Do you live in Essex? The town sent us this info to share with FOTW members who live in Essex:
“The Town of Essex is considering making changes to our Firearms Discharge Ordinance. To obtain public input, we will be utilizing the services of PlaceSpeak (https://www.placespeak.com/
We chose to use PlaceSpeak because it allows residents to meaningfully engage with others in a safe, secure, and privacy-respecting way. PlaceSpeak uses a unique geo-verification technology to ensure that only Essex residents are allowed to weigh in. The authentication process deters negative behavior such as trolling or spamming, facilitating a respectful environment for online dialogue and engagement.
With privacy and data concerns at the forefront of people’s minds, PlaceSpeak ensures that users’ personal information is kept secure. As a Privacy by Design ambassador, privacy measures have been built into the very architecture of the platform. The information that is used to authenticate participants is never shared, sold or otherwise distributed – not even with the Town of Essex.
PlaceSpeak is the primary method of engaging public input. Opportunities to learn more about this topic include:
-Information booth at Sand Hill Park – Thursday, June 21, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., at 208 Sand Hill Road, Essex. Staff member(s) will be available to provide information, clarification, and updates about the process and online forum.
-Information booth at Five Corners Farmers’ Market – Wednesday, June 27, 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at 3 Main Street, Essex Junction. Staff member(s) will be available to provide information, clarification, and updates about the process and online forum.
-Information booth at Essex Free Library – Saturday, July 14, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., at 1 Browns River Road, Essex. Staff member(s) will be available to provide information, clarification, and updates about the process and online forum.
-Public Forum – Thursday, July 19, 6:30 p.m. to 8:15 p.m., location TBD. An opportunity to reconvene in person before the online public comment forum closes. Participants will have a chance to review preliminary reports and trends resulting from the online engagement tools and share impressions of the public comment to-date. The public comment period on PlaceSpeak will officially close at midnight on July 22.
Self-guided site visits to areas that may be affected by any changes to the ordinance – generally speaking, Indian Brook Park, Saxon Hill Forest, and the north-central part of Essex – are being offered through July 22. Links to the site visits can be found here: https://www.essex.org/
The Selectboard will consider the results of the resident input in deciding whether or not to make any changes to the ordinance. Any ordinance changes will go through the proper process, which includes public meetings and at least one public hearing. Meetings about any ordinance changes will be scheduled during the late summer or early fall.”
We are looking for a part-time Programs Director to join the Fellowship of the Wheel. Please see the full job description and application details here: FOTW Programs Director Position 2018
Please submit a cover letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org by no later than Friday, March 2, 2018.
Fellowship of the Wheel is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Our local bike shops know us better than anybody. They know what we need, but more importantly they know what we want – usually before we do. So we asked them for their best gift ideas for mountain bikers and here’s what they think should be on our wishlists this year.
For the Seasonally Unaffected Rider
NiteRider Lumina OLED 950 Boost Head Light, $109.99
As lights get better, short winter days grow weaker! Stop by SkiRack and become a nocturnal ninja with this new light from NiteRider featuring a digital display showing battery percentage and blasting out nearly 1,000 lumens of day-making light.
For the Recreational Rider
King Kage Mud Flask, $35
It’s always 5 o’clock underneath your saddle when you’re packing this Colorado made, stainless steel flask. The folks at Old Spokes Home have what you need to be the life of the trail party.
For the Very Well-Behaved Rider
Borealis Fat Bikes, $1799-$6400
When your list is feeling a bit light, fatten it up with a visit to Earl’s Cyclery to demo a Borealis Fat Bike. You’d better have been nice to deserve one of these, but Earl’s will help you maintain some cred with a bad-as custom build.
For the Perpetually Pumped Rider
Topeak Mt Mini Morph Frame Pump, $39.95
This packable pump features a pull-out foot platform and long, flexible hose so you’ll spend less time airing up, and more time airing it out. It makes a great upgrade to your current kit, or gift for the rider who’s still assembling one. Pick it up at OGE and grab a tube for good measure.
For the Rider Who Supports The Trails
2018 FOTWheel and VMBA Gift Membership, $50.41
Start the season by supporting your local trails and enjoy the perks of membership all year long. Riders will be notified via email of their gifted membership after January 1st and will receive their welcome packet in April. Literally the gift that keeps on giving, and gives back!
Email Allison at VMBA for details on gift memberships.
