Highbridge Park

The Daily Plant : Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Coming Soon To Our Parks: Mountain Biking!

Now, I know what you're thinking, “There's mountain bicycling in NYC?”  The problem lies in the name “mountain” bicycling. It's kind of a misnomer since there are obviously no mountains here in the city proper. Most mountain bicyclists are cross-country cyclists, participating in a healthy sport similar to cross-country skiing and trail running.

Currently in construction are mountain biking trails in Highbridge Park in Manhattan and Cunningham Park in Queens.  Once complete, they will join the wide roster of recreational activities offered by Parks & Recreation.

Unlike the other cross-country sports, however, this one suffers from an urban myth. There's a common misconception that bicycles cause erosion damage to the trails. In response, a group of local mountain bicyclists decided to band together and educate themselves on the science of trail erosion and how bicycles could be ridden with minimal impact. Fueled with information provided by the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) and the US Forest Service, a management plan began to take shape.

Established in 1990 as a non-profit organization, Concerned Long Island Mountain Bicyclists (C.L.I.M.B.) is dedicated to the growth and safe enjoyment of mountain bicycling. They educate members on trail use that is environmentally sound and socially responsible. They promote a strong relationship between recreation and conservation. A common passion for trail riding and maintenance brings them together as a collective voice. Additionally, by teaching good sportsmanship, they act as coaches for the sport. Respect for the environment and responsibility towards others are some easily mastered skills.

C.L.I.M.B.’s Trail Committee advocates, researches, designs, builds and currently maintains over eighty miles of cross-country bicycle trails across Long Island, and as of 2006, New York City. Trails are designed to be appropriate for recreational bicycle use. A properly designed trail resists erosion and requires minimum maintenance.

Preferring to keep a low profile, C.L.I.M.B.’s Trail Stewards supervise volunteer caretakers who quietly clean up trash, prune back trail growth, drain puddles, and repair, re-design and re-plant eroded sections of old trail. C.L.I.M.B. also has a local chapter of the National Mountain Bicycle Patrol to “assist, educate and inform” all trail users that might need assistance along the trail. They do all this at no cost to Parks or taxpayers. That's passion at work!

Over ten years ago, most trails were not designed at all. They started out as animal trails that hunters followed and eventually became the trails that bicyclists currently use. As a result, they eroded quickly and required more frequent maintenance. Nowadays, through experience gained in the last decade with the help of the International Mountain Bicycling Association’s (IMBA) Trail Care Seminars and time proven methods, C.L.I.M.B. has an experienced design team that can tackle improvements to existing trails, as well as develop new ones. 

Most mountain bicyclists care about the environment and want to promote a positive image. Properly designed sustainable trails are the foundation for treading lightly on the land. Old non-sustainable trails perpetuate the myth.

Building bike trails in Highbridge Park and Cunningham Park will promote positive recreational use and improve conditions of these areas. It's about time to start spreading the word: Mountain Bicyclists respect the environment and are responsible recreationalists. To join and support C.L.I.M.B.’s efforts please visit our website at www.climbonline.org.

Written by Michael Vitti, C.L.I.M.B. President, IMBA NY Rep



"If you want to experience all of the successes and pleasure in life,

you have to be willing to accept all the pain and failure that comes with it."

Mat Hoffman
(1972 -  )

Directions to Highbridge Park

Know Before You Go

Outdoor Pools

The wading pool at Highbridge Pool will be closed for the 2022 season for necessary repair work. The Olympic-sized outdoor pool remains open. As an alternative, please visit the Cool It! NYC map to find nearby spray showers and cooling features.

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