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  1. #1
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    Why is NEMBAFest at KT?

    I'm not sure if its been asked, so here I am asking the tough questions.

    Why is NEMBAFest at Kingdom Trails. A trail system which up until a few years ago was its own entity, and is now a part of Vermont Mountain Bike Association (VMBA). VT is not in the NEMBA realm. And KT I believe is still its own non-profit, just a chapter under VMBA.

    So why does NEMBA hold their annual big festival there? Why isn't NEMBA pushing for more KT like establishments throughout its area, the rest of New England?

    I understand the riding is the most famous in the region, and the venue is great for such a large event. But that doesn't answer the question. Why isn't NEMBA pushing for that within its own ranks? I believe there are places working towards that goal (CV for instance) so why isn't NEMBA putting resources towards them and then supporting them by holding that largest event there?

    I have my own theories. I'd like to hear the discussion. I'm both a NEMBA and VMBA member. Not here to attack anyone.

    But I sincerely want to hear the conversation. If there is anything that is bad for an organization its being stagnant.

    So do NEMBA members not want that kind of support? Do they not want that kind of high quality trail system in their backyard? Or does NEMBA not have the resources to give that support to their chapters?

    PS I posted here because I figure plenty of MA, CT, and RI (and others) riders will find this and chime in.
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  2. #2
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    It was held at Bear Brook SP for a few years, 2008 or 2009 thru 2011 I think. Moving to KT was exceptionally successful as it can handle the amount of people like no other, particularly the camping scene.

    KT got trail grant(s?) from NEMBA years ago and Tim Tierney & Philip Keyes had a great working relationship so I think it grew from there.

    Edited to add:
    Quote Originally Posted by iceboxsteve View Post
    ...So do NEMBA members not want that kind of support? Do they not want that kind of high quality trail system in their backyard? Or does NEMBA not have the resources to give that support to their chapters?...
    I think some areas already have that kind of high quality trail system but would prefer to stay somewhat under the radar and not blow up or become a destination.

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    Not sure how much Nemba really contributes to its chapters. Some tools, some cash for the occasional post ride picnic. I have been a member of 3 Nemba chapters, Central NH, Pemi Valley NH, and now Cape Cod. Did not see evidence of much money splashed around. And KT, well they have been a successful money making machine for some years now; and that had nothing to do with VMBA. Any support they get from VMBA will be a drop in the bucket. Another issue is the actual number of locations outside VT. that are capable of a serious trail system based in a town that has lodging, restaurants, pubs, etc. ( i.e. a tourist town/ski town). Yes CV comes to mind, they are building towards a KT experience; but I will bet that money, resources, volunteer base, etc. has little to do with Nemba. Also they are way up there with not much easy access. KT has an Interstate basically going by their door. The only area I see with a KT potential is the Mount Washington Valley/North Conway area of NH where the White Mountain chapter of Nemba is busy building, maintaining a serious network of trails. Plenty of resort infrastructure, National Forest, State Parks, Ski areas. Pretty accessible from I-93. Awesome scenery. Still comes down to how much real support can Nemba contribute. I like the VMBA model of having there Fest (Hopefully moving on from the MRV) at different areas; Ascutney (Stab) for 2 or 3 years, now Mad River Valley for a couple years, maybe Stowe area? Just some of my thoughts. Rob, did not see your post until I sent in this one, and I certainly understand flying under the radar for the MWV; of course you are already a destination area, maybe not quite for MTB, Yet
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  4. #4
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    I admit that the space is actually a very large constraint. So KT does have the room for the tents and such.

    My VMBA point was that KT wasn't a part of NEMBA.

    Radair, you hit the nail. I suspected that was a reason. Which is of course acceptable and fair. I do have my own secret stashes and enjoy solitude.

    I just ask because it seems slightly ironic. I think all groups and volunteers of those groups mentioned do great work. But I saw NEMBAFest announced for KT next year, I am curious why it hasn't moved.

    Is no one asking it to move?
    Does no one want it to move?

    Yes is a good answer. I'm just curious.

    As for NEMBA support, again I find it a bit ironic that a flagship event is held outside it's "territory". Why not show off the great systems you have a more direct hand in? And if a reason is none exist to the standards you seek (event space, trail experience, etc.) why not push for that?
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  5. #5
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    For me, Charlemont, MA comes to mind. Lots of trails and ample space for camping at Bershire East. Riding features both XC and lift-access DH. Beer store right there in town too. Easy access via Route 2.

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    Quote Originally Posted by connolm View Post
    For me, Charlemont, MA comes to mind. Lots of trails and ample space for camping at Bershire East. Riding features both XC and lift-access DH. Beer store right there in town too. Easy access via Route 2.

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    This is where it should be.

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    Did you guys go to NEMBAfest? Seems to me it is too big for Berkshire East. I can see why you'd ask some questions about it, but it seems to me like a case of if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DHbiker View Post
    This is where it should be.
    That would be great. BUT, the severe lack of family-friendly XC trails is a deal breaker. However, if NEMBA developed more of these types of trails at Berk East, it would be a fantastic venue for this type of festival.

    NEMBA - make this happen!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceboxsteve View Post
    I'm not sure if its been asked, so here I am asking the tough questions.

    Why is NEMBAFest at Kingdom Trails. A trail system which up until a few years ago was its own entity, and is now a part of Vermont Mountain Bike Association (VMBA). VT is not in the NEMBA realm. And KT I believe is still its own non-profit, just a chapter under VMBA.

    So why does NEMBA hold their annual big festival there? Why isn't NEMBA pushing for more KT like establishments throughout its area, the rest of New England?

    I understand the riding is the most famous in the region, and the venue is great for such a large event. But that doesn't answer the question. Why isn't NEMBA pushing for that within its own ranks? I believe there are places working towards that goal (CV for instance) so why isn't NEMBA putting resources towards them and then supporting them by holding that largest event there?

    I have my own theories. I'd like to hear the discussion. I'm both a NEMBA and VMBA member. Not here to attack anyone.

    But I sincerely want to hear the conversation. If there is anything that is bad for an organization its being stagnant.

    So do NEMBA members not want that kind of support? Do they not want that kind of high quality trail system in their backyard? Or does NEMBA not have the resources to give that support to their chapters?

    PS I posted here because I figure plenty of MA, CT, and RI (and others) riders will find this and chime in.
    OK, good question. Umm, great trails? What else is there. NS Nemba member here. KT has the lodging, the camping space and the facilities too. Plus the trails. Lots of great trails every where, but you need everything that goes with it. Stagnant? Seems bigger and better every year. CV ? Not quite sure your point in the last part of your post. Support? Lots of high quality trail systems, but on state land, not a group of private landowners with a full time trail care crew. Maybe some place near ME huts and trails? Not sure of the other pieces around there. I have been to the KT Nembafest every year. Seems fabo, why change?

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    Quote Originally Posted by pulsepro View Post
    That would be great. BUT, the severe lack of family-friendly XC trails is a deal breaker. However, if NEMBA developed more of these types of trails at Berk East, it would be a fantastic venue for this type of festival.

    NEMBA - make this happen!
    One of the reasons NEMBA and Berkshire East/ T-Mountain pushed to get public legitimization for the Dubuque/ Hawley trail system was to address this very issue. Hawley adds another 20 miles of more traditional, singletrack to the greater Charlemont portfolio. Though, it's hard to beat what KT sells in terms of universally accessible bike trails.

    I miss the original Pedrofest on Noppet Hill Rd...

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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperbMan View Post
    One of the reasons NEMBA and Berkshire East/ T-Mountain pushed to get public legitimization for the Dubuque/ Hawley trail system was to address this very issue. Hawley adds another 20 miles of more traditional, singletrack to the greater Charlemont portfolio. Though, it's hard to beat what KT sells in terms of universally accessible bike trails.

