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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
(This probably belongs in the NE subforum, but that doesn't seem to get much action.)

Has anybody ridden the gravel bridle trails in Acadia? If so, are they 25/28c road bike friendly? I'm trying to decide which bike to bring, and the road bike fits a little better in the trunk than my 29er HT.

Thanks.
 

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For the most part you can get by with a road bike. A full on mountain bike is definitely overkill.

A cross bike with 32ish tires could be ideal. A lot depends how much rain there's been recently. The issue isn't holes and roughness but dried out gravel that can get soft. If you plan to go in the near future 'd anticipate the trails to be in good cycling shape.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Good to know, and thanks for the info. I'll be up there in early June. I don't have a CX bike anymore, but my rough-stuff setup on the road bike is a 28 Gatorskin on the back and a 25 GP 4-Seasons up front (a 28 doesn't fit). I've had it on some relatively large and loose gravel without issue. The 29er is certainly more comfy, but less convenient to bring.

Related question - are these trails good for towing kids in Burley trailers? They look like it, at least from photos.
 

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You should be fine. I'd error on the side of road bike because there's some decent road cycling to be had around there too.

I can't comment on a trailer's effect on bike handling ect and if that would be good from that perspective but as far as being acceptable and having room goes, yes, that would be fine on most of the carriage roads I've been on.

One unrelated tip I have would be to ride the Loop Road starting as soon as you have daylight, or even a little before, in the morning. You'll beat all but maybe one or two cars and doing that ride alone except for maybe a deer in the road and seeing the sun come up over the ocean is spectacular.
Probably be cold at sunrise in June though. I've only done that in August.
 

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I've done it on 28's, found it a bit sketchy in turns, just had to slow down and be careful.

I enjoyed it better on 32's. 25's I wouldn't enjoy.

And yes you can tow a trailer. The trails are typically in great shape, but might get muddy and soft after prolonged rain(s). Hilly in some spots, not steep, just long grades. Google maps - terrain shows you where the trails are heading up hills and it was on those downhill sections with tighter turns I found my slick 28's to lose traction.

If I were pulling something I'd be using the 29 HT.
 

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My only issue I'd throw caution at is the gravel on descents, keep it slow. But yes the road bike is fine and a MTN bike would be overkill. Not sure when Maine's blackfly season is or if they have one in that area but I know in the Adirondacks June isn't on the table for me, I just plain stay away that entire month but not everywhere is the same so you might want to look into it as an FYI. I went in late July/early August and there were wild blueberries everywhere.
 

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Jay's suggestion of 32ish cross tires is spot on, but You could do it on 28's. They are well maintained. I rode my bad-weather commuter, a fixed-gear with cross tires. Had no problem (except a couple of hills that were too steep for fixie grinding with the poor traction). It was a lot of fun.

BTW, the official term they use is "carriage roads," rather than "bridle trails." They were built for Rockefeller's rich friends to ride around on, probably driven by their servants ;-).

It's a beautiful place. Enjoy.
 

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You should be fine. I'd error on the side of road bike because there's some decent road cycling to be had around there too.

I can't comment on a trailer's effect on bike handling ect and if that would be good from that perspective but as far as being acceptable and having room goes, yes, that would be fine on most of the carriage roads I've been on.

One unrelated tip I have would be to ride the Loop Road starting as soon as you have daylight, or even a little before, in the morning. You'll beat all but maybe one or two cars and doing that ride alone except for maybe a deer in the road and seeing the sun come up over the ocean is spectacular.
Probably be cold at sunrise in June though. I've only done that in August.
I want to change my tune. I'm a bit of a hammer head and tend to error on that side when it comes to bike choice.
Family vacation, pulling kids, I'd say bring the mountain bike. Sure you'll be slow if you get out on the roads but you can hammer at home. It's beautiful there so going slow and being more upright won't be too hard to take.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for all of the feedback. I've tried to cram a 28 in the front, but the Ritchey fork doesn't have clearance (I haven't found a fork that does). The good thing is that the 25c GP 4 Seasons is ~26.5mm wide when mounted on my sort-of-wide EA90 SLs, so there's a little extra cushion.

Anyway, I think I'll bring the road bike, and if it seems wise, I can rent an entry-level MTB (a Rockhopper or something) for $35/day. Chariot trailers are only $19/day, so I think I'll leave the Burley at home to save trunk space.
 

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I've been on it with a mtn bike. It's not too bad. Plenty of rental comfort type bikes seen on the trail. Some of the less frequented portions had deep spots of gravel, so yeah you'd want to be careful.
 

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You can rent mountain bikes there fairly easy btw. You'll enjoy the roads much more on a mountain bike, not for the suspension, but the upright position. Don't forget to stop at Jordan Pond for tea and popovers!
 

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+1 for the tea, popovers and strawberry jam at the Jordan Pond House. Many of the carriage trails meet there and they have a lawn out back with seating. Also think the mtn bike is the right choice, and I raced road races with many dirt sections in my day. Even with the mtn bike you can do the round trip on pavement from the town to the top of Cadillac mtn in an hour. Howling decent on a mtn bike. Watch out for the RVs though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
In the end, I brought my 29er and rented a trailer one of the days for towing my son. I think it was the right choice. It was fast enough, and the extra braking capability and grip was nice during the rain/soft trail surfaces. The 1.95 Renegade on the back got a bit loose sometimes, so I'd imagine a 28 Gatorskin could have been dicey in spots. The road riding in the park looked great, and when/if we make the 2,400 mile round-trip drive again, I'll have to try that option. I missed out on the popovers, but did get some pretty tasty food in Bar Harbor.

The trails are pretty nice though... mellow climbs, great scenery, pretty much zero traffic, and generally in great shape. I rode almost everything (~50 miles total with a bit of repeat, only missed the trails by Witch Hole Pond). There were a handful of nice and fast relatively long descents to mix things up. Around the Mountain and Day Mountain were especially fun.



(No, I didn't ride on the nature path around the the pond)

 
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