The Florida Off-Road Cycling Enthusiasts (FORCE) hosted a terrific “Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day” and time trial event on Sunday, June 5 in Okeeheelee Park. Twenty-six cyclists participated in the time trail at Pinehurst Trail. Mountain bikers pedaled the 4-mile course encompassing both natural terrain and man-made challenges, such as tight turns through melaleuca trees followed by berms with bumps. Justin Barton had the best time of the men’s division in under 25 minutes. Martha Rassiga in the women’s division finished in just under 36 minutes.
After the time trials, a more leisurely group ride was taken through the pines and palmettos, allowing the 20 cyclists (some as young as three) an hour to enjoy the newly rebuilt trails. Thanks to efforts from two dozen hardworking volunteers on May 28, critical repairs were made to the trail after a brush fire tore up the terrain three weeks earlier. The ride concluded with a barbecue lunch. A twilight time trial series is being planned for summer evenings at 7:30 p.m.
Pinehurst Trail is open to the public seven days a week and free of charge. There is no parking at the actual trail head, but there are two parks nearby that have parking, restrooms, water and pavilions — Okeeheelee Park and Greenacres Freedom Park. Palm Beach County Parks & Recreation oversees more than 14 miles of single track off-road bicycle trails at three parks in the county. Mountain bikers who wish to ride are required to use appropriate types of equipment, including a sturdy, “fat tire” bicycle and mandatory helmet.
Florida Off-Road Cycling Enthusiasts (FORCE), a not-for-profit organization, encourages better biking events and experiences, and advocates for the mountain biking trails in Palm Beach and Broward counties. FORCE members also enjoy riding other regional parks, on local canal easements and other off-road venues. Look for information on time trials, membership meetups group rides, poker runs and other fun events at www.forcemtb.org.
ABOVE: Participants in the group ride.