Saturday, October 18, 2014 will be the date that began a great journey for us and The Big Marsh. We launched an information session laden with tours and racing exposing a mere glimpse of possibilities with a simple 1.5 mile handbuilt course made up of singletrack, gravel, grassy knolls, and trail features unique to the surroundings of The Big Marsh.

What's Out There!

This could not have been made possible without the incredible volunteer assistance provided by the below groups’ participants.

SRAM
Trails for Illinois
Twin Six ‘METAL’ Team Members
Jen Agan from Your Soigneur
Tuxedo Thunder Team Members
Comrade Cycles Team Members
The Garden Jumps Trail Builders
Heritage Bicycle Works

This event is also owed to the generosity of the following business who committed to the event with prizes and services.

SRAM
ABUS
Cycle Smithy
Clif Bar
Lagunitas Chicago Taproom (via Village Verdigris Cycling)
Joshua and Molly Shough (EMT Support)
Trails for Illinois

It took upwards of 500 hours across nearly 30 volunteers over four weeks to form less than 1% of the vacant and overgrown site into the Big Marsh Mashdown event. The enthusiasm was there with every volunteer, every business, and every participant who came out to hear the news of the plans for the bike park. We are ecstatic to be involved with this project and are grateful and thankful to all those who trusted us to come out with a shovel to work or for a tour to explore. At the end of the race, after all the small costs were tallied and monies raised calculated, we estimate that almost $2,000 will go back to the Friends of the Big Marsh Fund as the first major donation for the Big Marsh.

The Bonebell started 7 years ago with the intention to bring greater notoriety and exposure to the efforts of the small but mightily available Dirtbag community. Year after year we have worked towards highlighting regional trails, community groups like CAMBr, and racing opportunities from regional race promoters. And every year you responded with growth and participation in off-road cycling. Opportunities have exploded not only across Chicago but across the Midwest and even nationally. We have stuck to our motto – “Your source for dirt” and have exclusively focused on off-road cycling because we love every aspect of our recreation and sport. We believe that The Big Marsh holds the key to future possibilities like:

    -Youth racing leagues in Chicago school districts
    -Year round weekly racing schedules for MTB and Cyclocross
    -BMX competitions
    -Family friendly routes for group riding across 278 acres of recreational trails

These are all genuine opportunities, and we look forward to inviting you to participate across many levels over the course of the coming year. We are proud of Chicago and its ability to foster growth for cyclists from both an urban and nature preserve scale, and we believe this project is what can bring these two worlds together for the sake of future cycling generations.

Event photos taken by The Bonebell photographer Amy Dykema – Set 1 & Set 2



  1. […] – The weather was a little less ideal, but a good size contingent of Chicagoland dirtbags were down¬†at Big Marsh¬†having a time this past Saturday. Read all about it on The Bonebell. […]


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