The City of Windsor is looking to expand off-road biking at Malden Park and Little River Corridor Park. (Photo by Paul Pedro)

Off-road biking debuts in Windsor (VIDEO)

Mountain biking enthusiasts now have a place in Windsor to test their skills and be a part of nature.

Aside from some minor tweaking and some signage, a new series of off-road cycling trails is ready for riders at Malden Park. This is the culmination of a process to put together a biking plan for the city of Windsor that has lasted almost two years.

Mayor Drew Dilkens said the course is literally a trailblazer in Windsor-Essex.

“This park is the first and only city-sanctioned, publicly-managed facility of its kind in Windsor and Essex County and it will truly help put our city on the off-road-cycling map, attracting amateur and elite cyclists to Windsor from across the region,” said Dilkens.

Dilkens posted a video on his official webpage of himself trying out the beginners’ course as part of his “Mayor’s Minute” series of video presentations.

The Malden Park site is ideal for an off-road facility. With the park on the site of a former landfill, the steep hills provide challenges for mountain bikers of varied experiences. Eight sections of track have classifications ranging from beginner to expert. According to the city’s official website, the Malden Park trails¬†feature natural, gravel and paved surfaces, as well as unique obstacles and technical challenges, like dirt berms, rock gardens, gravity-flow trails, drops and other features.

Windsor City Council approved over half a million dollars to create the Malden Park trails, along with a beginner’s trail along the Little River Corridor on the east side of the city. The design came from input by the International Mountain Biking Association of Canada (IMBAC), the Essex County Trail Association (ECTA), and from a series of public open houses.

ECTA co-founder Andrew Jenner said the new facilities are designed to provide fun and fitness to all riders, regardless of experience.

“Long-distance in one lap is challenging on other trails, but doing multiple laps our local trails can really give you a solid five-out-of-five workout,” said Jenner.

Still to come is a new pump track that will be built in the centre of the roundabout off of Little River Road. It’s slated to be ready by next spring.