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Encourage mountain biking

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Women friends enjoy Pocahontas County back country, thanks to their mountain bikes. Photo courtesy Meredith Erlewine

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Children get ready to race their mountain bikes as part of West Virginia Mountain Bike Association cross-country events in Roane County. (Photo courtesy The OPAM.)

Mountain biking is an adventure sport. Mountain bikes are cross-country vehicles with no shocks and wider tires and deeper treads.  They’re made to go up and down hills and jump over rocks and logs and mud pits and plow through creeks. Unlike road bikes, they’re not made for comfort or speed.

West Virginia is great mountain biking territory with hundreds of miles of mountain biking trails. Ten years ago, comparatively few West Virginians rode mountain bikes.

 

Mountain biking now brings thousands of people and more thousands of dollars to West Virginia. Here, mountain bikers line up for the start of the Mountwood race, one of more than 25 major West Virginia races.

Mountain biking now brings thousands of people and more thousands of dollars to West Virginia. Here, mountain bikers line up for the start of the Mountwood race, one of more than 25 major West Virginia races. (Photo courtesy The OPAM).

Times have changed. More than two dozen mountain bike races attract thousands of people to West Virginia in the summer. Hundreds of miles of trail now crisscross the state. Children’s events and beginner classes create new riders every year.

Mountain biking is a economic and health plus, attracting healthy people, helping local people stay healthy, bringing in thousands of tourists.

You can download an extensive Trail Guide that answers the question, “Where can I ride my mountain bike?” http://www.wvmba.com/ridewv/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=68&Itemid=79

So far, at least four school systems have adopted mountain biking as part of their phys ed curriculum. “We want to help students get involved in activities they can enjoy all their lives, and this is certainly one,” said Luann MeVey, Wirt County middle school physical education teacher.

Want to encourage mountain biking in your community?

 

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Wirt County Middle Schoolers ride the school’s mountain bikes on the riding and walking trail around the school. (Photo: Kate Long)

  • Create a club: The International Mountain Bicycling Association offers a detailed guide to creating a mountain bike club. www.imba.com/chapter-club-regional-development .  Their regional contact, Frank McGuire, will help you form your local or regional club.  Frank.maguire@imba.com.
  • See what others are doing. Take road trips, group and solo. WV Mountain Biking Association will let you know about dozens of events, races and rides for adults and children.

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    Tucker County High School students ride all over the county after school. (Photo: Todd Romero)

  • Map out the trails in your area: To find rides in West Virginia and nearby places, check out this fabulous map of all trails in West Virginia, on land and water, for hiking, biking and paddling. http://mapwv.gov/trails.   This map is evolving. More routes and trails are continuously being added. If your favorite trail is not listed in the map, let them know!
  • You can also download the WVMBA Trail Guide at  http://www.wvmba.com/ridewv/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=68&Itemid=79
  • Here is a map of West Virginia mountain bike trails from Trails.com: http://www.trails.com/stateactivity.aspx?area=10111
  • Start offering local rides. The “events” page on the West Virginia Mountain Bike Association Web page will give you ideas. Get a Facebook page so people can let others know if they’re taking a ride and would welcome company.  Eventually, your group may organize longer trips overnight biking/camping or biking/fishing events, for instance.
  • Go to the WVMBA Facebook page to connect with other West Virginia mountain bikers and see detailed discussion of what’s happening.  www.facebook.com/groups/38594432567
  • Offer workshops, beginner and advanced. Go to one at another club first to see how they do it. Frank McGuire (see above) will help you. North Bend State Park has offered classes in mountain biking. Take one.

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    Kids get it! Kids love it. If anyone knows the artist who drew this picture, we’d love to give credit!

  • Talk with your public schools about mountain biking in P.E., an afterschool club, or mountain biking demos. Several counties already offer mountain biking:  Wood, Wirt, Tucker.
  • Get a trail committee going. Here’s a list of existing rail trails. http://www.traillink.com/state/wv-trails.aspx. If there’s a possible rail trail near you that is not developed, start the process.  See the Try This trails page.
  • In the long run, think about multi-county events. North Bend State Park, which offers mountain bike classes, is a venue for mountain bike cross-country events and is plannoing a statewide teen mountain bike league competition.
  • Cyclocross? It’s a spinoff off-road biking events:  Cyclocross events, which involve a lot of getting on and off your bike and getting the bike over obstacles.  Find West Virginia cyclecross at USA Cycling.

 

Also see all other Try This pages related to trails and biking.

 

Have something to add? Write it in “comments” below, with your contact info, in case we have questions.

1 Comment

  1. I have enjoyed reading your post. I really like mountain biking.

    Thanks for your post 🙂

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