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Posts Tagged ‘Sitka Cycling Club’

The Sitka Cycling Club will host a monthly steering committee at noon on Monday, Jan. 25, using Zoom. This meeting is open to the general public.

Meeting topics include a review of 2020 goals and accomplishments, visioning for the new year (where do we want to be at this time next year), a look at our current status and realities, a chance to brainstorm club goals for 2021, an evaluation and selection of broad paths forward, a review of our recent Sitka mountain bike trail plan survey results and discussion about our next trail, a discussion of steering club committee roles and recruitment of new members (we need a VP), a discussion of club membership and possibly adding annual dues, and setting our next meeting for February. Other topics include possible upcoming grants, our recent renewal as a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Community, and the International Winter Bike To Work/School Day on Friday, Feb, 12.

For those wanting to participate in the meeting, contact Doug Osborne at 738-8734 or douglaso@searhc.org for the meeting log-in info.

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The Sitka Cycling Club will host a monthly steering committee at noon on Friday, Jan. 8, using Zoom. This meeting is open to the general public.

Meeting topics include a review of 2020 goals and accomplishments, visioning for the new year (where do we want to be at this time next year), a look at our current status and realities, a chance to brainstorm club goals for 2021, an evaluation and selection of broad paths forward, a review of our recent Sitka mountain bike trail plan survey results and discussion about our next trail, a discussion of steering club committee roles and recruitment of new members (we need a VP), a discussion of club membership and possibly adding annual dues, and setting our next meeting for February. Other topics include possible upcoming grants and our recent renewal as a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Community.

For those wanting to participate in the meeting, contact Doug Osborne at 738-8734 or douglaso@searhc.org for the meeting log-in info.

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KK Prussian, left, and Laurent Deviche work on the Middle Machete Loop during a recent Sitka Cycling Club work party. The loop is nearly finished and when completed will be the fourth loop built this summer. The Sitka Cycling Club finished the loop in early October 2020.

In late November 2020, the Sitka Cycling Club initiated a survey to begin a master plan for mountain biking trails in Sitka. Our ultimate goal is to provide more mountain biking opportunities to the Sitka community.

With more than 70 responses, the club received a community-wide picture of respondents’ desires for trail length, difficulty and location as well as long-form comments to the four trails built in 2020. If you took the survey, we are thankful for your involvement in the project, and we are so happy to have a chance to develop this fantastic sport here in Sitka.

For context, half of respondents classify themselves as intermediate level bikers, and are most likely to bike between 20-60 minutes an outing. As far as near-term projects that entail a low budget and volunteer labor, the most requested advancement was adding to the current network of single-track in and near the Sitka Cross Trail in town. Development of No Name Mountain also received strong support.

In the long term for projects that require more fundraising and partnership with other entities, expansion of the Indian River Trail to bikes received the most interest by a fair margin. (It’s important to note that if any work were to happen here, we would ensure that trail expansion is permitted in the area and that there is consideration put toward those who walk the trail.) The Green Lake area received the second most interest.

Regarding difficulty, preference was split between easy and more difficult, with the latter carrying more interest. Additionally, close to three-fourths of respondents showed interest in both a skills park and a pump track individually. However, when asked to rank them, more interest was shown in a skills park.

In the longer answer sections, we saw patterns in responses requesting more opportunities for flow, jumps, smaller gravel on the track, and longer trails. Another interesting point that was mentioned multiple times was interest in a Harbor Mountain downhill trail. While only 36 percent of respondents flagged it as a near-term preference, the written responses regard it as an ideal opportunity for the jumps, flow, and length that many riders want to see developed.

As for next steps, based on this information, we plan to start developing a comprehensive plan schedule to prioritize, budget and plan for work parties. We will brainstorm ways to collaborate with other Sitka organizations throughout the project.

Thanks go out to Amadea Wilhite and Reese Jacobs, both students at Outer Coast, for leading the survey effort. The club hopes to enlist more Outer Coast students in the coming months to continue the master planning process.

As well, our partners in trail building during 2020 were crucial — Raven’s Way, Youth Advocates of Sitka, Joel Hanson of Southeast Alaska Independent Living, Rotary Club of Sitka, Troy’s Excavation, Sitka Trail Works, Sitka Conservation Society, Outer Coast, City and Borough of Sitka, and our donors.

