HOWLAND - A local group of bike riders is working to get trails completed in Trumbull and Columbiana counties while also working with park districts to hold bike riding programs.
The Rust Belt Revival Trail Coalition, which is part of the International Mountain Bike Association, has formed a new local club for mountain bike riders from Trumbull, Mahoning, Columbiana and Mercer counties.
The club, which promotes physical fitness and an active lifestyle, is for both new and experienced cyclists for group rides at local trails and at special events.
Steve Zerefos of Warren said he is among those who ride mountain bikes on trails and is one of the many volunteers working on the North Road Nature Preserve Howland Trail off North Road.
"It's good for your fitness and is a lot of fun. We want to get people out on the trails. Anyone of all ages can ride,'' Zerefos said, noting he is trying to get new people involved with group rides and trail building days.
He said while there are trails in Trumbull County for biking and hiking, plans are for getting trails connected within the different counties.
Zerefos said members are needed to help lead group rides and take part on trail work days.
Zerefos said the Howland Wellness Committee has been very active in preparing the 4.1-mile trail off North Road at Candlelight Drive and has worked with members of the Rust Belt Revival Trail Coalition.
''This has become a community effort. It is important to join forces. People who ride horses on the trails are finding mountain bikes are less expensive,'' Zerefos said.
Zerefos said to help generate publicity for the group the president of the club will be speaking at 6 p.m. Monday on the Bicycling Today radio show on WNIO 1390-AM.
Another trail project is at Beaver Creek State Park near Lisbon, which will be a more advanced trail. The terrain has steep hills and rocks and a forest canopy.
Zerefos said there have been talks with the Trumbull Metroparks on offering mountain bike educational classes on safety and technique from August to October,
''The Howland trail is a perfect beginner's trail which the entire family can ride on,'' he said.
In addition, the trail offers nature areas for hikers to see wildlife and birdwatching.
He said plans are to get the Howland trail done by 2013.
Zerefos, who says he rides five days a week, said he is currently working on sponsors for the club.
''We want to increase the ranks of bike riders, educate younger riders and provide information and guidance to beginners,'' Zerefos said.
The Rust Belt Revival board consists of Bryan Ashman, president, Tim Harker, vice president, Jason Manysh, treasurer, Steve Zerefos, secretary and Eric Davidson, as trail steward. Membership is open for $30 per year
The mission of the club is to and promote mountain bike access and diverse riding opportunities in the Steel Valley through education, communication and unified action.