A few years ago IMBA came up with a promotion dubbed, ‘What Would We Do without Trails?’ It featured mountain bikers in unusual situations (bowling alley, shuffle board, bodybuilding) due to a hypothetical lack of trails. For many of us, this was just fun and silly marketing. For others it was, and still is, a harsh reality. Aside from the fact that we travel the country to teach and ride, we live in Colorado (aka the Honey Hole), and have seamlessly unlimited riding opportunities. We experienced the true meaning of this ad campaign on our last visit of the year to South Florida.
What a way to end the 2010 season; urban adventure in Miami! Despite the presence of three well known trails systems, this major metro area is still in need of more riding opportunities. Ranked as the fourth largest urban area in the US and covering over 6,000 square miles, one could imagine that it takes quite a bit of effort to get to the trails. In addition, riding opportunities have come and gone due to development, lack of funding, and catastrophic weather events. Fortunately, there is an ongoing effort to expand the trail opportunities across the city.
Working with Mack Cycle and Fitness, Virginia Key Bicycle Club, and local advocates, our visit focused on the developing trails at Virginia Key Beach Park. For what they may lack in quantity, the new system will be quality. With views of the Miami skyline, Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, it’s exciting to know that you will be able to ride a mountain bike (on trails) in, what we believe to be, one of the most unique locations nationwide. And let us be the first to tell you, the South Miami locals are ecstatic. Trails at Virginia Key mean more riding, less driving. They are so excited in fact that many of the core volunteers are spending their weekends (almost every one) working on the trails. By the end of January they plan to have 4 miles of new singletrack to ride.
We were humbled and inspired to work with everyone who participated in our Miami trail care crew visit; they were one of the most hardworking and enthusiastic groups of the year (30 people for a Sunday group ride for a 2 mile trail preview is proof). It reminded us that we should never take our trails for granted, not even for one single day.
BIG thanks to Mack Cycle and Fitness and John Voss for hosting a great visit. Thanks to the City of Miami for taking the time to meet with us and the local advocates to discuss the importance of the Virginia Key trails. Thanks to all of the volunteers who participated Saturday and Sunday, and who continue to care about trails in Miami. Finally, thanks to Frenchie for leading the way at Virginia Key (and Oleta) – without people like you trails don’t happen.