Rim Country's Terrain Ideal For Mountain Biking

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Look around, the Rim country is full of rocks, trails and dirt roads just waiting for a two-wheel attack. And while you're at it, don't forget to catch the view.

Whether you're a newbie or an old pro, the Rim country is an excellent place to get on your bike and go for a ride.

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Mountain bikers from all over the Southwest have discovered the magnificent views from atop the majestic Mogollon Rim.

"No matter where you go, there's going to be some climbing involved," said local cycling afficionado, Dan Basinski.

The hills may scare off the faint of heart, but Basinski said fear of getting into shape shouldn't hold anyone back. When the elevation gets too steep, hop off your bike and walk.

"If you're a rank beginner," Basinski said, "it's really cool going around Monument Peak."

To find Monument Peak, head out on Granite Dells Road until it turns to dirt -- it'll take you on a four-mile ride around wilderness behind the Rim Golf Club.

Doll Baby Ranch Road, out past the Payson Golf Club, is another great place for beginners or experts looking for a ride close to town.

The road ends at the Houston Loop Trailhead. Basinski said the route leads to a horse trail, and riders can choose to go west on the easier horse trail or east for more challenging terrain.

"It's not smooth," Basinski said.

For the more experienced rider, Basinski recommended the Shoofly Ruins about 8 miles out on Houston Mesa Road or the Boulders on the west side of Granite Dells Road.

"It's a cool ride. It's sweet," he said.

To find the Boulders, take Granite Dells Road until it starts descending. Basinski said to keep an eye on the right-hand side for the trailhead entrance. Once on the path, look for a fork in the trail.

"Boulder south is more technical than Boulder north," he said. "It's challenging."

Cyclists interested in getting started or upgrading their current set up should go to Manzanita Adventure Sports behind Woody's service station on the Beeline Highway.

They carry a full line of gear and United States Geological Survey maps for the hard-core mountain biking enthusiast.

Manzanita Adventure Sports also rents high-quality mountain bikes.

For more information, call (928) 474-0744 or visit the Mountain Bike Association of Arizona at www.mbaa.net.

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