Adaptive Mountain Bikers at West Barnstable Conservation Area

Trail Signage and Adaptive Mountain Biking at West Barnstable Conservation Area


On May 1, 2024 Cape Cod NEMBA completed the installation of trail signage at over thirty locations in West Barnstable Conservation Area.  Funded by a grant from Spaulding Rehabilitation and installed by Cape Cod NEMBA volunteers, the new signs will help trail users in navigating eight miles of trails suitable for adaptive mountain biking and beginner bikers.  Hikers will also benefit from trail information that can assist with emergency service providers in locating people in need of assistance.

Terry Downey was instrumental in receiving the grant and taking charge of sign creation and installation.

Map of sign locations for Adaptive Mountain Biking at West Barnstable Conservation Area
Trail Sign Locations and Adaptive Mountain Biking Network at West Barnstable Conservation Area

Terry shared these thoughts about the effort:

Town of Barnstable staff have been very supportive of the adaptive mountain bike program that I have been leading out of the parking lot at Crooked Cartway for over four years now. It is such a great program that I am very passionate about. You cannot imagine what it is like to experience the first ride in the woods with someone who may have a new impairment or may have a long-standing disability. Whether a person is born with a disability or sustains an illness or injury that affects their mobility, having the ability to go into the woods under their own power is just an experience that is hard to describe, not only for the participants but for staff and volunteers as well.

A program like this cannot be successful without the collaboration with NEMBA.  They have advocated for the program by connecting me and supporting me working with the town of Barnstable. They keep the trails in great shape from spring grow-in and are incredible at getting out on the trails after a storm to clear the paths. They are always there to lend a hand when I ask for help. I am very grateful for their ongoing support. 

I have also partnered with the main New England Mountain Bike Association board advocating for more trails to be identified and marked for the adaptive riders in all regions of New England. Last march I was a presenter at the NEMBA Leadership Summit, I was overwhelmed with the interest and support to promote aMTB (adaptive mountain biking). This movement has been a huge success with chapters throughout New England now offering adaptive loops at their events. Thinking ahead when building bridges or cutting a large, downed tree to make sure the passage is wide enough for the adaptive rider. Throughout last year I was invited to events all over New England to help out at their events, teach them, share my knowledge. It was a really busy but amazingly rewarding year.

I apologize for being long-winded, but I am passionate about this program and the project to mark the trails.  Marking the trails with wooden posts and appropriate trail markers, with the adaptive symbol being three feet from the bottom to be at eye view for the riders, I am constantly stopped by people I know and people I don’t know just offering support for the project.

My intent is to focus on the positive, embrace the shared trails project to make the trails more accessible not only to the adaptive riders but for everyone who uses the trails.

Signpost showing trail name and trail user types at West Barnstable Conservation Area