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By Miranda Alvarez, Community Engagement Manager
As picturesque, historic, and altogether charming as the D&L Heritage Corridor’s Jim Thorpe might be, it’s an unlikely destination for someone leaving a life behind in Santiago, Chile. Nonetheless, Annabel Figueroa, D&L Trail User, quickly rooted herself in her new hometown by starting a beginner mountain biking group in partnership with her husband– Andy.
The two met, fell in love, and made their life in Chile together. After Andy spent seven years living as an expatriate, the couple decided it was Annabel’s turn. In 2019, they made the leap and joined Andy’s family in Jim Thorpe. With enthusiasm, they brought along a big vision for the community they could build and opportunity to expand their donut franchise.
When faced with few familiar faces in her new town, Annabel knew she needed to make concerted efforts to meet people who shared her interest in the outdoors, especially mountain biking. Her entrepreneurial spirit led her to not only seek out like minded folks, but to build a space and opportunity for them to come to her.
“I wanted to meet people, here, because I’m new in town,” said Annabel when asked what motivated the groups inception.
As a result, it’s no coincidence that in a desire to make herself at home in a new town and country, Annabel chose to find a way to make others feel at home on challenging trails. Much like Jim Thorpe, it was Andy who introduced Annabel to mountain biking. Hitting these coarse trails eventually grew to be a favorite pastime for her.
Her beginner mountain biking group, Bike Jim Thorpe, meets every other Thursday. From there, cyclists hit the trails and choose their challenge. Apprehensive beginners can opt to take a leisurely cruise down the D&L Trail. For the full experience, riders can branch off of the trail for proper mountain biking. This group helps beginners stay alert and get accustomed to navigating rough terrains. Surely, beginners can feel confident. This is largely in part to the help of supportive of friendly riders at varying experience levels.
To learn more about the group and keep up to date with meetup dates, follow and like Bike Jim Thorpe. Plus, look out for the opening of Donerds Donuts. By all means, get ready to treat yourself and geek out over the science of the perfect donut.