Biking trails on the doorstep
July 25, 2007
Jesse Mourer didn’t start biking until he moved to Park City this summer.
"Now I do it everyday," he said.
He moved to a place in Prospector, close to the Rail Trail.
"I use it for convenience, I love it," Mourer said. "I came from a place that had nothing like this."
There are hundreds of biking and hiking trails in the resorts and surrounding areas of Park City. But for many residents, all they need to do is open the front door to get to paved trails specifically designed for hikers and bikers.
"You can have a great bike ride though town, and you don’t have to feel like you have to strap on Lycra," said Scott Ford of Cole Sport. "There are a lot of people that don’t know there are actual roads that are painted with bike lanes that connect everything through Park City."
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The roads provide an alternative to rocky, steep trails in the mountains.
"A lot of people that live here are intimidated by the core biking aspect, and you can have fun cruising around town," Ford said.
Ford said the trails are ideal for families looking for an inexpensive activity.
"I have twin girls and my family goes out," Ford said. "There’s no way we could do it (without the trail system)."
The trails basically encircle Park City:
*McLeod Creek and Millennium trails follow S.R. 224.
*McLeod connects with the Glenwild trails on the other side of Interstate 80.
*The Rail Trail follows S.R. 248 and U.S. 40 until it passes underneath I-80 heading toward Coalville.
*Round Valley and Silver Summit trails wind through parts of town. The specific bike lanes will have a bike symbol to lead cyclists.
"They keep it nice," Mourer said.
"The nice thing is, it’s paved all the way through," Ford said. "The city’s done a good job in getting a little more continuity (with the trails). They are continuing to enhance that. There are bike lanes on the street, and they seem a little bit more obvious."
Although the trails are built for safety, there are some dangers cyclists need to be aware of.
"The nice thing about those trails is, you’re off the road," Ford said. "It’s very easy to safely navigate through them. Still, there are spots that are a little tight to have a bike on the road."
Each intersection, Ford said, has a pedestrian crossing "where you can hit a button" to cross.
"It’s one thing the city’s done by having very well marked crossings," Ford said.
Don’t expect drivers to see you, though.
"The biggest problem is drivers don’t pay attention," Ford said. "Always look. If there’s any doubt, unless you have direct eye contact, you have to be very cautious. Never assume anything. An ounce of precaution goes along way."
Bike helmets should always be worn, and lights should be somewhere so drivers can see you in front and behind, Ford said.
"Helmets and lights have been a standalone safety thing," Ford said. "There are still people that don’t see you."
When taking children, Ford suggests using a trailer.
"I’m a huge supporter of bike trailers over baby seats on the bike," Ford said. "It’s easier and safer to take kids on a trailer."
Riders should also know their equipment to avoid problems.
"Maintenance and understanding the operation on your bike," Ford said. "Some bikes have hand brakes and some have the old-style coaster brakes."
If they don’t know those things, it could lead to crashes or a bad day walking the bike home.
There are also some etiquette people should know. Mourer said there are constantly people on the trails, both hikers and bikers.
"There are basic, courteous, common-sense rules," Ford said. "Some don’t know them and that’s what creates the conflict between hikers and bikers."
Ford said bells are a good way to let a hiker know you are coming up from behind them. Bikers should also stay to the right and not fill up the whole path.
"People are going both directions," he said.
Cole Sport has rides that leave every Monday night from the store, which usually takes less than two hours.
"It’s more of a social road ride," Ford said. "We don’t want people to think it’s a racer-type ride. We want those who have never ridden on a road before to experts that want a more social ride. It’s for everybody."
The Monday ride is also a recovery day for racers who competed over the weekend.
"Sometimes expert riders will have a harder ride right before a social ride," he said.
Cole Sport also does a cruiser ride around town on Fridays.
"We start at the Park Avenue store and go through the bike path around the park and cruise through the neighborhood and wind up at Squatters," Ford said.
For more information about free rides, call 649-4800.