Thursday, June 5, 2008

.....and the Liberty Tribune

Public invited to grand opening at Stocksdale Park

By Angie Anaya Borgedalen
Thursday, June 5, 2008 1:30 AM CDT

In the early 1980s while living in Houston, Texas, Clay Lozier read an article about mountain biking and was hooked.

"At that time, you couldn't just go to a bike store and buy one. They had to special order one for me," said Lozier, who grew up in Liberty.

Within two years, Lozier said bike stores were carrying more of the sturdy, knobby-tire mountain bikes than they were of the more common road bikes. Lozier rides both types and owns two of each.

"I probably ride about four days a week," Lozier said. "I tend to ride my mountain bikes more between October and May."

But since he helped blaze a hiking and biking trail earlier this year between Stocksdale Park and Walnut Woods Conservation Area in east Liberty, Lozier may find himself on the trail more often.

He said it was important for people to use the 2.7-mile trail to keep it clear of growth, and with the grand opening of the trail set for Saturday, June 7, he said he hopes more people will learn about it. Eventually the trail will be about six miles long.

"This is truly a single-track, off-road trail with rocks and roots. It's for mountain bikes, trail runners and hikers," Lozier said. "It's not a smooth, paved trail."

Matthew Woody, who along with Lozier is a member of the Earth Riders Trails Association and also helped cut the trail with other volunteers, said he had been riding for about 10 years. Woody is the volunteer manager of the Stocksdale trail.

Instead of having to drive to Smithville Lake to ride his bike, Woody said he could now just ride from his house to the local trail head at Stocksdale.

"I also ride my bike to the Liberty Square and on errands. It cuts down a lot on my driving and conserves gas," Woody said. "As the word gets out, people will be able to ride from their homes to the trail. It's a good place to walk dogs, too."

After the 10:30 a.m. ribbon-cutting, Lozier said Paceline Products would be grilling hot dogs and providing soft drinks at 11:30 a.m., giving those in attendance a chance to walk or ride on the trail. Representatives from local bike stores, Biscari Brothers, The Wheel Cyclery and Cycle City, will also be there, he said.

Woody said it was important to follow proper etiquette when riding or hiking on a trail.

"A big local rule is don't ride when it's muddy, because that leads to trail erosion," Woody said.

The following rules come from the International Mountain Biking Association:

• Ride on open trails only; avoid trespassing on private land without permission.

• Leave no trace; pack out what you packed in.

• Control your bicycle; obey speed regulations.

• Always yield the trail; don't startle others; a friendly greeting or a bell is considerate.

• Never scare animals; use special care when passing horses.

• Plan ahead; know your equipment, your ability and the area you are riding.

Free food, camaraderie:

- What: Grand opening for hiking, biking trail 

- Where: Stocksdale Park, 901 S. LaFrenz Road 

- When: 10:30 a.m., Saturday, June 7 

- More information: 439-4360

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