An Uncommon Challenge: Mountain Biking At The Old State Hospital Grounds

The old Conquer the Village MTB race, which used the Commons' trails. 

The old Conquer the Village MTB race, which used the Commons' trails. 

It's quick, fun, challenging, and extremely convenient. There are many organizations involved in developing more sustainable and attractive trails to the Commons, and at some point, we'll see some elements come together.

Pat Sullivan's recent article in the Northern Express highlighted the efforts and energies going into the trails located behind Building 50 and the Commons area. Formerly the home of a mental institution, the revitalized campus has sprouted up as home to some wonderful shops and businesses and has given Traverse City a new place to shop and relax. Its trails have always been in use, shaped by hikers and cyclists for decades. With no plan or focused building, the trails wind around wildly, go straight up hills, and are largely unsustainable. 

With so many organizations involved, NMMBA has largely filled a consolatory role, ready to help with design and building once all trail users have had the opportunity to voice their opinions on the redone trails. Part of what makes the Commons so attractive is its accessibility; dog-walkers, mountain bikers, and hikers all can access the trails quickly from town. It's also an extremely condensed trail system; it's only a few square miles, and any influx of traffic can be felt quickly.

Bellaire's economic boost is certainly exciting, and agree that the combination of the Commons, the Vasa Singletrack, and miles of unmarked singletrack, not to mention the incredible trails of Glacial Hills and Arcadia, make Northern Michigan an attractive destination for cycling. Further development would only enhance the events, trails, and other activities that make Traverse City a draw for families and cyclists from all over the world. 

The future of the Commons is truly unknown, but with so many eager and interested people involved, the health of its technical and winding trails is in very good hands. It's a place near and dear to us all, and we value a smart, sustainable and inclusive design over everything else.