City Moving Forward with Off-Road Cycling Trails

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The landscape will soon be changing at Malden and Little River Park in Windsor.

City council has agreed to move forward with the installation of off-road bicycling facilities at both parks at a cost of just under $500,000.

Justin Truelove is with the International Mountain Bicycling Association — the firm hired to design the trail systems.

Truelove says the trails will serve all skill levels with Malden offering some more challenging courses.

He calls the trails are a natural fit for these parks.

"Where do you put mountain biking trails when there's no mountains? So Malden is great, it has elevation as it's an old dump site. Little River corridor is fantastic. While it's not necessarily graded for elevation, it's perfect for beginners," says Truelove. "So that's why we're trying to create two destinations. One is going to be more beginner and community focused where the other is going to be more of a destination for those mountain bikers to grow and progress their skills."

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Justin Truelove of the International Mountain Bicycling Association seen at a Windsor Council meeting on June 17, 2019 (Photo by AM800's Zander Broeckel)

"The City of Kelowna is another one where it is a city park that has the only downhill specific trail in North America in it right now. Windsor would be the second. So you guys would be put on a different plateau than certain communities out there. For a community the size and scope of Windsor to be looking at opening its doors for this is fantastic to see," says Truelove.

He also believes there is a potential for a tourism boost.

"Cycling and mountain biking is a huge and growing sport. It's growing by leaps and bounds. Looking at things like the Ontario Cups, Canada Cups that used to come here, they can come back," says Truelove. "There's a great mountain bike trail network in Detroit called DTE, why aren't they coming north of the border? Our dollar is better, our beer is cheaper and better. So it's a great fit if you ask me."

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The proposed off road cycling trail map for Malden Park (Photo courtesy of the International Mountain Bicycling Association)

The decision to build the new trails followed a decision by the city in November of 2017, to level a track constructed by a group of off-road cycling enthusiasts on city-owned land. The track near the Ganatchio Trail was torn down due to safety and liability concerns, but council heard the community and decided to ear mark funding to develop regulated off-road trails.

Truelove adds it took about 18-months to put the plan together with several community input sessions and meeting with local stakeholders.

The city's Corporate Leader of Parks and Recreation Jan Wilson says construction will begin soon with a goal of having some of the trails operational this year.

Work will continue next spring — the final phase of the project, which includes a beginner skills area at Malden Park, will cost the city an additional $187,000.

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The proposed off road cycling trail map for Little River Park (Photo courtesy of the International Mountain Bicycling Association)