An Open (Love) Letter to the City of Draper

08.18.2008 | 10:43 am

Dear City of Draper, Utah,

I have waited for too, too long to tell you this, and simply cannot restrain myself any longer. If I do, I fear my heart will burst.

I love you.

Yes, I’ll say it again, without shame, and will shout it from the rooftops:

I love you!

Why do I love you, Draper? Could it be because of your low crime rate? Could it be because of your exceptionally clean streets? Could it be because of your reasonable property taxes?

No. It is none of these, because I have no idea whether you have a low crime rate, exceptionally clean streets, or even how your property taxes compare to neighboring cities (for I do not live in you, oh most wonderful Draper).

I love you for one big, beautiful reason — a reason that encompasses a multitude of many wonderful reasons.

I love you because you created, built, and now maintain Corner Canyon Park.

Draper (do you mind if I simply call you “Draper?” I mean it as a term of endearment, I assure you!), the most important reason I love you is the fact that you don’t simply allow Corner Canyon Park — a well-planned and executed network of singletrack nestled between several expensive neighborhoods — but that you actively develop it.

I swear, Draper, there is 30% more singletrack in this park right now than there was last year, and there’s clearly more on the way.

Here’s Gary (and Vince close behind), coming down Ghost Falls — one of several stretches of trail you’ve put in place this season.

G-Love on Ghost Falls

And here’s me, riding over one of the dozen (or more) top-notch bridges you’ve put over ravines.


And me again, climbing up the other side of that bridge.


Of course, not all the water crossings have bridges. On a hot day, splashing through a 6″-deep creek feels pretty darned good, as Riley demonstrates.


Draper, do you know how rare and precious you are? Do you know how uncommon it is for a city to take some of its property and say, “Hey, I bet mountain bikers (and equestrians and hikers, sure) would like a place to play. Let’s give them something really deluxe.”

I’ll give you a hint, Draper. It’s pretty darned uncommon.

And it’s not like you’re a one trick pony, Draper. In addition to the swoopy singletrack you’re installing in the foothills, close to the street, there’s Jacob’s Ladder — a crazy fast, at-your-own-risk descent (that’s where I messed my shoulder up a few weeks ago, but I don’t blame you), and you’ve put in some fun stairs in the trail — a real technical challenge to climb. Sleepy didn’t get it this time.


I understand you’re currently developing a downhill-specific trail, taking advantage of a natural V-cut in the mountain. It looks insane. I can hardly wait to try it.

Draper, as fine as you are, of course you have many suitors. And yet, you somehow make me feel special. For example, last Saturday morning, when a bunch of us came over to ride in Corner Canyon Park, I started from my house, and before long was riding in what looks and feels like wilderness.


But then, turn around — quite literally — and you can see that there are some ginormous houses sitting right above, below, and in some cases in between the singletrack lines.


You know what, Draper? I don’t mind having the houses there at all as long as there’s still room for me and my friends to ride.

And you’ve made sure of that, haven’t you? In some places, you’ve actually set up easements so that there’s singletrack zooming right between people’s houses. It’s only eight feet of space, but it makes all the difference between a mountain bike-friendly city and a “No Fun Allowed” city.

Above all, Draper, I love Clark’s Trail. Somehow you knew that singlespeeders would be using Corner Canyon park, and so you built what may be the most perfect singlespeed climb in the entire world. It’s just steep enough that I find myself standing 80% of the time, but not so steep that I go full-on anaerobic and want to keel over.


I don’t know how you knew how to make this perfect trail — which is no slouch to descend, by the way — but I’m glad you knew. (Special thanks to Dug, by the way, for his timing in getting this picture: my stomach is in, my legs are flexed. Maybe the most flattering picture ever taken of me.)

In short, Draper, I’m a huge fan, and I love you. Don’t ever change.


The Fat Cyclist

PS: The following picture has nothing to do with the love letter, but it cracks me up. This is Sleepy, searching for his iPod, which had gotten snagged by the bushes. Dug’s helping.


Here’s how I imagine their phone call went that morning:

“I’m going to wear my plaid bermudas and my Orange Fat Cyclist jersey; what are you going to wear?”

“Same thing, but I’ll wear a pink jersey so nobody will think we’re twinners.”

And this is Sleepy, after he found that it was still clipped on to his jersey all along.



