Need a little help getting started.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1

    Need a little help getting started.

    Ok I live in a area the is totally dominated by a local XC club and the local club seam to have little interest in building anything but XC trails. So to bring up my main point here. Several of us locals have slowly started to form another group that has other interests at heart than just XC trails. We would like to get the areas first publicly accessible DH Flow trail in our area. We have already contacted a company called Progressive Trail Design about having them build the trail as they are pros at this and can take care of the liability of building the trail. So where do we need to start as far as getting the ball rolling on this. I already work with some one who has a brother that works high up in the parks dept and I have preliminary permission to talk to him at some point. So now what are some step to insure a potentially successful first meeting with him.

    My thoughts;

    Get a petition signed by as many people as we can.

    Find as many bike shops as we can to sign petition

    Do and online petition possibly?

    What are some things that you have done and had success with.

    And the most important part is applying for grants after preliminary approval I assume.

    Thanks.
    Last edited by [email protected]; 08-14-2010 at 01:51 PM.

  2. #2
    Single(Pivot)and Happy
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    Have you joined your area mtb. advocacy club, attend meetings, volunteer your time? I understand where you're coming from. I was in your exact position 2 1/2 years ago. I, along with many others, were disatisfied with local riding opportunities and felt the local mtb. advocacy group did not represent all mtb'ers, definitely not us. I did what thousands of riders across the nation do when the type of area trails don't provide the experience one seeks: *****ed and moaned.

    I thought about starting an advocacy group that would represent and advocate for trails that provided the experience I, along with hundreds of area riders, sought. Luckily, I realized early on that many of my friends and fellow riders would rather ***** and complain than organize and bring about change.

    Based on my experience and after reading your blog, I feel pretty confident stating that your area "XC dominated" club shows little interest in what you would like to see happen because there is no real interest from riders in the area to make it happen. You state in your blog that you felt you guys were building momentum and then riders started giving excuses and bailed out. That's typical behavior. Your "XC dominated" club most likely has seen this scenario countless of times: Someone shows up, complains there's a lack of this, we want that. The great ones show up and ***** about how the club is not representing ALL the area mtb'ers.

    Show up to your area mtb. advocacy group, introduce yourself, explain YOU want to help create the type of trails YOU like, and ask them what YOU need to do. Then do it. The reason your area bike club is "XC" or "Trail" dominated is simply because the people that volunteer, show up, and commit are XC or trail orientated. The reason the scene in your area is not the scene you would like to see is because there are no people willing to volunteer, show up and commit to making the scene happen. Very simple.

    No one will commit to a group that won't commit on themselves. No P&R dept, no grants, no Progressive Trail Designs. And before you start accusing me of being some lycra wearing XC asshat (I have nothing against any riders), the next time you speak to Woody, owner of PTD, tell him Jason in San Diego said hello. Woody's on MY short list to build my County's first Skills/DJ Park. I went from *****ing and complaining with friends during every ride about the same sh-t to chairman of the Committee to make Sh-t happen. You could do the same. Or maybe you can't.
    The suspension of your bike sucks if it's different than mine. Really. It sucks. Big time.

  3. #3
    Thanks for the input. Yes I have been a member of the local MTB club for several years and volunteer on 2 or 3 workdays a year to build trails. Some of use have attended meting for close to a year but stopped going because going because after a while we just got frustrated and left as they have their interest and agenda that that is what keeps moving forward. So we stopped going to meetings because they don't want to discus anything other than what they are currently doing or working on and I understand that to a point. We have also meet with several good guys in the group that really want something like this but they are way to busy just trying to keep up with their trails they are responsible for and the rest of the group is not even interested in even discussing this and some get very angry over this so most don't even talk about it.

  4. #4
    Single(Pivot)and Happy
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    Bro,

    Get your crew together and start attending meetings again. Introduce yourselves, again, explain what you are willing to commit to and work towards, again. Each meeting, every meeting.

    When I say I feel your frustration, I mean it. But if you think you're frustrated now, you don't know what frustration is. Trust me. I'm not saying you and your crew are not frustrated, I know you are. Keep plugging away and when the time comes to begin to have your proposal considered, you will look back at this time as "frustration training". I think it is some built in mechanism to weed out the non-committed.

    Keep posting in this forum to let us know of your progress. There are good people that have been where you are now that will share what they've learned. You show commitment and you will have back up. If you can't convince fellow riders of the worth of your vision, how do you intend to convince non-riders to commit time, energy, money and resources to your vision? Yeah, I know some other areas didn't have to go through this. But you don't live in one of those areas. I was going to say "Good Luck" to you, but luck has nothing to do here. And there's nothing wrong with quitting and walking away.


    If you're a quitter.
    The suspension of your bike sucks if it's different than mine. Really. It sucks. Big time.

