Wayne NF Signs Bailey Tract Mountain Bike Project Approval

Bailey Tract Mountain Bike Trail Project Receives Official Approval by Wayne National Forest

The Bailey Tract Mountain Bike Trail System project received official approval by the US Forest Service-Wayne National Forest (official signed Decision document) on December 6, 2017. Phase 1 and 2 of the trail system is composed of 36 miles of single-track mountain bike trails with as many as 51 miles of additional trail being built in later phases.

Wayne NF Signs Bailey Tract Mountain Bike Project Approval

Wayne NF Signs Bailey Tract Mountain Bike Project Approval

This project is included in IMBA’s Dig In trail funding campaign, to help fund worthy trail building and maintenance projects across the United States. Gear Junkie said of the Bailey Tract project, that it is “perhaps the most ambitious endeavor” of the 68 selected for funding support by IMBA.

Wayne National Forest District Ranger Jason Reed credited Athens Bicycle Club, along with Ohio University and others on the Baileys Mountain Bike Trail collaborative working group, for leading this community-driven project. Come out to the Athens Bicycle Club meeting on Thursday, December 14, 2017, at 7:30 p.m. at the Athens Community Center to get an update on the project, and have your questions answered.

Wayne NF Signs Bailey Tract Mountain Bike Project Approval

Wayne NF Signs Bailey Tract Mountain Bike Project Approval

One of the beautiful things about this project is that most of the trailheads will be located within local towns and villages, such as Chauncey and Doanville, enabling partnerships with the local communities and increased economic benefit, as well as connections to existing bicycle trails such as the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway.

Bailey Tract Mountain Bike Trail Project Phase 1 Map

Bailey Tract Mountain Bike Trail Project Phase 1 Map

IMBA Dig In Campaign for Bailey Track MTB Project

Wayne National Forest Baileys Tract Mountain Bike Trail Project Promoted by IMBA

The Athens Bicycle Club is excited to announce the Baileys Mountain Bike Trail Project is part of IMBA’s Dig In Fundraising Campaign. We are seeking your support but first we want to give an update of the project that will bring 90+ miles of new mountain bike trails to SE Ohio.

Baileys Tract Flagged Trail Section

Baileys Tract Flagged Trail Section

Much ground has been covered since last spring. Progress has been fast thanks to a dedicated and growing group of volunteers along with our regional and national partners understanding that we have a strong project that provides many opportunities for our region. Establishing a new recreation area, creating a new sustainable economy, building a landmark that will encourage more community pride, providing a better quality of life and tackling health issues that plague our region just by building a wealth and caliber of trails that will be hard to match on any other parcel in a multi-state region.

Thanks to many local partners (and you!) the Athens Bicycle Club hit the $40,000 goal to fund the master plan for the trail system. Designed by Applied Trails Research the master plan is in the final stages of being completed and the drafts and revisions have only made the document a stronger blueprint for the project.

Volunteers GPSing Baileys Tract Trail

Volunteers GPSing Baileys Tract Trail

While the master plan document was in development additional tasks went into motion. In Spring 2017 the Athens Bicycle Club was able to rally 625 hours of volunteer help over 10 days to walk and GPS the trail corridor for phase 1 and 2 of the project. Now, roughly 36 miles of GPS routes exist on the property and will be the first wave of trails to be built.

Wayne National Forest started the environmental analysis of the property in late Spring. Thanks to a partnership between Wayne National Forest and Ohio University a group of six graduate students were summer interns inventorying the wealth of the forest from a biological, botanical and cultural standpoint. They made a some great discoveries but overall nothing that would impede the development of this land for the proposed use.

This week the Wayne National Forest plans to sign the decision memo approving the Balieys project. With the decision memo the construction of trails can start as soon as funding is found.