How does one pass the horizon? The horizon is always out ahead of you, just at the edge of your vision. As you approach it, it moves farther away, like a dog chasing its tail.
What kind of name is this for a mountain bike trail?!?!
We had to ask Hans Jenny, Fellowship founder and Passing the Horizon trail builder, how this HTF classic got its name.
“Passing the Horizon is the name of a self-defense technique from my years of studying Kempo Karate,” said Hans. “I thought it described the trail perfectly at the time.”
How exactly this Karate technique applies to a mountain bike trail, we’re not sure. So the next time you see Hans out on the trail or at a Fellowship event, ask him to demonstrate the technique to you and maybe it’ll all make sense.
If you want to learn how to do it yourself, below is a video demonstrating this technique.
Ever wonder where your favorite trails got their names? There certainly are some peculiar ones out there that can leave your imagination wandering. In this series, we talk to the trail builders themselves to get the skinny on some of the stranger trail names from around the Fellowship’s network.
#1 – Wolf Tree
Situated on the border of the Hinesburg Town Forest near the Carse property lies the expert trail Wolf Tree. This short but stacked trail features some of the area’s gnarlier features and it just received some love from our Pro Trail Crew. Riders have guessed that the trail was named after a single tree resembling a wolf. Others thought maybe there was a tree along the trail hosting a family of wolves in its hollowed-out trunk. While the more dendrology-savvy readers out there, or those with a penchant for New England history, may already know where the name Wolf Tree came from.
We turned to Hans Jenny, one of the trail’s original builders to get the 411. According to Hans, “Wolf Trees are trees that are left to mark a boundary line. Shortly after Wolf Tree leaves Dragon’s Tail it goes by a couple of these giant old trees. If one stops one can see these old growth trees in a line that were never cut! Awesome trees!”
Years ago, much of Vermont was clearcut for farming. These “Wolf Trees” were the few trees left standing, so they naturally grew wider and thicker than trees that grow in densely packed areas. Since they stood alone, the trees would often get struck by lightning causing them to split off in many directions. This gives them that kind of weeping, short, thick, frayed appearance. Sometimes you see them along rock walls marking property boundaries or in the middle of open fields, throwing shade for a herd of grazing cows.
So now you know.
You can read more about Wolf Trees here.
Good news for all those Care Hills fans out there, especially the clergy of The Preacher. On Wednesday, 6/6, the FOTW Pro Trail Crew went up Preacher and weed whacked the Vast trail and logging roads for easier climbing to the top of Preacher. We replaced a 30” bridge that was tipping over and added a reroute to it near the bottom of Preacher above Crucible in a very consistently wet area. The new reroute flows better and keeps you dry heading into the rocky features on Crucible.
After that, the Pro Trail Crew moved up Preacher and reshaped, rebuilt, and created more smooth-turning berms from the top of Preacher to Crucible. Much like the revamped berms of Voodoo Child that were constructed last week. Normally these berms take anywhere from 4 -8 hours to build. The Pros did 5 in one day. Way to go trail crew! Become a member so you can access the network map (you’ll need it) and plan a big ride out here soon (conditions permitting, of course).
Thanks to those who support the FOTW through their membership, especially those who purchase our 5-pack deal or above. That type of support allows this highly skilled crew to get out there and get that type of work done in one day. Spread the word to donate and support the trail crew for continued high-end construction. Thanks!
FOTW Volunteer Trail Day at Carse Hills
Where: Parking on Lincoln Hill Rd (Please drive 30mph and no dogs please)
When: 9 am – 12 noon
Why: Work On Henry’s Highlands to repair damage from logging operations
RSVP on Facebook
This Saturday from 9-12 the FOTW Pro Trail Crew and volunteers will be doing trail improvements to Henry’s Highlands. One group will start up the trail and improve knick outs and erosion areas for water to escape the trail. Then they will join the group up top on the ridge to finish connecting the trail.
The second group will hike to the ridge and begin working where the trail crew installed a bridge at the beginning of the area that was logged last season. Several areas will be rerouted to move the trail off the existing logging road that was created.
Please be prepared for bugs, sun and some hard work. FOTW will supply tools for mostly benching, clearing and creating run-off areas for water. Please bring sunscreen (no more trees so it’s very sunny at the top), bug spray, gloves,water and a snack. We think we can get the entire trail done by the time we leave. Then we can open the entire Carse network!
