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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Mountain bikes becoming more popular in St. James

  • The City of St. James is synonymous with great trout fishing, fine wine and world-class vacuums. Add to that list a top-notch mountain bike trail which has been taking shape for the last few years thanks to an open-minded city council and a number of mountain bike enthusiasts.
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  • The City of St. James is synonymous with great trout fishing, fine wine and world-class vacuums.
    Add to that list a top-notch mountain bike trail which has been taking shape for the last few years thanks to an open-minded city council and a number of mountain bike enthusiasts.
    For the last 16 years, Dan Fuhrman has owned and operated Route 66 Bicycles in Rolla.
    As the only full-service bike sales and shop in the area, he says that he feels it is his mission to build up the mountain bike community.
    "I feel that it is important to find riding opportunities for our customers," he said.
    In 2010, Fuhrman approached the St. James mayor and city council about developing a mountain bike trail on over 75 acres of unused land just outside of the city on Highway KK. The city was all for it.
    Four years later, the Forest City Trail, as it would be called, is 9.5 miles of well-marked wooded trails with a number of loops to make the ride shorter or longer.
    "It has become a destination spot for riders from Cuba, St. Louis and Owensville among other places in the region," said Fuhrman.
    Jeff Wendel from Rolla is a regular rider at the Monday night trail ride. According to him there could be a few to a dozen riders. On Monday, May 12, there were four.
    "It is a really good course we all use a lot," he said.
    He helps out where he can in terms of keeping the bike path free of overgrowth and obstacles; however, he said that there are a lot more dedicated volunteers.
    Last month the Forest City Trail was granted an upgrade thanks to bike manufacturer Trek. Route 66 Bicycles is a Trek dealer.
    A professional track builder from Trek came out and built a flow trail which is a downhill run full of twists, turns, dips and bumps. According to Fuhrman, the 0.6-mile trail which took five days to build is already bringing in a ton of people thanks to social media and word of mouth.
    "There is nothing like this in the state as far as I know," Fuhrman told the Daily News. "It is a tight downhill run."
    While he might not be peddling around Forest City Trail, St. James Mayor Dennis Wilson has been impressed with Fuhrman and his vision.
    "The trail has really grown in popularity," said Wilson. It has started to draw a lot of people to our   community."
    As for the road ahead, Fuhrman and his group of bike enthusiasts are gearing up to host a mountain bike race on June 15. He expects around 100 to 150 riders to participate. However, he said the most important thing is to keep the trails safe and well maintained.
    Page 2 of 2 - "And always wear your helmet," he added.

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