Mountain bikers enjoying new phase of singletrack sidewalks now open in Eagle | VailDaily.com

Mountain bikers enjoying new phase of singletrack sidewalks now open in Eagle

Why take the pavement when there's perfectly good dirt to ride?

Eagle's singletrack sidewalks have been a hit since its inception in 2015, offering an alternative to asphalt for those looking to get around town by bicycle.

Located in the Eagle Ranch area, the singletrack sidewalks allow locals to get from their homes to the local elementary school and commercial core on singletrack.

The project started with an initial phase in 2015; over the weekend, a new phase — constructed completely by volunteers — opened as an expansion of the initial concept.

"This one was a real labor of love," said Matt Thompson, a professional trail builder who volunteered time and energy to make the new phase a reality.

Thompson was out riding the trail over the weekend with his son Cash and fellow volunteers Mihai Moga and Steve Wentz. He said mountain bikers in town might find the new phase to be the most fun of all singletrack sidewalk sections in town.

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"This phase, I would describe it as a lot more entertainment-based," Thompson said. "The others were maybe connection based; this one has a lot of berms and rollers and some jumps here and there, if you can get creative."

Cash Thompson, 12, said it's the best section of singletrack sidewalks.

"I like all the rollers, and overall I just think it's just better than walking on a path," he said.

'FOR THE KIDS'

The new section of singletrack sidewalk rides like a point-to-point pump track; the berms and rollers took a lot of work from volunteers who spent last week finalizing the section.

Thompson said the goal of the volunteers was to continue to improve the biking opportunities in the community.

"I feel like a lot of the trail work around the valley is sort of centered around adults, and this one is definitely for the kids," Thompson said.

Thompson and Momentum Trail Concepts also helped bring the town's pump track to Eagle and constructed trails in the mountains above town. While the new phase of singletrack sidewalks was an all-volunteer effort intended to give back to the community, like all the projects he works on, Thompson himself plans on getting a lot of use out of it.

"I'm going to take it as an alternative to the sidewalk, too," Thompson, a former world champion downhill mountain biker, said with a laugh.

In addition to Momentum Trail Concepts, organizations that helped bring the project to life also include United Rentals in Eagle, Eagle County Schools, the town of Eagle, Eagle Ranch Commercial Association and The Dusty Boot Roadhouse.

TEACHING TOOL

Among those most excited about the new section of singletrack sidewalks is local endurance athlete Karen Jarchow, who has been using the singletrack sidewalks to get local kids comfortable biking on trails through her program at the Vail Valley Alternative Sports Academy.

Jarchow said the new section will further expand the teachable stretches of trail.

"For all the kiddos in Eagle, this section will continue to get kids stoked on biking to school, showing up more energized and excited for the day," she said. "Additionally, I know many adults — myself included — who are thrilled and forever grateful for the hard work and donated time that went into this great addition to our community."