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MTB in Lex?

Rest break MTB at Capitol View

My friend Ryan likes MTB, too.

During Now What Lexington, Scott Clark and I discussed the mountain bike situation in Lexington. There is currently only one recognized trail in the city, at Veterans Park. Our friends at OutrageGIS have compiled a very nice map of the park, displaying the nearly 2.5 miles of singletrack. While I am proud that there is at least one trail in our city, it is rather limited in both distance and degree of difficulty. When I lived in Louisville, I was blessed with the ability to ride from my home to the Briar Hill trail (very technical, beautiful area), or take a short drive from work to trails at Cherokee or Seneca parks. Besides Veterans, the next closest trail to Lexington is in Frankfort’s Capitol View park. It is a great trail, but hardly a convenient after-work jaunt.

In our discussion, Scott told me about the great variety of trails he experienced while living in Northern California. After a long day of work, they were a very inviting reason to get out and exercise while enjoying nature. I have heard similar testimonials from friends in Seattle and Boulder, who love where they live because of the ease to go from office to wild trail in under 30 minutes. The only thing that seems to be standing between Lexington and the enjoyment of local MTB trails is our willingness to build. So, I wrote a letter…

Hello Parks and Rec!

I participated in a QOL focus group with Jerry Hancock yesterday, and didn’t get to speak with him before I left. Jerry mentioned the desire to modernize Lexington’s park system, and I was curious if this includes plans to add new Mountain Bike trails?

During the Creative Cities Summit and Now What Lexington, Scott Clark brought to my attention that Lexington has only one MTB trail (Veterans Park), and a short, entry level one at that. I noticed that it is not even designated on your trails list.

While I am excited about the quality of life benefits brought on by the pavement-type Legacy and Town Branch trails, I think that our city would be further enhanced by the addition of at least one new off-road MTB trail. Mountain biking is very popular among the creative class, the type of people our city is seeking to attract. Similar to hikers, mountain bikers crave an intimate experience with nature, and are inclined to preserve and maintain the environments in which they ride. As Central Kentucky seeks new ways to connect citizens and visitors to our region’s natural beauty, I think we would be remiss to move forward without plans for a new MTB trail in Fayette County.

How can I help make this a reality?

-Nick

I am excited for a response from Parks and Rec as to how citizens can help add a new trail and improve the quality of life in Lexington. I think this project will be a good complement to improved nightlife options in downtown, a more appropriate variety of housing near the city’s core, better public transportation, and stronger ties between the city and its three institutions of higher education, especially from the point of view of the creative class.

So, here’s what needs to happen:

  1. Get feedback from Parks and Rec (history of MTB in Lex, market demographics, regulations)
  2. Select a site (preferably close enough to ride from downtown to trailhead, yet with beautiful and challenging terrain)
  3. Learn how to build a trail (any experts here in Lex?)
  4. Invite all our friends to ride

I am neither an expert on trail building nor the most avid mountain biker in Lexington. I’m just a guy who loves every minute I spend on two wheels, and wants to share that joy with others. Will you help me?

==update 5/7/10==

The digging was worth it! Got some excellent news back from LFUCG and Pedal Power. In addition to upgrades to Veterans Park, construction is underway on a new trail in Scott County. Details from LFUCG:

Nick,

Thank you for your interest in mountain biking in Fayette County and Veterans Park.

The MB trails at Veterans developed unofficially over the years and are not designed to recognized safety and sustainability standards. Therefore, we didn’t feel it was prudent to “sanction” their use officially.

However, we currently have a contract with CDP Engineering to re-design the trail(s) and expand them to include 4 levels of difficulty as per national mb standards. We’ve had 2 public meetings which were heavily attended by members of the local chapter of the National Mountain Bike Association.

Using input from the association members and that of general public novice riders who also attended the meetings, we developed the attached plan. We are in the final stages of revision to a couple sections and working toward advertising bids for construction very soon.

We anticipate that current available funds will only cover the initial construction of the trail surface (and we won’t be sure how much until bids come in). We have talked to many local mountain bikers about organizing volunteer work groups to build many of the “events” along the more difficult trails once the trails are in place.

Joining KYMBA would provide a means for you to be updated about all mountain biking activities in the surrounding area. Here is a link to their website http://www.kymba.org

You can also watch this website for information about all types of local biking events, planning, advocacy and volunteer opportunities: http://www.bikelexington.com

I hope this information is helpful. Please don’t hesitate to contact me again if you have questions.