  5. #5
    Delirious Tuck
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boulder Pilot
    Get your crew together and start attending meetings again. Introduce yourselves, again, explain what you are willing to commit to and work towards, again. Each meeting, every meeting.

    When I say I feel your frustration, I mean it. But if you think you're frustrated now, you don't know what frustration is. Trust me. I'm not saying you and your crew are not frustrated, I know you are. Keep plugging away and when the time comes to begin to have your proposal considered, you will look back at this time as "frustration training". I think it is some built in mechanism to weed out the non-committed.
    Patience and a cool hand that goes back to Steve McQueen's level of cool is what it takes to make things move and work.

    Your local mtb group likely has numbers, and a dedicated core that drives the agenda. Those people have probably been working on the trails for years together, not to mention getting to know parks decision makers along the way, and earning credibility and trust from those decision makers and the mtb member community.

    Even with a highly placed parks guy, you're dealing with someone who has to make a decision by committee. That means you need to show not just a petition with names, but $$, and a legitimate organization with by-laws and status.

    So you could go it alone and work the connections and build another organization, from scratch. The other option gives you more clout, you just need to get into the "circle of trust" of the local mtb group so that they know you're going to stick around when things get tedious. Prove to them that know you understand how tough it is not just doing TM and trail building, but coordinating the TM events (planning the actual work, getting approvals, putting together the event, leading the workers and all the little things to make it smooth, oh and have those same volunteers come back the next time too).

    It's like anything in life, you don't get to master craftsman/general/CEO status just by showing up, you earn your stripes.

    Once they know you can do everything it takes to make a new trail or a TM program or make park/trail "ownership" program successful, then they might be willing to say,"if you can get the numbers to do the work, we think there's potential for another trail here, you should design it and own it and we'll help organize the $$$ and approvals." It could take months, but likely it will take more time, I'd say a couple years. If you can't wait that long, you can try other options, but no need to try re-inventing the wheel if you don't have to.

    At the end of the day patience will get you what you want.

  6. #6
    Don't worry, be happy!
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    Lots of good advice here. I know that established club boards can get blinders on, and sometimes new ideas generate resistance because the existing folks hear so much. "wouldn't it be great if...", or "you should.....". When I was on a board, my response was always, "great idea, why don't you do it". and that would be the end of it

    I think the key is to emphasize that YOU are willing to do the work/ go to meetings etc, but you want the support of an existing organization that you are volunteering for /pay dues to. Even just showing up at the board meeting every month to establish a presence is a good way to start to get an in.

    If it's the old DH vs XC/lycra vs baggie hate fest, well I can't help you there. Our club always has tried to look at the bigger picture in that we all ride bikes and like to build trails.

    And yes. Patience. Lots of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Boulder Pilot

    I went from *****ing and complaining with friends during every ride about the same sh-t to chairman of the Committee to make Sh-t happen. You could do the same. Or maybe you can't.
    Last edited by formica; 08-16-2010 at 01:39 PM.

  7. #7
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    What about the land managers?

    The problem may not be your club but your land manager. It is important to remember it is the land manager that sets the agenda and if he/she is against something, it probably isn't going to happen. From the LM's perspective, mountain bikers are a small subset of the entire user community, expert mountain bikers a small subset of MTB subset (if you read mountain bike forums you are an expert), and downhillers are smaller subset of the expert MTBer subset. So your numbers seem large to you but very tiny to the LM.

    Your LM may have a bias towards XC trails not because they are XC trails but because they are sustainable trails build to IMBA standards. Steep trails are a LM nightmare, due to the maintenance demands on resources, they don't want to build additional unstainable trails. My understanding it is possible to build sustainable downhill trails but they require very experienced design and lots of construction effort for things like armoring. So to convince they LM to build a dedicated DH trail you will have to convince them you can design it right and turn out lots of bodies on a regular basis to do construction.

    Another LM concern is non-expert mountain bikers getting on your DH trail and getting injured. Yes, there are ways to reduce that risk like "entrance exam" features or fencing off the area but the easiest solution with the lowest risk is to not build it at all.

    I would second some of the suggestions above about raising your level of involvement in the trail building activities of the existing club. Bump your trail event attendence to 10 to 20 times a year. If trail work isn't cutting into your riding time, you are not doing enough of it. Get involved in managing and planning trail events. Try to get some training on trails design.

  8. #8
    Just roll it......
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    At the end of the day, the riders who show up to meetings/trail days/planning sessions make it happen. Period. End of Story. Showing up to one meeting or going to a couple of traildays a year really doesn't cut it, IMO. Also, as soon as you get frustrated/throw your hands up and say "phuck it", the xc guys just look at it as another wasted promise from the DH/FR community.