    I miss the original Pedrofest on Noppet Hill Rd...
    That first was actually in Randolph, Vermont in 1995

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by epic View Post
    Did you guys go to NEMBAfest? Seems to me it is too big for Berkshire East. I can see why you'd ask some questions about it, but it seems to me like a case of if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
    I went to NEMBAfest this year and I can't think of anywhere else in the area that could support such a large number of people. Certainly wouldn't work at BBSP anymore.

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    Pedros? Ahh, fond memories, 2 different locations in Lanesboro. That crazy gray mud, tequila hill, fabo trails on the back side of Jimney peak. Dirt Rag sponsoring my bourbon tastings. Waking up in my lawn chair at 3 am covered in dew, nice. Hitting 46 mph on my mt bike( paved rd) heading back down to the ski hill entrance.

  14. #14
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    Yes. I get it. The venue space is really really key. I've agreed to that.

    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    OK, good question. Umm, great trails? What else is there.
    Do you mean KT has great trails that is a large reason it is there? Below is a quote from just one person. KT appeals to families, that can't be denied. So why don't we have more of this?

    Quote Originally Posted by pulsepro View Post
    BUT, the severe lack of family-friendly XC trails is a deal breaker.

    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Support? Lots of high quality trail systems, but on state land, not a group of private landowners with a full time trail care crew. Maybe some place near ME huts and trails? Not sure of the other pieces around there. I have been to the KT Nembafest every year. Seems fabo, why change?
    I know the answer to my question. No one sees a reason for change, and thats fine. Its why I was never a part of my NEMBA chapters, no one wants to listen to the young guy. So I went somewhere people were excited about that energy, versus the status quo.

    You mention KT has a staff, compare that to NEMBA's 1.5 paid staff. So yes, support. How can NEMBA support chapters in building those types of places? I'm not saying copy KT, I just know there are a ton of models and options out there but they don't seem to be investigated.

    I've talked to others (in NEMBA) who feel unsupported in various ways. To me having your flagship event at a place you really don't have a huge part in creating is just a kick in the teeth to the people who want more.

    Your comment about state land is odd. I work across the country and have visited a wide array of trails, trail groups, etc. I have seen many ways people are doing it differently. Lots of great events and trail systems on public land, in fact most of this country's trails probably are.

    I would argue that there are not many high quality trail systems in New England. Yes there are great trails. Great trails by volunteers. But KT has the signage, the maps, the crew. And yes, all of that is possible at other places. I'm not dissing anyone's work, I'm saying KT is a step above. And we all know this.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceboxsteve View Post
    Yes. I get it. The venue space is really really key. I've agreed to that.



    Do you mean KT has great trails that is a large reason it is there? Below is a quote from just one person. KT appeals to families, that can't be denied. So why don't we have more of this?






    I know the answer to my question. No one sees a reason for change, and thats fine. Its why I was never a part of my NEMBA chapters, no one wants to listen to the young guy. So I went somewhere people were excited about that energy, versus the status quo.

    You mention KT has a staff, compare that to NEMBA's 1.5 paid staff. So yes, support. How can NEMBA support chapters in building those types of places? I'm not saying copy KT, I just know there are a ton of models and options out there but they don't seem to be investigated.

    I've talked to others (in NEMBA) who feel unsupported in various ways. To me having your flagship event at a place you really don't have a huge part in creating is just a kick in the teeth to the people who want more.

    Your comment about state land is odd. I work across the country and have visited a wide array of trails, trail groups, etc. I have seen many ways people are doing it differently. Lots of great events and trail systems on public land, in fact most of this country's trails probably are.

    I would argue that there are not many high quality trail systems in New England. Yes there are great trails. Great trails by volunteers. But KT has the signage, the maps, the crew. And yes, all of that is possible at other places. I'm not dissing anyone's work, I'm saying KT is a step above. And we all know this.
    We have great trail systems, but not huge ones all together in one place. The staff comment was about the full time trail care staff. Not quite get what you mean by support from the Nemba chapters? Like when we host the wicked ride @ HP? And 600 plus rider show up, lots of volunteers, not just from our chapter. Shops, vendors other food stuff too. Trail work? So many days and hours all over New England, ME is just booming with new chapters and fresh trails. Here in the crowded east( MA and other) we get to share our trails with lots of other users too. We can always use fresh ideas and a strong back at trail days, we however can not just build what ever we feel like. Constraints of wetlands, borders, cons/com, trail corridors and such. Ever try to get signage at a state park? KT for the most part private land, not public land. I would absolutely disagree with you about high quality trail systems, loads everywhere. Look at Bear Brook, Great Brook and Russell mill, Cape as trail of tears and much more. Charlemont and the whole Pioneer valley, ever done some real climbing there. So many places in CT, NH and ME too. Sort of at a loss at what you point is here? Because we didn't build the KT system we can't enjoy it for a festival site? The North shore of MA has riding everywhere. I have 15 miles at the end of my street. If you say the word flow, that will be a non starter. I guess you really have not pedaled that much in New England? Great riding on great trails are all over the place.

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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Constraints of wetlands, borders, cons/com, trail corridors and such. Ever try to get signage at a state park? KT for the most part private land, not public land. I would absolutely disagree with you about high quality trail systems, loads everywhere. Look at Bear Brook, Great Brook and Russell mill, Cape as trail of tears and much more.
    I understand your first statement, probably more than you realize. Yet the trails I've ridden lately in New England are not sustainable in my book, I was surprised LMs let them get put in.

    If its so hard to get signage at a MA SP why is NEMBA not pushing as hard as they can as to why that is important?

    I lived on Cape, still a member. Wouldn't put TOT in the realm I am thinking of. I think of trails from a different perspective. Bear Brook is awesome, I love it.

    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    I guess you really have not pedaled that much in New England? Great riding on great trails are all over the place.
    I have, actually. Like I said I am a current NEMBA member of two chapters.

    And I said we have great systems, all over, by volunteers. NEMBA does kill it with that.

    Have you ridden anywhere besides New England? I could find my way easier in Pisgah than I ever could at TOT, or some of your NS systems, or places in CT.

    I've attended the Trail School, I'm sure its the same as it was 5 years ago. A lot has changed with the ways trails are planned, designed, and built. But then again, from the systems I see in New England not much planning goes on.

    What we don't have, in my eye, is an organization that is doing much beyond what it did 10 years ago. Or 5. And others I've talked with agree. I think we have a lot of resources that are going unused. Personally, I know this was the case with me. I have skills but I was ignored.

    But then there are lots of folks like you, very content with where they and the trails are, which is fine, I've said this numerous times. But I do believe NEMBA could be doing more. More money to chase. More opportunities to push for whatever. One ED can't do much, and it falls to the chapters, who do amazing work.

    And the fact that the fest is at KT every year says to me, personally, that NEMBA isn't out there chasing the dream. And if that is what its members want than fine. But I know not every person feels that way.

    And I have successfully got signage in a SP. And NF. And NPS. And County. And City. And private. I can probably think of more LMs given time.

    The other thing is, maybe NEMBA is killing it in ways I don't know. Which means its a loss on their part not telling the story. Maybe that's the case, maybe I just don't have good info. In which case they should get that out there more.