  1. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 08.18.2008 | 10:55 am


    Number of miles of new trail build in the last 5 years in or around the city I live in: 0.00

    Number of miles of trail in or around my city: 0.00

    Draper is the man!

  2. Comment by Clark | 08.18.2008 | 10:57 am

    Working in Draper makes for perfect lunch rides. Sometimes I truly wonder if they named Clark’s Trail after me.

    Is there a place I can sign?

    Clark (new reader)

  3. Comment by Bryan | 08.18.2008 | 10:59 am

    Great letter. My city is the anti-matter of Draper. New road construction projects are getting bike paths but there is much more that needs to be done.

    Props to Draper.

    Fatty, do you have a spare bedroom? I’ll take a closet if there’s enough room to stretch out.

  4. Comment by Brenda | 08.18.2008 | 11:07 am

    Great pictures! Even better ride! Kudos to Draper!


  5. Comment by barry1021 | 08.18.2008 | 11:11 am

    When did your butt get that big??


  6. Comment by Hamish A | 08.18.2008 | 11:15 am

    I can see the property values in Draper climbing steadily as a result of this love letter. You’ve even got me considering it and I was set on Santa Cruz!

    Nice post, great pics, looks like a fantastic ride. Way to brighten up a Monday Fatty!

    WIN SUSAN!!!

  7. Comment by FliesOnly | 08.18.2008 | 11:29 am

    That you have a place like that to ride mountain bikes makes me jealous beyond belief…and keep in mind I do not own, nor have I ever ridden a Mountain Bike (well, at least I haven’t ridden one as the are intended to be ridden).

  8. Comment by Bryan (not that one) | 08.18.2008 | 11:31 am

    Wow I wish I could ride that trail. Tropical Storm (or possible Hurricane) Fay is headed my way… wonder if I can convince my wife to take refuge in Draper? Maybe until the end of hurricane season?

    WIN SUSAN!!!

  9. Comment by dug | 08.18.2008 | 11:38 am

    sleepy and i do NOT talk on the phone. we text.

    don’t forget, draper is also home to both the north and south sides of the suncrest road climbs (which follows, since suncrest is IN draper). not a bad place to hang out. or live. i think draper has a full time trail builder ON STAFF. i am not making this up.

    saturday, i sat at the top of the road climb, and watched the tour of utah come over, on their way over to little cottonwood canyon to finish at snowbird.

    i’m never moving.

  10. Comment by Lori | 08.18.2008 | 11:46 am

    I think I’m moving……

  11. Comment by Don | 08.18.2008 | 12:01 pm

    Yeah, I wish we could get ANY decent trails in my neck of the woods. Ya know, something that isnt a 1 hour 30 drive to…

  12. Comment by Corey | 08.18.2008 | 12:07 pm

    I’m definitely moving…oh wait, we have city/county funded trails here too:


  13. Comment by GenghisKhan | 08.18.2008 | 12:36 pm

    Where can one find maps of the Draper trails? I’d like to do my part to contribute to their overcrowding…

  14. Comment by nccycling4fun | 08.18.2008 | 12:38 pm

    My city has something like 65 miles of trail and building new all the time, it’s a great place, but I think Draper might have us licked in the scenery!

  15. Comment by kentucky joe | 08.18.2008 | 12:43 pm

    very nice but it has me wanting more info on job opportunities in Draper, UT!!! And I am a roadie but your photo essay really is a great lure for Mountain Biking….what a very cool place

  16. Comment by chiggins | 08.18.2008 | 1:04 pm

    Beautiful pics, and those are some curvaceous, bodacious trails. Wow. But I’m sure you’re also interested in Draper’s libraries and theater.

    But if you’re spending all that time out on those trails, when do you get a chance to ride (and bench press) The Leader?

  17. Comment by Bob | 08.18.2008 | 1:10 pm

    That’s nothing. I can get in my car, drive 30 miles through city traffic, and ride on singletrack that’s very nearly as good.

  18. Comment by YouKnowWho | 08.18.2008 | 1:11 pm

    For GenghisKhan: has all the trails Fatty mentioned in this post.

