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Summer dirt: Bridgeport trails open for wheels, hiking boots

By David Talley | Published Wednesday, July 5, 2017
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Rolling Fast

ROLLING FAST – Seth Foster navigates a curve at the Endeavor Bridgeport Adventure Park mountain bike trails. About two miles of the parks trails have been open since May. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The city of Bridgeport’s hiking and biking trails have been open since May and area residents are already enjoying the county’s newest exercise venue.

Nearly two miles of the expected 11-mile course have been built with more work planned later this summer.

It’s the first hike and bike-specific trail in the county, and Paradise resident Seth Foster said he’s riding the trails multiple times a month.

“Every time I come out here I try to do at least six or seven laps just to kind of wear down the trail,” Foster said. “The dirt is great right now.”

The city held a community build day at the trails in May and may continue to hold others.

Foster, who took in a week-long bicycle tour of Big Bend Ranch State Park this spring, said locals interested in taking up mountain biking at the Bridgeport trails shouldn’t fret over not owning expensive bikes or equipment or not being in peak physical condition.

“It’s just important to get out there and have fun,” he said. “It’s all what you want to spend and what you want to make of it. I have a hard time telling people, ‘you need this, this and this when they could get by with what they already have.”

The short course is made up entirely of dirt single-track, roughly 2 feet wide in most places. Mountain bikers can weave between trees and rail-banked turns on the mostly-smooth course. There is one, 1-foot drop from a wooden bridge, which Foster said cyclists should make sure their equipment can handle.

Prospective mountain bikers should plan on bringing a source of water, in the form of bottles or a hydration pack and should also wear a helmet. Because the trails are dirt, knobby tires are important to get traction on the course, which can sometimes become loose or rocky.

Foster said he’s made modifications to his wheels and tires to make them more suitable for riding on trails around the state.

“I’m running tubeless. I don’t think it’s necessary on that course right now, but it’s always a plus to have it,” Foster said. “For just the local people who want to come out here, it’s just about a good set of tires. Everything else you can work around.”

Running tubeless is a bicycle tire system that can help prevent flat tires from thorns by replacing a bike’s inner tubes with tape and tire sealant, which can seal punctures as they happen. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to simplify bike maintenance and can also reduce a bicycle’s weight.

While some cyclists will use “clipless” pedals to lock their shoes to their pedals to increase pedaling efficiency, Foster said the system isn’t necessary for prospective mountain bikers at the Bridgeport trails. It’s just important to have a bike that can handle being ridden offroad and a spirit for adventure, he said.

“You really just need a will to come out here and have some fun,” he said.

Outdoor retailer REI recommends the following tips for beginning mountain bikers:

  • Bike specific clothing makes for more comfortable riding. Cycling clothing includes fitted shorts, a jersey and gloves.
  • Modern helmets pass a series of safety tests before production and can help reduce the risk of a concussion in the event of an impact.
  • Many singletrack trails are open to one-way travel. For reference, the Bridgeport trails begin clockwise from the parking lot.

For information, call the city of Bridgeport at 940-683-3400.

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