature with only the sounds of birds chirping, tires rolling on the trail, and the buzz of freehubs is like a form of therapy for us cyclists. Having a folding mountain bike makes it even easier to throw your bike in the car and head to the local (or distant) trailhead. This weekend I headed north from Boston with the Paratrooper Elite to Harold Parker State Forest.
Located about 35 minutes north of Boston, Harold Parker State Forest is 3,000 acres of Hardwood-Hemlock-White Pine forest that is a lush green this time of year.
The area has an impressive network of trails that range from dirt fire roads to rocky and technical single track. We found most of the trails we rode fell somewhere in between, relatively fast and flowing but with narrow twisting turns and rocky descents.
The Paratrooper Elite was the perfect bike for this with 27.5″ wheels and 2.1″ tires. I prefer the faster more flowing trails to the technical stuff and this bike really flew over them. The Shimano XT groupset performed flawlessly and being the lightest mountain bike we make, the Elite felt pretty nimble on the climbs. I did have aftermarket handlebars for a wider stance, and aftermarket pedals (mostly for the matching white color).
There are 11 ponds scattered throughout the state forest and with the dry summer we’ve been having, many of them were more swamp than body of water.
The larger ones were still a sight to behold with the clear blue sky reflecting off the water. As rode up to the waters edge here, a great blue heron took flight from the water.
This spot needed a bit of TLC before it was passable. Some branches had fallen across the bridge so we did some trail maintenance before attempting to ride our way across.
This was my first visit to Harold Parker State Forest and I can definitely say I’ll be heading back again. My Paratrooper Elite is folded in my car trunk just waiting for next weekend.