The Trail to Chiyanoki: Mountain Biking Revives Village

A stunning mountain bike course has been carved into a mountain of a Genkai-shuraku -- a marginal hamlet where more than 50% of the population is aged 65 or over -- in Saga City. The trail has attracted new faces and energy to Chiyanoki Village, which is facing depopulation and super-aging. Masunaga Eiichi, who ran a mountain bike shop in Fukuoka City, spearheaded the trail project and eventually relocated there. He spent years cultivating relations with the locals before they would allow him to design and build his trail. His strategy was patience, and offering community volunteer work along with his bike rider friends. Eventually, he got the green light. And in return he and his colleagues regularly help trim back vegetation and clear roads. Residents and newcomers are now forging a vibrant culture.