    The only reason this discussion is happening here is because it can't happen within NEMBA, because as I've noted many a time, those in control are quite happy with status quo and literally ignore people like me. So here we are stuck on the interwebs arguing over something we all love, we're all on the same team.
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    Agree on Bear Brook, great trails. Not sustainable? Hmmm, where exactly? Not pedaled outside of new England. Trail designs and plans? Stuff like from the 2 IMBA books? Rolling grade dips and stacked loops? We often don't get to build from scratch, rather fix legacy trails, reroutes, and fix existing problems. Sure there are new trails all the time, but not whole networks we are able to design from the ground up. Pedaled Beverly Commons trails or Lock n load @ Harold Parker? Nemba as a whole? Lots of new chapters, lots of weekly rides, lots community outreach. You disagree? You seem passionate and concerned, great and thanks. More $$, more opportunities? Are you on the board? I think there are constraints with the 501( 3) c status. Its a volunteer organization. Not quite following the issues or problems you seem to have? Chasing what dream? Your dream? Or Nembas'? Dig dirt, ride, rest, repeat. More trails, improved trail systems, getting the younger folks out there( seen the HUGE #'s for the HS racing?)
    Hosting trail rides, having skills and beginner rides, rides at different parks. Seems to me Nemba is doing great things. Now land managers come to us for trail work, planning and ideas. Read the Nemba home page mission statement? And you got a whole trail signage network at a MA state park? PM me if you like or don't feel comfortable in open discussion. You keep saying more, better and different, but not exactly what that is? Care to elaborate?

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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Agree on Bear Brook, great trails. Not sustainable? Hmmm, where exactly?
    I rode through a ton of mud pits in Maine this past week. I've seen erosion in MA.

    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Not pedaled outside of new England.
    Are you saying you haven't? I implore you to. As with all things in life traveling helps break boundaries. I am beyond lucky enough to travel to different trail systems and communities and see what they do, just broadens the perspective on what is possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Trail designs and plans? Stuff like from the 2 IMBA books? Rolling grade dips and stacked loops?
    Those books are highly outdated. Stacked loops are one such example.


    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    We often don't get to build from scratch, rather fix legacy trails, reroutes, and fix existing problems. Sure there are new trails all the time, but not whole networks we are able to design from the ground up.
    Very true here in New England. Again I think there could be though, but the push isn't there. And volunteers only have so much capacity.

    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Nemba as a whole? Lots of new chapters, lots of weekly rides, lots community outreach. You disagree?
    No I agree. This is fantastic.

    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    You seem passionate and concerned, great and thanks. More $$, more opportunities? Are you on the board?
    People don't want to hear what I say, so no I don't think they would ever let me on the board. Isn't that clear here?

    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    And you got a whole trail signage network at a MA state park? PM me if you like or don't feel comfortable in open discussion. You keep saying more, better and different, but not exactly what that is? Care to elaborate?
    No, none of those signage references are in New England.

    I think NEMBA does great. My only point was it could do more/different/better.

    You asked what that means. Is NEMBA providing support for grants? RTP money? Is NEMBA pushing LMs to allow access or development? National Monument in ME currently under review, reading the publicly available comments there are some who bikepack and wish to expand that opportunity there. Has NEMBA issued a letter in support of KWW? Why isn't NEMBA pursuing a way to provide a roving paid trail crew? Or perhaps another staff person and distribute the advocacy by region (say north and south)? There are pros in VT, why are there no pros in the rest of New England? They built a market where a person can make his living off of trails, why isn't that happening in the rest of the region? Where are the advanced trail building schools, because I know guys are out on machines. Or are they experts already? I see Tom and VMBA pushing the governor and state of VT so much in the last election they commented on mountain biking! Has the governor of any other New England state spoke about what they will do for trails? Where are the partnerships with others? AMC? I know a few chapters work closely with the WMNF, is NEMBA involved or just the passionate local? Seems to me there could be more done with the NF. NPS which oversees Cape Cod National Seashore banned bikes, I think there was a letter sent. But why hasn't that changed? Trustees own large swaths of beach on Martha's Vineyard and don't allow bikes, it would be an epic beach ride! Why hasn't NEMBA published a book? Or whitepapers on planning/design/building? Why isn't NEMBA pushing the State of MA for your signage plan? CV and Thunder Mountain are two really cool projects in recent I can think of, but NEMBA hasn't seems to capitalize and expand and show those success stories. Going back to travel, why hasn't NEMBA approached clubs and chapters outside the northeast for a conference of sorts? I think a meeting of NE and SE folks could be super beneficial for both sides, to see what others do and learn from them. CT Forest and Parks are pretty no-no with bikes, hearkens back to bikes in the '80s/'90s when we had to prove we are valid, why are we still seen as that to this group (and maybe more)?
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    Well that is a whole lot of more/better/different. Great. I'm more of a show up for a trail work day, politics? Not so much. Do you do trail work for a living? Got an axe to grind? What are KWW and CV? NS does lots of work with Essex county greebelt, Andover trails, TToR, lots of town cons/coms and such. We worked on a bridge with the AMC, 3 different cons/coms and got a grant from REI. Rowley I think. You have a whole lot of thoughts and ideas, sure. But a lot of fronts for time and energy. It's a volunteer organization. It's hard enough just getting people to show up for trail days. The TToR is very bike friendly, but not at all the properties. You gong to fight that? How? Or work best on improving the areas we have to work with given our limited band width. Pedaled the front side of ward hill? Nice stuff. Traveled out side of New England? Sure but not to pedal. So much, so close that I have not pedaled yet. Good luck with your agendas.

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    This is exactly what I expected. And you wonder why I don't participate?

    You complain its a volunteer org yet you pay PK. My point is with more effort you could pay more people to do this stuff.

    One tries to bring ideas up and it ends up you're the big bad guy because you think differently.

    I have no axe to grind. Just a young guy who tried to bring up some different ideas and gets shit on by the old guys running the show.

    Studies show about 3% of the population mountain bikes, lets say 0.5%. New England minus VT is just under 14 million, lets use 14.

    14,000,000*0.005=70,000

    So those other 65,000 aren't seeing value in NEMBA either. And there are a couple of real people I've talked to who don't either. They are investigating ways to do what they want which would likely not include NEMBA. That is a shame if you ask me. But if you ask you, or the BOD, or PK the answer is "**** em, they don't like the way things are let em leave!"

    NEMBA, and folks like you running the show, like the ways things are. PK takes his check, middle aged white guys show up and rake in trails and call them cool, and then people go ride. This is all fine and good, Jesus I've said it a bunch if that's all you want then no one is faulting you.

    I just think there could be more. And others do too.

    But hey, what do I know right? That's what I get told repeatedly by people like you and the rest of the dudes who run the show.
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    Yikes, dial it back a notch. I don't run the show. I show up for trail days, make some chili in October. Seems like you do have an agenda and some issues to work out. Great to have ideas, how to implement them successfully is key. More? Best of luck, call or post here, have saw and Mcleod, will travel.

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    This is the issue with the internet. To me you previous post came off like a big **** you. Which I've got enough from others.

    So if it wasn't apologies. But I've been told to go home enough it seems normal by now.
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    Two things.

    1. Just want to second the notion that Charlemont would make a kick ass festival venue. We had a couple of good Kona MTB adventure series rides there a few years ago, but it didn't happen last year. Hopefully it comes back some time soon. Definitely need some more beginner-friendly flat trails there, though, to really make a NEMBAFEST-like event doable.

    2. I get what iceboxsteve is saying about the difference in quality between KT and most of the rest of NE. KT and a lot of the other VT "trail centers", for lack of a better term, are definitely a notch above places like HP, RM, etc. But that's the way it should be, for reasons above - money-making, full-time-staffed enterprise vs volunteer-driven, etc. Still, there's no denying KT is more "put together" and polished (and by that I don't mean buff, though it is). Don't get me wrong - I love me my RM to BSF loops and consider myself very lucky to live close enough to ride it multiple times per week, and even lend a hand on work days, but I have no illusions that the trails I ride and help build are "world class."

    iceboxsteve has a great point - maybe an organization like NEMBA could help promote more world class trail systems throughout NE (especially down south - CV is too far north for most of us to enjoy regularly). A travelling NEMBAfest venue would definitely be one way to get that rolling. There are probably other ways, too.

