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Bike club needs volunteer trail builders

Phil McGarrigle, a member of the Nanaimo Mountain Bike Club, works on the Fine China trail on the Doumont Road recreation area. - CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin
Phil McGarrigle, a member of the Nanaimo Mountain Bike Club, works on the Fine China trail on the Doumont Road recreation area.
— image credit: CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

Nanaimo Mountain Bike Club members need extra hands on picks and shovels to put a smooth finish on Fine China.

The club is hosting a public trail build day Monday (June 23) and members hope to get as many volunteers out as possible to help finish the latest section of the trail.

"We want to have the trail ready for summer," said Bill McMillan, club spokesman, in an e-mail to the News Bulletin. "There are often fire closures in the summer, so we can't count on building past June."

The club, which hosts trail build sessions once a month, has plenty of tools, but volunteers are asked to bring their own as well, especially if there's a big turnout.

"The trail consists of a series of burmed corners," McMillan said. "We have had a machine come out and rough in the course, and the trail build will be moving in finer material, shaping and compacting."

Fine China is located in the Doumont trails area in the hills above Brannen Lake where biking and hiking trails have been cut through the woods since the early 1980s.

"Fine China is a showcase trail," McMillan said. "It is the first dedicated mountain bike trail build on public land in Nanaimo. Previous to this trail being built, all trails were built without the permission of land owners. It is impossible to build mountain bike tourism when there are no trails that can be advertised."

Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation, Tourism Nanaimo and the Tourism Development Fund provided a $5,000 construction grant to help complete the new section.

McMillan said there are thousands of mountain bikers in the mid-Island region and the sport is a big economic driver.

The first 900-metre section of Fine China opened in 2013. The second section is about 400 metres in length. Additional future sections will extend Fine China to a total length of about two kilometres.

Fine China is designed for riders of all skill levels.

"Just about anyone that can ride a mountain bike off-road can have fun on this trail," McMillan said. "It is sloped so there is not a lot of pedalling effort required. More experienced riders going faster can jump table tops and other obstacles where less experienced riders can have just as much fun rolling over the same trail features."

To take part in the work party or learn more about the Nanaimo Mountain Bike Club and mountain biking in Nanaimo, please visit www.nanaimomountainbikeclub.com.

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