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Archive for Sunday, August 6, 1995

CLUB HELPS KEEP RIVER TRAIL CLEAR FOR LOCAL BICYCLISTS

August 6, 1995

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Volunteers were out Saturday cleaning up the city's bike trail along the north bank of the Kansas River.

As a gray haze rose from the Kansas River on Saturday morning, a red car carrying two mountain bikes on its roof drove past Mike Reading.

"That's why we do it," Reading said, watching the car drive to the entrance to the city's mountain bike trail on the river boat dock at Eighth Street in North Lawrence.

Reading and five other volunteers from Mountain Bike Lawrence, a local club with 40 members, were getting prepared to clean up brush, weeds and debris on the seven-mile dirt trail.

Larry Spray, Lawrence, was gassing up a chain saw while Chris Davis and Ulf Becker, both of Lawrence, looked on. Dean Parker, Lenexa, pulled a weed trimmer out of the back of a camper.

And Curtis Martell, Lawrence, the club's race director, was spraying his ankles with bug repellent and fixing a blue bandana around his forehead for the job.

Reading, who was in charge of the cleanup, said Mountain Bike Lawrence periodically helps the city maintain the trail in the wooded area between the levee and the river.

"This is a city park down here," Reading said. "The city can't have a crew down here maintaining this thing. It's strictly for recreational usage. And we're the people that use it.

"We're just trying to make it ridable for everyone in town. Lawrence is very fortunate that we have the river trail down here, which is a good beginner trail. It's flat and it's easy to ride."

The trail itself is about three feet wide and winds through trees and brush.

"We try to keep the poison ivy cut back by mowing," Reading said.

The trail is about seven miles long -- if it's all clear and dry. There are now two access points. One is at the boat ramp off Eighth Street and the other comes down off the levee by the FMC Corp. pump. But, at the request of the Army Corps of Engineers, the access on the levee will be closed because a flood might hurt the integrity of the levee.

"The last thing we want as cyclists is for the levee to be in danger because of something we're doing," he said.

Martell said the club members come down about four times a year to mow and reroute the trail around fallen trees or to cut out the old logs that have fallen across the trail.

"Old Man River never lets us rest, because every two years we get a flood and then we have to go back to work," he said. "But I think this project is fun and it's pretty rewarding, because we get to watch a lot of other people get to use the trail. I feel we're doing something for the bike community by helping out."

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