    Charlemont/Deerfield Trails is the closest thing I know of to that kind of system, outside VT. And credit where credit is due - NEMBA played a big part in making that trail system what it is, via Trail School, work days, advocacy, group rides, etc. On the other hand, so did open-minded private land holders - big thanks to Berkshire East and Warfield House (owned by the same people, I think), for all of the access they have given us riders. Unfortunately I just don't see that kind of access happening in more populated areas, like Eastern MA.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceboxsteve View Post
    This is exactly what I expected. And you wonder why I don't participate?

    You complain its a volunteer org yet you pay PK. My point is with more effort you could pay more people to do this stuff.

    One tries to bring ideas up and it ends up you're the big bad guy because you think differently.

    I have no axe to grind. Just a young guy who tried to bring up some different ideas and gets shit on by the old guys running the show.

    Studies show about 3% of the population mountain bikes, lets say 0.5%. New England minus VT is just under 14 million, lets use 14.

    14,000,000*0.005=70,000

    So those other 65,000 aren't seeing value in NEMBA either. And there are a couple of real people I've talked to who don't either. They are investigating ways to do what they want which would likely not include NEMBA. That is a shame if you ask me. But if you ask you, or the BOD, or PK the answer is "**** em, they don't like the way things are let em leave!"

    NEMBA, and folks like you running the show, like the ways things are. PK takes his check, middle aged white guys show up and rake in trails and call them cool, and then people go ride. This is all fine and good, Jesus I've said it a bunch if that's all you want then no one is faulting you.

    I just think there could be more. And others do too.

    But hey, what do I know right? That's what I get told repeatedly by people like you and the rest of the dudes who run the show.
    Not trying to be condescending, just trying to get a feel for where you are coming from. Complain and don't participate? Hmmm. Yes PK is the ED, he steers the boat, a big boat, BOD and chapter leaders guide that. Participate, contribute, volunteer, show up for a work day, that's how this org works. In just my view. Middle aged white dudes? Lots of women too, ride leaders, and I see them at trail days too. Women have lots of leadership and participation roles here too. Got the latest Singletracks mag? Look at all the chapter leadership roles within the 30( ?) chapters. We host kids rides and help with the HS racing team. With bike shop sponsors the HS racing teams are HUGE numbers. You keep saying more, how many volunteer hours a month are you expecting folks to do? You have an issue with the style and quality of trails? AMC ,the BCT, Essex county greenways, AVIS, Andover trails, TToR all do trail days, boardwalks and trail up keep in this area. (North Shore MA) Lots of times on their own, sometimes partnering up together. I do get your frustration. You seem to be passionate and full of energy and ideas. Really great. The MA government agencies tend to move not fast and with considered thought, plans and meetings. Lots of meetings. Read the BIKE mag article about the Ware river watershed. Start there. Sure lots more could be done. I think the path of least resistance and the most bang for your buck, sometimes gets the best results for the most riders. How much time and energy are you going to put in the the CC Nat. seashore? Lots of good riding all over the cape. I know some work was done there. Martha's Vineyard? How many Nemba members there? I know the white mt chapter has made great strides with the NF service, for trails and trail up keep. 6,000 members, not every idea can be followed through. That's what the chapters are for, local work in that area. And reach out to the local land managers as well. This is my view anyway. At trail heads there are usually discussions about various trails, routes, new stuff, stuff needs fixing, bad stuff etc. Boots on the ground votes. Show up for a trail day, lead a ride, make brownies for a chapter meeting. This is a participatory organization. And ride your bike. Repeat as needed, cheers.

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    Liam hit the nail on the head - it's almost impossible to beat the miles of super accessible trails at KT. Seriously, the "easy/family-friendly" trails in western Mass absolutely wont allow for training wheels and/or tag alongs. You see that sort of thing at KT and it's great. And frankly, it's a requirement if your selling a family-friendly MTB festival.

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    Its pretty hard to beat the user friendliness of KT, the scenery, and the quality beers available. That being said- I think Charlemont/ Thunder could very well become the next "in" place to ride in New England. Not only do they have great XC riding, but the DH area is VERY user friendly. With a bit more trail building ( XC and DH) it could easily become a KT like destination. The one thing Charlemont has that KT does not is OTHER family friendly activities for non bikers. Rafting, tubing, ropes courses etc. all within a 5 minute drive from the mountain. Give Charlemont 3-5 years and I think they will easily be able to compete with KT for Nemba fest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dangur View Post
    2. I get what iceboxsteve is saying about the difference in quality between KT and most of the rest of NE. KT and a lot of the other VT "trail centers", for lack of a better term, are definitely a notch above places like HP, RM, etc. But that's the way it should be, for reasons above - money-making, full-time-staffed enterprise vs volunteer-driven, etc. .
    Eh, KT and Millstone and just about every other trail system that belongs to VMBA that is not part of a ski resort in Vermont are non-profit organizations. They're not in it to make money. Pure community-run no-dig/no-ride, sweat and tears groups. So, take that into account in your above money-making equation.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Rockpharmer View Post
    Eh, KT and Millstone and just about every other trail system that belongs to VMBA that is not part of a ski resort in Vermont are non-profit organizations. They're not in it to make money. Pure community-run no-dig/no-ride, sweat and tears groups. So, take that into account in your above money-making equation.

    I am very familiar with how non profits work. Obviously, nobody's getting rich running an XC trail system. But just because an organization is a "non profit" doesn't mean they're not rolling in it. Many non-profits pour their "don't call it profit" right back into their facilities, which seems to be exactly what KT is doing. I don't know how much money KT actually takes in, but:

    1. Every pay-to-play organization has to make some kind of profit, if not necessarily in the legal sense. If they don't, they will go out of business very quickly. KT may be a non-profit, but they're operating in the green.

    2. There is obviously a huge difference between a trail organization that charges $15/day to ride and one that charges 0. And that's a good thing! It shows. KT is awesome, polished, high-quality, professional, etc. etc. My free local trails are good, but... you get what you pay for. Not complaining. Just a fact.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pulsepro View Post
    Liam hit the nail on the head - it's almost impossible to beat the miles of super accessible trails at KT. Seriously, the "easy/family-friendly" trails in western Mass absolutely wont allow for training wheels and/or tag alongs. You see that sort of thing at KT and it's great. And frankly, it's a requirement if your selling a family-friendly MTB festival.
    Quote Originally Posted by mdc View Post
    Its pretty hard to beat the user friendliness of KT, the scenery, and the quality beers available.
    I knew this was a large part of the equation, which is why I originally asked why that wasn't occurring in the rest of New England, in NEMBA's actual territory. I wanted to know if it was because people didn't want it, or they weren't being supported. But I was chewed out for suggesting NEMBA could do more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rockpharmer View Post
    They're not in it to make money. Pure community-run no-dig/no-ride, sweat and tears groups.
    Yes, this is true. But non-profits can make money. They have to. You just can't have shareholders and distribute that. But I agree, we are all in this to build better trails and better communities. There is nothing wrong with chasing dollars to make this happen. In fact it is sort of how the world works.

    NEMBA to me is really focused on letting their chapters do the work. Its great. You get these passionate folks who come together and do good work for community trail systems. As many noted, these aren't the super high quality systems we see at places like KT.

    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Not trying to be condescending, just trying to get a feel for where you are coming from. Complain and don't participate? Hmmm. Yes PK is the ED, he steers the boat, a big boat, BOD and chapter leaders guide that. Participate, contribute, volunteer, show up for a work day, that's how this org works.
    And it works great! But why can't it do more and different? What exactly in the ED's role? To me it seems he is a bit swamped dealing with stuff like stuffing envelops, balancing books, and editing Singletracks. Which is why one idea was why doesn't NEMBA bring someone else on? To tackle stuff like chasing grant money and providing support to chapters who want something besides the norm?

