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B.U.M.P.

NEWS
B.U.M.P., Birmingham Urban Mountain Pedalers, meets the first Wednesday of each month at 7:00pm at the Hoover Public Library. The Hoover Public Library is located at the intersection of Hwy 31 and I 459. Membership is by participation in meetings, trips, and rides and is open to the general public.

On January 12th, twenty cyclists met at the St. Marks Nalional Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge is located on the Gulf of Mexico due south of Tallahassee, Florida and contains a mixture of coastal marshes, pine flatwoods, and upland scrub habitats. The marshes contain a network of levees to control the water levels for migratory waterfowl. The refuge is is used by a variety of birds, including bald eagles, and is home to numerous alligators. Needless to say the scenery is spectacular and the refuge is a great place to enjoy cruising along on a bicycle. For the actual ride, we started at the visitor center as brisk winds drove the clouds from the sky. For many of us, this was the first sunshine we had seen in weeks. Indeed the previous day had started with a downpour in . TaHahassee. For the first several miles we altemated riding on woods roads, levee tops, and pavement before arriving at the lighthouse on the gulL which was built in 1846. Then after backtracking a few miles... we rode to the backside of the refuge before returning to the visitor center. With the inclusion of an out and back to the Pinhook River ... the ride was almost 30 miles long. Despite a close call by one rider who almost ran over an alligator... 18 of the 20 riders completed the entire ride. The casualties were due to a sore knee and a tender rear end. On Sunday, the 13th, we met at the head of the St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail a few mites south of Tallahassee. The St. Marks Trail is a paved ... eight foot wide, trail that extends 16 miles south from Tallahassee to St. Marks. Adjacent to the trail are lands belonging to the Apalachicola N alional Forest on which Fat of the Land, the Tallahassee mountain bicycle club, in conjunction with the Forest Service is developing single track for mountain bicycles. T his was our deslination. Fifteen riders showed up for the St. M arks single track. After riding down the paved trail for a little over a mile... the single track took off through the longleaf pine flatwoods. Surprisingly, the trail was hardpacked, with very liute loose sand. Despite aUof the rain on Thursday and Friday the trail was dry so the riding was excellent. The trail was laid out by cyclists and it reaDyshowed. Lots of tight curves, plenty of logs to hop and numerous trees to squeeze between... pure fun! We split into two groups. Those in a hurry to return to B'ham did a Quick 4 mile loop and the rest did a longer 12 mile loop. Since there is probably at most 20 feet of elevation difference, it

makes for some fast riding for those of us accustomed climbing lots of hills. Even the longer loop took only about an hour to ride.

This past faiL 0 ak Mountain State Park formed a trail advisory comlJ'tiUee consisting of two cyciists(Ken Hester and Bill Harringtont two hikers, and two equestrians. T he current plan is to continue to completely segregate horses and bicycles and to minimize shared trails between pedestrians and cyclists. Cyclists are stiUrestricted to the red traa which is in reality an old road. In its original form the red trail relied on extensive ditching and culverts to provide proper drainage and prevent erosion where it traverses the steep grades up Oak Mountain. Unfortunately the trails' drainage structures have filled in over the years and water now flows down the middle of the trail during rains causing serious erosion on the steeper grades. Since the park is committed to keeping the red trail open to pedestrian and bicycle traffic, B.U.M.P. proposed the red trail be regraded to restore as much of the original drainage strucutures as possible. In its current state, the trail's problems cannot be corrected by volunteer manual labor. The park accepted this proposal and work has begun starting at the Peavine Falls end. It is the park's intention to make the trail passable to four wheel drive vehicles to aid in search and rescue missions. In conjunction with the restoration of the red trait to a four wheel drive road, B.U.M.P. is negotiating with the park to obtain access to single track within the park. The trail committee and the park are reviewing the situation and we expect positive action will be taken in the near future.

At the January meeting, we voted unanimously voted to accept the bylaws put forth by John Hodgkins and committee. This means we wiDbe electing officers at our February meeting. 0 ther items on the agenda for the February meeting are planning rides for February and March and watching a video of the Tallahasse trip.

For more info about B.U.M.P. call Bill Harrington at 939-1794 nights and weekends and 733-5587 weekdays.