The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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DORBA brings off-road biking trails to North Texas

Imagine the wind sweeping past your face while your hands tightly clench the handlebars of a bike as you ride down a rocky trail. There are tall trees and large boulders surrounding you, creating a possible hazard at every bend and turn of the course.

No, you’re not riding down some mountain trail in Colorado. The same thrill and level of mountain biking can be found in our own backyard.

Boulder Park in Duncanville, Texas, is just one of nearly 30 trails in the North Texas area that is maintained by the Dallas Off Road Bicycle Association (DORBA). So get ready to dust the cobwebs off your old bicycle in the back of the garage and get riding!

DORBA, founded in 1988, is a volunteer organization comprised of avid bicyclists looking for a way to give back to the community. Dave Bridele, an investment banker by week and a mountain biker by weekend, is a volunteer for DORBA.

“I have ridden the trails around Dallas now for about six years and I decided that I too wanted to become part of the man force that keeps the trails maintained. It is a great excuse to be outside and do something good for the community as well as my fellow bikers,” Bridele said of his volunteer experience.

Bridele is not alone in that belief, as he is routinely joined by dozens of other volunteers who put forth thousands of volunteer hours per year. The funding for DORBA comes from member fees, but all the trails are free to ride for members and non-members.

Initially an organization comprised of just ten friends, DORBA has grown to well over 650 members and is now one of the largest off-road bicycling groups in the country.

While everyone can ride the trails for free, many more perks come with a membership. DORBA provides weekly clinics at several courses every Saturday that are free to members and available at a small fee to non-members. In addition to these clinics, membership also provides free entry into several competitions and races for those so inclined.

Jon Daugherty, a senior at Southern Methodist University, is a member of DORBA. Daugherty originally of Hampden, Mass., frequently biked in the Adirondack Mountains in the Northeast and now continues his off-road biking in North Texas.

“Aside from the elevation being different, the level of skill and amount of technical turns here in Texas easily rivals what you would find on the mountain, ” Daugherty said. “I love DORBA because I can go to clinics and learn new techniques for a lot less money then I would back in Massachusetts”

Just a short drive from Southern Methodist University and downtown Dallas, the accessibility of DOBRA-maintained trails provides those in the Metroplex a new form of exercise that is easy to reach.

However, most in the area did not know there were off-road trails available. In a survey of 50 random people, only seven knew that the volunteer maintained trails existed. Of those seven, only three had previously ridden on the trail.

Will Fletcher, a senior at Southern Methodist University, frequently rides the DORBA trails. “There just isn’t anything like going out into nature and riding for a few hours. It’s much more exciting and exhilarating than going to the Dedman Center for a run,” he said.

In fact, jogging and a moderately paced bike ride for an hour burn about the same amount of calories according to “Men’s Health.” Bridele is a firm believer that the adrenaline generated by mountain biking far surpasses that of a light jog.

“When ever I finish my ride, I just feel jazzed up,” Bridele said. My legs are shaking, I’m wide-awake, and I’m ready to take on the world. After I have ridden I feel like I have taken three espresso shots in ten minutes!”

While mountain biking is certainly not for the faint of heart, there are varying levels of difficulty on all DORBA trails. The courses range from expert to beginner, which guarantees a comfortable ride for all skill levels.

“The thing I love about the DORBA trails is the vast difference between the trail levels,” Bridele said. “If I’m by myself I’ll go hit an expert course, but if I’m with my wife and kids we’ll go down the beginner route for a nice relaxing ride. No matter the age, no matter the skill level, everyone should come out and ride Dallas’s trails at least once”

To get up-to-the-hour trail conditions, directions, and more information about the trails head to www.dorba.org.

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