The entire network has had the leaves blown off, drainage opened up, bridges fixed on Preacher, 28 trees removed and trail pruning taken care of. The only area that needs some TLC is Crucible which we will get to in the next two weeks. Some of the ramps and landings need replacing.
This past week the FOTW Pro Trail Crew had 40 South Burlington Freshman students work for a half day improving trail tread, pruning and carrying all the wood for the bridge to the top of the ridge. Thanks SBHS
FOTW will supply snacks and beverages after we are done. We look forward to seeing you there. Please bring a friend who may ride the area and who is not a member so they can see how much goes in to your trails. Thanks everyone and look forward to seeing you.
A few notes about Parking at Carse Hills:
Our popular high end mountain bike network at Carse Hills bridges two roads; from the north Lincoln Hill and the south Hollow Road. If riding up Henry Highlands, you will be on Lincoln Hill road, please park well off to the side near the logging road entrance but DO NOT block the entrance in case a large truck needs to remove the existing logs at the platform. There is an entrance sign there that allows you to know if the network is open or closed. Also best if everyone could park facing west. Be aware of cars, trucks and walkers up and down the road. Be responsible as always and try to get into the field as soon as possible as opposed to hanging in the road.
On the Hollow road side parking is a challenge. There is no parking at the gate entrance to the trails, no parking in that large lot below the gate and no parking east on Hollow road where the water outtake is for fire engines. Also the bump-out area on the Big Hollow Road where it intersects Hollow Road is also not a designated parking area. The preferred and only legal area is 1.9 miles past the entrance headed east towards 116 on the right side. There are now signs an it is a grassy flat area with gravel in the lot.
We are in discussion to open some of these areas up in the near future, so adhering to these guidelines will assist us greatly in this process.
Thank you for your help and as always be responsible and polite.
This past Saturday, 5/16, the Fellowship of the Wheel Professional Trail Crew led our first Volunteer Trail Day with 13 members and newcomers showing up. The Pro Trail Crew has removed a number of very large trees that were down and prepared the trails for riding weeks ago and will be revamping most of the Tri-Boro bridges due to old construction shortly.
The volunteer’s task was to start installing a new trail that has been roughed in over the years that spurs off of the Blueberry Loop to the west and passes a small water area and circles behind the cable company’s building. This will be another beginners trail and we will add some small features for those to prepare themselves for more difficult trails around the area. The FOTW is dedicating this new trail to Roger Frey, previous owner of Earl’s Cyclery and huge supporter of the biking community in the Chittenden County for over 30 years. More on this after the trail is finished!
The black flies and mosquitoes have arrived for our working pleasure. Volunteers are always reminded to bring a snack, water, bug repellant, sunscreen and appropriate clothing.
On Thursday evening, 5/21, from 5-7 pm, we will meet at the Mud Pond parking lot in Williston. A multitude of different tasks will need completing plus the clearing for a new trail to avoid the VAST Trail where it is very wet. Please prepare yourself the same as in the above list for your working and personal needs.
Finally, on Saturday May 30, from 9-12 am we will be having a Work Day at Carse Hills on Lincoln Hill Road. We plan on re-installing a part of Henry’s Highlands that was disturbed during a logging project this past season. There will be a big hike to the top of the plateau where we will be doing our work. Mostly turf removal, pruning, and benching. This is a big job so please come out and support this project. We especially know there is a strong local contingency that uses this network, so we are looking for a strong showing by all the expert riders in the area. Please mind the road’s speed limit and we will be there to assist in parking. And, please leave your canine friends at home for this one.
The crew has been working for almost two weeks now. We have cleared over 80 downed trees, removed debris and leaves from over 30 miles of trail and have opened almost all the major networks. Though they are not perfect, they are rideable. After everything is open we will be going back to take care of some of the problem areas.
Thanks to all the members, we appreciate your help and a big thank you to all who have done your share already out on the trails. It does not go unnoticed and we appreciate your efforts! The 5-Pack FOTW Membership or your donation allows the Pro Trail Crew to get all this work done. Our membership is low for this time of the year so seriously think about helping the crew by joing today.
Thank you so much and we look forward to working with you this month,
FOTW Trail Director
The trail crew and local stewards (15, 3 for each network) removed leaves, debris and down trees in HTF, Carse, Saxon, Sunny, Mud Pond and Sleepy Hollow in late April till mid May. It is quite the process to make sure that all the water-shedding installations are clear and a clean line of sight is opened on 100 plus mile of trails.
