Posts

Why Are Mountain Bikers Discriminated Against?

I’m sick of being discriminated against! Why Are Mountain Bikers Discriminated Against? There have to be 1,000 times more mountain bike owners than horse owners so why are there way more miles of trail open to horse users? In addition, a few bad apples among those .5 percenters who own horses manage to do 10 times the damage to trails as mountain bikers? Why isn’t there an organization that fights against this discrimination?! I’m not one for frivolous lawsuits but this is a case where someone/group needs to take this to court! Why does such a small minority of trail users have more rights to our public land than we do?

“Tens of thousands who could never afford to own, feed and stable a horse, had by this bright invention enjoyed the swiftness of motion which is perhaps the most fascinating feature of material life”. ~Frances Willard, How I Learned to Ride the Bicycle

Don’t get me wrong, I love horses, they are beautiful creatures. I simply want equal rights with their owners.

Has anyone heard of a group that legally fights for mountain bikers? I used to give over $3,000 a year to a group that I thought did this but it turns out they have never filed a lawsuit. I’m sick of compromises where we give up existing, fun trails for the “right” to build new trails where we already had the right to build new trails. Anyone else fed up with this? Anyone want to file a lawsuit? I’m not a lawyer but I have $3,000 a year I will personally donate to this cause.

IMBA

Has IMBA Lost its Soul?

Mountain Bikers, Has IMBA Lost its Soul? Become Too Powerful?

As a 20 year supporter of IMBA I decided not to support them in 2013 (still supported a few clubs though). Last year alone BetterRide gave IMBA and quite a few of it’s local chapters over $3,000.

Honestly, it really wasn’t a tough decision. I joined IMBA to help them fight the good fight, keep trails open and gain access to more trails.   This seemed to be their focus for all of the 1990′s and early 2000′s as they are a nonprofit advocacy group. Slowly over the last 10 years they have been acting more like a for profit business by straying from trail advocacy and using their considerable clout to compete with private businesses. Read more

Giving Back to the MTB Trails! A New MTB Industry Initiative

A New MTB Industry Initiative: One Percent For The Trails

I owe so much to the sport of mountain biking! In 13 years as
a professional mountain bike skills coach I’ve gotten to ride
almost everywhere, met incredible people, and found a way to make a
living doing something I love.  I am so thankful and that’s why I’m
always looking for ways to give back to the sport. In addition to
volunteering my time and company resources for different bike
related groups, like Trips for Kids (www.tripsforkids.org) I have consistently
donated at least 1% of my business’s revenue to organizations that make trails,
maintain them, and work to keep them open to mountain bikes.  A
student of mine recently made the comment: “Imagine if the whole MTB
industry did that!” When I heard that, I was inspired to start
www.OnePercentForTheTrails.org

1% for the Trails is a MTB industry
Co-operative whose mission is to encourage and facilitate all
Mountain Biking Industry companies to give back a minimum of 1% of
their gross sales annually to building and maintaining sustainable
mountain bike trails and advocating riders’ access. 

1% For The Trails does not collect donations, but will  refer
MTB Industry companies to organizations raising funds for trail
projects around the world and list those Companies along with the
organizations they support.   Eligible “trail organizations” can
include everyone from IMBA, to private sector and government
entities with trail projects, local ride clubs, and the like.   Any
organized group with a stated and demonstrated purpose of enhancing
MTB trails and access. 1% Percent For The Trails is dedicated to getting
every MTB industry company to commit to the pledge.

The 1% For The Trails Pledge:
–Company Name– commits to donate a minimum of one percent of its
sales annually to organizations engaged in advocacy, maintenance,
and creation of sustainable Mountain Bike Trails.  (Cross-industry
supporters pledge to donate one percent of their MTB related revenues.)

Who should take the Pledge?
MTB industry companies including (but not limited to) manufacturers,
event promoters, retailers, distributors, Media, and everyone whose
business benefits from the existence of trails for mountain bikers
to enjoy.

