A Canadian first, courtesy of IMBA Canada & co.

Designing and Managing the Construction of an Off-Road Handcycling Trail System
Regina, Saskatchewan

Rewind to the fall of 2010. I received a phone call from an individual in Regina asking if I was willing to provide him with a letter of support for the acquisition of funds for the development of a trail system near his city. At first it sounded like a routine sort of deal but I quickly learned that this was anything but routine. Why? Because the individual was not looking to develop your typical trail system but rather an off-road handcycle trail system.

Fast forward to now and we are in full swing with the construction of said off-road handcycle trail system. The individual I spoke of is Mike Poulton and, between his persistence and the generosity of various organizations, he was able to come up with sufficient funds to get this project off the ground.

Shortly after the Trail Care Crew rolled through town to work with the South Saskatchewan Mountain Bike Club, I landed in Regina to assess the terrain of our proposed site, the Wascana Provincial Recreation Site where Chad and Deanne had run their workshop. While I had my reservations as to how exciting the terrain could possibly be in southern Saskatchewan prior to landing, those misconceptions were quickly shattered as I stared over this magnificent prairie river valley.

Working alongside the local bike club and Joe Milligan from Saskatchewan Provincial Parks we passed all the necessary hurdles to green light construction and hired our colleagues at Sustainable Trails Ltd. to do the digging.

This project has been truly spectacular as it challenged me as a designer to rethink my knowledge base since I was no longer inside my “comfort zone.” It was imperative that I become familiar with the capabilities of a off-road handcycle in order to develop a new set of trail parameters and after many hours of riding one, I have to say that they are a blast! While not as outright fast as a mountain bike, the perception of speed when mach’ing down a hill thirty inches off the ground strapped in for dear life truly captures that same essence of exhilaration that so many of us our looking for when we bike. I made me rethink what is “challenging” as it pertained to these machines and we’ve got some great stuff on the ground with more to come.

What has been an unexpected reward with this project is how much it has increased the traffic to this area. Here is this absolute gem just outside of Regina that saw very little use. As the construction continued throughout the summer and into the fall we saw more and more folk coming out to see what it was all about and loving it. Local trail running groups, folks on newly purchased mountain bikes, families, school groups and so many more.

Stay tuned for more updates as this project continues in the spring of 2012!

Volunteer day #1

Volunteer day #2

Volunteer day #3

mountain