Houston Mountain Bike Association director TC Bray clears a portion of its trail network. With spring now here, volunteers are contributing time to get the trails in top riding shape. (Houston Mountain Bike Association photo)

Mountain bike riders look forward to a great year

Continued trail improvements on the agenda

Spring’s arrival means mountain bikers are once more venturing out but spring also means trail maintenance, says the secretary-treasurer of the Houston Mountain Bike Association.

So Sue Jones is hoping that last year’s success of signing up more than 70 members carries on this year in isssuing a call for volunteers to help clear trails on Mt. Harry Davis.

“Volunteers are taking on sections to clear,” said Jones of the association using its Facebook page where people can leave messages of what areas they have cleared off branches, rocks and other riding impediments.

She said interest in the sport grew last year as people wanted to get out and enjoy an outside activity that was not restricted because of COVID safety protocols.

That and the association’s collection of mountain bikes for all ages helped increase membership.

“What we found was that people found out they really enjoyed themselves and then bought bikes,” said Jones.

The association’s bikes were made available at Pawesome Adventures and while there was no charge, a donation was appreciated.

Last year also marked substantial completion of a new trail connecting an existing bottom trail and an existing top trail on Mount Harry Davis.

“Escalator now gives us one of the longest continuous ‘green’ trails in the north — five kilometres from top to bottom [of Mount Harry Davis],” Jones said.

That trail will be fully completed this year and the association is also adding to its inventory of more difficult ‘black diamond’ trails. Also in the works is a skills park to be built adjacent to the family centre.

Jones said grants from local agencies and other groups have helped finance the association’s trail development program.

And the association’s continuing efforts to develop closer ties with mountain biking groups in other communities will help strengthen the sport’s regional appeal.

“We even had people here in November,” said Jones of riders from communities east and west of Houston. They were drawn to the local trails because of wet conditions on their own trails.

While mountain biking is not considered a winter sport, the association’s trails were enjoyed by snowshoers this past winter thanks to $1,000 provided by the Dungate Community Forest.

“Mick Brown did the clearing [on the trails] and did a great job,” said Jones of the expanded use of the association’s network.

Those wanting to learn more about the association are welcome to attend its May 4 annual general meeting beginning outside at the family centre beginning a 7 p.m.

That meeting features a new president, Mark Groot, with former president Miake Elliott stepping back from active participation in the association.

Elliott’s business, Pawesome Adventures, remains as a community supporter and a location at which the association’s collection of mountain bikes can be borrowed, said Jones.