    We've got two clubs in my town and I'm affiliated with both. One has a long history of xc trail construction, but has really started to turn the corner and there is a healthy balance towards FR these days. The other is mostly DH oriented and really started because the other club didn't have the desire/motivation to look at this genre of riding. They are working on legitimizing an area that has unauthorized DH trails, but that is a long process with the state agency.

    The longtime club has turned to a more balanced approach because of a couple of dedicated individuals/trailbuilders that refused to just "go away". As such, they are now on the club's board and really help the group achieve balance when looking at the overall plan/goals for the club. This didn't happen overnight (more like several years) and they had to show the freeride community was up to the commitment by having traildays, stepping up the level of building and trail design AND being good partners with the land owners AND xc community. The reality is that most of the FR's in the area also ride XC, so it's not like we don't "get it".

    These days, we (FR trail crew) have 50+ show up to traildays on average and we're at all of the planning meetings. In the past couple of years, our crew have overhauled most of the FR trails on the mountain and this year, we built 2 brand new trails. This next year, we'll be building a couple of new trails (minimum) and overhauling more of the existing FR trails.

    Trail day examples just from this year:
    Atomic Dog 1
    Atomic Dog 2

    Unemployment Line
    More info. on the process here.

    One idea to help build your case. Create a survey using a web based software program like Surveymonkey that shows there is a need for these types of trails. I've got an example, I can shoot ya if you want to see what we did this summer....shoot me a PM with your email address. Granted, our survey's purpose wasn't to identify the need for FR trails (that is evident in my part of the world), but it could help state your case.

    Cheers,
    EB

    Some groms killing it on U Line and A Dog.
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  9. #9
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    I think it has been said here. All sorts of riders need to band together, you need to get together with other groups, and you need to work toward each others' interests. Our club has taken off via people with very different personal interests banding together.

    We've partnered with skiers, a snowmobile club, horse council, trail runners, politicians and business and now we're working out and making progress with very different things. Free riders are helping racers and vice a versa.

    The all takes a lot more time, cooperation nd work than many realize.

    Good luck.

  10. #10
    featherweight clydesdale
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected]
    Yes I have been a member of the local MTB club for several years and volunteer on 2 or 3 workdays a year to build trails.
    2-3 days a year is great, I wish everyone did that because we'd double our trailwork hours/effort.

    Your club leaders however are out there once a month or more. Whoever is coordinating your trailwork is likely doing something on a weekly basis, like planning for the next workday by discussing the project with the land manager. Show up more frequently, offer to lead or help out at a workday (bring the ice or sandwiches) and you may likely find yourself running things or on the board in a year or so.

    We turn over one or two board members every year. The candidate nominations often focus on those who are "active" in stuff like trail work.

  11. #11
    zrm
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    One thing to consider is you need sufficient numbers of people who are not only willing to show up, but show that there are enough people who want that type of riding experience to justify all the effort that goes into building and maintaining those types of trails.

    One of the reasons our land agencies give for doing most of their allocation of resource's towards "XC" type trails is that, face it, despite what you see in magazine ads, most people are still "xc" riders. They say it's difficult to justify taking on the intensive construction techniques and maintenance needs for shuttle/DH type trails when they would serve only a small percentage of mountain bikers, much less of the overall population of all users.

    All that said, maybe start small with a proposal for a small bike park type area with stunts and features. If that proves successful, move forward with expanding it and maybe look at some "alternate" lines on some of the XC trails.

  12. #12
    Thanks For all the tips and input and we will get together soon and figure out a plan of action. I will make an attempt to keep this thread updated as I have info and I know progress will be slow but it will be worth it in the end.

  13. #13
    Just roll it......
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected]
    Thanks For all the tips and input and we will get together soon and figure out a plan of action. I will make an attempt to keep this thread updated as I have info and I know progress will be slow but it will be worth it in the end.
    Hey dude....as ZRM stated, you've got to show there's actually a groundswell of people that A. have the desire to ride these types of trails and B. they'll actually show up to make it happen.

    Without either, you're going to have a hard time impressing either the local club or any land managers. Link to the survey we did recently. Create a survey monkey account, give that to as many riders in your area as possible and show there is a need with real data, not just conjecture.

    Cheers,
    EB

  14. #14
    Thanks for all the help on this and her is some positive news.

    AHH Flow trial time is near
    Things are really looking up lately. I have been working with the local MTB club and it look some tentative arrangements have been made about flow trail. So staying positive, asking lots of questions on MTBR and spending time with some of the trail stewards really seems to be paying off so stay tuned for any future updates as I will try to keeps the blog updated on any info that I can share. I'm really looking forward the doing the walk through on the spot in the next month or so. So stay tuned for more good news.

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