The upper bike trail includes teeter-totters and other challenging obstacles.

Years ago, this sign directed sledders to the two nearby sledding hills; now it has been re-purposed to direct cyclists to the two different bike trails.

Under the thick white blanket of snow, the bike trail just north of Vinton’s Riverside Park is awaiting spring. Riders who have been taking advantage of the unusually warm weather have already been exploring the trail’s features, including two teeter-totters, a wooden ramp and a “skinny” — a 6-inch wide platform that offers a challenge to experienced riders.

“We love building these features for our trail,” says Matt Phippen, one of the many bicycling enthusiasts who make up the group VORC (Vinton Off-Road Cyclists).

“They are challenging and add another awesome element to our trail system,” says Phippen, of the obstacles. “They can be intimidating and a littler nerve racking to try at first but once you get the confidence and ride it, you want to do it over and over again.”

“It’s terrifying but exhilarating,” says VORC member Ashley Hesson, of the teeter-totter. 

The most challenging obstacles are part of what VORC members are calling the Upper Trail, the more hilly, one-way route that winds toward the top of what Vinton residents traditionally call the sledding hill. On that trail, signs indicate to riders that they must go toward the right as they enter the trail head. The teeter-totters are weighted, so once the cyclist returns to the trail, the device resets so the next cyclist can try it.

On the lower trails, which are wider, riders may go either direction.

The teeter-totters, skinny and ramps are “just the start of what we have planned to add in 2017,” says Phippen. The group also plans “a lot of signage,” he adds.

“Each trail section has a name and those names will be placed on signs. We will have a kiosk with a trail map and other signage at the trail head,” Phippen explains.

One of Phippen’s favorite signs has two red arrows: One pointing to the left, next to the words, “Small Hill;” and another pointing to the right with words reading “Big Hill.” That sign has been re-purposed; it once directed sledders to the two different hills for winter recreation.

Hesson said the trail represents “serious fun;” a unique way to help advance both recreation and local economic opportunity.

“There are many dedicated people committed to developing this project and the positive economic impact it will have,” she says. 
VORC members will meet Tuesday night at 6 p.m. at the Vinton Parks and Rec shop near Riverside Park to work on obstacles to display at the April 1 Health and Wellness Fair.

Learn more about the project on the VORC Facebook page HERE.

A video on Youtube shows riders navigating the obstacles. You can watch it below: