Whether you are looking to just try out mountain biking or are an advanced rider looking for jump thrills, summer is a great time for mountain biking.
With over 30 miles of trails built specifically for biking and lots of cool shade among the trees, Chewacla is the perfect destination for any rider.
For those looking for company while biking, the Central Alabama Mountain Pedalers meet at Chewacla every Tuesday at 6 p.m. Riders are organized into groups according to their skill level.
CAMP is allowed to stay at the park after closing hours, and participants often grill out and enjoy the park after rides.
For out-of-town riders, there is also an evening ride at least one Saturday a month, and the weekend is different each month.
The best way to keep track of CAMP events is to follow their Facebook or Instagram pages, said CAMP President Cody Salmon.
Salmon has seen more riders coming to evening rides during the summer compared to the rest of the year.
Though Chewacla is the most popular mountain biking destination in the area, there are other local trails such as the Lake Wilmore Trail, which is an intermediate two-mile loop behind Ogletree Elementary School. There are also numerous trails in the Tuskegee National Forest, but they can be a challenge just to find.
When biking in the summer, it is important that riders carry water with them.
“Water and keeping cool is a big factor; it gets really hot and really humid, and you don’t really notice when you’re riding cause you’re moving a little faster,” Salmon said. “You have a helmet on, so you want to definitely make sure when you take breaks that you take that off and let your head cool and get some of that excess heat off.”
CAMP not only hosts group rides, but they are also responsible for the construction and maintenance of most of the local bike trails.
CAMP relies mostly on volunteers to construct and maintain trails. CAMP hosts “build events” throughout the year where anyone is welcome to come and help build new trails or maintain old ones.
“We have any range of tasks that can be done,” Salmon said. “We actually had a sorority group, and they didn’t want to dig in the dirt or do much with tools. They were helpful in clearing trails or kind of moving dirt that was already loosened to specific areas.”
Their biggest priority for this summer is building a dual slalom track for the 2018 Southeastern Collegiate Cycling Conference's Championship for mountain biking in October. CAMP will also be finishing the Pipe Dream Trail, Salmon said.
Most of the summer work is keeping plants growth off the trails. Those interested in volunteering can visit CAMP's Facebook and Instagram pages to learn more about when clean-up events are held, Salmon said.