    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Middle aged white dudes? Lots of women too, ride leaders, and I see them at trail days too. Women have lots of leadership and participation roles here too.
    I'll admit I was a bit fired up and spoke rashly. But I doubt in the history of the BOD there have been many under 30 and many women and probably no minorities.

    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Got the latest Singletracks mag?
    I said I'm a member of two chapters, I get it. What do you want me to see? The spelling mistakes PK makes? The same mumbo jumbo about what chapters do? Its great. But its pretty similar all the time. I want to hear what NEMBA does! If they supported KT why didn't I hear? If PK is fighting hard for something write about it. I want to know what my ED does for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    The MA government agencies tend to move not fast and with considered thought, plans and meetings.
    I deal with this every single day. I get it. And yes New England states are horrendous, along with home rule so you get every town. But maybe NEMBA isn't doing it the best way? Is that so bad to ask? Maybe it could be different and then more would happen?

    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Read the BIKE mag article about the Ware river watershed. Start there.
    I know the issue. I read the article. I know one of the guys spearheading that. I hope PK is on the phone every week. It sounds hopeless because of the stupid politics. But this also makes my point, if the ED is wrapped up in this he can't focus on other stuff. And if he is putting out fires all the time he can't focus on chasing grants and making sure his chapters get the basic support they want.

    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    How much time and energy are you going to put in the the CC Nat. seashore?
    It was an example, if people wanted it it should be done. If not, forget it. And I am going to do done. You're not paying me. New Englanders have an aversion to spending money, "we can do it ourselves". So the whole idea of "why doesn't NEMBA have more staff to tackle issues like this or provide more support" just sounds dumb to people like you. Because "you show up and you get it done".

    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Show up for a trail day, lead a ride, make brownies for a chapter meeting. This is a participatory organization. And ride your bike. Repeat as needed, cheers.
    I hate the show up for a trail day mentality. As if there isn't so much ego already. Why would someone want to show up to an organization that ignores them? I am making points and some people agree with me. I'm asking questions. And boom I'm attacked because you feel like I'm attacking your precious NEMBA club. So imagine how PK and BOD members feel. So why would I go to a trail day just to be told I'm wrong, this is how we always do it so we keep doing it that way.

    And no one spoke to my point about the many many riders, likely more than are a part of NEMBA, in New England who aren't members. To me that is not a success story. I know at least 20 guys off hand who aren't members. Why isn't this changing? People say stuff like "we take care of the trails join us!" but these guys do trail work too. Just on their own. So obviously NEMBA needs to provide more or different value.
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  30. #30
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    It's good to remember that KTA was established over 20 years ago (my first visit was in "98 after a Dirtrag article). Other sites might grow into the organization that KTA has become, but it doesn't happen overnight.

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    It sounds like you had a bad experience, Steve. We would welcome you in our community. Keep in mind that each chapter is comprised of whoever shows up; we're not a homogeneous group despite the stereotype of old guys in lycra. I've heard complaints of not enough easy trails and not enough expert trails. We do try to accommodate everyone, but the bottom line is decisions get made by those in attendance. If someone doesn't show up because "we're" too cool/not cool enough then their opinion may not be considered.

    For the record, our new chapter president is a woman in her 20s.

    edit - regarding mountain bikers who are not members: you don't have to join the Surfrider Foundation to surf or join the AMC to go hiking. This is really no different, some people are cheap Yankees who don't feel the need to shell out money because they don't have to. We've all heard the "I would join if you built stuff I like to ride", which is BS. If you don't like what's being built, the only way that will change is to get involved.

    I had a rock climbing friend I was visiting in Colorado in the late 80s. He was actively replacing old 1/4" bolts on established routes with new 3/8" stainless bolts. Some of these climbs were way over his head and there was no way he would ever do them. I asked why he was putting so much effort into climbs he would probably never attempt. He said he saw people as two types, those who participate and those who contribute, and he did not want to be just a participant. Words to live by.

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    Steve, refuting your " old white guys" mantra. Look through the most recent singletracks mag and look at the positions for each chapter, most have women listed, including BOD positions and Pres. Just saying. We really try to be inclusive. For all. Not all mt bikers join Nemba, some just ride and that's it. And no, not all will see eye to eye with the direction, scope and values set forth. Would love to have your energy and drive somewhere within the organization. " Trail day mentality" ? That's me. Show up, vote with your boots and shovel. Not really a politics or lots of meeting kind of guy. You keep mentioning top notch ride areas? We have so many, just not huge ones like KT. You went to a trail day and told you were wrong? Hmmm. And yes, as mentioned, there are so many other orgs that do trail work, so many. That's great. One big happy family. Best of luck in your quest for " more and better" I think the advocacy, trail work, community outreach as well as trail work are great. I guess not all agree. So many womens' rides, beginner ride and " practice your technique" rides all over. Checked out the HS racing teams? Huge numbers, and they would be under 30. Have you ridden trails at Harold Parker, Willowdale, Russel Mill? Start there.

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    Interesting thread. I think the whole NEMBAfest thing has now grown to such a large level that very few sites could handle it, so I don't see it going away from KT. Since I basically live on the KT trails 33% of the time, we actually run the opposite direction during the "fest". Good for local businesses, which is a good thing. The trails can handle it.

    NEMBA, I have a love/not love relationship with NEMBA over the past 20 years or so, but that being said, I support them and any group doing advocacy and trail work of any kind. I am also an avid hunter and I see how a group largely aligned in the grand scheme can do more together than finding reasons to divide into smaller factions with no clout. As I have grown older and my career has "taken off" to the point where I find myself working 60hrs per week routinely, my ability to join trails days during daylight hours are nonexistent at this time.......therefore I have no problem paying the day/annual fees at certain areas for full time crews. Each model has its pros and cons.....
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    ^^^^ Some good insight, thanks. We have so many " members" we never see in our chapter. Some just join, others are corporate, many are not trail work type folks. Thats great, something for everyone. Not everyone's schedules allows for 1/2 days on weekends and rides all the time. I get the kids/ work/travel crazy stuff. Really. And all contributions are welcome. Be it time , $$ or other. Some will just lead rides, others are more meeting and behind the scenes. More will do some trail work as needed during the week, usually with some kind of input as to what and where. All contributions are appreciated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    ^^^^ Some good insight, thanks. We have so many " members" we never see in our chapter. Some just join, others are corporate, many are not trail work type folks. Thats great, something for everyone. Not everyone's schedules allows for 1/2 days on weekends and rides all the time. I get the kids/ work/travel crazy stuff. Really. And all contributions are welcome. Be it time , $$ or other. Some will just lead rides, others are more meeting and behind the scenes. More will do some trail work as needed during the week, usually with some kind of input as to what and where. All contributions are appreciated.
    Absolutely. I think there are many folks who join to support NEMBA, VMBA, etc. but barely have time to ride let alone volunteer often. That being said, if we try everyone can find a single day to do something.

    I think where we start to get the "free ride" vs. OWGIL (Old White Guys in Lycra) there is an opportunity to think through projects for both. While there may not be a DH/Free Ride project or trail build in someone's local chapter and maybe the OWGIL outnumber the younger dudes and gals 3:1 in local chapters, perhaps when you add up all the young dudes that want a certain trail type in MA/NH there is enough support for a project elsewhere in the region......so while it may not be in someone's particular home chapter, it is within driving distance to help build and ride regularly......and just maybe those OWGIL will come and help as well. Before you know it the Bros and OWGILs are drinking beers together post ride......holy shit wouldn't that be something :-)
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    I'm back at it and swamped with work so I haven't had time to keep up on this. I didn't want this to turn into anything but a civil discussion. And yes, I sort of feel like a civil discussion wasn't possible within NEMBA, so its here.

    I value NEMBA, mentioned numerous times I am a member of two clubs and I barely spend time in New England. I think the work the clubs do is amazing, for community style trails.

