Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Happening in local news

For the second straight year, mountain bike riders of all ages and abilities will converge on Collis P. Huntington State Park on Sunset Hill Road this Sunday for a benefit ride organized by the Connecticut Chapter of the New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA). The non-competitive, recreational bike ride will help raise funds for trail improvements at the park.

The Happening at Huntington is the first of five charity rides in the Kona Bicycles-Fox Shox Mountain Bike Adventure Series scheduled NEMBA in four states this year, according to Executive Director Philip Keyes.

“It’s a very nice event,” said Keyes, who noted the ride attracted about 230 cyclists last year. “It’s a great event for anyone who enjoys riding bikes in the woods.”

The event will give mountain bikers a chance to ride with others. Park trails will feature marked loops of various distances for all levels of riders, from hard-core enthusiasts to novices and children, in large or small groups or solo.

Among the featured courses are the Rock and Roll Trail, the Twister Trail and the Burned Loops. A post-ride barbecue is available for a donation to the Pan-Mass Challenge.

NEMBA has 18 chapters and more than 4,600 members throughout New England. Its mission is to promote responsible mountain biking and to protect and preserve New England trails and open spaces.

“A lot of what we do is taking care of trails,” said Keyes. He added than NEMBA received an award from the Greenways Council in Connecticut for the volunteer work it has done at biking venues.

The group also leads about a thousand recreational rides a year, hosts mountain bike festivals and camping trips, and has bicycle patrols in many parks.

Registration for the event begins at 9 a.m. and runs until 11. There will be led rides in the morning, or participants may follow the marked course at their leisure.

The cost of the event is $10 for NEMBA members and $15 for non-members. Children 12 and under ride free with a registered parent or guardian. The event is also free to riders who join NEMBA that day.

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