Pedal Power: Mayor’s Mountain Bike Challenge is Ready to Roll on Wednesday

Redding Mayor Brent Weaver wants to promote the area's trails.

Redding Mayor Brent Weaver wants to promote the area’s trails.

Redding’s mayor is big on mountain biking and he wants others, including riders from other parts of the state, to get in on the single-track fun.

“We’re in a unique position,” Mayor Brent Weaver said of the network of trails in Redding and the surrounding countryside. “It’s a story we have to do a better job of telling.”

Enter the inaugural Mayor’s Mountain Bike Challenge, which will be introduced at Tuesday’s Redding City Council meeting and launched on Wednesday. A Mountain Bike Night social event at Maxwell’s Eatery in downtown Redding also will help get the Challenge in gear.

The Challenge offers riders of all abilities a chance to complete a series of rides (five each at the beginning and intermediate levels and four in the advanced) that are listed on downloadable passports.

Riders who complete all the rides in their respective category and return their passports by noon on May 19 will be entered into the Challenge Raffle and will have a chance to win gift certificates redeemable at any local bike shop. The prizes are worth $500 for the beginners, $750 for the intermediate and $1,000 for the advanced.

All riders who complete the rides in their category receive a commemorative water bottle and stickers and will be recognized on the Healthy Shasta Web site. Ambitious riders who “black out” their passports (complete all challenge rides in all three categories) will be eligible for a special prize.

Why a mountain bike challenge? “The first goal is to encourage locals to take advantage of these incredible trails we have access to year-round, and secondly the goal is to promote our trail system to the south (Sacramento and the Bay Area) and into Southern Oregon) and let them know we’re open for business year-round,” Weaver said.

Weaver said his hope is the Challenge spurs additional interest in bicycling in and around Redding. After all, he noted, thanks to the Bureau of Land Management, the city and dedicated volunteers with mountain bike clubs, “we don’t have to wait. The trails are already built.”

Weaver said he fell in love with mountain biking when he returned to Redding 10 years ago. Rides on his current list of favorites include the new French Fry trail (he enjoys the scenery and the tie-ins to the area’s gold mining history) and the Princess Ditch trail out by Igo.

Also at Tuesday’s council meeting, Weaver said he will discuss details of a proposed bike park in Caldwell Park that would be situated between the Aquatic Center and North Market Street. Weaver said the bike park would be financed largely by grants and donations. It would not interfere with the Sacramento River Trail, nor would it require the removal of any trees.

The proposed bike park is another step in a program Weaver said he’s initiating to help revitalize existing parks that, “for one reason or another have been sort of abandoned by greater Redding.” He noted the addition of bocce ball courts at South City Park and a plan for food trucks to make regular visits to Library Park as two examples.

For passports, trail maps and other details on the Challenge, visit http://www.visitredding.com/mayors-mountain-bike-challenge

Jon Lewis

Jon Lewis is a freelance writer living in Redding. He has more than 30 years experience writing for newspapers and magazines. Contact him at jonpaullewis@gmail.com.

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