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Bangor expands trails for biking and mountain biking

New mountain biking and bike trails in Bangor.
New mountain biking and bike trails in Bangor.(Eric Gullickson)
Published: Jul. 13, 2020 at 7:43 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Biking and mountain biking are considered safe to do during the pandemic. Bike sales skyrocketed this spring and now there are more opportunities to bike in the Bangor area.

“People were stuck in their home and they wanted a place to go and biking is kind of in its essence a social distancing activity,” says Bangor Greendrinks and Penobscot Region New England Mountain Biking Association member Greg Edwards, “We have almost 150 Miles of trail in the Bangor area.”

Places you might not even realize like Essex Woods, which used to be a landfill, is now a mountain bike park for all abilities.

“Reclaiming a variety of bike trails over at Essex Woods,” says Bangor Parks and Recreation Director Tracy Willette, “We were able to offer some beginner to advanced mountain biking class is over there. It’s a unique amenity that not many places have.”

“They are flowy, that’s the term as opposed to Rocky and Rutty,” says Edwards, “so you’re not getting up some speed and then hitting a bunch of obstacles these are designed to be ridden and fun to ride. They are also sustainable in that they are designed to hold up without it needing a lot of maintenance.”

Penobscot Region Chapter of the New England Mountain Biking Association has been critical.

“They have been tremendously helpful for us to be able to create these trails and biking opportunities for all kinds of folks,” says Willette.

“We support them,” says Slipping Gears Cycling owner Jason Neal, “and for the last couple of years we’ve had a mountain bike race there in the wintertime to put on trails to access more trails to Essex Woods.”

Bangor Greendrinks has also supported biking initiatives in the city as well, including the connector trail just finished this weekend, which makes accessing trails easier.

“The city of Bangor, in 2008, had a committee called Bangor trails. Had looked at all the trails in the Bangor area and we’re trying to develop ways to increase connectivity,” Edwards says, “They identified the best hope for creating trail the connections between Essex Woods through to the Eastern Maine community college which has trails, through and through to Saxl Park and Cascade Park. From here to there is about 3 1/2 miles of connectivity that they are creating By bypassing the Stillwater interstate access.”

“It creates access,” says Neal, “but it also keeps you away from the busy part of the interstate so you can go underneath it which is great.”

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