||Mountain Bike America: Indiana
An interview with author Layne Cameron
Indianapolis writer and avid cyclist Layne Cameron has literally written the book on mountain biking in Indiana. Cameron's book, Mountain Bike America: Indiana is now in its second edition and is available at local bike shops, Barnes & Noble, Borders, and .
His book contains comprehensive trail descriptions, from beginner to advanced, GPS-quality maps detailing each ride and also accurate route profiles showing the ups and downs of each ride. You will also find detailed directions so you can find your way to the trails. The book also contains difficulty ratings, elevation gain, and trail contacts so you can be completely informed about where you're going and what to expect.
Cameron started road racing during his freshman year at Ball State University where he participated in their annual Bike-A-Thon. Two years later he also started mountain biking.
Years later, he was working as a children's magazine editor when a former coworker who had started working for a bike magazine asked him to write an article about midwest biking. Shortly after that, Cameron found out about a publisher that was looking to do a book about biking in the midwest. "This was right after the Hoosier National Forest opened up some of its trails to mountain bikers", Cameron said, so he contacted the publisher and was hired.
Cameron says, "No doubt that the best mountain biking in Indiana is in Southern Indiana." He claims that the best biking is in the Hoosier National Forest. Two trials that he mentioned as his favorites are Hickory Ridge and Nebo.
Hickory Ridge has 43 miles of trails that are all well marked and maintained. Nebo, which he calls his "nostalgia trail", was one of the first ones he rode there. Nebo is a moderate trail that "will push you but it won't kill you."
The best place to ride on privately owned land is in Gnaw Bone (Brown County) according to Cameron. The owners are really great to deal with and he enjoys just talking to them.
Unfortunately, as of right now, there is no mountain biking allowed in Indiana State Parks or on any state-owned land. Cameron hopes that they will eventually change this policy and open up at least some trails to mountain bikers. Areas that have allowed mountain biking have not reported any incidents of damage to the trails or complaints from hikers being run down.
Since mountain biking is restricted in many areas, make sure that you are allowed to ride before you take off on a trail. Cameron's book is a great source of information on places you can legally ride. It contains information on 32 of Indiana's best places to ride. You can even order the book from by simply clicking any of the links on this page.
If you are interested in mountain biking, Cameron recommends that you start off small to find out if you like it. "Don't go out and get the most expensive bike", he warns. You might even consider renting a bike and a helmet and starting on a relatively easy ride. From there you can work your way up and get nicer equipment.
Layne Cameron is currently supporting himself solely by freelance writing and is currently working on a book for Rodale press which is unrelated to biking.
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