We began our efforts to build single-track mountain bike trail loops last spring, and have completed four loops to date — 907, Ewok, Little Machete, and Middle Machete. When added to the new Xóots Dei trail recently constructed by Sitka Conservation Society’s Community Conservation Corps, we now have about a half-mile of dedicated single-track mountain bike trail close to town.

Thanks to all who hauled gravel, stomped on trail, cut logs, and sent moral support messages along the way; many hands make light work. We are gratified to see so many Sitkans responding to the survey, indicating their interest in volunteering to help build trail or donate money to help fund the work. We will post progress updates on our website, https://sitkacycling.wordpress.com, and on our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/SitkaCycling.

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(The following article and photographs were produced by Sitka Conservation Society winter fellow Amy Li and a version originally appeared on the Sitka Trail Works website. It is reprinted here with permission.)

Bikes have been making a comeback. From the drastic increase in bike purchases to a newfound dependence on biking as a means of transportation, the COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in a new age for bicycles and Sitka has been no different.

Sitkans have been rediscovering the power of the pedal, both as a cost-effective means for getting around town and for exercise. By the end of June, Sitka’s bicycle shop Yellow Jersey Cycling Shop had sold out of its inventory and has had difficulty restocking ever since. The skyrocketing interest has also led to more creative approaches to biking. This summer, the Sitka Cycling Club spearheaded an innovative effort within the community: mountain bike trails. With the socially-distanced dedication of volunteers from all ages and backgrounds, four new mountain bike trails were brought to life along the Sitka Cross Trail.

Mountain biking offers a different way of engaging with the sport for the new wave of Sitka cyclists. “Sitka has been deficient in mountain bike trails over the years. We’ve had dirt roads that you could ride on, but as far as mountain biking, there weren’t any significant trails in town,” Yellow Jersey Cycling Shop owner Bill Hughes said. “But now with the new trails, I think it’s going to open up a lot of new recreational opportunities for people.”

Mountain biker and Sitka Cycling Club volunteer KK Prussian concurs. “I think the diversity of recreation that mountain bike trails bring is a whole new thing for Sitka. I’m really hoping it will give the youth something they’re really excited about and build stewardship with them,” she said.

Although Sitka might seem like the perfect place for mountain biking enthusiasts, with its lush forested scenery and steep inclines, mountain bike trails, and trails in general, but building trails is a large undertaking.

Despite these challenges, and the COVID-19 pandemic, community members came out in force to build new MTB trails along the Cross Trail this summer. Hauling five-gallon buckets of gravel by hand, the trails — named 907, Ewok, Little Machete, and Middle Machete Loop — were brought to life by volunteers with the Sitka Cycling Club. These four trails, however, are rated for more advanced mountain bikers.

Both Hughes and Prussian advocated for easier routes for those new to the sport, as well as adding length to the newly built trails.

Prussian explained that the amount of “easy” trail that was feasible to build was minimal “because of the terrain we have, the limited scope we have with volunteers, and the lack of heavy equipment.”

Indeed, building mountain bike trails requires planning, labor, gravel and fill, and, ideally, heavy machinery. Fortunately, Sitka Conservation Society (SCS) Community Conservation Corps (CCC) program lead Ben Hughey, project lead Blain Anderson, and the hard-working Corps have pulled together all of those prerequisites. In partnership with Sitka Trail Works, Sitka Cycling Club, Southeast Alaska Independent Living (SAIL), and others, the Community Conservation Corps has constructed an additional trail in the recently built mountain bike trail network.

The new spur, which comes in on the Cross Trail connector behind Sitka High School, connects with two existing MTB trails, Ewok and 907. It is roughly 600 feet in length and, with smaller grades and elevation changes, is well-suited for beginning mountain bikers. Thanks to a mini excavator and motorized gravel dump, the newly built section of single-track trail has a wider and smoother tread compared to the existing MTB trails. This beginner trail will allow community members a safe and approachable entry point for the sport.

Prussian hopes that the MTB community in Sitka will expand, thanking the City for supporting recreation projects like this.

