Reed City rolls out new bike park over the weekend

Youth come out for Crossroads Recreation Connection Bike Park's first off-road bike race Oct. 29

REED CITY — Reed City youth bike riders showed up enmasse for the grand opening of the Crossroads Recreation Connection Bike Park at Westerburg Park in Reed City, as it hosted its first off-road bike race this past weekend.

“There was a good turnout with a diverse age range, and the course was able to accommodate younger riders on “striders” as well as older youth on a variety of bike types,” resident Kathy Fiebig told the Herald Review.

Riders rode two timed heats, and the winner of each age group won a new bike of their choice. All riders had the option to trade in their current bikes on a new one, thanks to a generous donation of 36 brand new bikes from McClain Cycle and Fitness of Traverse City and Cadillac.

“Several riders that had outgrown their current bikes traded up to more size appropriate models, including one young lady who turned in her strider for a two-wheeler and learned to successfully ride it (no training wheels!) in the parking lot after the competition ended,” Fiebig said.

Due to the generosity of the McClain donation, bikes will be available as loaners next summer, and anyone needing to trade up to a larger bike may be able to do so, depending upon inventory, she added.

Jonathan Zelinski of Folkal Point Trails led the drive on the bike park initiative, designing the course, taking it to city council for initial approval, and gathering volunteers and donations to make it a reality, while putting in hundreds of hours working on the course himself.

The section of the course that opened on Saturday is the beginner, or green section. The course will eventually have three distinct areas for beginners, intermediate and advanced riders. Markings will mimic those on ski runs - green for beginners, blue for intermediate, and black for experts. 

The bike park is located in Westerburg Park, across the road from the softball fields at the north end of the park. It is now open to the public, and the rules are clearly posted. Helmets are always required, and riders use the course at their own risk. It’s been designed for safety, but crashes are inevitable, Fiebig said.

CRC would like to thank Jonathan Zelinski and the Zelinski and Donley families for their financial support and manual labor in creating the park; Double Diamond Transport for donating the use of a skid steer for four weeks and providing the fuel, and providing soil and clay for the trail, as well as purchasing 40 brand new bike helmets to be given to any youth without one; McClain Cycles and Fitness for the bikes, for showing up at the race, and for being very open to an ongoing partnership; and Park Street Repair for a generous financial donation which will be used for permanent signage. 

“Our appreciation goes out to all the individual volunteers that cleared brush, felled trees, moved rocks and raked and shoveled to form the features: Josh Zelinski, Dan Zelinski (Zelinski Electric), Casey Merriss, Bill Westveer, John Colley and Kathy Fiebig,” a CRC representative said. And thank you to the Reed City council and staff for allowing the use of city property and for their overall support of this project.”

CRC recently obtained 501(c)(3) status and is actively seeking donations to continue their mission to provide quality outdoor recreation at no cost for area youth. CRC has taken the disc golf course, the bike park and the ice-skating rink under their wing, and is now working on a splash pad, a dog park, and possibly a skate park. 

They welcome monetary donations in any amount and are seeking corporate sponsorships and donations in kind for future projects.

Anyone interested in becoming a member of the group or donating to the projects can reach out on the Crossroads Recreation Connection Facebook page.