Eager reader Tony Amert sends photos of trails he's been helping the Black Hills Mountain Bike Association build in Rapid City. The view from the new trails at Hanson-Larsen Park on M-Hill:
Zowie! I like Madison's bike trail, but we just can't compete with climbing and scenery like that. (Well, hang on: Tony's dad could probably hook us up with some payloaders... pile up some spare dirt... heck, Lake County could build some biking hills!)
Tony reports Rapid City now has "over 40 miles of challenging single track/technical riding within 1 mile of downtown." How's that for giving the young people something to do?
These trails are evidently built and maintained by local volunteers. Funding thus far has come from grants, not the city, though Tony says the National Forest Service has recently gotten on board and obtained federal grant money for trails in National Forest land.
Can Madison replicate this kind of bike trail success as it seeks to expand its current asphalt ribbon into a winding network of two-wheel trails? Our granola–spandex demographic is admittedly smaller than Rapid City's, so we probably won't see a lot of screaming single-track. Still, as we look for more routes for nice asphalt paths, perhaps we should also include some more rugged paths for the dirt-and-gravel riders among us.
Where might we make some fun mountin bike trails around Madison? One logical area would be a dirt spur north off the existing bike trail that would loop around the creek and lead into the southeast corner of town. Another possibility: with a trail extension planned to run south along Highway 19 to the federal wildlife area, it's not too much of a stretch to envision going a little further to connect with the old poor farm, where there just happens to be an old gravel pit that we could knock into shape for some hardy riders. It wouldn't be M-Hill or Skyline Drive, but it would be fun!
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