Seeing the best of Wisconsin on two wheels

Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association’s trail system attracts 25,000 riders a year

It’s about fitness, fresh air, and a whole lot of fun.

Mountain biking is a sport that attracts millions of riders across the globe each year – from the peaks of Whistler, BC, to the high-elevations in Peru, to the trails down under in New Zealand. It’s truly a global sport.

But what about in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest of Wisconsin, where there are no mountains in sight? Turns out, mountain biking doesn’t always mean going downhill fast.

“We have an off-road bike trail system that consists of over 300 miles of mapped routes through the forest,” says Ron Bergin, executive director of the Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association. “Our group started 25 years ago when it was recognized that there was a need for dedicated mountain bike trails in the Cable and Hayward area.”

The trails are now used by over 25,000 riders annually and have been a tourist hit for riders and campers alikemaking the area a place to be seen. But hopping on a mountain bike and weaving through the woods can be nerve-wracking for some people.

“We’ve recognized over time that our trail system has been deficient in truly beginner, entry-level trails,” Bergin explains. “We have a broad spectrum of riders across all levels, so we needed to create a gateway trail that will allow entry into the sport, and will encourage younger and older riders who are new to the sport to gain some comfort and confidence in their riding.”

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A three-phase, six-mile project, addressing this need, has been started in Hayward in partnership with the Hayward Area Memorial Hospital. The new trail will be easier than traditional trails—it will be wider, have a smooth natural surface with gentle grades and turns, good sight lines, and no technical obstacles.

To top it all off, it will be a multi-use trail seeing local middle school students utilizing it for their mountain bike team training, and other visitors using it for fat biking in the winter, or special walking and running events in the spring and summer.

Enbridge is committed to making life better in the communities near our operations and projects, including the nearby Line 3 Replacement Project. In 2017, we invested about $218,000 in community-strengthening initiatives in Wisconsin, and our recent $2,000 donation to the Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association will help fund the new beginner trail system.

“What I love about our trail system is that you can pick a trail to match your mood,” Bergin says. “The new ones are wider and fast and open. Some are more windy and scenic and take you by lakes and bogs. Others are more technical with rocks and roots.

“You can truly pick a ride that is going to suit your mood and energy.”