Mud rides discouraged at Cody bike park

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The Park County Pedalers spend a lot of time encouraging riders to get out on their bikes. Unless it’s wet.

Despite many signs at Beck Lake Bike Park — some which announce the bike park is closed — riders are using the trails after it rains. The damage done to the trails, especially to the pump track and jump lines, takes a great deal of work to fix, said John Gallagher, Pedaler organizer.

“There’s always a couple riders that think it’s rideable when it isn’t,” Gallagher said.

Dozens of volunteers came to the park to do a spring cleaning of the trail system on May 19. It’s the park’s first spring and the learning curve of finding where natural erosion of the dirt tracks require maintenance and where to build channels to drain excess water is steep.

“We had it all completely raked, swept and buffed out there,” Gallagher said “It takes a lot of work.”

Then, after recent rains, several riders ignoring signs left deep ruts in the mud. Even their footsteps had to be repaired to make the trails smooth again. There has been so much moisture, the group is already breaking out the weed wackers.

They plan to purchase and apply an organic hardening compound, “like a powdered Elmer’s glue,” Gallagher said. The compound is used on Olympic BMX courses to hold dirt in place and it may cut down on the amount of maintenance needed at the park. The Pedalers also plan to install an automated sprinkler system, for when the ground is too dry and starts to crack.

Despite all the years of effort it took to build the park in Cody, the biking club is also encouraging riders to follow them to new riding destinations. Tonight (Thursday) is the first installment of the Thursday Night Ride Series. Organizers will lead riders on an intense two-hour tour of the Slickrock Trail near the Cody archery range.

“[Thursday night rides] are not for beginners,” Gallagher said. “We’re trying to get people to move beyond what they know.”

There are several sweet trails to explore, especially after the snow melts in the mountains, Gallagher said. Future Thursday rides will require more travel and will include trips on the Blackwater Trail and beyond.

For more information, check out the group’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/becklakebikepark/.

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