No matter where I travel, I always see some unique “bike thing” that maybe I can bring home to B’more. Out of town this weekend, I got to do some mountain biking on some very technical & well designed trails. While these two trail systems were in very different terrain, they both exhibited fun challenges with resistance to rain & wear.
There’s a common misconception that mountain bikers just want to shred and ignore environmental impact; but in reality it is the mountain bike community who have promoted trails that last when designed properly. IMBA (International Mountain Bicycling Association) encourages environmental standards through their Sustainable Trail Design Guidelines and through local affiliates that do much of the trail maintenance.
My first ride started with a road climb up to the ridge of The Western Slope of Massanutten where rocky trails drop over a 1000′ to the adjacent valley. The Shenandoah Valley Bicycling Coalition works with public & private land owners to construct and maintain an intricate network of trails here. Local rocks were used to construct tabletops, rolling grade dips, trail armoring, and stream crossings which divert rainwater and provide riders with opportunities to catch some air. On my climb up the Pink Trail, I passed Tim, a local maintainer, who indicated this trail was only a year old and was so well designed that it didn’t need any maintenance. That’s quite a challenge considering the amount of bike traffic I saw. Not to mention, the black bear traffic I saw using the trails.
Heading back towards Baltimore, I stopped at Wakefield Park in Fairfax County, VA. Utilizing the rolling terrain and power line easement, MORE (Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts) worked with the county and utility companies to design world class trails as several mountain bike races are held here annually. (MORE also maintains many local trails like Loch Raven and Patapsco.) After the long climbs of Massanutten, Wakefield was no problem and down-right fun. Here I enjoyed a series of insloped turns, boardwalks and jumps.
If you would like to join a group ride or help maintain area trails, visit MORE’s website and check the calendar.