“I’d love to see a year-round program of young adults adding to the length and maintaining the trails on an annual basis,” she said, citing benefits of healthy lifestyles and land stewardship. “I think that would be outstanding.”

For now, the Corps will continue to clear hazard trees, lay logs, and pile gravel in the hopes that this new trail will get more people outside, on their bikes, exploring their public lands.

A slideshow of images showing trail construction follows below.

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Sitka Cycling Club President Doug Osborne, left, and Sitka Cycling Club Treasurer Charles Bingham show off their Bicycle Friendly Community Silver Level designation swag in 2016. Sitka just renewed its Bicycle Friendly Community designation at the Silver Level for 2020-24.

The League of American Bicyclists announced on Wednesday (Dec. 16) that it has renewed the Silver Level designation for Sitka, Alaska, in the Bicycle Friendly Community program.

The Bicycle Friendly Community program promotes safer streets and better bicycling by awarding various levels to communities based on how their city or town meets standards in the Five E’s — Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, Engineering, and Evaluation/Planning. A new E, Equity, is being introduced to the judging process and will replace Enforcement in future applications. Communities are required to resubmit applications at least once every four years.

This is the fourth time Sitka has been honored with a Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) award. Sitka became Alaska’s first BFC in 2008, after community members chose becoming a more bike- and walk-friendly community as one of the community wellness projects from the first Sitka Health Summit in 2007. Sitka renewed at the Bronze Level in 2012, and upgraded to the Silver Level in 2016. In addition, Sitka also earned the state’s first Walk Friendly Communities designations with Bronze Level awards in 2013 and 2017 (WFC is a newer program coordinated by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center and supported by the Pedestrian and Bicycling Information Center).

“This is great news,” Sitka Cycling Club President Doug Osborne said. “Thanks to the League (of American Bicyclists) and everyone in town who’s helping us to be a Bicycle Friendly Community. Being a bike friendly community was identified as a top goal at the first Sitka Health Summit planning day in 2007. Since then, we have made steady progress and now we have more places to ride.”

Wednesday’s announcement honored 51 communities as renewing or new Bicycle Friendly Communities at the Platinum (1), Gold (3), Silver (11) or Bronze (38) levels (there also is a Diamond Level that wasn’t awarded this time). In addition, there were 16 communities that earned Honorable Mention status, just below the full BFC designation. Since 2002, the League of American Bicyclists has awarded 485 BFC designations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and has received applications from more than 850 communities. There now are five BFCs in Alaska — Sitka (Silver), Anchorage (Silver), Juneau (Bronze), Kenai (Bronze) and Soldotna (Bronze) — and two Honorable Mentions (Fairbanks and Haines).

“During one of the toughest years in recent memory, we have seen so many Americans turn to biking during the pandemic for fun and for necessary transportation options. It’s so important that communities like Sitka have laid the groundwork over several years to make biking a safe, accessible option for people when we all need as much health and happiness as possible,” said Bill Nesper, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists. “This Bicycle Friendly Community award is the culmination of years of work put in by Sitka and its citizen advocates for better biking. This award round, Sitka joins 51 new and renewing Bicycle Friendly Communities in the movement toward healthier, more sustainable and connected places. As we turn the page on 2020 and look ahead to 2021, we’re proud that Sitka and communities like it are embracing bicycling as a solution to our collective recovery.”

The Bicycle Friendly Community program is part of the League of American Bicyclist’s larger Bicycle Friendly America program, which also includes Bicycle Friendly State, Bicycle Friendly Business, and Bicycle Friendly University designations. Sitka’s largest employer, the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Sitka Campus, holds a Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Business designation.

During normal years, Sitka is known for hosting a variety of community bike rides and education events, such as National Bike Month events in May and a Kidical Mass family friendly bike ride in September, and having one of the state’s highest rates of people who commute to work by bike. But the COVID-19 pandemic limited those activities this spring and summer.

