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Grand Rapids mountain bike trail taking shape

Grand Rapids mountain bike trail taking shape

By Howard Meyerson | The Grand Rapids Press

Grand Rapids bike trail
GRAND
RAPIDS — An urban-based mountain biking trail is in the works for
spring, according to Grand Rapids-area mountain bike enthusiasts.

Construction
is to begin Monday at the former Southwest Little League site, 580
Kirtland St. SW, where a BMX bike course exists. The park now will be
known as Grand Rapids Bike Park.

“We bought a big chunk of dirt,
500 yards, from the BMX guys, and that dirt will be come the pump
track,” said Nate Phelps, president of the Michigan Mountain Biking
Association.

Phelps said West Michigan MMBA chapter members will
be on site all week working with Jason Wells, a professional trail
builder from the International Mountain Bike Association based in
Boulder, Colo. IMBA donated a week of his services to the West Michigan
group in a grant worth $15,000.

The pump track, a trail with
rollers, moguls and banked turns, will be built on an area about the
size of a park ballfield. A beginners mountain biking trail also is
flagged, and Phelps expects that to be finished next week as well. A
more advanced trail is planned for construction in the spring.

“We’ve
rented equipment and will drop the dirt in big piles and sculpt them,”
said Phelps, who began discussions with the city of Grand Rapids in
2006 about the project.

City officials have said the project is a win-win. The City Commission approved it unanimously in October.Work on the site is expected to proceed through next weekend, weather permitting.

Phelps
and other area riders are hosting an open house 11 a.m. Jan. 16 at the
site. Visitors will be able to tour the new mountain bike track and
trail.

Phelps said he hopes to get representatives visiting
from nearby communities who might have an interest in learning more
about how it is done. Wells also will be on hand to discuss trail
building.

The trail work is expected to be completed this spring
once the weather improves and a more advanced trail can be cut through
the woods.

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