Recently I've became a huge mountain bike hobbyist. There are more mountain bike trails in Waterloo and Cedar Falls than you might think. I've just discovered more than just George Wyth State Park as a place to ride. This is going to be a fun summer.

I am far from an expect when it comes to mountain bikes and trails, but you don't have to be an expect to enjoy the ride, or even a walk, through the woods. I would classify myself as a huge mountain bike enthusiast. I can't tell you the exact reason why, but I think it has to do with escaping the modern day, overly digitally connected, world we live in. On my bike it's just me, a few animals, and a lot of trees.

The discovery aspect might be another reason I really like about this new outdoor hobby of mine. I love finding new trails, spurs, and challenges while pedaling my way through the woods. Recently I just discovered even more places I can ride.

If you've never tried it, here is a sample of what to expect.

Most trails are narrow like the one in the picture below. A ten speed tire won't last long here. You don't need anything fancy from the mountain bike catalog. My came from Farm & Fleet. If you get deeper into the culture, you can start to look at the higher end bikes. The biggest thing is to find out what you like first.

George Wyth State Park Soft Trails (Photo: Bucky Doren)

What I like is the scenery and the seclusion. The picture above comes from my favorite trail to ride that circles Alice Lake at George Wyth State Park. As far as the seclusion, I love silencing my phone and riding off into the woods and hiding for an hour or two. Heck, I've been known to pack a lunch and ride the afternoon away. I still take my phone to map my treks and in case of an emergency.

George Wyth State Park Soft Trails (Photo: Bucky Doren)

A winding trail that rolls up and down a few ravines and a few switchback turns are also some thing I love. The picture above is from that trail I mentioned earlier. Not overly demanding, but it puts a small amount of risk into the ride to make it a challenge and exciting

George Wyth State Park Soft Trails (Photo: Bucky Doren)

Little obstacles, like the one pictured above, give your upper body more of a workout than you realize. You have to pull up on the handle bars to help the tire up and over. Couple in the extra work on keeping your balance while traveling on uneven terrain, your chest and shoulders earn their keep throughout the ride. You're not going to end up looking like Mr. Universe, but I guarantee you'll feel it after that first ride.

George Wyth State Park Soft Trails (Photo: Bucky Doren)

Some like the more challenge obstacles. They're not my thing, but I think that has more to do with my rookie status and a lack of confidence. Maybe in time I'll add that to the fun factor list, but for now, I'll take the bypass around the more advanced sections.

George Wyth State Park Soft Trails (Photo: Bucky Doren)

Now that's more of a 'my level of experience' obstacle to try. LoL.

The cool thing I recently discovered is that George Wyth State Park is not the only place to ride. Yes, I hear the snickers from the MTB veterans, "Of coarse it's not the only place. What are you living under a rock?" I'm learning, so allow me a few rookie moments of discovery.

George Wyth State Park is by far the grand daddy based on what few people I've talked to about the MTB lifestyle. That's were I first tried a trip on a soft trail. That's where I fell in love with this type of ride, and I supposed I will always have a kindred love attachment to it.

Hidden within George Wyth State Park is miles and miles of soft trails great for a mountain bike ride or just a walk/run through the woods.I just took a ride last night, and stumbled across a few paths that I never knew about. My goal is to map the entire trail system some day. Here is a map of my ride last night.

Map of My Ride (Courtesy: Strava APP)

That's only a 5.5 mile trek I took yesterday. There is another series of trails south of Alice Lake. The trail even rolls to the west side of Highway 58. There is another line of trails that runs from Alice Lake all the way to the boat dock at East Lake. I keep discovering spurs from the main trail. In fact, I found two last night I never knew existed. I love that stuff.

Thanks to stumbling on to the web site, I've learned that there are several other trails right here in the Cedar Valley that I need to try this summer.



There are a bunch in Cedar Rapids, Decorah, Dubuque, Iowa City, and the list goes on and on. By the looks of things, I'm going to be very busy if I think I'm going to ride all of these trails. The one I really want to try is Sugar Bottom Recreational Area in North Liberty.

Maybe I should just focus on the rides in the Cedar Valley and get in better shape first... with an emphasis on the latter. LoL.