  19. Comment by chtrich | 08.18.2008 | 1:47 pm

    This is a great place to live!!
    HA HA mocougfan. :-)

  20. Comment by cyclostu | 08.18.2008 | 2:08 pm

    Oh so jealous. Here in the paved oasis of the flatlands of Jacksonville, Fl the best place to mountain bike is North Carolina…or North Georgia. Fatty, it is not nice to post pictures like that to deprived people like us. I have to go sob quietly and pine for nice atb trails now.

  21. Comment by KanyonKris | 08.18.2008 | 2:27 pm

    Here, here! I also love the Draper trails – the gems of the city. Draper has at least one full time trail guy. Last year they bought a little bulldozer for making trails. Draper rocks!

    I can’t wait until the Maple Hollow trail is finished so I can ride a single-track loop that includes Clarks and the BST.

    The maps are out of date, but better than nothing. It just means you get to explore.

  22. Comment by Draper | 08.18.2008 | 3:16 pm

    Alpine called. They know about us. What are we going to do??

  23. Comment by Jen | 08.18.2008 | 3:56 pm

    We have many trail builders – cows, deer, pronghorn, horses
    they are all experts at leaving their own mark to the trails they make (scat). they don’t publisize their trail so all you have to do is find these great, meandering trails

  24. Comment by GenghisKhan | 08.18.2008 | 4:00 pm

    For YouKnowWho (But I really don’t–Louis?!)–Thanks!

  25. Comment by Catri | 08.18.2008 | 4:06 pm

    I am SO moving there… as long as the plaid shorts aren’t a requirement…

  26. Comment by Jules | 08.18.2008 | 4:29 pm

    Totally unrelated comment, but just wanted to say hello from CA, and that I got bike today. A Raleigh Venture bike, to ride my bike to work. I’m so excited. It’s very much due to reading your blog. You are so into biking that it really inspired this. Thank you! I get to ride it home today for the first time, in my snazzy new helmet :)

    Have a great evening, and best wishes to your family.

  27. Comment by bikemike | 08.18.2008 | 4:34 pm

    florida SUCKS! oh, at least we’re in hurricane alley. woot!

  28. Comment by fatty | 08.18.2008 | 5:01 pm

    jules – you’re picking up biking due to reading my blog? that’s absolutely the most awesome compliment anyone has ever paid me. thanks.

  29. Comment by Rider34 | 08.18.2008 | 5:28 pm

    What is up with the miniature Empire State Building that is in the picture with the overgrown houses?

    Now I am going to take advantage of Tropical Storm Fay and ride at 70mph for the next hour!!!

  30. Comment by Steven Hanley | 08.18.2008 | 5:48 pm

    Sounds good, but we get that here in Canberra, Australia also. Some spectacular road rides mostly traffic free that can even be ridden before or after work in summer. Heaps of great mountain biking, including the spectacular governemtn funded trail network at Stromlo Forest Park where we have a round of the World Cup MTB series happening next week, World MTB Championships next year and we host the biggest 24 hour MTB race in the world each year.

  31. Comment by Lifesgreat | 08.18.2008 | 7:02 pm

    I live a few minutes from Draper and have never really mountain biked. Corner Canyon looks fun! However, if wearing an orange jersey with plaid shorts is a requirement, then I think I will just stick to my red, purple, blue and yello road spandex ;)

  32. Comment by Di | 08.18.2008 | 8:33 pm

    I’m very fortunate to be a part of a community – peninsula – that is building new trail all the time. I live in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula (a little peninsula on the north side of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan – yes, Michigan is two main peninsulas, not just a hand). We have a very strong riding community up here.

    Your Draper pictures look like the anti-Moab. The trails look wicked fast and smooth – perfect for a simply fun ride. Hmmmm…maybe I should venture out that way, someday.

  33. Comment by sleepy | 08.18.2008 | 9:50 pm

    I have introduced a handful of people to the Draper trail network and they could not believe the work that Draper City has put into the trails. SInce then they have left their playgrounds to come play in Drapers.

    I’m glad I found iPod. I thought for sure the mountain had eaten it. Thanks to the Search and Rescue team putting forth the effort to find it.

  34. Comment by Ryan | 08.18.2008 | 10:18 pm

    @Rider34-That’s the new Draper LDS (Mormon) temple.

    This almost makes me regret that I only lived in Draper for a year. My new home, Eugene OR, also has a small local trail system, but the real trails here are 45 min away in Oakridge–home of the Cascade Cream puff and 300+ miles of singletrack.

