The Athens Bicycle Club is joining forces with Village of Rio Grande Mayor Matt Easter to organize a mountain biking excursion along the newly established Rio Grande trails. 

Saturday, those interested from the Athens area will carpool to Rio Grande where the group will then mountain bike through trails recently constructed by Easter and other individuals. After the excursion, all participants are invited to Easter’s house for a lunch of chili and beer around the campfire. 

Chad Reich, a graduate student studying communication media arts, is a member of the Athens Bicycle Club. Reich, who has been interested in finding new biking adventures since he was 18, discovered the formation of these new trails in the Rio Grande area and published the idea for the excursion online. 

If You Go:

What: Mountain Biking Excursion

Where: Meet at Athens Community Center, 701 E. State St.

When: Saturday, 9 a.m. 

Admission: Free 

“I’ve been chasing mountain biking pursuits for the last 20 years or so,” Reich said. “I heard there were cool trails over in Gallia County to check out, so I put up a question on our Facebook. I figured I would attract some like-minded individuals who wouldn’t mind getting out of town for a day.”

Robert Delach, communications officer of the Athens Bicycle Club, has been a cyclist for many years. Delach expressed that the club, which is the only bike club in the area, is a local organization that helps to promote cycling and related activities within the region. 

“In some way, the club is an advocate for bicycling in the area, and not just in Athens,” Delach said. “The mission is broader than that, it encompasses Southeast Ohio, so there’s a lot of areas that we feel are sort of our home.”

Easter, who has been mayor of Rio Grande for 16 years now, described that his group takes pride in their collaborative effort to build and maintain the trails. 

“There’s a small group of us, and we’re not even an organized group, who have been stewarding some land owned by the University of Rio Grande,” Easter said. “We’ve got about 15 miles of trail that have been built. It’s been basically a learning process for us.”

Easter emphasized that the land granted to them was a thoughtful donation of the University of Rio Grande, and without it, the excursion would not have been possible. 

“We are so grateful and gracious for the use of the land,” Easter said. “The university has been so nice to allow us to take some timber-covered land and build a resource there and basically build a playground there for people.”  

The excitement surrounding the excursion for Easter is the hope that he can expand the overall awareness of the sport in his area, and increase the curiosity of it. 

“It’s trying to establish mountain biking in this part of Ohio,” Easter said. “I know it’s a big sport in Athens, but we’re trying to bring the sport into light down here and get people interested in outdoor pursuits.”

While Saturday’s excursion is the first of its kind, Delach asserted that he would like for the club to arrange similar events in the future. 

“I would love to organize more events like this, so we’ll see how this goes,” Delach said. “Maybe in the spring we’ll try to think of some more opportunities to do these kinds of things in our area.”

Easter expressed that he is eager to showcase the Rio Grande area to new people, and share with them his love for the sport. 

“I think this area is so beautiful and I’m really excited for people to see the wonderful trail system we’ve created here, so we hope many from Athens come to enjoy it,” Easter said.

@laureneserge

ls351117@ohio.edu