Josh Porter would tell you a day on a Mountain Bike is better than any day at the office. That being the case Porter, applying a little conventional wisdom, combined the two so he could enjoy both his passion and make a living.
For almost a year, the 35-year-old owner/mechanic of Unspoken Bike Shop, has been peddling his way into the hearts of local bike riding enthusiasts.
“I love riding my bike,” Porter said. “That’s been the case since I was a child.”
Porter came up with the idea of a store front, nestled on Weatherford’s famed York Avenue, after a conversation he had with a friend. In preparation for the opening, Porter attended the Barnett Institute in Colorado where be became a certified bicycle mechanic. He even worked at a bike shop in Fort Worth to hone his craft.
“Business has been good,” he said of his inaugural year. “We sell mostly new bikes. I don’t push things on people they don’t need - there’s no pressure here. I want people to enjoy riding; I don’t want them to have buyers remorse.”
Porter said nowhere can people enjoy riding more than at the Quanah Hill Bike Trail, which exists thanks to the corroborative efforts of the City of Weatherford and the Weatherford Mountain Bike Club - (WMBC).
“We were trying to secure a trail at Soldier Springs Park and were protested,” Porter said. “Several people signed a petition to keep us out of the park under the impression that we were going to open a dirt bike trail.”
Porter said the WMBC worked politely with the City doing everything required of the group.
“They saw we were doing everything by the book,” Porter said. “They liked what they saw, so they came up with an alternate piece of property for us, Quanah Hill.”
Porter said they were a little hesitant at first until they saw the property.
“I couldn’t believe it. It was incredible,” Porter said. “The City has been so gracious working with us...it’s been a great relationship. In fact, it probably the best relationships between a club and a municipality I’ve ever heard of.”
The 5 1/2 mile winding course is located at the corner of White Settlement Rd. and West Lake Dr. While it’s considered a “very active trail,” Porter said it’s open free to anyone wishing to enjoy nature.
“We get people from all over, from as far away as Houston, who have come to ride it,” Porter said. “The loop is named “1886” while the three offshoot trails are called, Lost Boys Loop; Goodnight and Good Luck; and the Bankhead. All local names of significance having something to do with Parker County.”
Larry Colvin, President of the WMBC, said another bonus of the Quanah Hill trails is that local businesses have taken notice.
“When someone drives in from out of town to recreate on the trail they’re also buying gas, eating in restaurants, or even buy a new bicycle. The result is these visitors are contributing to the Weatherford economy,” Colvin said. “We’re on track to have somewhere between 15,000-16,000 visitors to Quanah Hill in 2017. When you factor in an economic multiplier of $7 per visitor the Weatherford Mountain Bike Club is making a $100,000 plus impact to local businesses.”
Colvin said about Quanah Hill what gives him the best appreciation of the clubs hard work is seeing kids and families on the trail and knowing it was all created by citizen volunteers.
“Essentially, building a mountain bike trail is the modern day version of a community barn raising,” Colvin added. “When the WMBC sent out word for volunteer help to build a trail folks from all walks of life answered the call. Its been very rewarding to see people give their free time with the common goal to make their city better – and ride an awesome trail, of course.”
The rules of the trail are simple:
▪ Cyclists have the right of way because of the speed they are traveling and safety concerns of all others.
▪ Then runners follow for similar reasons; then hikers and those just walking the course.
▪ No horses are allowed on the trail and no motorized vehicles.
▪ Pets are allowed as long as they remain on a leash.
“We’re very proud of the trail,” Porter said. “Everyone who’s come out to work on it has taken ownership of it. Last month we had more than 1,200 vehicles pass through our gate.”
The WMBC efforts haven’t gone unnoticed.
“The WMBC is a good partners and is providing additional recreational opportunities for the community,” said Weatherford City Manager Sharon Hayes. “They are good stewards of the environment and continually work to improve and add to the trails.”
The trail is open from sunrise until 10 p.m. daily.
Weatherford Mountain Bike Club meetings
Every 3rd Tuesday of the month at Unspoken Bike Shop, 220 York Ave. Weatherford, during fall, winter and spring months. During summer months meetings are at the trail. Club meeting times can be found on the clubs Facebook page.