IMBA Dig In Campaign Banner

IMBA Dig In Campaign

Today we are writing to you to ask for your support for another point in the process. Because of the strong partnerships invested in this project the International Mountain Bike Association deemed the Baileys Mountain Bike Trail Project to be worthy of it’s Dig In Campaign. We are looking to raise funds through IMBA to produce detailed trail construction documents for the phase 1 and 2 of the trail system, 35+ miles of purpose built trail.IMBA Dig In Donate

As we approach the end of 2017 we encourage you to donate to this arm of the project via the Dig In Campaign. Our goal of $12,000 will cover the cost of documents to provide necessary detail of the project when goes out to bid to trails builders. Thank you for your past and future support, we look forward to seeing you on the trails in the Baileys!

IMBA Dig In Campaign for Bailey Track MTB Project

IMBA Dig In Campaign for Bailey Track MTB Project

On a final note, Gear Junkie has an article on the IMBA Dig In Campaign that specifically mentions the Baileys Tract Project:

“Perhaps the most ambitious endeavor is the proposed 92-mile Bailey[s] Mountain Bike Trail System near Athens, Ohio.”

500 Miles of MTB Trails Set to Launch in 2018

Bike Friendly University - Bronze

Ohio University Designated as Bicycle Friendly University

Bike Friendly University - Bronze

Ohio University is a Bike Friendly University – Bronze Level

The League of American Bicyclists announced on 8 November that it has recognized Ohio University with a Bronze Level designation on their list of Bicycle Friendly Universities. Ohio University now joins Ohio State Univerity, Kent State University, Oberlin College, and University of Toledo as the 5 Bicycle Friendly Universities in Ohio, all at the Bronze Level.

The OU Office of Sustainability, working with the Campus Bicycle Committee, gathered the data on OU bicycling infrastructure, education programs, and policies and submitted the application for OU to be considered for addition to the Bicycle Friendly University program in August this year.

OU encourages bicycling as an easy option for transportation and provides amenities such as McCracken Hall’s shower and changing room for commuters, and covered bicycle parking at numerous residence halls.  In 2017 the university introduced a number of new bicycling initiatives, including the Rebike Program which offers salvaged bicycles for sale to the campus community, and the Bobcat Bike Valet parking service for Saturday afternoon football games at Peden Stadium.

Bicycle Friendly Universities State Map 2017

Bicycle Friendly Universities State Map 2017

Details of the 2017 additions to the Bike League’s Bicycle Friendly University can be found on their web site:

2017 BICYCLE FRIENDLY UNIVERSITY AWARDS ANNOUNCED

The Bicycle Friendly University (BFU℠) program recognizes institutions of higher education for promoting and providing a more bikeable campus for students, staff and visitors. The BFU program provides the roadmap and technical assistance to create great campuses for cycling. More details about the Bicycle Friendly University program can be found at: http://www.bikeleague.org/university

League of American Bicyclists Logo

Walk Your Wheels sidewalk sign

Changes Coming to Sidewalk Bicycling Ban in Uptown Athens

UPDATE Nov 21, 2017: The Athens City Council approved the changes as proposed during the meeting on Nov 20, 2017. This includes both the slight reduction in the area of the sidewalk ban for bikes and skates in Uptown (excluding College and Congress Avenues), changing the fine from a misdemeanor to an administrative violation, and increasing the fine to $30.

UPDATE Nov 20, 2017: The area of restricted bike and skating on sidewalks in Uptown Athens is set to change as detailed in the map below. City Council is voting on Monday November 20, 2017 to reduce the area restrictions as well as changing a fine for violating the ordinance from a misdemeanor to an administrative offense, and increasing the fine to $30.

An education campaign, increased enforcement, and updates are coming to the bicycle and skateboard ban on sidewalks in Athens Uptown.

Walk Your Wheels sidewalk sign

Walk Your Wheels sidewalk sign

During an Athens City Council Planning and Development Committee meeting on Monday October 23, 2017, Mayor Patterson discussed that as part of the city’s Walk Your Wheels education campaign beginning in January 2018, that it intends to shrink the area for the bike ban to just the sidewalks along Court Street.

