Saturday, June 14, 2014

Ride Report: Bedford Singletrack Mountain Bike Trail

It's been a week now since the opening of the Cleveland Metroparks newest addition to their growing network of mountain bike trails in the Bedford Reservation. Although I could not make it there to ride on the grand opening day celebration last Saturday, I made it out two nights in a row this past week. The forecast was threatening thunderstorms all day both days, but thankfully, those held off both times.

You can download a map of the trails here.

The first time, I parked at the Egbert Picnic Shelter, the main trailhead for the mountain bike trail system. There's a water fountain and restrooms here, plus even a do-it-yourself bike fix-it station. This lets you do some last-minute repairs, with a bike workstand, air pump, and basic tools needed for most common bike jobs (tire levers, screwdrivers, hex wrenches, and open-end wrenches).

I tried to study the map a good bit ahead of time to get my bearings and figure out how to link up all the sections of trail most efficiently. I think I'm an above-average map-reader, but I was still a bit confused, and ended up riding two of the trails in the wrong direction the first time.

I was confused my first time riding the Royalview Trail, too, so I didn't feel too bad, and it's been a piece of cake to make my way around Royalview ever since. Once I made it around all of the Bedford trails once, I had it down. The second time I visited, I parked at the "lower" trailhead near the intersection of Egbert Road and Overlook Lane. I didn't have any trouble this time, and linked up all the singletrack, along with the connecting sections of the All-Purpose Trail (APT).

That's the cool thing about they way they laid out this new trail. You can take the singletrack in bite-sized chunks as you wish, and you've got a bailout point on the APT anywhere along the way if you want to head back home without completing the entire trail.

The trail is very beginner-friendly, with relatively wide, smooth trails without too many rocks and roots to roll over. It's easier than Royalview, and I'd even go so far as to say it's easier than Quail Hollow State Park. I rode my Salsa Mukluk 2 fat bike, with the wheels swapped out for my new 29x3 wheels, with Surly Rabbit Hole rims and Knard tires. For the singlespeeders out there, the climbs aren't too intense, and for the truly hardcore, the trails could even be handled on a cyclocross bike.

The trails are open to mountain bikers and hikers. To minimize conflicts, the trails are one-way for mountain bikers, and the opposite way for hikers. The trail map has each trail section marked with an "A" at one end and a "B" at the other end; the "A" is the entrance for mountain bikers or the exit for hikers; the "B" is the exit for mountain bikers or the entrance for hikers. Also note that the trail crosses the bridle trail several times, and in a couple of places runs concurrently with it, so practice bridle trail sharing etiquette and yield to horses.

So, how can YOU navigate the Bedford Singletrack Mountain Bike Trail your first time without getting lost? We've put together a handy step-by-step guide for you, mapping out where to start, what to look for, and where to go in order to ride the entire trail network without skipping or repeating any trails. The steps are mapped out based on your parking at the Egbert Picnic Shelter trailhead, but we've also included steps for how to adapt if you want to park at the lower trailhead at Egbert Road/Overlook Lane. Just go to:

to check it out!

You may be asking, what's the best way to do it, parking at the Egbert Picnic Shelter Trailhead, or parking at the lower trailhead? There are pros and cons to both.

If you park at the Egbert Picnic Shelter, you'll have access to water, restrooms, and tools at the beginning and end of your ride. You're more likely to find an available parking spot.

If you park at the lower trailhead, then you can re-fill on water (and use the restroom) halfway through your ride. The first trail you'll go on, though, is the Mars Quarry Trail, which may be the toughest one, with more climbs, tight turns, and rocks than the others.

Personally, I think I like parking at the lower trailhead better. Even though there are some ups and downs both ways, there's more elevation gain going from the lower trailhead up to the Egbert Picnic Shelter, so if you start at the lower end, you get most of the climbing out of the way in the first half of the ride, then you get to enjoy a (mostly) downhill cruise back to your car on the second half.

My favorite part overall about the Bedford Singletrack Moutain Bike Trail is that, as an east-sider, I FINALLY have a quality mountain bike trail that's just a 15-minute drive (or a 40-minute bike ride) from my home!


  1. "It's easier than Royalview, and I'd even go so far as to say it's easier than Quail Hollow State Park."

    As a beginning rider, I think Royalview is WAY EASIER than Quail Hollow. I rode Quail Hollow the first two times I'd ever mountain biked and found that trail terrifying. It's narrow, it has a section of narrow boardwalk, and it has a completely scary dip towards the end that is really terrifying for a new rider. Royalview has none of these qualities--it has a wider trail and more gradual terrain. It was at Royalview that I finally started to like mountain biking (followed by a day of mountain biking in Moab... but that's another story!).

    Anyway, I just found this comment kind of weird because it's stated as though you think Quail Hallow is easier than Royalview... and I think it's the reverse... IMHO as a newbie to MTB.

    1. "I rode Quail Hollow the first two times I'd ever mountain biked." So OF COURSE you found it harder! I suppose if you asked 50 people which they thought were harder, you'd get 25 for one and 25 for the other. Each has its pros and cons; Quail is much flatter, but has more rocks and roots. Royalview is longer, and even though none of the climbs are too terrible, a couple are rather steep. To each his own; don't take it so personally!

  2. Oh, I was just debating (nothing personal). I am still afraid of Quail Hollow. I haven't been back since I crashed in that little scary dip. ;) I only scraped my knee but it totally burst my confidence. I almost hit a tree. I wonder if I'll ever get good at mountain biking.

    1. OK, I think you should go try it again. Now that you've got more experience, and are confident at a place like Royalview, I think Quail Hollow won't seem as bad. I've heard other people talk about that dip--it's really not so bad. Just roll right over the roots at the very beginning, coast all the way down and back up the other side!

  3. I wish that dip were a little wider. :)