Sunday Paige & I went for a mountain bike ride. Paige was really tentative on her new bike earlier this summer, but ever since our trip up to the U.P. where she biked around with some new found friends at the campground, she has gained a ton of confidence.
Riley Trails was the first trail I mountain biked on in Michigan when I started riding. It’s really flat and the trails are wide which actually makes it a fantastic place to bring youngsters who are just learning to ride. There are plenty of roots and trees, however, to make it exciting and challenging to a kid. The trails are more like a spider web than a loop which was also perfect as I was always able to stay relatively close to the car to head back before it was no longer fun for her. As soon as she started asking when we would be done, I could promise her that it was only a few more minutes away.
The landscape at Riley Trails has changed considerably over the last 6 months as the DNR has unfortunately had to enlist loggers to take out diseased and threatened trees. The property has gone through many stages over its life; first logged by early settlers for housing and trade; replanted with pine trees for future harvesting; a portion of the property was used as a dump; and a smaller chunk on the South side at one point was utilized as a gun club (the hunting type). The most recent logging has left some significant damage to the trails due to the heavy equipment trekking throughout the property. Fortunately, those areas are now starting to smooth out with traffic.
None of the serious mountain bikers that I ride with make it a point to end up at Riley Trails, but for us ‘Northsiders’ in Holland, Riley Trails is a fantastic place to just let loose in the woods and introduce the next generation to trail riding.