Michelle Kosieniak, RLA
Supt. of Planning & Design
LFUCG Division of Parks and Recreation
469 Parkway Dr., Lexington, KY 40504
…a nationally accredited Parks & Recreation agency
(859) 288-2982 office
(859) 489-9759 cell
(859) 288-2999 fax
michello@lexingtonky.gov

Veterans Park MTB upgrade plan

Veterans Park MTB upgrade plan

And from Pedal Power about MTB Trail Building in Scott County:

Nick, thanks for your interest! The regional chapter of the KY Mountain Bike Association is in the process of buiding an 8-10 mile mtb trail in Scott County outside of Stamping Ground. Different groups are taking responsibility for ensuring different sections get built and Pedal Power has committed to building 2.3 miles of the total trail network with the help of our customers and other volunteers from the community. We will be out working on the trail every Sunday in May (weather permitting) from 10am-2pm. The best bet for keeping up to date is to check our shop’s page on Facebook. There is also a Google group for volunteers with some good information on it that I am sending you an invitation to join if you’d like. It’d be great to see you out one Sunday! Let me know if I missed anything or you have any further questions! -John

Check out Skull Buster trail volunteers, and their work building a new set of MTB trails in Scott County, near Stamping Ground.

Scott Co Skull Buster trail map

Scott Co Skull Buster trail map

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  1. 2010/06/23 at 2:45 pm

    Via @LexLegacyCenter: Mountain-bike park planned for undeveloped land in Orlando – Orlando Sentinel
    http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2010-06-05/news/os-mountain-bike-park-20100604_1_mountain-bikers-developers-of-baldwin-park-lake-druid

  2. 2011/07/16 at 4:53 pm

    I’ve no idea how I missed this outstanding post Nick. I’m heading to Skullbuster tomorrow to sweat it out. My new Marin XC bike is far too clean!

  3. 2011/07/17 at 1:44 pm

    Glad you found it, hope it’s still helpful. The KYMBA guys have recently redone a section at Skullbuster to make it even more awesome. Time to get some dirt on that Marin!

  4. Kevin Wieman
    2012/07/18 at 11:54 am

    Just rode Skullbuster for the first time yesterday and I can’t believe I have missed this jewel for so long. Great article! Glad there are activists like you here in the Bluegrass!

    • 2012/07/18 at 2:47 pm

      Thanks, Kevin. Glad you enjoyed it!

    • 2012/07/23 at 11:18 am

      You absolutely must also try the Veteran’s park trails. 10 min from Lexington. 3-4 laps makes for several hours of fun with jumps and berms. New signage is 3-4 weeks away, but trails are perfect as of today. I spent several hours out there Sat and never got bored

      • 2012/07/23 at 11:24 am

        I’m heading to Veteran’s with a friend tomorrow! I first rode it several years ago, then again this Spring after some of the new trails were cut. I’ve heard they’ve gotten even better over the Summer. Excited to try it out!

  5. C. Fogg
    2012/08/24 at 11:04 pm

    Nick, just rode Skullbuster today with two of my co-worker/friends. Your map is a bit convoluted. The trail is only marked with Blue and Orange diamonds… not pink, green, purple or red. Also, I noticed zero of the loops shown here on your map. There was a horse-only trail marked with a double orange rectangle, but no offshoots like your map suggests. Are these proposed trails? Also, where are the pond and scenic trails in reference to your map? Cedar Point, Big Sky Pond, Little Round Pond, etc. These would make better reference points to help locate yourself on this map. Thanks!

    • 2012/08/25 at 11:03 am

      Hi C! Yes, the map on this post is likely outdated. It was from some of the original planning for Skullbuster back in early 2010. I haven’t found a better map yet, and haven’t been out there enough to GPS my own. There are lots of folks in the KYMBA Bluegrass Facebook Group who have built and ride Skullbuster. They might know of an updated map? Good luck and enjoy the ride!

    • Scott Clark
      2012/08/27 at 8:07 am

      Skullbuster is evolving all the time (mostly expanding thanks to the back breaking labor of some dedicated trailbuilders/cleaners.) I recommend you get involved in KYMBA Bluegrass Chapter. You may want to use Maprika on a smartphone as I think that recent skullbuster maps are on there.

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