In early August, Stone Eater Bike Park welcomed an out-of-town visitor to the park. Philip Waidner, from the National Interscholastic Cycling Association and City of Lebanon Engineer Kevin Krulik walked the site, and discussed its potential.
“The beginnings of the trails and the beginnings of the old roads are all there, so it’s easy to see the layout,” said National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) Program Manager Camps, Trail Corps, and First Aid Philip Waidner. “It’s also easy to see elevation changes in the terrain. Especially with the trees now you can see what is going to be field, and what is going to be forest. There is barely anything here yet, there is actually no trails built yet, but it’s very visible as to where it’s going to be.”
“The potential is there, with the elevation,” added Waidner. “You know Indiana isn’t exactly known for great elevation change, especially this area of Indiana, but there is enough elevation gain here that you can definitely get some fun little downhills, some fun climbs, and between the unique construction of the trail that is going to be here, it really opens up that potential for being able to add in a variety of different trail experiences. Adding in features and also by incorporating NICA’s needs very early in the planning process has been beneficial. They are also able to build a trail that is going to be awesome for public access and fun for the public. While also being a high-quality NICA venue for NICA races, practices, camps, etc.”
“NICA came along side us very early in the project,” said City Engineer Kevin Krulik. “They believed in what we are doing. They believe, with every part of them, the philosophy of ‘More Kids on Bikes.’ Their mission is to get more kids outdoors and active, so that’s a great mission they have, and a great partner for a project like this.”
“Cycling is a life-long sport, said Waidner. “A lot of your more traditional ball sports tend to be a little higher impact on your joints and on your body. You tend to see very steep drop-offs from kids who where playing basketball and football and soccer. As they get older, they really drop-off participation rates, but cycling is a sport that actually has seen an increase as folks are getting older they get more into cycling. By getting them in early as kids, it really instills that life-long passion for cycling, and it’s something the whole family can do. In a place like this, the whole family can come out and ride some of the easier trails together and then, if the whole family isn’t ready for the more advanced features, then the folks in the family who are more interested in riding the beginner trails can do that, and ones who want to ride the more advanced trails can do that. The park can really create that variety of experiences for the family, while also allowing the whole family to enjoy the park together. To be able to ride together and progress together as mountain bikers and learn more skills.”