BRUNSWICK — A new club in the Topsham and Brunswick area wants to give bike enthusiasts more places to ride and draw more people into the sport.

Since opening a new chapter in April, the Six Rivers chapter of the New England Mountain Bike Association has been working to improve access to recreational trails. Topsham officials recently gave the club the go-ahead to develop a trail system. Through volunteer efforts and partnering with the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust they are ready to officially open the Neptune Woods Trail at Brunswick Landing on Oct. 21.

“We had these trails in Brunswick and Topsham that really just need some maintenance,” Kristian Haralson, Six Rivers board member, said. “Our hope is within the next year to do more programming.”

The group hopes the new trails and programs will draw more riders, especially children. Haralson said Topsham’s designs will be similar to what the club has done in other areas. The trail should be smooth, making it accessible for newer riders.

Haralson noted the physical and mental health benefits of bike riding. Biking for at least three hours per week decreases the chances of heart disease and stroke by about 50 percent, according to People for Bikes.

“There is a lot of research correlating cycling to helping with ADHD and depression,” he said. “We focus on bicycle safety, trail and road etiquette, getting kids moving and most of all having fun.”


Six Rivers members are already helping to lead children’s programming with the Brunswick Recreation Department. That program will move from Tuesdays at Brunswick Commons to the new Neptune Trails later in the month.

“This is a program in its second season,” Haralson said. “We are looking to appeal to kids who might be interested in mountain biking and kids who might not otherwise get this opportunity.”

Nearly 70 people have joined the club in its first five months. Many of those members have volunteered to maintain trails or take on programs. Haralson said board members recognized a need for mountain bikers in Brunswick, Topsham and Bath. NEMBA has six chapters in Maine. It’s filling a need for avid mountain bikers, while expanding recreation for others in the community.

Club members encourage everyone to enjoy the trails, all nonmotorized activities are encouraged. In the winter, the Brunswick trails will remain open for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and fat biking.

“We promote multiple use at Neptune,” Haralson said. “We’ll be teaching the share-the-trails philosophy of yielding to walkers and other users.”

Haralson said board members have experience designing trails, teaching youth classes, and are active in the biking community.

The trails in the works in Topsham won’t be ready until sometime in the spring. The club will provide demo bicycles and guided rides at the Neptune opening from 10 a.m. to noon Oct. 21.

Wooden planking has been added along the Neptune Trail in Brunswick. The trail is set to open Oct. 21. (Chris Quattrucci/The Times Record)

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