; Mountain bike trail planned

Mountain bike trail planned

By | January 17, 2019 9:03 am

A rider is already checking out the new mountain bike trail that will be open soon in Sparta. (Photo by RACHEL AUBERGER)

By Rachel Auberger

Local mountain bikers Greg O’Neal and David Zuber are teaming up with the Rock Warrior Mountain Bikers to bring a new recreational opportunity to young Sparta residents.

O’Neal said the idea was born when he and Zuber were talking about how they enjoy mountain bike riding with their children and grandchildren but wished they didn’t always have to leave the county to find trails that were suitable for young riders.

“My son loves to ride, but I always have to take him to Putnam or Cumberland counties to find trails that are good for him,” said Zuber. “I really just wanted somewhere here in Sparta that I could take him to ride.”

“I knew of some city-owned property on the east side of town that I thought would work for a kid-friendly local mountain bike trail,” O’Neal said.

He took Zuber to see the wooded lot that sits adjacent to Walker Street, East Bronson Street, and Luther Road. Zuber agreed that the small hills, ravine, and curves of the land would make a great course for beginner riders.

“We have not determined the length of the trail as we want to utilize all of the approximately seven acres to keep the trail kid-friendly and as long as possible,” said Zuber.

The men hope to make the trail challenging for young riders as they traverse the dirt path and work the small hills that already exist on the property. By using cut-backs and turns, the trail will be designed in a way that will keep riders close to the entrance at all times making it easy for riders to return to their vehicles quickly if they need to.

Zuber stated their hope is to bring a new activity to the youth of Sparta – an activity that can be enjoyed by riders of all ages and skill. Their hope is that while the trail will be fun and challenging for young riders, that it will be suitable for anyone with a bicycle, whether that bicycle is a simple bike bought at a department store or an intricate bike bought from a specialty bicycle store.

“We just hope to introduce mountain biking to the kids in Sparta – kind of like a gateway to the sport,” said O’Neal. “Maybe if they like it and get really good at riding this trail, they will want to ride some bigger trails.”

The entire project will be designed, built, and maintained by volunteers, resulting in no need for funding from the city. However, the City of Sparta will continue to oversee the project as it will be located on their property.

While there is no exact time frame for the completion of the Mountain Trail Project, O’Neal said they hope to open the trail for riders this spring.

Anyone interested in volunteering on this project can contact the Rock Warrior Mountain Bikers at rockwarriormtn@gmail.com

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