  35. Comment by Accident Prone | 08.18.2008 | 10:56 pm

    All that fresh air, open space and greenery….must feel stifling.

  36. Comment by minermike | 08.18.2008 | 11:58 pm


    I live just around the corner from the cul-de-sac at the base of clark’s. I love riding in corner canyon anytime but riding in the fall when all the colors are changing is over the top. This incredible sight might be worth a follow up photag in October.

    By the way, my son just finished his boy scout eagle project. He organized about 50 volunteers to work with draper city to cut a new section of trial near suncrest…more great riding is on the way! As a plug for Draper…they are always looking for volunteer groups to contribute to the trial building efforts. They provide all the tools, the volunteers provide the labor.

    Finally, thanks for giving me rick M’s email when we briefly talked in leadville (thursday night waiting for a table for dinner). I’m the same guy you thought was Bob??? (not my name)that you called out to when you passed me climbing St. Kevins on race day…what a great year at leadville!

  37. Comment by Javert | 08.19.2008 | 12:52 am


    You’ve no idea of what you’ve just done to yourself. It starts with a single bike “just to ride to work on,” or something similarly innocuous. What could be wrong with that, right? But it’s not long thereafter, though, that you find yourself riding even when there is no work, like on the weekends and on vacation days, or in the middle of the night, for Pete’s sake. This leads to outrageous rationalizations about how a mountain bike would be nice to have so you can “get some exercise” here and again or “get into nature” once and awhile. Maybe a road bike, too, would be good so you can get to work even faster–you know, because it’s important to get to work on time and to show esprit de corps and to take one for the team and some such stuff. Soon enough, you’re practicing track-stands at lunch on your shiny new Pista fixie or “slapping on the armor” to tackle that stupid-steep bit of technical craziness that still owes you for the pieces of knee, shoulder, and dignity you left there two weeks prior. Before you know it, Jules, you’re an addict, hooked on all things two-wheeled and willing to do anything–anything at all–to get some saddle time in.

    Yep, I’ve seen it hundreds of times. The Raleigh Venture (a great bike) is just a “platform bike” from which the ever-quickening, ever-downward spiral begins. You poor wretch. You’re not even human anymore, and you don’t even know it.

    The horror….

  38. Comment by buckythedonkey | 08.19.2008 | 3:01 am

    Hey Jules, welcome aboard. Start saving!

    Fatty, I have just read your Leadville write-up which has become one of the milestones in my cycling year.

    It’s funny how a plan gone awry can often lead to a really memorable experience. How great must Dave Wiens feel after being told by Lance Armstrong:

    “You gotta go man, I can’t go any more”.

    So, is the sub-9 back on then?


  39. Comment by bikemike | 08.19.2008 | 3:37 am

    Jules was also excited about a snazzy new helmet. how cool is that?
    you’re way ahead of the curve, Jules.

  40. Comment by tim | 08.19.2008 | 5:13 am

    great photos and great riding.
    harping back to leadville……could your ride have anything to do with the fact that you were forced to put in some quality road miles leading up to the race???? just a thought.

    WIN SUSAN!!!

  41. Comment by Mike Roadie | 08.19.2008 | 5:44 am

    Now we know why they call him “Sleepy”……..

    Very nice, Draper…….now what do we do about all the roadies getting hit by vehicles because towns don’t “develop” enough bike lanes? Or won’t put a lane down A1A where the rich have over-extended their driveways into the road????


  42. Comment by Nix | 08.19.2008 | 7:42 am

    Good to see that there are places in the world where it’s just as good riding as here in Cape Town. Although, nothing can beat the satisfaction when I finally get the courage to cycle up to the FM mast…

  43. Comment by fuzzy | 08.19.2008 | 8:28 am

    Jules- welcome to the world of cycling. You are however, now on the slippery slope. Just about every cyclist I know is victim to the ‘How many bikes does a cyclist need?’ formula- N+1 where N represents the number of bikes said cyclist currently posseses.

    Fatty- you and all your Septic friends don’t know how lucky you are (or perhaps you do). Your country surrounds you with vast open spaces like Corner Canyon, where the cyclist can be king. I have to travel hours to find the space you have on your doorstep.
    Lucky buggers the lot of you!

    Luv n stuff,

    Fuzzy from the UK.