    My whole point was, as many have mentioned, that there are other way to do this stuff besides trail days. And I think NEMBA could do more on that end. Part of this discussion arose from discussions with other folks who feel under served, and can't voice that because no one listens.

    So I wanted to bring it here. The whole idea of NEMBAfest at KT to me struck to the core, NEMBA hosts is flagship event at a venue it doesn't oversee or have much to do with. So its why I brought it up.

    Thank you to all for the positive words and open minds. I could reply to the recent comments but I'm drinking a beer enjoying the late evening sun. Get out and ride folks, remember we are all on the same team even if we criticize and have different views.
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  37. #37
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    KTA having NEMBA make use of the network for an event is similar to a sanctioning body running a race weekend, no? While the event goes on, there's just gotta be potential landowners in NE who may be interested in developing something similar and so goes the NEMBA investment of time and resources.

    Bottom line is there is not another riding scene in New England with the capability of KTA and Burke Mtn. A Bar is Born.
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    Quote Originally Posted by radair View Post
    ...he saw people as two types, those who participate and those who contribute, and he did not want to be just a participant. Words to live by.
    qft.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rockpharmer View Post
    Eh, KT and Millstone and just about every other trail system that belongs to VMBA that is not part of a ski resort in Vermont are non-profit organizations. They're not in it to make money. Pure community-run no-dig/no-ride, sweat and tears groups. So, take that into account in your above money-making equation.


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    They all sell themselves as money making organizations. That has been the leverage for access to public and private lands for MTB in Vt for as long as there has been a State-wide organized MTB club (15 years)....not to drift off-topic.

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    this was a great question one that I have wondered about. Based on the responses I can now see why they hold the event where they do.

    As for the NEMBA, VMBA deal remember that both are just organizations trying to bring people together for a common goal. Individuals are still the ones building trail. Some belong to their local clubs and some do their thing on their Own. Either way without these individuals we would not have trails to ride on. Donating money is great and in some cases helps buys tools and materials to build/repair trail. But the money does not help unless the individuals who build are out there doing their thing. It would be great for NEMBA and VMBA to give more recognition to those who do the dirty work. Might help get more out helping to build and maintain
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    I'd love to make some personal replies to the latest posts. But honestly I can see this conversation mostly dissolved into internet bickering and mostly with one person. It is a shame but it's also MTBR and doesn't represent the whole crowd. Oh well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceboxsteve View Post
    I'm back at it and swamped with work so I haven't had time to keep up on this. I didn't want this to turn into anything but a civil discussion. And yes, I sort of feel like a civil discussion wasn't possible within NEMBA, so its here.

    I value NEMBA, mentioned numerous times I am a member of two clubs and I barely spend time in New England. I think the work the clubs do is amazing, for community style trails.

    My whole point was, as many have mentioned, that there are other way to do this stuff besides trail days. And I think NEMBA could do more on that end. Part of this discussion arose from discussions with other folks who feel under served, and can't voice that because no one listens.

    So I wanted to bring it here. The whole idea of NEMBAfest at KT to me struck to the core, NEMBA hosts is flagship event at a venue it doesn't oversee or have much to do with. So its why I brought it up.

    Thank you to all for the positive words and open minds. I could reply to the recent comments but I'm drinking a beer enjoying the late evening sun. Get out and ride folks, remember we are all on the same team even if we criticize and have different views.
    Why @ KT? Best trails around. And all the support of lodging and places to eat and such. Is Nemba perfect? No, Could any org be better? Sure. Big ship, works well for most. YRMV. Bickering? No. Just different opinions, that's OK too. Not hearing your voice? Hmmm. Many ways to do that. Complaining here is probably not the way to achieve your goals. Your continued theme is more. More what? How much time do you have in a week or month to do this? The chapter presidents and BOD? The only way to steer the ship in a different direction is to participate. "Community style trails" are what? Ride, rest, repeat. Dig dirt, rest, repeat. Many hands make light work, enjoy the ride.

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    Honestly I think the biggest think NEMBA could do more of is marketing and showing all the cool stuff its clubs do. I don't see why someone like you could hate on that. And maybe it would answer a lot of my questions and concerns.

    That either requires PK do more (not sure what he fills his time with currently, another good piece to tell the masses), someone step up and volunteer (we all know how that goes), or NEMBA pays someone, probably part time, to do such things (oh gosh pay someone! no way we can do that better for free!).
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    Marketing to who? I'm very familiar with PR spin, all good. It's all in the singletracks? Yes? Any PK questions can be directed to him, lots of meetings I'm sure. We have a great relationship with so many land managers, so much trail work being done. Think this conversation has run it's course. See you at the wicked ride @ HP, last Sunday in October? I'll be the one sling chili for 600 of my closest friends. Think we had 628 registered riders last year. Nice.

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    Indeed it has. I just complain and you keep saying the same things.

    Oh and I have trouble reading Singletracks with the spelling mistakes he makes. Probably from all those hard meetings and ignoring emails that aren't in line with the rest of his buddies and their little club.
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  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceboxsteve View Post
    Honestly I think the biggest think NEMBA could do more of is marketing and showing all the cool stuff its clubs do...
    Steve, could you expand on this? Is the purpose of marketing to get more members, get more riders on trails or what? One of the chief complaints on this forum about VMBA is marketing without commensurate contributions to trail maintenance. It's a concern I have as well. Our parking lots at most of the trailheads are small and in my land manager role we have received complaints. I don't see a marketing effort to become a destination network as being in the best interests of the local taxpayers. What is in it for the local club - attract more people so we can do more trail work?

    We did a survey monkey thing about a year and a half ago to try to figure out what we could do better. Maps and signage were high on the list and we are gradually improving those. The other was more progressive trails and we responded with a presentation for a new DH trail near Red Tail. That was approved and is now under construction (by young volunteers with loads of experience). We also proposed/got approved and built some table tops and big berms on lower Red Tail last fall. One response I read was spot on, IMO. The gentleman thought we should expand and improve our trail networks for the benefit of the community and its visitors, but not to promote the region as a biking destination. It's pretty hard to stay under the radar in this age of internet self-promotion and spray but I hope our new administration gives this careful consideration.

    I'm genuinely interested in your ideas but don't follow your criticism of PK. Did you guys have an incident or did he not respond to some suggestions you had?

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    Quote Originally Posted by radair View Post
    I'm genuinely interested in your ideas but don't follow your criticism of PK. Did you guys have an incident or did he not respond to some suggestions you had?
    Thanks, he has ignored me a few times over the years and I've never been able to have a conversation with him. Thanks for being civil, I felt like I was just arguing and that is not at all what I want to do. And I have a temper, my GF can attest, so lashing out on the internet is childish and takes away from any points I had. Apologies, need to watch my tongue better.

    As for marketing, probably the wrong word. Story-telling may be better. I don't mean I want NEMBA to market trails as a destination. Unless of course a club, LMs, etc. want that.

    I totally agree with community driven trails. What I meant is more of what you just told me. I had no idea that was going on! And what you told me speaks to some of the progressive stuff I was talking about earlier.

    My point was if this info came across more easily maybe I wouldn't criticize, maybe I simply don't know what is going on. And if I don't I bet a lot of others don't.

    And I'm sorry Singletracks is bit outdated, I do love it on the shitter but I'm rarely home to get mail. I follow a handful of NEMBA clubs on FB but I can't follow them all. If NEMBA did an email blast or more on their FB about the cool stuff (like you mentioned) that the clubs are doing I would know more and probably ask less questions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by radair View Post
    I don't see a marketing effort to become a destination network as being in the best interests of the local taxpayers. What is in it for the local club - attract more people so we can do more trail work?
    I really don't want to dive into this one. But I will bite and hope it doesn't blow up. Its a separate thread by all means. I don't think outdoor rec, especially trails, should be marketed as a heads in beds sort of economic driver. I think if you look at places like Duluth, MN, they are hoping trails attract that young entrepreneur, telecommuter, or business whose employees seek those opportunities, thus more tax dollars (which considering trails got them there would see some of the benefit).