Sitka still accomplished several cycling-positive projects over the past couple of years, such as building four single-track mountain bike trail loops off the Sitka Cross Trail this summer, opening the Salty Spoke bike cooperative at Hames Wellness Center, rebranding the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition as the Sitka Cycling Club and getting nearly 250 club members to register, starting a citywide bicycle parking plan, starting a Sitka mountain bike trails plan, launching a Bicycle Benefits program where cyclists can show participating merchants a sticker on their helmets to receive a discount at local businesses, and hosting the 2019 Alaska Walk and Bike Conference that included a two-day Smart Cycling training (Sitka also was scheduled to host the 2020 conference before it went virtual due to the pandemic).

To learn more about the Sitka Cycling Club, go to https://sitkacycling.wordpress.com or like our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SitkaCycling. Links to Sitka’s Bicycle Friendly Community application and report card can be found under the Documents tab on the Sitka Cycling Club website (previous year applications can be found by scrolling down the page). To learn more about the League of American Bicyclists and its Bicycle Friendly Community program, go to http://www.bikeleague.org/community.

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In recent years there have been several attempts to build single-track mountain bike trails in Sitka. There was one group that tried to build some trails at the end of Sawmill Creek Road, and another group tried to build trails on Harbor Mountain. But the groups never really gained any momentum and the efforts fizzled out.

Map by ROLAND WIRTH

This summer, despite being in an international pandemic, the Sitka Cycling Club actually made some progress by coordinating the building of four single-track mountain bike loops off the Sitka Cross Trail. Now comes the fun part, helping create a coordinated plan for the next series of mountain bike trails.

The Sitka Cycling Club is working with Outer Coast College students Amadea Wilhite and Reese Jacobs to develop the plan, which will help us decide our priorities as far as where and when to build new trails. It also will help us develop a long-range plan.

The two students now are collecting public input to gather data to help guide the plan. They ask Sitka residents to please click this link and take a short, 12-question survey before Tuesday, Dec. 1. Your help is greatly appreciated, and the result will be better mountain bike trails.

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KK Prussian, left, and Laurent Deviche work on the Middle Machete Loop during a recent Sitka Cycling Club work party. The loop is nearly finished and when completed will be the fourth loop built this summer. The Sitka Cycling Club hopes to finish the loop on Thursday, Oct. 1.

Click map to enlarge. This map shows the three completed single-track mountain bike loops. It is in the bright green area to the right in the other map. (Map by Amy Volz)

It’s been a busy summer for the Sitka Cycling Club, which has built three single-track mountain bike loops off the Sitka Cross Trail (907, Little Machete, and Ewok). The work continues during the Thursday weekly work party from 5-7 p.m. today, as volunteers are nearly done building the fourth trail, Middle Machete Loop,

“Thanks to a pop-up work party on Saturday, we’re within striking distance to complete Middle Machete trail this Thursday, Oct. 1, at 5 p.m. If we have a good crew on Thursday, we’ll be able to complete our fourth Single Track trail — all in the summer of 2020,” Sitka Cycling Club volunteer coordinator Amy Volz wrote in an email to volunteers. “We could really use your help this week — please consider giving an hour or two to help us put a bow on our great summer of work!”

“We will be doing the usual, hauling rocks and gravel — we can’t get enough of it. Please be sure to bring and wear your mask, XtraTufs, and work gloves. Wearing masks keeps all of us healthy to ride.”

Meet up on Thursday at 5 p.m. at the gravel pile on the Cross Trail, near the exit of 907 and the difficult entrance to Little Machete. Other duties besides hauling rocks and gravel include placing big rocks in muddy spots, fabric cutting and laying, gravel hauling and placement, etc. In addition to working on Middle Machete, the volunteers scoped out their fifth trail, Upper Machete, during their Sept. 3 work party.

Due to the pandemic, we have been limiting the sizes of the work parties. Please contact Amy by text at 907-957-6009 or email at amy.volz@outlook.com if you plan to help, so she can manage the size of the group. We want to make sure there is enough space between workers so we don’t spread the coronavirus.

The Sitka Cross Trail from the entrance near the Sitka High School Performing Arts Center parking lot. The four new loops (907, Little Machete, Ewok, and Middle Machete) are located in the lime green section to the right. (Map by Rollo Wirth)

The club completed the 907 Loop in June, then completed Little Machete and Ewok loops earlier in August, with the city giving approval for all three trails. The Middle Machete Loop is short, but it required the work of an excavator for part of the trailwork.