Many Athens residents are aware that for years the city has banned bicycles and skateboards from sidewalks in most of Uptown due to safety concerns. Earlier this year, the City Council passed an ordinance that reduced a ticket issued for an infraction from a criminal to a civil offense, thus enabling non-law enforcement personnel to issue tickets. In particular, this updated traffic code gives power to the parking enforcement staff and other city staff to issue tickets to those violating the bikes and boards on sidewalk ban in Uptown.

Athens City Council Oct 23, 2017

Athens City Council Oct 23, 2017

According to Mayor Patterson, as part of its education campaign, the city recently installed sidewalk-level signage asking for individuals to “Walk Your Wheels.” In addition, by January 2018, the city will be installing 7’ tall street signs and vinyl skin signs to one side of trash receptacles near intersections on Court Street to spell out the details of the traffic ordinance and fines.

Currently the ban on bikes and boards in Uptown extends to the cross streets of Carpenter, State, Mill, Washington, Union, and the parallel streets of S. Congress and S. College Streets. Mayor Patterson suggested that because they respect and understand the value of cycling in Athens, the city will shrink the area of the sidewalk ban to target only the heaviest pedestrian areas where safety issues are most critical, namely, along Court Street.

Athens Court Street Bike Rack Map

Athens Court Street Bike Rack Map. Red markers represent locations of bike racks along Court St. Click to view full Google Map of bike rack locations in Athens County.

During the meeting, Council Member Patrick McGee suggested that the city should consider providing more bike racks to invite people to ride to Uptown, park their bikes, and walk to their destinations on Court Street. Council Member McGee suggested installing bike racks, “maybe even in front of City Hall,” and Council Member Papai suggested adding bike racks in the first level of the municipal parking garage, saying that it would be nice to come back to a dry bike on a rainy day.

Currently, Court Street only has 8 bike racks along 3+ blocks with a total capacity of 20 bicycles, according to a bike rack inventory conducted by Ohio University staff and students. Recently the city added a new set of artistic bike racks as part of the W. Union Street upgrade project, adding 6 new bicycle parking spaces. More bike racks like these, following the Essence of Athens Plan (see figure) could be added to locations along Court Street to expand available bicycle parking, helping to encourage people to bike to Uptown.

Essence of Athens Bike Rack - W. Union St

Essence of Athens Bike Rack – W. Union St

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Essence of Athens bike rack design

Essence of Athens bike rack design

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:

Link to municipal code update March 20, 2017: https://library.municode.com/oh/athens/ordinances/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=848460

Link to municipal code 7.03.39. Bicycling on certain sidewalks. https://library.municode.com/oh/athens/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TIT7TRCO_CH7.03PAOPAC_7.03.39BICESI

 

Athens Mountain Bike Festival 2017 - Campfire

Athens Mountain Bike Festival Recap

It was a beautiful weekend to hit the trails during Athens Bicycle Club’s first Athens Mountain Bike Festival at Strouds Run State Park September 29 – October 1, 2017.

The club hosted a total of 52 people on mountain bike rides Saturday, thanks to ride leaders Black Lassie, Jim Schulz, Ellen Gerl, Audrey Larrimer, Meredith Erlewine, Sarah Webb, Danny Twilley, Doug Mansfield, Lucas Reilly and Stephen Bartone. Strouds Run has an extensive network of mountain bike trails, and rides organized at the festival covered all 26 miles of those trails.

A pre-ride briefing at Athens Bicycle Club's first Mountain Bike Fesitval.

A pre-ride briefing at Athens Bicycle Club’s first Mountain Bike Fesitval.

Most attendees were local, though we also hosted riders from Zanesville, Cleveland and Marietta, Ohio, who were attracted to the festival because of the opportunity to experience new trails with seasoned local riders. We also heard from people who came to ride in Athens after learning about the trails because of the festival.

On Friday night, 24 people participated in a short time trial and cookout organized by a local bike shop. Saturday evening, 20 people opted in to do dinner with club members at the camp site, so we pitched in for a pizza party.

Approximately 20 people camped on Friday and Saturday nights, most at the group camp site and some in the main campground.

Thanks everyone who participated in this celebration of our local trails.