Downhill Mountain Biking - Adirondack Style

Quinton Johnson's personal slogan is "Like to Ride." As a regular contributor to, the mountain biking forum's forum, Johnson's personal motto is also an occupational hazard. Luckily for us, he's decided to write about his experiences for Area ADK, and he's got some pretty cool things to say about riding in the Adirondacks.

QJ Media

I currently live in West Milford, NJ, a small town in the country with lots of woods and lots of riding. I live about a mile from the infamous Jungle Habitat – which is really what got me into biking in the first place. Why is it infamous? Well, it's the failed location of Warner Brothers' first attempt to build a Great Adventure Park. It's an immense place with tons of cool, old ruins. It was an old wildlife area, so there are woods everywhere. After sitting abandoned for decades, local bike groups got together to build singletrack trails for riding, hiking and horseback riding.

I grew up riding my BMX bike on those trails with my dad, but by the time I had hit 5th grade, I had saved enough money to buy a Gary Fisher Marlin XC Bike and from there, my love for riding in the woods has blossomed.

When I'm not mountain biking, I'm probably doing a handful of things and one of those is thinking about mountain biking. The others are riding the local pump track, building trails or working. I'm also a volunteer firefighter and EMT, which I dedicate some time to each week, but I try to get out and ride my bike at least once a day just to keep moving and improving.

Downhill Mountain Biking At Oak Mtn in the Adirondacks

Intro to Adirondack Mountain Biking
In the Adirondacks, I've biked at Oak Mountain and Whiteface Mountain. The riding is awesome, big and all natural. The views are amazing – it's such an awesome place to be. I raced in the Gravity East Race Series at Oak and the course was wicked. We stayed in Speculator at the Moffitt Beach Campground for two nights while I was racing. Our tent was right on the lake and it was awesome waking up in the morning with a view like that.

I've only been riding in the Adirondacks a few times, but if I were telling someone about riding in the Adirondacks, I would tell them that it's gorgeous and a lot of fun. Oak Mountain is a brand new park with tons of potential and Whiteface Mountain is epic.

The riding is awesome, big and all natural.

Downhill Memories
My first real mountain bike experience was probably around the time I was in third or fourth grade. I remember vividly going to Jungle Habitat with my dad when the construction for the first XC trails finished. My dad had read about the project in the paper, and since we were so close, we went over to test it out. I remember it was a long day, I was riding a garbage BMX bike and my dad was on his (even then) old-school XC rig. Neither of us really rode a lot of off-road before then, and I remember my dad going over the handlebars several times. We didn't bring any water because we weren't sure how much riding we'd do. By the time the sun started to set, we were hooked and probably a little dehydrated, but totally in love with mountain biking.

Getting into downhill mountain biking was interesting. I was about 10 years old when Al moved in next door. He had this cool bike, an Iron Horse Sunday, and I remember thinking that he did everything with such ease with all that suspension. Being 10, it was the coolest thing ever. Al had a nephew my age who was also a mountain biker. He talked me into buying a downhill bike and from that moment, I was hooked.

Staging for the Gravity East Downhill Mountain Biking Race at Oak Mountain

What I love most about downhill is...

Well, that's tough. I get to meet some really great people from all over the world, including Australia, Chile, Argentina, Canada and all over the United States. I love where my bike takes me. I travel to races, but I also get to experience some awesome places along the way. I love hitting stuff that makes everyone's jaw drop, like 'Wow,' someone is risky enough to hit that. I love the daredevil side of riding.

I have been racing downhill for about four years now and my current bike quiver includes a 2009 Gary Fisher Marlin, a 2013 Jamis XCT 650b, a 2014 Giant Glory, a 2014 Giant STP and of course a snow bike for winter.

My "3 Cents" of Advice

  1. Stay somewhere gorgeous while in the Adirondacks. If a hotel or motel isn't your thing, then camp out and rough it on a lake. It's beautiful.
  2. Pack warm clothes. The mountain climates like the Adirondacks offer warm summer days and cool nights - best to be prepared!
  3. If you have one, bring an extra bike. Or three. There is so much unplanned riding in the Adirondacks; you will wish you brought all of your bikes.

A Little R and R After Downhill Mountain Biking
Adirondack Downhill Mountain Biking Thrills
About the Author …
QJ Media
Quinton, aka "QJ" of QJ Media, rides hard when not behind the camera capturing the the essence of real life. Follow QJ on Facebook at
About Area ADK …
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