Bikes Belong awards US$50,000 in grants

California, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Colorado, Arkansas, South Carolina to benefit

Bikes Belong awarded six new grants to mountain bike and other cycling recipients in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia. The grants, which leverage federal funding, build momentum for bicycling and make communities better places to ride, were made possible by the Bikes Belong Employee Pro Purchase Program.

In Fairfax County, Virginia, the Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts, Inc. (MORE) will reroute and construct three sections of machine-built trail in Fountainhead Park. The US$10,000 grant will combat erosion and improve unsustainable trails and the overall riding experience at the popular park. The new segments of trail, the first of four planned phases, will be the first step in completing a safe, sustainable stacked-loop system for mountain bikers of varying abilities. The Conservation Fund and IMBA are contributing to this project.

The American River Conservancy will use a $10,000 grant to construct and revitalize six miles of singletrack and a bridge, connecting nearly 50 miles of trail for bikers, hikers, and equestrians on the South Fork American River Trail in Sacramento, California. The new trail, which spans BLM and California State Parks lands, will significantly expand off-road riding options in the Sacramento area, particularly for the youth mountain bike clubs and teams that use these trails as training grounds.

A US$10,000 grant will go to the Colorado Mountain Bike Association for constructing the first phase of the Golden Bike Park. Phase one will include a youth area, skills-development trail, and pump track, and is aimed at riders of all ages and abilities. The bike park's location - near well-loved singletrack and within an existing community park - will also give great access and exposure to the sport.

In Philadelphia, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia will use $10,000 to help complete the Schuylkill River Trail Network. This high-profile campaign has also received funding from the William Penn Foundation, and will leverage more than $22 million in trail construction costs when the network is complete.

The University of South Carolina will get bike lanes on Sumpter Street in Columbia. A $5,000 grant will help with the streetscaping of a popular downtown street to make the campus an community more bike friendly. As part of the project, USC, which has seen student ridership nearly double in the last year, will conduct research to measure the use and the economic impact of the new lanes. Their methodology will be replicable by other communities.

Finally, the City of Jonesboro & the Northeast Arkansas Bicycle Coalition (NEABC) will apply a $5,000 grant to help build four miles of what will be a 30-mile greenway that connects residents and destinations in Jonesboro, paving the way for active transportation and recreation. The city has also secured a Community Development and Tourism Block Grant, as well as funding from Arkansas State Parks & Tourism and the state's DOT for the multi-million-dollar path project.

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