By mid May we had our other 6 networks cleaned up and we began to finish the last third of a mile on Maiden. Bridges over flowing water, armoring in seeps and benching was performed to drain water into intermittent streams and on to the forest floor. The beginning of the Maiden from Hayden East was rerouted to higher ground and 40’ of puncheons laid down to keep trail out of a water holding area.
This project included the restoration of Maiden, International and Dragon’s Tail with a RTP grant we received from the State in 2011. International was started in early June and the 1.75-mile trail was finished by the end of June. Once again we placed a 100’ bridge in the beginning in a seep holding area that is wet almost through the year with another 6 areas of bridging totaling up 120’. Rock armoring was installed in 18 areas covering over 220’ so water can absorb down the armoring to reach the forest floor to be absorbed along with benching and out slopping for surface water to move off the trail. During this time we had 4 corporate groups assist us, totaling up to 130 volunteers throughout a 6-day period.
By July 4th we were ready to tackle Dragon’s Tail performing the same type of work we have mentioned above. This trail since it leaves the parking area and travels farther away was renovated to not have sediment run off the trail but to leave the roots, rocks and natural features there. We finished this trail by mid July.
The next project was to complete a major renovation of the Backdoor starting at the top of the HTF at Dragon’s Tail and went down to Lincoln Hill road covering about 2.2 miles, with several reroutes added. This project took about 20 days. Better signage was added, lots of derooting for this climbing trail, water-shedding outlets every 20-60 ft, 220 ft of armoring in seep areas and the addition of climbable berm turns under 8% grade.
Saxon Hill was our next area of concern. This silt moraine area has been eroded to the point it is a mud hole for over 400 ft. We installed a rollercoaster bridge 24” wide, 425’ long with dips, tilts and slope into a berm turn. We then proceeded to redo and correctly build 28 berms with skeletal material of rock or logs as the base with a smooth arc on top. Three reroutes were put in of over .25 miles, 80’ of armoring and water-shedding outlets every 20-60’ were added.
HTF in September became the last big project. We have been diligent to get HTF back to great shape for walkers and bikers since we have not been in there for 4 years. Complete signage was redone, clearing of every trail from blow downs, Backdoor from Hayden West was redone, Lost was opened and Missing Link was upgraded.
FOTW trail crew assisted with Michelle Fisher for 4 nights during the off-season to renovate, inform and make more accurate the Map of the trails in the HTF. We then assisted with Stewart J. and hung all the signs made by the Trails Committee. We then, with the assistance of Lenore Budd added signage between the start and finish of all the trails in the proper color to ensure travelers could find their way through all seasons. A big thanks to the Trails committee for their vision to have better signage throughout the forest. The trail crew just finished the last of the signage this past week.
The RTP Grant from the State was a huge project to complete. We would like to thank the HTF Committee for their support of the grant at its conception. We received $26,000 for the grant and we matched it with about $15,000 for labor and materials of our own.
Finally, we finished up with leaf and tree removal in mid fall by 9/20 to ensure power equipment and noise was away from the area for the other user groups to be in there. Hunting for small game and bow start in early October so that allowed about 3 weeks with nothing going on before the openings. We then closed the HTF trails for Kids Hunting weekend and for rifle season. This was delivered on social media, our website and on Trailhub.org
A total of 20 Volunteer work events were used this season, with over 1400 hrs placed into the trails. FOTW sponsored snacks and drinks at each event with some sort of swag to give out. We raffled off two bikes this year a high end Mtn Bike and a Fat Bike in the late fall. Flyin Ryan foundation and FOTW put on a joint fun Mtn Bike event at Catamount trails that was very successful along with four area restaurants that donated 10% of the purchases of dinners for one night to FOTW.
FOTW board of directors took an acting role of a working Board to pick up the administration responsibilities that were previously being done by Andy Weiss. The Board meets every two weeks from April- December then once a month. The board and the trail Director successfully met their budgets and we performed more work this year than any other year on the trials. Somewhere around 8 plus miles were totally redone. FOTW partnered and financially supported VMBA membership template for the 2014 season. We look forward to renewing this next season. We appreciate the relationship and it was a good first year under the umbrella of VMBA.
FOTW Board of Directors.