The Gazette article about Mount Royal

Montreal mountain bikers seek happier trailsThe lack of a designated area to practise the sport in this city has enthusiasts building illicit paths in the woods of Mount Royal

By Jake Bleiberg, Special To THE GAZETTE April 28, 2014

Unidentified mountain biker on Mount Royal in 2007. Photo taken by Alexandre Quintal. For Saturday Extra feature on illegal mountain biking trails on Mount Royal.

Photograph by: Alexandre Quintal, The Gazette

It’s an annual rite of spring for mountain bikers keen to put rubber on dirt after the long winter: riding the illegal trails in the woods of Mount Royal.

Like the many unsanctioned footpaths that criss-cross the mountain, these three or four biking trails are primarily created through use — the repeated passage of riders along a similar line gradually wears a track roughly the width of a bicycle.

But these paths are also intentionally developed by a loosely organized group of bikers who maintain them and construct features such as jumps, bridges, and berms, sharply banked turns.

And as surely as the trails are rebuilt every spring, the city responds by doing its best to demolish them — flattening jumps and berms and filling in paths with new dirt.

“There has been mountain biking on Mount Royal for as long as the sport’s been in Quebec,