ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico mountain bikers can expect some much-needed improvements to trails in the Sandia Mountains. It’s all thanks to a state grant.

“We got a huge spread of trails, all sorts of varieties, and technical abilities,” said Jeremy Peterson, an Albuquerque Mountain Bike Association board member.

It’s a popular activity across the state, mountain biking.

“More people are getting outside, I mean, you can go out to the Foothills any day of the week and see quite a few individuals out on bikes,” said board member Hannah Russert.

For the most part, the more advanced riders in the metro area have to travel up to three hours to places like Angel Fire or Farmington.

“Around Albuquerque, a lot of the trails are beginner to intermediate with some advanced trails sprinkled here and there,” said Russert.

The Albuquerque Mountain Bike Association (AMBA) is working to change that.

“There a lot of riders here that do have that more advanced skill set, so one of the big things is looking into the mountains and expanding that to have more what we would consider black diamonds or more advanced rider trails,” said Russert.

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Russert and Peterson applied for a grant through the state’s Economic Development Department’s Outdoor Recreation Division. Together, they received the max amount possible, $99,000. AMBA is working alongside the U.S. Forest Service; they plan to use the money to improve existing but not officially marked trails on the east side of the Sandia Crest.

“We can build them in a sustainable and safe manner, so nobody’s getting hurt out there, and so we know where they are if somebody does get hurt,” said Peterson.

Not only making it safer but also growing the skill level for riders while keeping them closer to home.

“Younger kids don’t have that opportunity to make that trip up there, whereas having something close to the metro their friends or parents can give them a ride,” said Russert.

AMBA said they plan to kick off construction once the snow melts. They hope to have it completed by next spring.