FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The City of Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department started ‘Bike Trek the Trails’ in the spring of 2010 as a way to bring the community together and showcase the growing trail network. At the time there were more than 50 miles of trails winding through urban and rural areas of the city. Since then, because of the popularity of the trails, the network has grown to cover more than 130 miles.
Over time, Bike Trek the Trails morphed into simply Trek the Trails, but the concept is the same. Get people together for a fun event that promotes a healthy lifestyle, builds friendships, and showcases all parts of the city.
James Holm is the Community Engagement Manager for Fort Wayne Trails. He leads many of the rides, including the one WANE15 tagged along on at beautiful Foster Park. “The most positive aspect is getting people out to enjoy nature with a healthy activity and explore a really cool aspect of our city.”
David Coar, the GM at Trek Bicycles Fort Wayne says the best part is bringing a diverse group of people together who enjoy a common bond. “There are so many different backgrounds of folks here, but they all just want to come and have a good time.”
Holm says there are about 40-50 dedicated riders that come out just about every week, but when the weather is right, it’s not surprising to see over 100 riders on any particular week. “I think one of the cool ways to experience our trail network is with a group. It’s family-friendly. Kids are welcome.”
Ten-year-old Amara McClellan is a regular on the rides. “I like that you can go at your own speed, and it’s not a race.”
Pam Holt came out for the first time this season, and now she’s hooked. “My friend Cathy encouraged me to come out. I was used to riding by myself, or with one or two people, but this is great. It helped get me out of my bicycling box.”
Jason Crowder is a Police Officer for FWPD. He says most people are surprised by the scope of the trail system. “If you’re not real familiar with the trail system, it’s expansive. You can go all the way around the city to see parts of the city you might normally miss in your own neighborhoods.”
McClellan agrees. “I didn’t know how big the trails were. I knew there was a lot of trail,” she says with a laugh, “but there’s so much.”
Holm says riders who stick with the program for the full season will see nearly all of the 130-plus miles of trail and meet some really cool people along the way. “I’ve seen a lot of friendships grow from Trek the Trails. By the end of the year, they’re going on other bike rides with those people or they meet up together on different days. I’ve definitely seen the community grow from these Tuesday night rides.”
Coar wants to encourage anyone who’s ever thought about coming out for the ride to do it. “Just do it”, he says, “the more, the merrier. It’s what it’s all about.”
It’s why Trek the Trails is Positively Fort Wayne!
You can see the full schedule for Trek the Trails on the Fort Wayne Trails website.