In an effort to promote health and safety during the trail construction, please bring (and wear) your mask, work gloves and a bucket with a handle if you have one. The Sitka Cycling Club does have two wheelbarrows, shovels and buckets. All volunteers will need to sign a liability waiver.

To give people a flavor about what a single-track mountain bike trail is all about, Michael Foss put together a YouTube channel for the Sitka Cycling Club that includes some GoPro videos of rides and walks on the new 907 trail. Michael’s newest video includes a ride on Little Machete Loop.

According to our engineering report for the 907 Loop, these trails have the following features:

  • The trail is located at the base of an alluvial fan where drainage moves across the fan frequently and subsurface material is largely cobble and gravel with organic debris on top
  • Drainage is largely subsurface with two defined intermittent streams which activate during rainfall
  • Drainage across the trail has been accommodated using French drains, inverted dips, and cobble/gravel (intermittent stream) crossings
  • Streambanks along the intermittent stream crossings have been strengthened using boulders to reduce erosion and sedimentation
  • If/when stream naturally diverts across the alluvial fan we are prepared to accommodate drainage (through trail maintenance), as needed

We also want to thank the six-week Sitka Summer Work Program crew led by Joel Hanson of Southeast Alaska Independent Living (SAIL), which just completed its program last week. This crew did much of the work on the Ewok Loop. We now have a crew of students from Outer Coast College working on the Middle Machete Loop, and Outer Coast students will work with Sitka Cycling Club members and the community of Sitka to develop a more detailed single-track mountain bike trail plan over the next couple of months.

Kapp Singer moves gravel during a recent work party on the Middle Machete Loop off the Sitka Cross Trail.

The Sitka Cycling Club also wants to thank some Sitka residents who recently donated to help us build these trails. Donors include the Rotary Club of Sitka, Charles Olson and Theresa Allen-Olson, Bill Hughes of Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop, and Reba Trani. In addition, the club also received some money from Sitka Trail Works (originally from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services) that was left over from hosting the Alaska Walk and Bike Conference in June.

You can support this and other projects by donating to the Sitka Cycling Club. You can click this link to donate through PayPal. The other option is to mail a check to Sitka Cycling Club, c/o Charles Bingham, Treasurer, 405 Marine Street, Apt. No. 6, Sitka, Alaska 99835. You can contact Charles at 623-7660 or charleswbingham3@gmail.com for more details.

Most of the supplies we’ve received have been donated, but now we’ve reached a stage where we have to pay for excavating services, signs, tools, fill dirt or rocks, etc. In recent weeks we had to pay someone to bring some excavating equipment into the area to do some work, and that’s depleted our bank account. Your support is greatly appreciated.

These trails are being built as part of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the City and Borough of Sitka, signed in February. The plan is to start with a couple of trails all in the same area, then build more trails later in other parts of Sitka. Sitka Trail Works is helping support this effort. A future Sitka Cycling Club project is the building of a skills course or pump track, where mountain bikers can improve their technical riding skills in an area that looks like a motocross track for bikes.

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Sitka Cycling Club volunteer coordinator Amy Volz pushes a wheelbarrow with buckets along the new single-track trail during an Aug. 20 weekly work party. The Sitka Cycling Club currently is building its fourth trail of the summer, and continues to hold weekly work parties from 5-7 p.m. on Thursdays. (Photos by Lione Clare)

Click map to enlarge. This map shows the three completed single-track mountain bike loops. It is in the bright green area to the right in the other map.

It’s been a busy summer for the Sitka Cycling Club, which has built three single-track mountain bike loops off the Sitka Cross Trail (907, Little Machete, and Ewok). The work continues during the Thursday weekly work party from 5-7 p.m. today, as volunteers are building the fourth trail, Middle Machete Loop,

“Outer Coast (College) volunteers have made great progress this week and we’ll continue their efforts,” Sitka Cycling Club volunteer coordinator Amy Volz wrote in an email to volunteers.

“We will be doing the usual, hauling rocks and gravel — we can’t get enough of it. Please be sure to bring and wear your mask, XtraTufs, and work gloves. Wearing masks keeps all of us healthy to ride.”

