The State of Iowa has one of this nation’s largest bike trail systems in the country, and the City of Johnston, with approximately 40 miles of trails, is doing its part to contribute! Johnston offers access to two types of trails, paved and off-road, but before you hit the trail so to speak, you will want to do a few things first.
Make sure all of your bicycle equipment and helmet are in working order and appropriate for the type of trail you will be riding. A check of the weather is a good pre-ride habit to get into especially living in Iowa where weather can change at any time. Be prepared both physically and mentally for your ride that could include steep hills, puddles, and rainy, muddy, icy or foggy conditions. How long will your ride be?
Do you have sufficient water, snacks, and your cell phone? These could prove invaluable if you are stranded on the trail. Carry a first aid kit, a light, and your bike repair tools: a pump, wrench, Y-socket tool, multi-tool, Allen keys, tire levers, spare tires, and tubes. And remember, care should always be used when riding your bike on any trail as these trails are also used by people walking or jogging. And always, always wear your bicycle helmet!
When riding on paved trails, you will see green markers with numbers assigned to them. The numbers represent your location on the trail, similar to your home address. These are used to identify your location in the event you need help. These have been used by trail enthusiasts in the past and have proven very helpful in locating injured people. At times you may be required to cross roads to get from trail to trail. You must obey the rules of the road when doing this and always look both ways. You are a small object to drivers and they may not see you before it is too late.
The mountain bike trails can be accessed on NW 66th Ave., just west of the Des Moines River. A gravel parking lot is located on the south side of NW 66th Ave. When riding on mountain bike trails, make sure you have the right skills and physical conditioning to handle the terrain. Don’t go faster than you are comfortable riding and know the area. Have your cell phone with you and tell a family member or friend where you will be riding and when you expect to be done. You should not ride on mountain bike trails after dark.
The Johnston Police Department offers bike registration in case your bike is lost or stolen. Call the police department at 278-2345 for more information.
Whenever you are on any trail you should be aware of your own personal safety. Don’t talk to strangers and if you come across anyone or anything that seems out of place or suspicious, call the police.