(KYTX) - Opening ceremonies for a mountain bike trail at Lindsey Park, 12557 Spur 364, will be held at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.
The event will be held at the south side of the park near the softball fields. It will be followed by a four-hour endurance race, according to a press release.
The completion of this trail adds to the already impressive lineup of public biking/hiking trails in the Tyler area including those at Faulkner Park, The University of Texas at Tyler, and Tyler State Park.
"The Lindsey Park Mountain Bike Trail came about through a creative partnership between the City of Tyler, the Tyler Bicycle Club, and the Smith County Justice System," said Tyler Parks Director Stephanie Rollings.
The trail winds 10 miles through the 130 acres of Lindsey Park on Spur 346 west of town. The entrance and exit can be found across the park road from the parking lot for the lower softball fields.
"Tyler Bicycle Club volunteers, along with Smith County jail trustees and folks doing community service for their probation with Smith County Court-at-Law No. 3, cut the trail through the forested tract during the past 18 months," added Rollings. "The City of Tyler is so excited to offer to our citizens this type of recreational opportunity at now two of our park facilities. It is with these types of partnerships that such great projects come to fruition."
"The opening of Lindsey Park on the west side of town will complete the Four Pedals of the Rose, and ensure that Tyler is one of the only communities in America with four completely different cycling/running/hiking venues for people of all ages and abilities," said Tyler Bike Club President Billy Hibbs. "It will offer free, family friendly entertainment, as well as another strong reason for individuals and businesses to relocate to the Tyler/Smith County area."
The City of Tyler awarded the trail design contract to local competitive cyclist Nevada Thomason with the plan that clearing of the trail be done by Tyler Bicycle Club volunteers supplemented by small work details of Smith County jail trustees. The trail started to slowly take shape during 2011. Work on it accelerated about a year ago when Smith County Court at Law #3 Judge Floyd Getz set up several community service trail work days for those he placed on adult misdemeanor probation.
"We ran crews of as many as two or three dozen people, broken up into several small groups," said Judge Getz. "Each crew was supervised by one or more bike club volunteers and assigned to clear a different section of the trail. It amazed me how much we were able to get done that way in such a short time. Many of the folks that were initially court-ordered to be out there on certain dates came back out again on our later work days simply because they enjoyed getting their hours that way.
"Most recently, we had a group of students and teachers from All Saints School come out and spend a Saturday morning with us clearing the final stretch of the trail," added Getz. "It's rigorous work, but we all had a great time and got to create something that many people will get to enjoy for years to come."
The woods at Lindsey feature some excellent terrain for mountain biking. This trail is open and flowing with the trees cleared back away from the trail. The rolling hills at Lindsey provide a great workout with several long climbs and ripping-fast fun descents.
"If someone wants an introduction to mountain biking, Lindsey is a great place to begin," said Getz. "It's an easy trail if you ride it slow, but becomes increasingly more challenging the faster you ride it. It's set up so that you can ride just a short portion to get started, and then add more and more trail as you improve."
There are also optional portions available for more advanced riders. David Hartmann, one of the "trail stewards" at Lindsey, has added some very challenging expert sections as optional runs off of the main trail. Hartmann said that Lindsey is also an excellent choice if you want to get into night riding on a mountain bike. There are now super-bright LED bike lights available powered by rechargeable lithium battery packs; Riding the trail in the dark with those lights is a neat experience, he explained.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind if you want to go out and tackle these trails on a bike. A helmet is an absolute must.
Dr. Justin McInnes, another of the principal trail builders at Lindsey, explained, "Trees and rocks are unforgiving if you hit them at biking speeds. Most other injuries heal up with time and treatment, but a head injury can last a lifetime. A decent helmet is cheap insurance."
Another rule of mountain biking is to leave nothing behind but tire tracks. Take empty drink bottles and other trash with you. All riders are encouraged to help by clearing away branches or other debris that may fall on the trail.
To get involved with other Tyler areas mountain bikers and road cyclists, to register for the Lindsey Four-Hour Endurance Race, or to contribute to the maintenance of the trails, visit tylerbicycleclub.com.