Thursday, March 31, 2011
good ol garret reynolds ...
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Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Informant: Jamie Bogner – NYCMTB
Photo by: David Tufino / NYCMTB
Background: The project was started by a few hard-charging mountain bike advocates: Matt LeBow, NYC's original IMBA rep, had been agitating for trails in NYC since 2001 or so, Dawson Smith joined him in '02-'03, and Mike Vitti, the other NY IMBA rep and CLIMB president, joined the coalition in '03-'04. Dawson and I started NYCMTB in 2005 to manage the trail construction process after NYC Parks gave us the green light to move forward with trails.
How big is the park?
There are about 2.5 miles of singletrack trails in the park. Highbridge is still, in many ways, a work in progress and we have plans for constructing additional trails with the goal being a loop of singletrack and existing park pathways 5-6 miles long.
What type(s) of trails are there?
There are some incredibly technical and rocky sections, and some fun and flowy sections. The park straddles a narrow cliff band from 155th St. up to Dyckman St./200th St., so we have built trails that reflect the natural terrain. The result tends to surprise people—the trails are, in general, very technical. We tend to ride and race loops that also include climbs up an old paved park path, and a stint along the bike lane on Dyckman.
Any distinguishing features or especially cool sections?
The area of the park where the trails are built was the site of the revolutionary war battle of Fort Washington. Hessian soldiers landed along the banks of the Harlem River and overran the Americans defending the hill. Then from the 1890s to the early 1900s, what's now the park was home to a sprawling Coney Island-style amusement park, with three roller coasters. We've built trails in and around old embankments originally constructed for the amusement park, and our "Rough Rider" trail was named for one of the old roller coasters. The end of the Rough Rider trail passes through a boulder field of Manhattan schist rock that was excavated during the construction of the #1 subway line. And we've built technical features off of remnant structures in the park, like a 3' drop on the "Wonderwall" trail built off a 1920's rock wall originally built for a sewer project.
The dirt jump park is probably the most successful element of the entire project. It gets 20 times as much use as the XC trails, and we have a small army of volunteers who've worked hard to build and maintain the jump park. Having a dirt jump park and a legitimate freeride trail with 150 feet of vert in a public park is pretty cool. Having it in Manhattan is honestly just incredible—who would have ever thought?
Given the average land value on the island of Manhattan, we've estimated the 20-30 acres of park land where the trails are located would fetch a price over a billion dollars, if it could be sold (which thankfully it cannot)!
What local group does trail maintenance there?
NYCMTB built and maintains the trails. NYCMTB also maintains the Wolfe's Pond trails, and CLIMB built and maintains the trails at Cunningham Park in Queens. NYCMTB is currently working on a trail project in the Bronx, and is studying locations in Brooklyn for future trails.
Construction of the trails was done by volunteers from many local groups: NYCMTB, The NYC Parks Green Apple Corps, Brooklyn Bike Riders, CLIMB, JORBA, WMBA, etc. It was a community effort.
Can a rider take public transportation (with a mountain bike) to get there?
Yes. You can take the #1 train to Dyckman St., walk out the door of the subway station, and see the lower trailhead across the street to your right. It couldn't be more convenient. It's also easily accessed from the Harlem River Greenway bike path.
well always LOVE u big!!!