    THAT IS JUST ONE WAY TO LOOK AT TRAILS AS ECONOMIC ENGINE.

    Caps because I don't want to be pigeon-holed.

    The larger issue is that trails, IN MY OPINION, need to be valued more as infrastructure. And much like people in VT who argue tourists spend $100+ bucks just to ride a lift for a day of skiing, I think that marketed trails like that need to have a direct cost associated.

    I BY NO MEANS HAVE THE WHOLE ANSWER.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iceboxsteve View Post
    I really don't want to dive into this one. But I will bite and hope it doesn't blow up. Its a separate thread by all means. I don't think outdoor rec, especially trails, should be marketed as a heads in beds sort of economic driver. I think if you look at places like Duluth, MN, they are hoping trails attract that young entrepreneur, telecommuter, or business whose employees seek those opportunities, thus more tax dollars (which considering trails got them there would see some of the benefit).

    THAT IS JUST ONE WAY TO LOOK AT TRAILS AS ECONOMIC ENGINE.

    Caps because I don't want to be pigeon-holed.

    The larger issue is that trails, IN MY OPINION, need to be valued more as infrastructure. And much like people in VT who argue tourists spend $100+ bucks just to ride a lift for a day of skiing, I think that marketed trails like that need to have a direct cost associated.

    I BY NO MEANS HAVE THE WHOLE ANSWER.

    Lots of caps for emphasis.
    Interesting. " Direct cost" like charge to ride on the trails? Most MA DCR parks charge to park. They belong to the public, and we already pay taxes for all that stuff. Conservation areas and land manager orgs like TToR are owned by them or the town. Realize that mt biking is usually just a small part of the user base for these areas. And back to singletracks. Outdated? Hmmm. You can read FB but not a printed magazine? Every single chapter has updates on trail work, upcoming trail days, rides schedules and events planned. One just has to open the mag and read it, there are even pics too. All the information, updates and news gets delivered to you door every other month. One needs to get the mail and read it however. YRMV.

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    Why must you keep arguing dude?

    Yes its outdated. Did you not read that I am never home to get mail? And I don't want to follow 30 NEMBA chapters on FB. I'm saying it would be easier in other formats. And it would be nicer, to me, if the pictures popped and stuff. Singletracks sits next to Dirtrag and Bike Mag on my shitter and it just looks so highschool. I'm not asking for a Bike Mag-esque publication, but dude come on?

    I mean they are black and white photos. Nothing that pops. Jesus its 2017. I'd tell you to look at what other orgs do around the country but all you care about is the north shore, god forbid someone travels and brings back ideas from other places.

    And I told you its not a complete answer, the response was to radair's comment about VT folks complaining about VMBA marketing trails and then clubs having to do more work. If you're going to market trails like that then yes a direct cost should somehow be figured out. No where in that quote do I mention MA DCR.

    If you look at GA SP they charge a separate fee to MTB ($5 MTB pass on top of $5 parking fee), but guess what? That fee is funneled into MTB trails. MTB only. Hikers don't pay, they don't play on those trails. Horses don't pay, they don't play on those trails.

    Its one small example. I'm not here preaching like I know the best way, only saying "hey look at me I've been other places and they do it differently and maybe lets talk about their ideas".
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    OK, so you have some ideas from other areas. Great. How would it work in New England ? VT has it's own thing. Mt bike only trails? Just buy a whole mountain like Highland? I get the big picture. Large trail system, destination, eco tourism, money maker, outdoor recreation draw. Seems to be outside the breadth and width of Nemba though. Look at Thunder mt though. Lots of land, lots of it privately owned, with great public land/trails nearby. There is your fit. One also has to look at whatever community this system is in. Wanted? Lots of traffic? Headaches? I think so many riders really enjoy all the trails in the area we have. And not crowded everywhere. Lots of woods to enjoy. I think your ideas are good, not everyone wants that or needs that " destination" riding thing. You're going to pitch this to state government/ land mangers? I'm thinking their plate is already full and won't be interested. The draw would be for an area that doesn't have the tourism, tax base, or bigger population centers already.

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    You're comparing a free local newsletter to major for-profit publications?
    I think there are a lot of parallels to this in your comparizon of KT to typical NEMBA volunteer-built and maintained trail systems. It seems you would like to see it change from a grass-roots local-centric sort of thing to a much more highly-polished and slickly cooporate operation. Meh.

    I for one don't want NEMBA wasting time or money concentrating on making better shitter-fodder or trying to market mountain biking. Help build and advocate for local trails, throw me some pizza when I show up to help out. Have a big party once a year at the best venue around to host it. Done and done.

    Methinks you're overthinking things.

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    iceboxsteve needs a snickers, stat

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    Quote Originally Posted by 127.0.0.1 View Post
    iceboxsteve needs a snickers, stat
    Or a beer. But probably one of those west coast IPAs. Those hazy fruity New England ones aren't progressive enough for me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceboxsteve View Post
    So I wanted to bring it here. The whole idea of NEMBAfest at KT to me struck to the core, NEMBA hosts is flagship event at a venue it doesn't oversee or have much to do with. So its why I brought it up.
    I think this is a valid point, and I for one had no idea that NEMBA did not include Vermont until I read this thread. I always figured Vermont was part of New England.. go figure. That being said... do I care that much? Not really. I'm not a huge NembaFest fan these days anyway. I prefer my trails uncrowded.

    I get what you're saying Steve. You have some ideas and don't feel like you're being heard. That is probably frustrating, but that's life, man. You strike me as a young guy with a lot of energy. As you get older, you may learn that just because you have good ideas doesn't mean other people will care to listen.

    Your status in the organization often means more than the quality of your ideas. In short, it's unlikely that anybody is going to listen to you until you become a longstanding, well-respected member of the group. It will take a long time. Bitching on the internet is probably counter-productive to developing that status.

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    I think Steve has some valid points but KT is a great venue to promote the sport and it accommodates everyone. NEMBA is experiencing what many orgs experience when leadership becomes stale and gets in a rut doing the same things they did 10 or 20 years ago. I don't mind Singletracks but printing a periodical today is kind of a waste of funds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    You're comparing a free local newsletter to major for-profit publications?
    I think there are a lot of parallels to this in your comparizon of KT to typical NEMBA volunteer-built and maintained trail systems. It seems you would like to see it change from a grass-roots local-centric sort of thing to a much more highly-polished and slickly cooporate operation. Meh.

    I for one don't want NEMBA wasting time or money concentrating on making better shitter-fodder or trying to market mountain biking. Help build and advocate for local trails, throw me some pizza when I show up to help out. Have a big party once a year at the best venue around to host it. Done and done.

    Methinks you're overthinking things.

    Marketing works, as it turns out. What has never materialized here in Vt has been the heightened level of engagement that the "Salesmen" who shoved VT mtb off the cliff and into the mix of state-marketed outdoor tourist attractions so confidently predicted would follow.

    To date VMBA has only made very easy trail from scratch, OR turned old trail in need of rehab into an easy version of it's previous self. Every area that became public since VMBA has degraded by any metric you choose to examine. Trails are wider, eroded, require incredible amounts of $ to build or maintain. User numbers exploded as we beg the state for $ with a 120 million dollar shortfall in our budget because the type of user marketed activities like DH skiing and now MTB attract are users, not participants.

