Ride, work & kickoff party set for Lower Basin Trails

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SANDPOINT — Not all trails appeal to all mountain bikers. Some prefer the adrenaline rush of flying downhill and catching air — freeride.

Others prefer the security of tires on dirt. Some riders also enjoy the uphill challenge as much as the downhill.

All stripes of off-road riders are invited to participate in the Basin Trail Festival, scheduled for National Trails Day on June 1 to ride and improve the Lower Basin Trails, which can be ridden top to bottom from the roundabout on Schweitzer Mountain Road.

The festival runs all day — from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. — and participants can help build and maintain trail, as well as ride the trails. In addition, the Pend Oreille Pedalers bike club will be offering a barbecue at the roundabout, and Syringa Cyclery will have Pivot mountain bikes available for demo.

The Basin Trail Festival was the brainchild of Mike McCoy, an avid downhill rider. McCoy wants to bring the resources of the bike club together with the expertise of downhill riders to build and repair some of the features on the downhill trail, while also making sure some needs are met on the easier-going cross-country trails that generally follow the road down the mountainside in the lower Schweitzer basin, below the roundabout.

While some jumps and features will be built on the downhill trails, McCoy said, the cross-country trail will get some loving too: “We want to put in some switchbacks and make the cross-country trail more fun to go up.”

The trails are mostly on city of Sandpoint property in the city’s watershed and were originally rogue trails built by mountain biking enthusiasts. The city has worked with the bike club, however, to allow the trails as long as the Pend Oreille Pedalers agree to maintain them in a way that protects the city’s water quality.

McCoy, who has visited bike parks across the U.S. and Canada, also plans to have some new signage ready for installation to make the trails safer to use. The warning signs “will look a lot like what you see in a bike park,” McCoy said. “We are collaborating with Schweitzer and the Selkirk Recreation District to make the signage consistent from the top of Schweitzer Bike Park to the bottom of the Lower Basin Trail network.”

The Basin Trail Festival is sponsored by the Pend Oreille Pedalers, with the support of numerous partners, including Schweitzer Mountain Resort, the City of Sandpoint, Alpine Shop, Selkirk Powder Guides, Keller Williams Reality, the local bike shops, Selkirk Recreation District and Ride 7B Facebook group.

The event is free and open to the public, and will take place rain or shine. Participants who plan to work are encouraged to wear closed-toe shoes and bring work gloves. No previous trail-building experience necessary. The POP barbecue will begin at 11 a.m.

“If all you want to do is come out and ride, no problem,” McCoy said.

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