Meet up on Thursday at 5 pm at the gravel pile on the Cross Trail, near the exit of 907 and the difficult entrance to Little Machete. Other duties besides hauling rocks and gravel include placing big rocks in muddy spots, fabric cutting and laying, gravel hauling and placement, etc. In addition to working on Middle Machete, the volunteers scoped out their fifth trail, Upper Machete, during their Sept. 3 work party.

Due to the pandemic, we are limiting the sizes of the work parties. Please contact Amy by text at 907-957-6009 or email at amy.volz@outlook.com if you plan to help, so she can manage the size of the group. We want to make sure there is enough space between workers so we don’t spread the coronavirus.

The Sitka Cross Trail from the entrance near the Sitka High School Performing Arts Center parking lot. The four new loops (907, Little Machete, Ewok, and Middle Machete) are located in the lime green section to the right. (Map by Rollo Wirth)

The club completed the 907 Loop in June, then completed Little Machete and Ewok loops earlier in August, with the city giving approval for all three trails. The Middle Machete Loop is short, but it will require the work of an excavator for part of the trailwork.

In an effort to promote health and safety during the trail construction, please bring (and wear) your mask, work gloves and a bucket with a handle if you have one. The Sitka Cycling Club does have a wheelbarrow, shovels and buckets. All volunteers will need to sign a liability waiver.

To give people a flavor about what a single-track mountain bike trail is all about, Michael Foss put together a YouTube channel for the Sitka Cycling Club that includes some GoPro videos of rides and walks on the new 907 trail. Michael’s newest video includes a ride on Little Machete Loop.

According to our engineering report for the 907 Loop, these trails have the following features:

  • The trail is located at the base of an alluvial fan where drainage moves across the fan frequently and subsurface material is largely cobble and gravel with organic debris on top
  • Drainage is largely subsurface with two defined intermittent streams which activate during rainfall
  • Drainage across the trail has been accommodated using French drains, inverted dips, and cobble/gravel (intermittent stream) crossings
  • Streambanks along the intermittent stream crossings have been strengthened using boulders to reduce erosion and sedimentation
  • If/when stream naturally diverts across the alluvial fan we are prepared to accommodate drainage (through trail maintenance), as needed

We also want to thank the six-week Sitka Summer Work Program crew led by Joel Hanson of Southeast Alaska Independent Living (SAIL), which just completed its program last week. This crew did much of the work on the Ewok Loop. We now have a crew of students from Outer Coast College working on the Middle Machete Loop.

Sitka Cycling Club president Doug Osborne works on the Middle Machete Loop on Aug. 20. (Photo by Lione Clare)

The Sitka Cycling Club also wants to thank some Sitka residents who recently donated to help us build these trails. Donors include Charles Olson and Theresa Allen-Olson, Bill Hughes of Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop, and Reba Trani. In addition, the club also received some money from Sitka Trail Works (originally from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services) that was left over from hosting the Alaska Walk and Bike Conference in June.

You can support this and other projects by donating to the Sitka Cycling Club. You can click this link to donate through PayPal. The other option is to mail a check to Sitka Cycling Club, c/o Charles Bingham, Treasurer, 405 Marine Street, Apt. No. 6, Sitka, Alaska 99835. You can contact Charles at 623-7660 or charleswbingham3@gmail.com for more details.

Most of the supplies we’ve received have been donated, but eventually we will have to pay for signs, tools, fill dirt or rocks, etc. In recent weeks we had to pay someone to bring some excavating equipment into the area to do some work, and that’s depleting our bank account. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Volunteers Lee House, left, Aaron Prussian, and K.K. Prussian discuss next steps during an Aug. 20 work party.

These trails are being built as part of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the City and Borough of Sitka, signed in February. The plan is to start with a couple of trails all in the same area, then build more trails later in other parts of Sitka. Sitka Trail Works is helping support this effort. A future Sitka Cycling Club project is the building of a skills course or pump track, where mountain bikers can improve their technical riding skills in an area that looks like a motocross track for bikes.

A slideshow of photos from some of the trail-building work at the Aug. 20 work party is linked below (All photos by Lione Clare).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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Lee House moves a rock from the new single-track trail as Doug Osborne works a shovel behind him. (Photos by Lione Clare)

Click map to enlarge. This map shows the three completed single-track mountain bike loops. It is in the bright green area to the right in the other map.

