Ride On Trail Town

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In collaboration with the City of Sault Ste Marie, the Sault Cycling Club is spearheading the construction of a professionally built 3 km Mountain Bike Flow Trail over the 2021 summer season.

Launched at the end of February, 2021, the Sault Cycling Club (SCC) has undertaken a fundraising campaign for the Finn Hill Mountain Bike Trail. A resolution was passed by Sault Ste Marie City Council on February 22, 2021 allowing the Finn Hill Mountain Bike Trail Project to move forward.

After thorough consultation with stakeholders, including the City of Sault Ste Marie’s Travis Anderson, Director Tourism and Community Development, the budget of $150K has been determined as the amount necessary to complete the project.

The trail which will be suitable for all skill levels including para riders will start at Finn Hill and finish near Northern Avenue along the west side of the Hub Trail. The cost to build the trail will be raised entirely from fundraising.

Advocacy Director for the Sault Cycling Club, is a person whose current volunteer title certainly fits the man. André Riopel is a Registered Physiotherapist, and Clinic Director at ‘Back in Motion Physiotherapy Clinic’ and Fellow with the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Therapy. He is also a long-time advocate for the sport and recreational value of cycling, even opening Velorution Bike & Ski, a well known bicycle shop in The Sault in 2006. Riopel sold the business a few years ago. His passion for cycling continues.

In his role as Advocacy Director for the Sault Cycling Club, Andre Riopel spoke with Superior Media’s Lynne Brown about the campaign recently launched by the Club.

Riopel said, “Sault Ste.Marie has all the qualities and attributes including its location in the center of North America and the Great Lakes, its unique topography on the edge of the Canadian Shield and the existing high quality Hub Trail and Hiawatha Highland Trails to truly become one of the country’s premier ‘Trail Towns’. The Finn Hill project is the continuation of our great tradition of love of the outdoors which will lead the way to a full fledge best-in- class interconnected trail community.”

The Finn Hill Mountain Bike Trail will be a 3-km trail for off-road cycling. This professionally designed trail will use the natural contours of Finn Hill, adjacent to the Hub Trail, the P-Patch neighbourhood and Northern Avenue, to create a superlative cycling experience. Once completed, it will be regularly inspected and maintained by the SCC and the City of Sault Ste Marie Parks Division.

“Having access to trails designed for adaptive cycling is paramount to get thosewith disabilities out to enjoy nature and the joy of riding. The Finn Hill Trail is exactly what we need here in Sault Ste Marie.” shared Mark Bazzo, Arm Powered Triker and Sault Ste. Marie Resident.

All corners and features (such as ramps) will have well-marked options for riders to choose a level of difficulty to match their skills. Careful consideration of the topography along the hillside has allowed designers to create a trail that optimizes effortless and joyful cycling for riders of all levels.

The Finn Hill Mountain Bike Trail will be a key component to growing the Kids Shredding Single Track and SprockKids’ programmes. The SCC currently maintains three networks of mountain bike trails at Hiawatha Highlands, totalling over 25 km. Recently, SCC partnered with Hiawatha Highlands to groom fat-bike trails for winter riding. “We were integral in the development of the Esposito Park Pump Track, a unique urban cycling attraction in downtown Sault Ste. Marie. SCC also organizes group rides to connect cyclists in the city.” shared Riopel.

Cycling trails are central to urban renewal projects across North America. Mountain bike trails in northern Michigan, for example, attract thousands of tourists per year and yield huge social and economic benefits to communities.

Hiawatha Highlands – Ski, Snowshoe & Bike (photo, February 28th, 2021 via SCC on facebook).

The Sault Cycling Club is seeking a Title Sponsor (50K) and various Trail and Feature Sponsors (10K).

Now here is where the majority of us can support the effort. The public is invited to sponsor a metre of trail for $20 each.

“We’re looking for support to hire trail-building professionals in the summer of 2021. The machine-made trail will be constructed exclusively on city owned land that’s far more accessible to the public than existing mountain bike trails at Hiawatha Highlands.” said
Riopel. “It will provide children, students and adults outstanding access to the Hub Trail and improve an integral travel corridor. The Finn Hill Mountain Bike Trail is a great next step in Sault Ste. Marie’s emergence as one of Canada’s greatest ‘trail’ towns.”

The Sault Cycling Clubs AGM will be held Thursday, March 11, 2021 at 8:00 pm via Zoom.

There are a number of positions up for election for the executive, with nominations for these positions required by Tuesday, March 9, 2021 (end of day) however nominations can be received the day of the AGM if needed.

A person can submit a nomination through the Sault Cycling Club’s web portal  or by completing a paper copy that can be returned to the club. The paper copy can further be sent as an attachment to: [email protected]

Positions up for election in 2021:
• Mountain Bike Director
• Touring Director
• Road Bike Director
• Director at Large
• Director at Large

The Advocacy Director is already in place. Thank you to Andre Riopel and the Sault Cycling Club for their commitment to recreation cycling in the geography we call home. Look for the Sault Cycling Club’s Facebook Page ~ it’s loaded with awesome pictures and videos

A person can sponsor a meter of trail for just $20. Each meter purchased will come with a custom stamped coaster. This is a great gift idea or employee recognition incentive. You can find them for purchase locally throughout the fundraising campaign at: Algoma Bicycle, Feeding Your Soul Cafe, OutSpoken Brewing, Vélorution Bike & Ski. Be sure to tag SCC in a selfie when you get your custom coasters to help share the trail love. #sccfinnhillmtb #saultcyclingclub
(photo via SCC on facebook)