However, a local mountain biker disagrees.
“Utah is good, but only top 10 good, and not deserving of #2,” Sterling Peterson said.
According to the research done by Icebike, Utah follows closely behind the best place to mountain bike, which is Vermont. The study looked at the number of trails, the percentage of hilly terrain, the number of national parks, and the number of top destinations per state.
They also analyzed the state’s bike-ability score which is a rating from the League of American Bicyclists that includes factors such as safety, infrastructure, and policies relating to cycling.
Utah ranks as the second-best state for mountain biking with a total of 6,036 trails. This means around 199 trails per 100,000 people. The vast number of trails, plus five national parks, a bike-ability score of 66, and 65% hilly terrain put Utah in second place.
Peterson, a local mountain biking enthusiast said that it is very objective.
“So many things factor into this including proximity to trails, quality of trails, people’s behavior on trails, variety of trails, and scope of trails,” Peterson said. “As someone who has done extensive riding outside of Utah, where Utah excels is in close proximity to trails and a variety of trails. Access to trails is extremely quick, and within only a few hours have access to epic riding destinations.”
However, he said that while Utah’s trails are nice, the trail quality and people’s attitude on the trails are very poor and lackluster.
“People on the trails in Utah are very competitive and unfriendly overall. That doesn’t go to say that all are bad here but overall has a negative feel compared to other states. Riding in New Mexico, Arkansas, Washington, New Jersey, New Hampshire you are guaranteed to make a new friend if you’re on the trail longer than an hour,” Peterson said. “In Utah, it only takes an hour to get yelled at, whether you’re going too slow or too fast, it doesn’t matter.”
Vermont took the number one spot, with a total of 2,520 bike trails which means 402 trails per 100,000 people, and 80% of the state has a hilly terrain and a bike-ability score of 53.
Utah’s ‘next door neighbor,’ Colorado, ranked as the third-best state for mountain biking, with 6,980 trails. It has 123 trails per 100,000 people, 66% hilly terrain, and four national parks. Colorado has one of the highest scores for bike-ability, a 70, following only Massachusetts, Oregon, Washington, and California.
According to the research, Massachusetts and Montana also made it into the top five states for mountain biking, taking fourth and fifth, respectively.
In last place was Nebraska, which ranks as the worst state for mountain biking, it has only 12 trails per 100,000 of the population, in total it has 235 trails. Even though it has 64 % hilly terrain, it has the lowest bike-ability score of all the states at 27, and it has no national parks.
“According to research carried out by Harvard Medical School, of all activities, cycling burns the most calories,” An Icebike spokesperson said. “Mountain biking, in particular, burns the same number of calories as cross-country running, so it’s a fantastic way to experience nature and stay fit and healthy.”
This study was conducted by icebike.org, a bike review and comparison website for both adult and child bikes.