  44. Comment by KanyonKris | 08.19.2008 | 9:08 am

    Rider34: as Ryan said it’s a new temple – more info here:

  45. Comment by Nancy | 08.19.2008 | 9:23 am

    It’s a nice place to ride but I wouldn’t want to live there. Tons of stucco McMansions one on top of the other cluttering up the hillside(s), developers adding to it and then going out of business as soon as the hillside slides or basements flood, politics to the right of Atilla the Hun….. But I have to agree that the cycling is great!

    Win Susan!

  46. Comment by dug | 08.19.2008 | 9:29 am

    i hate stucco. i only live in adobe, i only eat in adobe, i only want to look at adobe, i only go to the bathroom in adobe. well, not that last one, marble only for that.

  47. Comment by dug | 08.19.2008 | 9:29 am


  48. Comment by Jake | 08.19.2008 | 9:51 am

    Fantastic trails. Every city should be as accomodating to land use recreation as Draper is.

    On another note, it’s strange that you have what appears to be a fetish for your own quads, and that you mention them regularly. Do you stand in front of the mirror at home and gaze at them?

  49. Comment by Rick S. | 08.19.2008 | 10:19 am

    Not to be negative but it should be mentioned that Draper is, in fact, the home of the Chupacabra.

  50. Comment by Accident Prone | 08.19.2008 | 10:23 am

    Is stucco the poor man’s adobe?

  51. Comment by Boz | 08.19.2008 | 10:57 am

    I’m very fortunate to live in a city w/ tons of trails all over the place, and more being built. I think the trails are better than the streets! But just out of the city, the roads are fabulous. Too bad our winters are so long, but with lots of skiing, it’s not so bad.

  52. Comment by JB | 08.19.2008 | 10:57 am

    Dug, Your comments remind me of an old Jeff Foxworthy bit about the houses in New Mexico….”What color is your house? Mud….”

  53. Comment by Bitter (formerly known as Lissee) | 08.19.2008 | 11:18 am

    LOL @ Rick S.

    Fatty, the trails look nice! :)

  54. Comment by dug | 08.19.2008 | 11:51 am

    rick, if you would stop rolling around in deer carcass, the chupacabra would leave you alone.

  55. Comment by Maria | 08.19.2008 | 11:59 am

    Great pics! Makes a roadie like me want a mountain bike.

  56. Comment by tibiker | 08.19.2008 | 3:12 pm

    Yes Rick is right the Chupacabra are plentiful, you people should DEFINITELY NOT RIDE HERE. Way too dangerous.

  57. Comment by tibiker | 08.19.2008 | 3:25 pm

    Clark, sorry to burst your bubble, but it’s named after Clark Naylor one of the Draper City trails committee members. He and Brad Jensen are both committee members and they do the bulk of trail alignment / marking for Corner Canyon.

    Fatty, I sent a link to one of the committee members and someone else also sent Brad Jensen a link as well and it’s being circulating among the committee members today via e-mail.

    Everyone, they do have opportunities for trail work all the time so get out and help them if you have the time.

    Maps can usually be found in the clear plastic boxes attached to the trail head signs. They can also be found at city hall and usually at Canyon bikes on 12300 south and ~700 east.

  58. Comment by tibiker | 08.19.2008 | 3:41 pm

    One other thing. If you think the trails system rocks now, wait until you see the master plan.

    Gotta go ride CC, see ya!

  59. Comment by Jeff Stenquist | 08.19.2008 | 4:45 pm


    Jeff Stenquist
    Long-time Fat Cyclist Fan
    Draper City Councilman

  60. Comment by Dobovedo | 08.19.2008 | 9:13 pm

    Hey Draper… look me up sometime when you stop messing around with that Fat Cyclist fellow.

    Sooner or later you’ll realize he’s only using you for your huge…

    tracts of land.

  61. Comment by Photo-John | 09.4.2008 | 6:31 pm

    I love Draper, too. It’s awesome. Corner Canyon combines a wonderfully punisher climb with a super sweet downhill. Although, last weekend I discovered they’ve done some rerouting that I’m not sure I approve of.

    I put in a morning this spring digging on that DH trail, too. Gotta go back and actually ride it.

    Here’s a little Corner Canyon action from Sunday, while we were attending Bike Church.

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