The Sitka Cycling Club has been busy this summer and already has completed three single-track mountain bike loops off the Sitka Cross Trail. Now it’s time for volunteers to continue work on the fourth trail, Middle Machete Loop, during the weekly 5-7 p.m. Thursday work party.

“We will be doing the usual, hauling rocks and gravel — we can’t get enough of it,” Sitka Cycling Club trail volunteer coordinator Amy Volz wrote in an email to volunteers. “Please be sure to bring and wear your mask and work gloves. Wearing masks keeps all of us healthy to ride.”

Meet up on Thursday at 5 pm at the gravel pile on the Cross Trail, near the exit of 907 and the difficult entrance to Little Machete. Other duties include placing big rocks in muddy spots, fabric cutting and laying, gravel hauling and placement, etc.

Due to the pandemic, we are limiting the sizes of the work parties. Please contact Amy by text at 907-957-6009 or email at amy.volz@outlook.com if you plan to help, so she can manage the size of the group. We want to make sure there is enough space between workers so we don’t spread the coronavirus.The club completed the 907 Loop in June, then completed Little Machete and Ewok loops earlier in August, with the city giving approval for all three trails. The Middle Machete Loop is short, but it will require the work of an excavator for part of the trailwork.

The Sitka Cross Trail from the entrance near the Sitka High School Performing Arts Center parking lot. The new 907 loop is in the lime green section to the right (above the Cross Trail). The Little Machete Loop will start near the exit of the 907 loop and is below the Cross Trail in the lime green section on the right. The Ewok Loop also is in this area.

In an effort to promote health and safety during the trail construction, please bring (and wear) your mask, work gloves and a bucket with a handle if you have one. The Sitka Cycling Club does have a wheelbarrow, shovels and buckets. All volunteers will need to sign a liability waiver.

To give people a flavor about what a single-track mountain bike trail is all about, Michael Foss put together a YouTube channel for the Sitka Cycling Club that includes some GoPro videos of rides and walks on the new 907 trail. Michael’s newest video includes a ride on Little Machete Loop.

According to our engineering report for the 907 Loop, these trails have the following features:

  • The trail is located at the base of an alluvial fan where drainage moves across the fan frequently and subsurface material is largely cobble and gravel with organic debris on top
  • Drainage is largely subsurface with two defined intermittent streams which activate during rainfall
  • Drainage across the trail has been accommodated using French drains, inverted dips, and cobble/gravel (intermittent stream) crossings
  • Streambanks along the intermittent stream crossings have been strengthened using boulders to reduce erosion and sedimentation
  • If/when stream naturally diverts across the alluvial fan we are prepared to accommodate drainage (through trail maintenance), as needed

Amy Volz rakes gravel on the new single-track trail

The Sitka Cycling Club also wants to thank some Sitka residents who recently donated to help us build these trails. Donors include Charles Olson and Theresa Allen-Olson, Bill Hughes of Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop, and Reba Trani. In addition, the club also received some money from Sitka Trail Works (originally from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services) that was left over from hosting the Alaska Walk and Bike Conference in June.

We also want to thank the six-week Sitka Summer Work Program crew led by Joel Hanson of Southeast Alaska Independent Living (SAIL), which just completed its program last week. This crew did much of the work on the Ewok Loop.

You can support this and other projects by donating to the Sitka Cycling Club. You can click this link to donate through PayPal. The other option is to mail a check to Sitka Cycling Club, c/o Charles Bingham, Treasurer, 405 Marine Street, Apt. No. 6, Sitka, Alaska 99835. You can contact Charles at 623-7660 or charleswbingham3@gmail.com for more details.

Most of the supplies we’ve received have been donated, but eventually we will have to pay for signs, tools, fill dirt or rocks, etc. Your support is greatly appreciated.

These trails are being built as part of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the City and Borough of Sitka, signed in February. The plan is to start with a couple of trails all in the same area, then build more trails later in other parts of Sitka. Sitka Trail Works is helping support this effort. A future Sitka Cycling Club project is the building of a skills course or pump track, where mountain bikers can improve their technical riding skills in an area that looks like a motocross track for bikes.

