I never thought I’d say this…..

……my next bike could very well be a squishy mountain bike. As the local mountain bike club continues to add mile after mile of more trails to the local trail system, I can’t stop thinking about the possibility of owning a trail specific mountain bike. I’ve attempted to ride the trails on my 10 year old Pugsley. However, between my lack of single track riding skills and the rocky, root filled terrain, I’ve learned the Pugsley is not the best tool for the job.

Fat tire on one billion year old rock.

The local mountain bike trail club, COGGS, has an ambitious plan in place to build over 100 miles of trail within the city limits of Duluth. It is utilizing the open space on the hills above Duluth and parks to create this vision. The Duluth Traverse Trail will connect all the mountain bike areas and run the entire 26 mile length of the city. An entire network of trails with access for every Duluthian within a mile or two of where they live. It has already received an IMBA Gold Level Ride Center recognition. One of only five Gold Medal Ride Centers in the world.

Thursday evening, a father and son ride some of the trail below Enger Park. This section was built in 2015.

I’ve been amazed at the rate of trail building taking place. All summer long I would frequently encounter new sections of trail as I was riding around. This summer there has been an expansion of the system in my neighborhood. Seeing the trail being built so close to my house this summer has me thinking I need to take advantage of the trails. I’m increasingly looking for ways to avoid being on the roadways for some of my leisure riding. I see people everyday driving with their heads looking down. Riding some world class trails several days a week is now an option.

I discovered this section of trail yesterday. It must have been built in the last two weeks. It is only 0.8 mile from my front door.
The local club has raised enough cash to pay for professional trail builders to spend all summer building trail.

On my Thursday evening ride I came across new trail being built next to Keene Creek along Skyline Parkway. When this section is done I believe there will be continuous trail from Keene Creek, by my house, to the east side of Enger Park and Twin Ponds area. That’s 5 miles by road, maybe 7 – 10 miles by trail (??). It also passes through both the Piedmont and Brewers Park loops and trail systems. Here’s pictures of the newly constructed, and not yet finished trail along Keene Creek:

Here the trail is being cut into the side of the ravine.
New this week.
Only days old.
Not sure when they built this section. It can’t be more then two weeks old.

I never took up an interest in summer off-road mountain biking ( Winter, yes.) for many reasons. And I’ve never been a person to drive my bike somewhere to ride it. But now that the trails are coming to me, I can’t help but to take an interest in riding these trails. So maybe I’ll have a mountain bike by this time next year and be writing posts on trail riding. Who knows?

And…one more photo added to this post after the initial publishing. This is more new trail going west from Highland Street as seen from the Highland Street bridge over Keene Creek:

It appears there is a bridge that still needs to be built over a side stream where the trail enters the trees.


9 thoughts on “I never thought I’d say this…..

  1. wildknits October 1, 2016 / 7:34 pm

    The new trails are a fun ride. Especially once they have hardened and can take a bit of moisture without becoming muddy.

    The Enger Section of the Duluth Traverse runs just a few hundred feet behind my house (as does the SHT). There are days I run one then head out and ride the other. Can’t wait to get my fat bike out on some of the new sections this winter.

    I do wonder about the sustainability of that section along Keene Creek. Hopefully they have a good plan for stabilizing the slope they built on/over/through!


    • fourseasoncycling October 2, 2016 / 9:32 am

      I guess time will tell how well the slope holds up. I assume the builders are professionals and know what they are doing. I trust them to do the work properly more than I would a team of volunteers with no trail building experience. Watching them work yesterday as I hiked by on the SHT it looked like the slope is filled with rocks and roots. Hopefully that creates enough support for path.


      • wildknits October 2, 2016 / 11:49 am

        I hope so too. I have noticed other areas where the paths/slopes have not held up well (DT in Mission Creek built last year) so am hopeful they are learning from this and incorporating the knowledge into the trail being built this year.

        Lots of new trail going in as well off of the old Mission Creek Blvd. Ran there yesterday and was seeing new trail all over the place.


  2. Pondero October 1, 2016 / 8:10 pm

    Your city is making a compelling case. I doubt I’d be able to resist it if I lived there. Do you imagine a stable addition? Or replacing something?


    • fourseasoncycling October 1, 2016 / 8:32 pm

      I’ve been thinking about it a lot. Right now I use all five of my bikes. I like all five of my bikes. And I can’t imagine getting rid of any of them. I have time to think more about it. I wouldn’t be purchasing a mtn bike before next Spring. Perhaps a re-negotiation of the five bike rule????


  3. graveldoc October 5, 2016 / 7:27 pm

    You’re so fortunate to have this “right outside your door”! Seems to me some of the traditionalists sort of look down their noses at full suspension mountain bikes. All I can say is I truly enjoy mine and feel it adds, in a positive sense, to my trail riding experience. It’s also kinder and gentler to my aging joints!


  4. joboo1967 October 19, 2016 / 7:34 am

    Duluth is the mtb mecca of the midwest. We love driving the hour south and spending a day riding some sweet midwest single-track.
    What’s been on your radar for a full squish ride??
    Congrats on your recent photo featured on bikeradar!!

    Peace, Joe


    • fourseasoncycling October 19, 2016 / 7:57 am

      Nice to hear from you. I’ll probably go half squish. A hardtail. I haven’t fully researched it yet. Have to wait until I have the money in the bike budget. I like the idea of 27.5+. Maybe the new Surly KM or Advocate Hayduke if I had the money. Another possibility is a new fatbike that I could run a rigid fork and 26 x 4.0 in winter and suspension fork and 27.5+ in the summer. So many options!

      For anyone looking for my picture on BikeRadar, I think Joe meant BikeRumor. Mine was the featured pic of the day 10/19/16.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. joboo1967 October 19, 2016 / 8:00 am

    Yes, I’m sorry I mistyped/mispoke!! Duh!!

    The options are a plenty our there Doug.


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