Team SORBA taking off

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The Chattanooga chapter of the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association has been active in the area for years, playing a major role in organizing mountain bike rides and the development and maintenance of the area’s extensive off-road trail system.

Volunteers have designed and developed miles for new mountain bike trails at Booker T. Washington State Park, the Lula Lake Land Trust and the Cherokee National Forest’s Chilhowee and Tanasi trail systems, to name a few.

This winter, SORBA-Chattanooga is branching out once again in establishing Team SORBA-Chattanooga, to develop and encourage competitive mountain bike racing in the area.

Team SORBA-Chattanooga’s mission is to promote SORBA-Chattanooga, Chattanooga area trails and Chattanooga itself as a mountain biking and vacation destination through race participation, race promotion and other events.

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Night Rider

The Chattanooga Bicycle Club hosts an evening ride every Tuesday night from 6–8 p.m. starting on the Riverwalk. The January rides will be cold and dark, so warm clothing is encouraged and bikes should be equipped with lights for safety.

Dick Dahlke leads the easy 25– to 30–mile rides, and he can be reached at 423-903-1735 or by email at rhdahlke@epbfi.com for more information.

“For a long time there's been this separation between normal mountain bikers and racers,” says Michael Long, who is team director for Team SORBA-Chattanooga. “We hope this will help bridge the gap to work toward the common goal of improving mountain biking.”

Team SORBA-Chattanooga plans to organize races, skill clinics and group rides throughout the upcoming year for mountain bike racers or those thinking about taking up competitive mountain biking. Riders of all skill levels are encouraged to get involved.

SORBA membership dues are all that is required to join Team SORBA-Chattanooga, and race uniforms will be sold for racers competing for the team. In addition, all money raised at races or other team events will be used for maintaining and expanding mountain bike trail systems in the region.

“This is the first part of an effort to bring other groups into SORBA and expand our reach,” Long says. “This is a non-pressure way to bring racers and non-racers together and open our sights toward bringing other groups together.”

Long says the response has been good in the planning stages for Team SORBA-Chattanooga, and he hopes that more people will get involved in the coming year as more events are announced.

For more information on becoming part of Team SORBA-Chattanooga, email: teamsorbachattanooga@gmail.com

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