• 09-09-2011
    What features would draw you to travel to a new East TX trail?
    The city of Center, TX is interested in building new mountain bike trails. I'm not talking about a new technical 30-mile loop or anything out of this world, but the new trails could be different and fun.

    With that said, what features would tempt you to travel to new trails in East Texas? I'd like to compose a list of appealing features that would draw you here and submit it to my City Manager and Council as I talk outline the type of riding we could offer.

    Would you travel for a pump track? A flowy jump track? Are you more interested in tight singletrack or a challenging climb? Maybe you'd like several wooden features to hone your skills upon.

    Please reply with your ideas. These small wooden and open areas are a blank canvas as far as trails are concerned. Help me help you as I rally my city to build something unique to our half of the state. I've been talking with different trail builders this week. So, the sooner I have your ideas, the better!

  • 09-09-2011
    well, unfortunately, I think the exact sort of thing you're excluding (long epics) are precisely the sort of thing this area needs. There's a ton of public land nearby and the only "developed" trail system that permits bikes is the Piney Creek Horse Camp on the Davey Crockett NF. It's got 50mi of trails, which is awesome...but the trails are mostly not that interesting for mtn bikers. It's mostly wide, flat, sandy stuff.

    If I was planning to be a long-term resident of the area, I'd bust my tail to try to get a major long-distance trail that connects multiple National Forests together that would allow mt biking as well as backpacking.

    Keep in mind that Kit McConnico has a couple loops with not much technical challenge that are good for beginners, runners, and working your cardio by going fast.

    And obviously you know what Nac has. I've met guys on those trails who have traveled quite a distance to ride there. I've met whole groups there who have said they prefer those trails over Tyler State Park. That statement just doesn't compute for me, but hey, they must like different stuff from me. Pleeplus from Houston seems to enjoy the Nac trails, too, though I haven't met him out there yet.

    I think overall, keep your eye on fun. I've mentioned a pump track in private communications as a feature not available elsewhere in the area. I'm not sure about a dirt jump area since I've never worked with that kind of thing - nor do I do that kind of riding, but that's something else the area lacks. But much can be said, as well, for having a few miles of regular old trails through the woods.
  • 09-11-2011
    My group likes to ride a trail in the morning, eat a fabulous lunch at a local restaurant, and then tour a winery. We also like staying at nice B&Bs if there are multiple trails to choose from. We also like combining trail riding with local festivals. Of course, a park that has grills & picnic tables in the shade with a public restroom is always appreciated! (In Dallas, we went to a trail that didn't have a public restroom & I was sitting on a log & a man came out of the bushes pulling up his bike shorts which was a little unnerving). The Mineola Nature Preserve has beautiful views, playground, and a garden of native flowers. You might think about including an area for group assemblies or functions so people are drawn to the park. Faulkner Park in Tyler has a water park for kids & hot riders as well as baseball field, tennis courts, etc. Tyler is also planning trails between parks to link them up for riders.
  • 09-11-2011
    Flowy tight single track with lots of man made features is what I would like to see. Nac is a good example of that. The only problem I have with Nac is the trails are crammed into a tight space and theirs not enough mileage. A pump track would be cool too, I don't even know if their is one in east Texas. Also if you want to draw in people from across the state you need a camp ground for them to stay in.

    Tyler SP is nice but its lacking man made features and the trail is a little wide. Cider Hill SP has the best State Park trails that I've ridden, their fast with really tight corners and plenty of ups and downs.

    Nate, if your looking for mileage you need to check out Double Lake. With 20 miles of tight twisty single track and 5 or so miles of fire road you have a lot of riding options. The other thing I like about DL is that most of the trails are far back in the woods and you get that out in the wild feel.
  • 09-11-2011
    FYI, we got the SFA trails signed this weekend. The signs are pretty awesome.

    Yeah, the property in Center isn't going to really allow for any more distance than what's available in Nac (the OP e-mailed me a map with property lines).

    To be completely honest, manmade features are not high on my list of things desirable for a trail. I'll ride some of them, within reason, if they're available. But it's hardly something I seek out intentionally. What I do like are for the trails to incorporate native materials for technical features, with as little human modification as possible.

    The only wide parts at Tyler are the sections of trail near the trailhead. The loops deeper into the trail system are quite rugged and narrow.