By Darren Lum
Waiting for the intrepid rider, there’s a fulfilling adventure of sweat inducing ascents of single-track that wind its way through the trees, up, over and around boulders and slabs of the Canadian Shield and hair-raising meandering descents that will cause one’s heart to skip a beat or two under the green canopy of the Highlands at Glebe Park in Haliburton.
Among local riders that frequented the park’s trails, the close to 12 kilometres of predominantly single-track trails for mostly intermediate and advanced riders (with the Nordic ski trails for beginners) were already known, but the new president and executive of the Haliburton Mountain Bike Club, who manage the trail network are looking to expand ridership and grow.
The club has been fuelled by passionate volunteers such as past president of four years Thom Lambert and that will continue with a new executive and new president Mike Darlington.
Darlington said Lambert was a long-serving president that has wanted to step down for the past two years, so when local rider Owen Flood offered to assist he stepped up.
There has been a positive reaction already from the community related to the club’s drive for new members and volunteers, he said.
“Once this decision was announced it was as if I pushed a snowball down a hill. It just kept rolling and getting bigger as riders volunteered to assist,” he said.
Currently, the club has a little more than 30 members, which has grown from 24 last year. This will give the club a stronger voice in the community and will be beneficial when making requests to the Dysart et al Glebe Park and Museum Committee to perform trail work or to enhance the rider experience.
The new executive includes Darlington, Mike Gervais, social media coordinator and website developer, Erin Smith, membership, Mike Rieger, treasurer, and member Owen Flood. There is a new website, expanded social media presence, new logos and the club will soon offer the sale of merchandise of hats and T-shirts with club branding on its new website at www.haliburtonmtb.ca. Proceeds from the sales will help with trail maintenance and future efforts.
Darlington is welcoming riders and other outdoor lovers to join the club and use the trails.
“We hope people join and show support for the trails and come out and use the bike trails. We welcome runners and hikers/walkers and dogs. Please, keep your dog under control,” he said.
He adds the community can support the club by purchasing a membership and by volunteering, which can include regular trail maintenance, particularly during the autumn when trails need clearing of leaves.
With membership rates starting at $10 for a student/child, $25 per adult and $50 for a family, the club offers an affordable recreational activity to the community.
The membership dues help to cover the expenses related to insurance coverage at the trail network and for trail maintenance and construction. Purchase memberships online at zone4.ca/register.asp?i. Donations for single day use can be made through the app Trail Forks, which earns riders “Trail Karma” points.
Results from a recent online survey will be used for guidance and as potential areas to address for the near and long-term future.
Social media coordinator and website developer Gervais said riding is an ideal activity that is COVID-19 safe. He adds the trails system has expanded and continues to be improved and is possible because of a partnership with the town.
“We are so fortunate to have a land-use agreement with Dysart et al to allow such amazing trails to exist right in the centre of our municipality. There is a huge cycling boost worldwide – so much so that bikes are hard to find,” he wrote in a message.
Although a map and signage are onsite, there is online navigation and trail names and related descriptions for each with the app Trail Forks.
For more information see the club’s website at www.haliburtonmtb.ca, or look for social media posts through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Darlington said, “Our goal is to maintain, enhance and extend the trail system. We are trying to keep the operation of the club as simple as possible.”