New bike trail opens on Tates Creek Road

By Olivia Jones

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Lexington bikers have been presented with a new outlet as the Veterans Mountain Bike Trail opened Wednesday on 4043 Tates Creek Road.

According to avid mountain biker and President of Bluegrass Chapter of KY Mountain Bike Association, Troy Hearn, the lollipop shaped, off-road path is primarily in the woods and connects to a nonofficial trail.

The trail is surrounded by neighborhoods and it crosses over previously established multiuse paved paths. The KY Mountain Biking Association separated the state into three chapters, Bluegrass, Bowling Green and Louisville, with trails in each. Compared to the other chapters, Hearn said, “[The Veterans Trail] is less technical and for everyone, really…it looks busier than our other trails because it’s smaller.”

Kentucky has seen an increase in mountain bikers over the past several years, as KYMBA’s community has increased to 300 paid members. Hearn explained that the Veterans Trail is becoming so popular that there has already been talk about expansions.

“But there have been no official meetings yet,” he said. “Six or seven people have already been here this morning.”

Tony Mays, a maintenance employee of Veterans Park said,”It’s beginning to pick up.” For information on group rides and upcoming events people can search the Veterans Park Trails Facebook page.

The first group ride took place on Thursday, and one will be held each following Thursday rotating through the various chapters. According to Heart, biking in the snow is “a lot of fun.”

“When there’s a little snow on the ground…it adds to the technical aspect.” On the other hand, he warns of the damages that riding in certain types of weather can cause to the trail.

“Freeze fallis when the sun is out and melts the top layer of frost on the trails,” Hearn said, “If you ride on top of that, the tires cause ruts that we’d have to fix.” Planning for this trail began as simple ideas about five years ago. Hearn explained that KYMBA worked with mayor Jim Gray and Pedal the Planet to put their talk into action.

Hearn explained that once construction was started, the trail was completed atone-fifth of the estimated cost and finished a year sooner.

“We just wanted a trail, fast,” said Pedal the Planet owner Mark Trimble. Pedal the Planet’s previous construction of bike trails in areas like Ga. and Tenn., the company was recommended to be the contractor for Veterans Trail.­­

“As everyone knows, Kentucky has a high obesity rate…we need to get people up and moving,” Trimble said.

Trimble explained how Lexington’s economy should improve with the trail attracting various companies.

“The trail will help increase the quality of life in Lexington, it’s great entertainment, people will want to come here,” he said. “I love that I can take my children out for a ride and not have to travel far to another trail…this one accommodates all levels,” Trimble said.

Pedal the Planet donated a “fix-it” station along the trail, where bikers can pump tires and do minor repairs to their bikes.

“There’s a code picture on the station for smartphones that will link you to an instructional page that guides you through repairs step-by-step,” Trimble said.

“I’ve even ridden a golf cart on it,” Mays said.