Monday, January 4, 2016

Ride Your Bike At Ridge Run

Well, maybe not today.

Ridge Run County Park is now simply Ridge Run Park, a City of West Bend property, thanks to 2014 Resolution 66. The ownership change opens approximately 3 miles of trails to which bicycles didn’t have access before. There’s cool stuff in Ridge Run. For the most part the trails should be explored on a mountain bike. Some of it is cyclocross bike-friendly, but anything less would be too light-duty. Be prepared for a couple of steep hills and a section of deteriorating boardwalk that I do not advise you to ride across. I’m looking forward to my first ride at Ridge Run, but right now it’s snow-covered and fit only for fatbikes.

Washington County continues to prohibit bicycles on county park trails, and that bothers me. There doesn’t seem to be a good reason for the ban. On dozens of hiking and snowshoeing visits to Ridge Run and Sandy Knoll, I usually have had the trails to myself. If the county is worried about user conflicts, then it’s probably worried about the wrong thing. I debate with myself whether I should take up the fight to open county park trails for bicycles. Sure, I have mentioned it to my County Board representative and to Planning & Parks staff, but I have bigger fish to fry and Ridge Run was the only park in which I had a personal interest.

Heritage Trails County Park (about 2 miles), Sandy Knoll (about 3 miles) and Homestead Hollow (about 3.5 miles) are very flat and wouldn’t be cycling destinations per se, but casual riders might enjoy the trails for a post-picnic calorie burn. All three parks have potential for cyclocross and for wintertime fatbike riding. Featuring more wooded acres and more elevation change, Glacier Hills (about 5 miles) could be fun for mountain biking.

With Ridge Run open to me, I’m content to ignore the possibilities at the other parks … for now. If you live near them and/or imagine that you would use them frequently, then you may want to get the rules changed. And winter is a perfect time to think about it. Maybe fatbike access could be the “foot in the door” that eventually leads to year-round accommodation.

1 comment:

  1. I know the reason behind the ban. Years ago when it was passed it was done so by a small group of seven bitter people who happened to be hikers. I know this for a fact because a reliable source whose name I will not mention attended the vote meeting. Yes, just seven people. In my opinion it should be brought to a vote again as I believe the majority of users would not object and even embrace designating the trails for multi-use.