First urban mountain bike trails coming to Devou on March 28

Work will begin on Greater Cincinnati's first urban mountain bike trails on March 28 when 150 high school volunteers start cutting their way through Devou Park in Covington.

Blazing Trails, a program sponsored by Give Back Cincinnati subsidiary Give Back High, is recruiting high school students from throughout the region to help build eight to 10 miles of trails of varying levels of difficulty.

"We do have several large school groups registered to participate and there is a general excitement in the air related to the project and its impact," says Teresa Murphy of Give Back High.  "It’s a fantastic way to enjoy nature and simultaneously create a permanent venue for others to enjoy an unfinished area of the park."

These trails would be the only beginner- and intermediate-level trails within 15 miles of downtown Cincinnati.

"I went to the trails the weekend before last for some training and was able to get a sense of the large-scale project’s vision and detail," Murphy says.  "It’s strange – after spending some time working at the site, you see the impact and are able to picture the final product."

Murphy says that work on the trails will continue into the foreseeable future, and there will be many more opportunities to volunteer.

"The goal is to have the first 4-5 mile loop done by the fall of this year," she says.  "In years to come, more mileage and loops will be added – on average, about 4 miles can be added per year."

As an incentive, two student volunteers will be selected to win Superlight Mountain Bikes, donated by Santa Cruz Bicycles and retailing at $1,800 each.

The Kentucky Mountain Bike Association and Cincinnati Off-Road Alliance pushed hard to have trails included in the park's master plan, which was approved last summer.

In advocating for the trails, both groups pointed out that more than one in five Americans over the age of 16 own a mountain bike, and that studies have shown that states with more miles of mountain bike trails have more physically fit residents.

Writer: Kevin LeMaster
Source: Teresa Murphy, Give Back High
Photography provided by Kentucky Mountain Bike Association
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