What are the first things that come to mind when you think of mountain biking? Is it teenagers with their hair on fire, X Games extreme athletes in motocross protective padding, or another great way to exercise and enjoy the great outdoors?
Just five to ten years ago most people in the Dayton region would have said flaming haired, pot smoking teenagers and extreme athletes. The culture has changed, for the better IMHO, so much that recreational activities like mountain biking are being included in regional master planning efforts by organizations such as Five Rivers MetroParks and incorporated into the strategy of the Greater Downtown Dayton Plan.
In September, 2007, Five Rivers MetroParks opened up MoMBA, which stands for MetroParks Mountain Biking Area. This facility was envisioned as a sustainably designed trail system to attract a new user base to MetroParks and provide another way to connect people to nature, which is part of MetroParks’ mission.
According to my first hand observations, the facility has been a success. Yes, there are a few teenagers on bmx bikes with no helmets occasionally taking to the trailhead but the typical rider at MoMBA by no means fits that stereotype. On any given day you will see numerous cars in the parking lot, middle age professionals, college students, grey hairs on hybrid bikes, and families out riding the sweet single track. One could speculate why this is, I would suggest the proximity to local neighborhoods, wide variety of difficulty levels and experiences, and mountain biking is just fun.
Last fall MetroParks held a series of meetings to discuss future plans to expand the core area and develop a more comprehensive masterplan that provides the necessary amenities and increased riding opportunities for all ages to truly create a destination level facility. The link below details the plan and lists what each stage of the plan will entail. Word on the street is that the purchase of an adjacent quarry property is in discussion as we speak. The expansion of the facility would truly put MoMBAon the map and provide opportunities for advanced riders that cannot be found anywhere in the Midwest. Check out the plans for yourself and keep an eye out for updates on the quarry. http://www.metroparks.org/documents/recreation/2009-12-16_MoMBA_master_plan.pdf