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DULUTH - The Northland is quickly becoming a destination spot for those who love to ride.
"I don't think anywhere else in the Midwest is there somewhere you have a 1,000 foot cliff overlooking one of the greatest lakes," said Jim Shoberg, membership coordinator for Cyclists of Gitchee Gumee Shores (COGGS).
"If you can find a trail that's not far away and you don't have to travel far to it you're more likely to utilize that and I think that's one of the things that Duluth has to offer and it's quite unique here," said Matt Evingson, trail coordinator for COGGS.
Jim Shoberg and Matt Evingson are just two of a group of about 300 outdoor enthusiasts that have made mountain biking trails more accessible and sustainable.
"A lot of the trails had gone through areas that were flat, not with much contour and would collect water so even after a week or two after a rain event the trails would be wet," said Evingson.
With help from the city, the group was able to transform trails and build boardwalks at the Hartley Nature Center.
It's a small step in a bigger plan to intertwine the entire 26–mile long city of Duluth called the "Duluth Traverse Trail."
Evingson said, "By expanding upon those trails and connecting them there will be connectivity between neighborhoods to the trails as well as from the trails to other trails across the community."
Like Duluth's trails, mountain biking has evolved over the years, giving riders improved bikes and categories to explore.
"There is cross country riding which is what you find here at Hartley. We have downhill riding at Spirit Mountain, black diamond difficult jumps and that kind of thing over at Piedmont. We kind of have a little bit of everything here in Duluth," said Shoberg.
Whether you walk, run or bike the goal is to create a space everyone can enjoy and just maybe, change the way you choose to get around.
Shoberg said, "I'd like to see every single person in Duluth on a bike someday with a big smile and hopefully that becomes our new solution to transportation."
The Cyclists of Gitchee Gumee Shores is currently fundraising to make the Duluth Traverse a reality.
The expected cost of the project is between $1.6-$2 million.