A slideshow of photos from some of the trail-building work at the Aug. 20 work party is linked below (Photos by Lione Clare).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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Click map to enlarge. This map shows the three completed single-track mountain bike loops. It is in the bright green area to the right in the other map.

The Sitka Cycling Club has completed three single-track mountain bike loops off the Sitka Cross Trail this summer. Now it’s time for volunteers to start work on the fourth trail, Middle Machete Loop, during the weekly 5-7 p.m. Thursday work party.

“Meet up on Thursday at 5 pm at the gravel pile on the Cross Trail, near the exit of 907 and the difficult entrance to Little Machete,” Sitka Cycling Club trail volunteer coordinator Amy Volz wrote in an email to volunteers. “We’ll divvy up duties (big rock placing in muddy spots, fabric cutting and laying, gravel hauling and placement). Bring your work gloves and a mask, please.”

The Sitka Cross Trail from the entrance near the Sitka High School Performing Arts Center parking lot. The new 907 loop is in the lime green section to the right (above the Cross Trail). The Little Machete Loop will start near the exit of the 907 loop and is below the Cross Trail in the lime green section on the right. The Ewok Loop also is in this area.

The club completed the 907 Loop in June, then completed Little Machete and Ewok loops last week, with the city giving approval for all three trails. The Middle Machete Loop is short, but it will require the work of an excavator for part of the trailwork.

Due to the pandemic, we are limiting the sizes of the work parties. Please contact Amy Volz by text at 907-957-6009 or email at amy.volz@outlook.com if you plan to help, so she can manage the size of the group. We want to make sure there is enough space between workers so we don’t spread the coronavirus.

In an effort to promote health and safety during the trail construction, please bring (and wear) your mask, work gloves and a bucket with a handle if you have one. The Sitka Cycling Club does have a wheelbarrow, shovels and buckets. All volunteers will need to sign a liability waiver.

To give people a flavor about what a single-track mountain bike trail is all about, Michael Foss put together a YouTube channel for the Sitka Cycling Club that includes some GoPro videos of rides and walks on the new 907 trail.

According to our engineering report for the 907 Loop, these trails have the following features:

  • The trail is located at the base of an alluvial fan where drainage moves across the fan frequently and subsurface material is largely cobble and gravel with organic debris on top
  • Drainage is largely subsurface with two defined intermittent streams which activate during rainfall
  • Drainage across the trail has been accommodated using French drains, inverted dips, and cobble/gravel (intermittent stream) crossings
  • Streambanks along the intermittent stream crossings have been strengthened using boulders to reduce erosion and sedimentation
  • If/when stream naturally diverts across the alluvial fan we are prepared to accommodate drainage (through trail maintenance), as needed

The Sitka Cycling Club also wants to thank some Sitka residents who recently donated to help us build these trails. Donors include Charles Olson and Theresa Allen-Olson, Bill Hughes of Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop, and Reba Trani. In addition, the club also received some money from Sitka Trail Works (originally from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services) that was left over from hosting the Alaska Walk and Bike Conference in June.

We also want to thank the six-week Sitka Summer Work Program crew led by Joel Hanson of Southeast Alaska Independent Living (SAIL), which just completed its program last week. This crew did much of the work on the Ewok Loop.

You can support this and other projects by donating to the Sitka Cycling Club. You can click this link to donate through PayPal. The other option is to mail a check to Sitka Cycling Club, c/o Charles Bingham, Treasurer, 405 Marine Street, Apt. No. 6, Sitka, Alaska 99835. You can contact Charles at 623-7660 or charleswbingham3@gmail.com for more details.

Most of the supplies we’ve received have been donated, but eventually we will have to pay for signs, tools, fill dirt or rocks, etc. Your support is greatly appreciated.

These trails are being built as part of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the City and Borough of Sitka, signed in February. The plan is to start with a couple of trails all in the same area, then build more trails later in other parts of Sitka. Sitka Trail Works is helping support this effort. A future Sitka Cycling Club project is the building of a skills course or pump track, where mountain bikers can improve their technical riding skills in an area that looks like a motocross track for bikes.

A slideshow of scenes from some of the trailbuilding work this summer is linked below.

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