If you have ever enjoyed a bike ride or walk on Heritage Trail in Wheeling, you can thank the Ohio Valley Trail Partners, an organization that puts the work into keeping the Heritage Trail’s five star national rating.
However, the maintenance does not come for free. That is where the annual Wheeling Heritage Trail Bicycle Tour comes in.
The event is in its eleventh year and serves as a fundraiser to help the organization promote, maintain, and expand the Wheeling Heritage Trail.
“It connects up north to the Brooke Pioneer Trail and the Yankee Trail in Wellsburg. We’re trying to develop the last seven miles that will go all the way to Weirton,” said Doug Wayt, Wheeling Heritage Trail Tour Director.
In the bicycle tour’s first year, about 70 riders participated. This year there were as many as 300 from six different states. The youngest was five years old and the oldest was 87.
There are three course options: 10 miles, 30 miles, and a 100K from downtown Wheeling all the way up to Bethany College.
Although it is physically challenging, riders say it is more than just exercise.
“I mean it’s a great way to exercise and sight-see, too. There are so many monuments down here. I’ve actually never read them until we came down here for these types of events,” said participant Megan Chacalos.
There were some special guests riding the trail Sunday as well: Scout Troop #1313 from McMurray, Pennsylvania.
They recently volunteered with the Ohio Valley Trail Partners to paint four bridges as part of an Eagle Scout project.
“You’ve got to give back to the community because its where you grew up. They just said they needed help and a Scout is helpful, so we came along and just did it,” said Marcus Putz.
If you would like more information on the Ohio Valley Trail Partners, you can visit their website at OhioValleyTrailPartners.org.