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Sgt. Brian Murphy participates in a family fun ride with the Quantico Mountain Bike Club on April 1 while towing his daughters Alana, 4, and Eva, 3, behind him in a trailer.

Photo by Photo courtesy of Master Sgt. John Paul Cooley

Out for a ride with Quantico Mountain Bike Club

20 Apr 2015 | Eve A. Baker Marine Corps Base Quantico

If you have ever walked, run, biked or ridden your horse on the mainside trails aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, you have members of the Quantico Mountain Bike Club Inc. to thank for your ability to do  so.

While Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs oversees the trail network, and local horseback riders have contributed hours of maintenance and a number of bridges, QMTB members perform the bulk of the trail maintenance. Members regularly clear debris on their own while out riding or coordinate tree removal on the QMTB Facebook page.

Master Sgt. John Paul Cooley, the QMTB president, said the club has 50 members currently. All Department of Defense, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Agency personnel and their families are authorized to join the club. Civilians with no affiliation to the base are also allowed to join, provided they do not make up more than one-third of the club roster. A one-time membership fee of $15 provides lifetime membership in the club, Cooley said.

QMTB hosts two regularly scheduled group rides, one on Mondays at 5 p.m., with the trails chosen based on the ability of the riders who show up, and one on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. that is more of a “family fun ride,” according to Cooley. All riders are required to wear helmets at all times.

Cooley advised riders planning to join the group rides or ride independently to check the club’s Facebook page if there has recently been inclement weather. To protect the trails and prevent erosion, all trails except Stadium and Sewer will be closed to bicycle and horse traffic during inclement weather and for 24 hours afterward. Periods of freezing and thawing may also necessitate trail closure. NREA will make the final decision on whether the trails will close and post a notice on the QMTB Facebook page.

Because Stadium and Sewer Trails have been improved with gravel, they remain open at all times, year-round.

While a recent Marine Corps Times article discusses a tense relationship between off-road cyclists and leaders at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Cooley said QMTB has a great relationship with MCBQ leaders. In fact, both Base Commander Col. David Maxwell and Chief of Staff Col. Allen Broughton are members of the club and avid riders in their free time.

In addition to performing trail maintenance for the base and helping NREA to install 144 new trail signs, the club also supports the Marine Corps Marathon office by performing clean-up on the trails after races such as the 17.75K and Run  Amuck.

April is a busy month for QMTB, with two major events. The first is Trail Demo Day on April 18 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event, which will take place behind Barber Physical Activity Center, at the intersection of McCard and John Quick Road, will include beginner and intermediate guided tours of the trails, as well as classes on fixing flat tires and bike maintenance. Marine Corps Community Services will provide demonstration bikes for riders to test out on the trails. All ages and ability levels are welcome to participate in the free event.

The next big event for the club is the 9-hour Cranky Monkey race on April 25 aboard the base. Registration is available online at and on the day of the event if it is not yet sold out. Racers can choose to complete one to three 9-mile laps for time or see how many laps they can ride in nine hours.

In its sixth year, the race has a new organizer this year – Singletrack Cycling Open Registration Events, Inc. SCORE was founded by retired Marine Kevin Adams and will give all net proceeds from the event back to the base for trail maintenance and improvement. Registration is open to the public and available through race day.

Editor’s note: According to Cooley, MTB is the international abbreviation for mountain bike, so the club is known by the abbreviation QMTB, not the acronym QMBC.

— Writer:

Marine Corps Base Quantico