There are no mountains next to the Kaw, but Lawrence's mountain bikers are happy with their twisting trail along the riverfront.
Not far from the levee trail in Lawrence's Riverfront Park, where cyclists pedal their Schwinns on a smooth, flat path, is a different kind of biking world.
It's a world of steep hills and steeper drops, of narrow trails and twisting turns.
That's where you'll find mountain bikers speeding along the river trail, an eight-mile round trip from the entry at the North Eighth Street boat ramp east to Mud Creek and back again.
"We tried to design the trail with a lot of turns and to go up and down the hills as much as possible," said Curtis Martell, a member of Mt. BIK Lawrence. "Some of them are pretty steep, straight up and down."
The river trail is unique as a mountain bike trail because it is so close to downtown Lawrence, Martell said.
Members of the mountain bike club help groom the trail by cutting weeds and removing fallen trees and are in the process of creating a giant loop to eliminate head-on traffic.
But after last summer's floods and the September windstorm, the trail needed reconstructive surgery, not grooming, Martell said.
"When it flooded, the river left tons of sand on the trail," he said. "There was sand five feet deep. We had to move the trail around it."
Martell and other club members are racing to get the trail back in shape in time for a June 19 mountain bike race.
Mostly it means hitting the trail with weed whips, supplied by the Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department, to cut back the poison ivy, thistles and nettles. Any and all offers of help will be gratefully accepted, Martell said.
The city is glad for any assistance in maintaining its trails, said Fred DeVictor, parks and recreation department director.
"We do some things, but we don't have the staff for all the trails," he said. "It's much like at Clinton Lake, where the horse trails are maintained by the Kansas Trails Assn. The volunteers adopt and take care of it."
The river trail will be the site of one of the newest events in this summer's statewide athletic competition, DeVictor said.
"This year, for the first, mountain biking will be part of the Sunflower State Games," he said.
The mountain bike race is scheduled for July 30.
- On The Road Warriors: got any questions/concerns/peeves? Call the Journal-World Access line at 865-5000, enter category number 7485 and leave a brief message.