Why?
Our sport needs us.  The growth of mountain biking is directly
linked to accessibility and quality of available trails.  Without
places to ride, the sport can’t grow (or even last). Trail
organizations also help to manage our local open spaces in a
sustainable manner.

What if you already donate to trail organizations?
Do you need to “take the pledge”? Industry needs to set the example for
the consumers, our customers listen. It is up to us to help the sport
grow in a sustainable way. We set an example for each other. There are
most likely companies out there who aren’t doing all they could
for the trails. If even a few of those are inspired by
OnePercentfortheTrails.org, it will make a huge difference to the
organizations they donate to and to the trails we ride and love.

If your organization is willing to step up and commit to the pledge,
or is looking for funds and would like to be listed on
onepercentforthetrails.org email us at trails@betterride.net

Mountain Bike Trail Building Passion!

By BetterRide Head Coach Andy Winohradsky

So its not quite too late for New Year’s Resolutions … and here’s one for anybody that rides a bike on dirt: get out there and get your hands dirty with a few days of trail maintenance this season.

Little story: I just got back from Miami, Florida and was blown away by the quality of the riding and the vibrant MTB scene in the area.  What?  Great mountain-bike riding in South Florida?  If you find yourself with a response similar to this, you’re not alone.  I tell my riding buddies here in Colorado the same bit and they think I’m joking, and previous to my recent journey to F-L-A, I would have thought the same.

So how do you get great riding out of a place that is a flat, sandy, swampy, bug-infested jungle?  Simple (or not), you build it!  There is one reason that the trail systems that I rode were in existence and a blast to ride: a massive amount of trail work.

Anyone that has a bit of trail building experience understands that you can’t blindly hack a trail out of the side of a hill or through a forest and expect to end up with a quality result.  Proper trail building takes knowledge and experience in addition to hard work.  A good trail has to flow well, use the natural features of the area, have some good variety, among a lot of other things that can be argued about or discussed at some other time.  But to do it right takes some skill, some vision – and in the case of South Florida – a lot of creativity … and tons of hard work.

While some trail systems benefit from beautiful vistas, lush forests, and/or diverse eco-systems, the Miami area trails had none of these.  They were drained swamps, and at least one of them was an unofficial garbage dump at some point.  They appeared to be built on discarded land, and the builders had only a few acres to work with.  Trail builders created artificial and additional elevation (in addition to the natural twenty feet – tops) with wood, rocks, dirt, old carpet … sometimes 50′s era washing machines (decoratively spray painted).  Bridges were built and snaked precariously over the numerous still swampy areas (there was even a large decaying old boat grounded in what must have previously been a canal – won’t get that in Colorado) .  The trails were undoubtedly “tree-wrappers”, which can be scoffed at by us snooty western folk, but this actually added to the atmosphere and character.  Many of the tight turns were perfectly bermed, and small – but fun – jumps and rollers were dispersed through-out in order to help keep speed and momentum.  Nothing was unsafe for a beginner, yet even a washed-up, pro-downhiller like me could have a blast (Think high-speed-six-mile-singletrack-pump-track in a tropical forest).  There were some beautiful areas that wound through the everglades, and some sections of trail went right up to the ocean, so it wasn’t like you were riding through a Mad Max themed, day-glow carnival the entire time.

My point is this: from the above rant, did it sound like I had a good time?  Those people made some awesome trails out of nothing.  I don’t plan on moving to South Florida anytime in the future but if I do, I’ll still be an avid MTB’er and I won’t be hurtin’ for a wide selection of fun trails – all because a few people were willing to dream the dream and then put it into action.

And if you ride, you too should be part of that action.  Help the cause.  There are a lot of great trails already out there, but (not enough) maintenance is always an issue.   Access to MTB’ers on many trails is threatened because of this.  There are many proposed trails (some probably near you) that need as much help as they can get.  Also, trail building doesn’t only happen out there, in the dirt: good trails need well spoken people on the paper work side of things, at the board meetings of the Recreation Department, etc.

So, skip a ride or two this season and help build some trails.  Trust me, the cold beer will taste just as good at the end of the day … maybe even better!