Hold on tight

When the Stowe Reporter launched RIDE in 2012, we wanted to introduce the community to a sport that seemed to be taking off. In the introduction, we credited “a dedicated group of volunteers and biking enthusiasts” who were making Stowe the place to ride in central Vermont.

How quaint that sounds now.

Mountain biking has exploded in these parts, with extensive and growing trail networks in Stowe, Waterbury and Morrisville, plus the continuing work to make the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail a 93-mile connector clear across the top of the state.

The Stowe Mountain Bike Club has morphed into the Stowe Trails Partnership, broadening its approach beyond biking to trail-building, conservation and affiliations with groups like the Stowe Land Trust that have similar values.

This is a sport that’s all grown up, pulling all sorts of people of all ages into the woods for a singletrack experience. Mountain biking has become an economic boom, a huge factor in Vermont tourism, and a great connection with the state’s legendary beer industry.

People are noticing. RIDE has won multiple awards as the best special-interest sports section in New England.

In this year’s RIDE, local people — young and old, pioneers and greenhorns — explain why they love the sport and why everyone else should give it a shot. We also take a look at this year’s plans to expand the Stowe trail network, at the burgeoning Waterbury Area Trails Alliance, and at local history and maybe its future.

See you out on the trail!

— Tom Kearney

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