Western: Ionia

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Re: Western: Ionia

Postby gtrowbridge » September 18th, 2013, 3:38 pm

underdog wrote:The trail from Saranac to Ionia isn't going to be paved? How disappointing :( I doubt my roadbike will be any good on it then.


"Maybe" someday. But the current plan is to only have black top within the city limits (basically).

Actually I think have already been riding the packed limestone with the skinny tired road bikes. At least looking at the tracks.
One guy I know who is an avid road biker and part of the rail trail movement said he would ride his bike on it.
The packed limestone is very very small. With some rain I would imagine it turning into more like a dirty concrete.
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Re: Western: Ionia

Postby gtrowbridge » September 26th, 2013, 9:14 am

Grand River Valley Railtrail update.
The bridge across the Grand River west of Ionia is decked now...no railings yet. I guess there is some plastic fencing or something blocking the entrances. So cyclo cross situation there.
All the crushed limestone is done I believe.
First layer of black top has been laid from Ionia to the bridge.
Saranac area has gravel down and is getting black top soon to the city limits.

Bottom line...RIDE THE TRAIL!!!
Its awesome and connects you to the SRA MTB trails!

If you aren't following the ride postings know that there is a group ride starting in Lowell and going to Greenville to check out the Flat River Valley Railtrail that is currently unimproved and slated as "next" to get the "treatment" of blacktop, gravel, and limestone.
This group ride is Saturday the 28th at 9am. Good chance to see the "before" picture of the trail.

Check it out in the forums here:
viewtopic.php?f=7&t=120950

Fat bikes recommended due to the unimproved trail base. The old rail road ballast can be loose and inefficient for regular bikes but fat bikes laugh at it.
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Re: Western: Ionia

Postby underdog » September 26th, 2013, 9:30 am

Their facebook page says to stay off the trail from Saranac to Ionia until it is officially opened, so I'll obey their wishes. Original plan was opening Nov 1st, but by the many reports I've read it sounds like it's ahead of schedule for sure, probably due to the great weather lately.
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Re: Western: Ionia

Postby EASYSTEEZ » September 28th, 2013, 7:34 pm

underdog wrote:Their facebook page says to stay off the trail from Saranac to Ionia until it is officially opened, so I'll obey their wishes. Original plan was opening Nov 1st, but by the many reports I've read it sounds like it's ahead of schedule for sure, probably due to the great weather lately.

The wife and I rode from the mountain bike parking lot all the way to Saranac this morning. Other than a couple of small bridges that need railings, the trail is done. The limestone is packed well and is suitable for road bikes, just a bit dusty. Lots of fun!
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Re: Western: Ionia

Postby gtrowbridge » October 2nd, 2013, 9:52 am

On the Rail Trail:
The railings are up on the biggest bridge on the Grand.
The black top is down on the city portions.
The grading and smoothing is done on the limestone portions.
The trail is open.
Construction is for the most part done, however there are some finishing touches still going on.
These go on between 8-5 during the day. So after hours have at it.
Between 8-5 sections are small for the finishing touches so just use caution there.
Rail trail folks are looking to clarify this on their website.

I see a lot of people out there every night which is great!

Enjoy!
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Re: Western: Ionia

Postby EASYSTEEZ » October 4th, 2013, 6:24 pm

Rode the rail trail from Ionia to Chief Cobmoosa mountain bike trail Thursday afternoon. Workers were there top soiling the edges of the paved section. Rode right around them and nobody said a word. I rode the entire mountain bike trail then rode back to town, 15 miles. I think this will become one of my weekly rides. Park at the fairgrounds and catch the trail behind the Sears building. Lots of fun!
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Re: Western: Ionia

Postby underdog » October 8th, 2013, 10:46 am

Now that's it's hunting season, is Ionia open to mtn biking or closed?
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Re: Western: Ionia

Postby gtrowbridge » October 8th, 2013, 6:56 pm

Totally open. Just use good judgement. Try to wear bright colors and if you can ride between 10 and 4. Or night ride.
Its just small game and bow season right now so not as much pressure. Big gun season doesnt open until November 15 for 2 weeks.

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Re: Western: Ionia

Postby underdog » October 10th, 2013, 1:01 pm

I was going to try and get out there soon before I move. Friends rode it on Tuesday, they were not impressed, mentioned it has really deteriorated over the years, they said the very narrow path is worn down so far it's like riding in a 3-4 " little ditch all the time, said it really needs some attention, filling in the crevice with some fresh stuff or something. They wondered if there is a trial day planned anytime soon. They bailed out to the pavement half way through and went home. They did say it's kept mowed nicely, much better than in the past. I kinda like the trail the way it is personally, but after these guys ride the Merrill trail, they quickly forget how spoiled they have become I think.
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Re: Western: Ionia

Postby EASYSTEEZ » October 10th, 2013, 6:39 pm

The Fred Miejer river valley trail is right next to the MTB trail if a groomed trail is what they need, ha ha. I like the character of the Chief Cobmoosa trail, rocks, roots, and trenched out trail. Part of the challenge is staying on course. In my opinion, this trail gets better with age!

Note: the two small trestles on the FM trail, used to connect Chief's east and west loops, are under construction so you will have to use the road (Riverside Drive) to get to the east loop. I'm sure they will have these decked next week.
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Re: Western: Ionia

Postby gtrowbridge » October 19th, 2013, 2:02 pm

Rode all of rail trail today. Plus all of the mountain bike trail. Tree down on the West Loop near the start closest to the railroad trestle. Easy to get bike up and over about a 8 inch bunny hop. Mountain bike trail was in great condition even with the rain. Leave covered areas with a little slick but not too bad. Mud hole areas did not see much worsening.

Rail trail in good shape all trestles are complete. Newest completed trestles have a little bit of Mudd where they try to grade up to the trestles. Looks like they will have to put a little more gravel in there. 1 trestle has a drop about 8 inches.

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Re: Western: Ionia

Postby gtrowbridge » October 20th, 2013, 8:07 pm

New bridge put in crossing the worst mud hole on the west loop.
Work in progress so the approach and finish a little rough.
Finish work planned for Tuesday.

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Re: Western: Ionia

Postby gtrowbridge » November 20th, 2013, 8:41 pm

Only had time to recon part of the trail from the rail trail this week so far. Noticed a one tree down on the west loop leaning about 4ft above the trail. This was just past the big oak top tree top that you ride next to.

Please post about more downed trees that you know of so we can get to them this weekend.

Thanks.

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Re: Western: Ionia

Postby gtrowbridge » November 22nd, 2013, 8:56 pm

West loop cleared today.

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Re: Western: Ionia

Postby gtrowbridge » November 23rd, 2013, 8:22 pm

All trails cleared as of today.
Some greasy spots in areas getting some sun. Little crunchy frosty spots where it doesn't. Crunchy areas getting smoothed out nicely by those fat bikes that continue to ride the trails
Hopefully we can continue that so we have a nice winter trail to ride.

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