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Find Your Adventure in the Capital City

Lucas Heath Howe truing a wheel in the truing stand at Freeride. Truing a wheel is the process of using a spoke wrench to change the spoke tension, which improves spinning straightness, eliminating wobbles. It is one of the many different kinds of bicycle repairs that happen at Freeride. Photo by Laura Brooke.
By Carolyn Grodinsky and Katie Trautz

While Montpelier is the smallest capital city in the U.S., with a walkable downtown, unique stores, varied restaurants, and events galore, it is also a hub for outdoor recreation. Nestled in the valley where the North Branch and the Winooski rivers converge, with public lands connecting a network of trails, access to nature couldn’t be easier. With this in mind, Montpelier Alive has launched a new website, “All Around Adventure.” 

The site lists the many activities both locals and adventure seekers can enjoy in the area, from biking and skiing to fishing and kayaking. Joining the effort, the Montpelier Mountain Biking Association (MAMBA) and the city of Montpelier recently published a hard copy of the “All Around Adventure Trail Map of Montpelier.” Spring is biking season in Vermont, and the All Around Adventure site features ride ideas and routes and businesses that support cycling, be it on asphalt or gravel; solo rides, or organized group ventures, such as the Onion River Outdoors weekly group rides on Tuesdays (for more information, check onionriver.com). 

The Cross Vermont Trail Association maintains the trail running from Lake Champlain to the Connecticut River. The 3.7 mile Siboinebi path that runs through Montpelier is one of many sections of the trail. Greg Western, executive director of the Cross Vermont Trail Association, gave an update. “[Our] staff and volunteers will be working this spring and summer to finish the trails in the U-32 forest and to connect the trail up to the school. By the end of next year, the trail will cross Route 2 and then come out at Route 14 where the rail trail starts now (across from the Central Vermont Humane Society’s shelter). Check out maps of the entire route at crossvermont.org.

Montpelier is home to the Montpelier Area Mountain Biking Association, an organization working hard to expand the trail networks around town. MAMBA recommends staying off the trails in North Branch and Hubbard parks until the soil dries out. Check out MAMBA’s website or the kiosks at the entrance to the trail network to learn when the trails open back up, likely in May.

Local bike shops that offer repairs and bike accessories include: 

Montpelier Alive plans to post its calendar of outdoor adventures on the All Around Adventure website soon. Look for that in the coming weeks.

Copies of the All Around Adventures Trail Map of Montpelier can be found at city hall, the Montpelier Senior Activity Center, the Rec Center, or at montpelier-vt.org/DocumentCenter/View/9508/Montpelier-Trail-Map?bidId=.

Carolyn Grodinsky is Montpelier Alive’s events and marketing coordinator, and Katie Trautz is the organization’s executive director.

Upcoming Bike Events

  • Onion River Outdoors Bike Swap: Saturday, May 6, 9:00 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Montpelier Complete Streets Bike Rodeo Sunday: Sunday, May 7, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., bike skills course for children ages five years. This event is free.
  • Freeride Montpelier Garage Sale: Saturday, May 6, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., rain or shine. Parts, bags, tools, and more!
  • Central Vermont Cycle Tour: Sunday June 25, starts at Morse Farm. Bike 15, 30, or 60 miles of scenic country roads. Great food, convenient rest stops, well-marked courses, maple creemees, and hula hoops, all to raise funds to build the Cross Vermont Trail. Go to crossvermont.org for more information. 
  • Learn basic bicycling skills with Nancy Schulz, member of Montpelier’s Safe Streets Committee. She’s offering free workshops for adults for fun and safe riding. Sign up for one, several, or all six sessions. Each session features a different skill, followed by an optional, guided bicycle ride. Tuesdays from 5:30 to 7 p.m., from May 9 to June 13. To register, email SaddleShoes2@gmail.com