Why new, improved Metroparks Mountain Biking Area worth a visit

METROPARKS MOUNTAIN BIKING AREA (MOMBA)

Where: Huffman MetroPark, 4485 Union Road

Hours: 8 a.m.-10 p.m. daily (April 1-Oct. 31)

What: Try Mountain Biking

When: June 11, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

How it works: Borrow one of the MetroParks' bikes to ride for a lap or two at MoMBA. Bikes are available for free on a first-come, first-served basis. Youth younger than 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Helmets are mandatory and provided with bike.

MOMBA TRAIL DESCRIPTIONS AND DESIGNATIONS

Twisted (beginner): A quick, flowing ride that leads to Five Points Junction. Twisted now connects the existing trails to the Hilltop Flow. It's the next level in the progression for new riders ready to move from the wide open tread of Hilltop Flow to the single-track style of the rest of the trails.

Voodoo (beginner): Voodoo is the least technical and the flattest of the trails, which makes it great for beginners. The optional jump – just outbound of Five Points Junction – is a great opportunity for more advanced riders on their way to Hawk's Lair.

Mr. Zig Zag (intermediate): One of two true closed loops at MoMBA, it winds through the forest without losing or gaining much elevation. Ride Mr. Zig Zag counterclockwise out of Five Points Junction and get one of the best downhill rides in the park. Ride it clockwise and it's an uphill challenge.

Creekside (intermediate): Set along both sides of a beautiful rock-bottom creek, Creekside is the longest intermediate trail with five creek crossings, two large bridges and many intermediate climbs. New features include a couple of berms designed to allow greater speed through turns.

Upper & Lower Stealth (intermediate): Upper Stealth is a roller coaster ride with wide sweeping turns leading out of Five Points Junction. Climb back uphill to connect to Creekside or head back to Five Points Junction.Lower Stealth connects Five Points Junction to Wild West Junction, where advanced riders can access Hawk's Lair. With tight turns and a few climbs Lower Stealth is a quick, technical trail.

Hawk's Lair (advanced): Has some of the best rock riding in the state. This tricky loop gains 106 feet of elevation in less than a mile and sports a 35-foot deep chasm crossed by a 45-foot fiber polymer bridge and The Spiral, where the trail climbs along a very steep, wooded cliff.

NEW ADDITIONS

Tot Track: This 1/4-mile trail is designed for kids to practice balance and other skills on a natural-surface trail.

Hilltop Flow: This 3/4-mile trail is designed to provide a fun experience for all skill levels. Optional features develop skills, such as balance and riding over logs and rocks, that help riders navigate the more difficult features on the main trail system.

The Talon (advanced): This double black diamond trail is designed to challenge the most experienced mountain bikers and is accessed from Hawk's Lair. The most difficult features at MoMBA are found here, including a long elevated skinny. You'll know you have what it takes if you can ride up and over the nearly vertical rock at the entrance of the trail.

Racing down the hillside, winding through the wooded terrain, flying over roots and rocks – mountain biking can be a thrill from start to finish.

Not sure you’re ready for those thrills just yet?

Recent additions and improvements to Five Rivers MetroParks Mountain Biking Area (MoMBA) make mountain biking accessible to all ages and ability levels.

MoMBA – opened in 2007 – is the area’s first fully sustainable mountain biking trail system. It was designed to International Mountain Bicycling Association standards and includes more than nine miles of mountain biking trails for all levels of riders.

The addition of a Tot Track and Hilltop Flow – a new, wider, beginner-friendly trail – will enable more people to experience what MetroParks outdoor coordinator Randy Ryberg describes as a “showpiece for the state of Ohio.”

“Hilltop Flow is more inviting and more welcoming for beginners,” Ryberg said. “It’s wider and has a more groomed surface.”

Big improvements

In addition to new trails and the kid-friendly Tot Track, several amenities have also been added at MoMBA. The improvements include new restrooms, water, bike-wash and fix-it stations, expanded entrance drive, and a parking area. A mowed access path that runs along the perimeter of the mountain biking area is now open to the public, allowing parents to take a walk while their teens ride MoMBA.

No bike? No problem as mountain bike rentals will be available at MoMBA on Saturdays from 9 a.m.-noon beginning on June 18. Rates for youth bikes start at $6 an hour, and adult bikes start at $8.

“The trailhead improvements, new trails and mountain bike rentals make MoMBA an even better experience for families and riders of all levels,” Ryberg said. “These improvements also make it easier for people of all ages to learn about mountain biking, which is a great way to have a healthy, active lifestyle and experience the outdoors.”

Big fun

The additions at MoMBA aren’t just for the beginners.

The Talon is a new double-black-diamond trail designed to challenge the most experienced mountain bikers. And new features at Hilltop Flow will help riders improve skills such as balance and riding over logs and rocks.

And even wet weather rarely impacts MoMBA – built using sustainable trail design and construction to prevent erosion and minimize the trails’ impact on the land.

“MoMBA is one of the few trails that can be used even after bad weather,” Ryberg said. “We have people come here from all over when they can’t use their trails because MoMBA is in great condition.”