April 18, 2019 - The popular Trek the Trails community bike rides are coasting into year 10 later this month.
Mayor Tom Henry started the rides as a way for residents to explore parts of the trail that they may not be familiar with and to create social opportunities for families and friends to venture in a guided tour. The free, guided bike rides, take place each Tuesday and have attracted 12,815 riders joining in during the first nine years.
“Trek the Trails continues to be an innovative and popular offering in our community,” said Mayor Henry. “We’re fortunate to have a trails system that reaches all parts of our City as a quality of life amenity that makes us more attractive for job and business growth and retention, new families and individuals, and stronger neighborhoods. This 10-year celebration year is going to be a lot of fun as we come together to make a meaningful difference.”
“When I heard about Trek the Trails back in 2010, I thought I would give it a try. Everyone on the rides is extremely friendly and I have made several friends over the years from the rides. It’s always nice to see them every Tuesday and often we will go get something to eat after the rides.” said Pam Fischer, City resident and Trek the Trails rider. “I look forward to the Tuesday night rides and encourage everyone to give it a try.”
The first ride of Trek the Trails, Season 10, will be Tuesday, April 30 beginning at the Engle Road trailhead. A complete ride schedule is here: www.cityoffortwayne.org/trekthetrails.
This year, 22 rides, from six to nine miles in length are on tap. New trails, including the Pufferbelly, Dupont Road, and portions of Maplecrest will be part of Trek the Trails season for the first time and one ride connects to the new Promenade Park.
“It’s thrilling to see the success of this community building initiative. We’ve had riders from as far away as Niles, Michigan participate, but the great thing for the City as that many of our own residents are now comfortable on parts of the trail network that is not in their neighborhood,” said Dawn Ritchie, Greenways and Trails Manager for the City of Fort Wayne. “Rider interest snowballed, shortly after the City started Trek the Trails in 2010 and we were happy to welcome-in partner, Fort Wayne Trails Inc. The organization brings great value to our rides, and sponsors the well-liked annual kick-off party.”
This year’s kick-off party will be in the Barn at Eagle Marsh, located adjacent to the Engle Road Trailhead. The event is $10 per person or $20 per family and includes food and beverages provided by Halls Restaurants.
“Our community's trail system is a real treasure for all of our citizens, and the Trek the Trails program is a great way for people to discover and enjoy them. Trek the Trails is a great family activity, and it provides an opportunity to meet others who bicycle at a leisurely pace. Fort Wayne Trails enjoys our partnership with the City of Fort Wayne on the Trek the Trails program, and we're thrilled to have support from our program sponsors, including Summit City Bicycles and Fitness, the City of New Haven, 3 Rivers Velo-Sport, TriCore Logic, the YMCA, and Don Hall's Restaurants,” said Angie Quinn, Sustainability Director, Fort Wayne Trails Inc.
As they have done each year, Summit City Bicycles and Fitness will once again be giving away a bike at the end of the season. Attendees can enter a drawing each week they attend the rides. Summit City staff members also attend each ride to provide safety checks for bicycles.
“Ten years is a great milestone for Trek the Trails. When we began, the world had not heard of things like Uber, Instagram, Tesla, hoverboards or even selfie sticks,” said Ritchie. “In that same time frame, I’m proud that we expanded the Fort Wayne Regional Trail Network by 46 miles, with 37.5 of those miles built in the City.”
In the first nine years of Trek the Trails, the rides have averaged over 1,400 riders per year. Those riders rode a collective 106,660 miles in nine years.
The rides are for all ages and multiple ride guides will be on hand to accommodate all levels of ability. Riders are encouraged to wear helmets. The City of Fort Wayne Facebook page will have updates if events are cancelled due to inclement weather.