Volunteer group working on new bike trail at horse park

CONYERS -- A volunteer group is working on a new bike trail at the Georgia International Horse Park -- with the beginner or novice rider in mind.

The Southern Off Road Bicycling Association, or SORBA, recently received its second grant to help in the costs to build a roughly 2-mile bike trail for the rider new to mountain biking.

About a third of the trail is complete and volunteers hope to have the entire project complete by Thanksgiving, said SORBA advocacy director Brett Smith.

SORBA received financial support from promoter Chain Busters Production and SORBA won a grant a couple of weeks ago from Clif Bar & Company.

Smith explained the cost of the trail largely comes from equipment rental to clear the path, as SORBA volunteers are doing the manual labor.

The trail is being built on the Steeplechase side of the park.

SORBA manages several trails in the metro-Atlanta area, Smith said, and the lack of easy bike trails in the Conyers community moved the organization to build the trail.

The bike trails currently at GIHP were built for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, and though the trail has been rerouted it still maintains the integrity of an Olympic trail.

"We're talking about the best mountain bikers in the world. It was tough and very challenging," Smith said. "If you were new to mountain biking, you wouldn't go out to the horse park and learn. We saw this need for beginners' trails."

Smith said the new trail will be open to anyone to ride, not just beginners. But SORBA built the trail to specifically offer more options to beginner riders.

"The level of difficulty will be suitable for beginners," Smith said.

With more options, SORBA hopes it will encourage more of the community to get involved in bicycling.

Currently, workers are cutting the corridor and clearing the land where the trail is going to be built.

"Anytime we close down a trail, we replant and revegetate to protect the environment," Smith added.