Dirt Rag - NYC's First Trails


JORBA Board Member/Chapter Leader
From Dirt Rag #118

Surprisingly, mountain bikers are not allowed on dirt in any NYC Park.

Yet, to the east, Concerned Long Island Mountain Bikers (CLIMB) have been building and maintaining 80 miles of trail across Long Island for over 15 years.

So after a request from NYC mountain bikers, CLIMB decided to help out in their pursuit to sacred single-track. A new club was formed (nycmtb.org), and together we set off on our quest: one trail in each borough.

Now, the work of several dedicated individuals has gained access for cosmopolitan cyclist-we finally have not one, but two pieces of the Big Apple. The first few trails will act as role models for stewardship and if successful, new parks may be opened to mountain bike use.

The first trail will be located near Fort George Hill in the northern tip of Highbridge Park in upper Manhattan (adopted by nycmtb.org). The second trail will be located in the north woods section of Cunningham Park in Queens (adopter by CLIMB). Tread Bike Shop is helping us grow a volunteer base to build and maintain the trails in Highbridge Park, while Peak Mountain Bike Pro Shop and Arc de Triomph are helping CLIMB do the same for Cunningham Park.

Highbridge and Cunningham Parks were chosen because of their prevailing negative uses (including ATVs) keeping them from their full potential. That’s where mountain bikes come in-embracing an opportunity to clean up the parks and create a positive recreational activity that will benefit the entire community.

The all-abilities trails will feature multiple line options from green circle (family trail) to black diamond (expert trail). All will be designed to IMBA standards. Plans are in place to integrate a BMX area where possible. CLIMB recently developed an interpretive self-guided beginners mountain bike trail for Stillwell Woods in Syosset. This trail, based loosely on the Rustlers Loop trail in Fruita, will teach environmentally friendly bike riding techniques. Socially responsible trail etiquette tips and lessons about local plant and animal habitats. We envision creating on at Cunningham Park as well, as it’s a great way to encourage new bike riders to develop a healthy respect for our precious remaining wild spaces.

If you can get involved to help build new trails, visit www.climbonline.org or www.nycmtb.org.
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