    Protect your primitive and scenic trails from the hoards. Keep things organic, local, protected and rider driven. Community, not commodity!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinshield View Post
    I think Steve has some valid points but KT is a great venue to promote the sport and it accommodates everyone. NEMBA is experiencing what many orgs experience when leadership becomes stale and gets in a rut doing the same things they did 10 or 20 years ago. I don't mind Singletracks but printing a periodical today is kind of a waste of funds.
    I think this is pretty close to my reaction to all this. I think the OP's point of about sort of modernizing the PR aspect of NEMBA isn't a bad suggestion at all. It would probably save money to ditch the hard copy Singletracks and adopt a more social media focused approach of You Tube channel and 10-15min vids posted and shared on member and chapter FB pages etc. Show us in vivid color the good work being done.....give a PK president's update here and there.....you can say a lot in 12-15mins on video vs. writing in a black and white mag.

    Show trail cam footage of a new trail.....highlight the builders.....highlight the volunteers....

    Do a FB live broadcast from the year end event etc.

    Heck you can communicate with you member base as frequently as you would like vs. tied into X issues per year and possibly some blast emails.....I'm not a young guy (42) but even i can see that a B&W Mag and Emails lists are very 1998.....

    That all being said, I respect the work NEMBA does on the grassroots local riding scene, keeping local after work type trail destinations maintained and open for all. Their gig isn't developing a KT, WATA, bike park destination type place it is in all the "filler" trail systems that are close to home and have 8-10miles of ridable trails to satiate our post work appetites........at least that is my take on it.

    But WTF do I know......
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinshield View Post
    I think Steve has some valid points but KT is a great venue to promote the sport and it accommodates everyone. NEMBA is experiencing what many orgs experience when leadership becomes stale and gets in a rut doing the same things they did 10 or 20 years ago. I don't mind Singletracks but printing a periodical today is kind of a waste of funds.
    Do you not read any magazines or the newspaper? There is more to life than a 4" screen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by River19 View Post
    I think this is pretty close to my reaction to all this. I think the OP's point of about sort of modernizing the PR aspect of NEMBA isn't a bad suggestion at all. It would probably save money to ditch the hard copy Singletracks and adopt a more social media focused approach of You Tube channel and 10-15min vids posted and shared on member and chapter FB pages etc. Show us in vivid color the good work being done.....give a PK president's update here and there.....you can say a lot in 12-15mins on video vs. writing in a black and white mag.

    Show trail cam footage of a new trail.....highlight the builders.....highlight the volunteers....

    Do a FB live broadcast from the year end event etc.

    Heck you can communicate with you member base as frequently as you would like vs. tied into X issues per year and possibly some blast emails.....I'm not a young guy (42) but even i can see that a B&W Mag and Emails lists are very 1998.....

    That all being said, I respect the work NEMBA does on the grassroots local riding scene, keeping local after work type trail destinations maintained and open for all. Their gig isn't developing a KT, WATA, bike park destination type place it is in all the "filler" trail systems that are close to home and have 8-10miles of ridable trails to satiate our post work appetites........at least that is my take on it.

    But WTF do I know......
    Trail cam? For what? I get that singletracks is somewhat plain. You just need to read it. Usually written by someone in the chapter. All the information is right there. Chapter org, rides, trail work, schedules, upcoming events etc. So you are going to film, edit, post all that? You are going to go to trail days and events and compile the footage? Great. Seems to take the focus, time and energy of what is important. IMHO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Trail cam? For what? I get that singletracks is somewhat plain. You just need to read it. Usually written by someone in the chapter. All the information is right there. Chapter org, rides, trail work, schedules, upcoming events etc. So you are going to film, edit, post all that? You are going to go to trail days and events and compile the footage? Great. Seems to take the focus, time and energy of what is important. IMHO.
    Seriously? Perhaps the OP was more right than wrong with how "new " ideas are treated as this is exhibit A.

    Call me crazy, but I think this internet thing might take off eventually and perhaps a population of folks are better reached by other more effective forms of media than black and white periodicals.

    Especially one that is a potentially cheaper route to go (ie. video updates and PR vs. written, formatted and printed)....

    There is also the potentially ability to powerfully and vividly market the club and cause to the deeper industry pockets for funding right at your finger tips by sending them footage and the latest video "newsletter" etc. vs. mailing them a copy of Singletracks.


    Compiling solid video updates take very little time and energy. It would be a great supplement to the 1995 B&W periodical. It is also a great way to show off trail work being done, been done etc. And yes when a new trail is built or old trail fixed, updated etc. trail footage is awesome to see and people find it very engaging. Heck perhaps it will make a few more people want to get involved......but if that isn't what you are going for with NEMBA then enjoy the dark ages and keep up the great work....
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    Quote Originally Posted by River19 View Post
    Seriously? Perhaps the OP was more right than wrong with how "new " ideas are treated as this is exhibit A.

    Call me crazy, but I think this internet thing might take off eventually and perhaps a population of folks are better reached by other more effective forms of media than black and white periodicals.

    Especially one that is a potentially cheaper route to go (ie. video updates and PR vs. written, formatted and printed)....

    There is also the potentially ability to powerfully and vividly market the club and cause to the deeper industry pockets for funding right at your finger tips by sending them footage and the latest video "newsletter" etc. vs. mailing them a copy of Singletracks.


    Compiling solid video updates take very little time and energy. It would be a great supplement to the 1995 B&W periodical. It is also a great way to show off trail work being done, been done etc. And yes when a new trail is built or old trail fixed, updated etc. trail footage is awesome to see and people find it very engaging. Heck perhaps it will make a few more people want to get involved......but if that isn't what you are going for with NEMBA then enjoy the dark ages and keep up the great work....
    OK, point taken. Just me and you with our own opinions, not Nemba mgmt. It's bandwidth, plus time and energy. So you are volunteering for this video stuff? Great. Bring it up at the next BOD meeting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kpdemello View Post
    ....Your status in the organization often means more than the quality of your ideas. In short, it's unlikely that anybody is going to listen to you until you become a longstanding, well-respected member of the group. It will take a long time...
    Sorry, I don't agree with this at all. Last year a 29 year old guy contacted me who I hadn't seen since a Whistler trip I "chaperoned" when he was 17. He explained he had tons of machine building experience and did a lot of the building at Thunder Mountain. I had him on the excavator the same day. Our chapter welcomes anyone with open arms who has the will to help out. New ideas are great and the willingness to follow through on them even better.

    Quote Originally Posted by River19 View Post
    ....Call me crazy, but I think this internet thing might take off eventually and perhaps a population of folks are better reached by other more effective forms of media than black and white periodicals...
    Ummm... NEMBA | New England Mountain Bike Association

    The mothership spent a boatload of money on modernizing the web site a few years ago. There should be something for everybody.

  64. #64
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    if you ditch Singletracks, how am I gonna poop anymore ?

    seriously now, there ain't any magic fairies packing my turds into balloons
    and flying them to heaven. I need my Singletracks

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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    OK, point taken. Just me and you with our own opinions, not Nemba mgmt. It's bandwidth, plus time and energy. So you are volunteering for this video stuff? Great. Bring it up at the next BOD meeting.
    Oh I have brought the video and social media PR thing up over the years.

    My days of offering ideas to NEMBA leadership and offering to volunteer time are also over for many reasons but not the least is the lack of response and deaf ears suggestions have fallen on over the years.

    We spend the bulk of our free time in the NEK at our home so an area not covered by NEMBA, but I still support them with a membership etc.

    I think everyone can live with differences of opinions......it's all good.
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    Quote Originally Posted by radair View Post
    Sorry, I don't agree with this at all. Last year a 29 year old guy contacted me who I hadn't seen since a Whistler trip I "chaperoned" when he was 17. He explained he had tons of machine building experience and did a lot of the building at Thunder Mountain. I had him on the excavator the same day. Our chapter welcomes anyone with open arms who has the will to help out. New ideas are great and the willingness to follow through on them even better.


    Ummm... NEMBA | New England Mountain Bike Association

    The mothership spent a boatload of money on modernizing the web site a few years ago. There should be something for everybody.
    Oh the web presence is absolutely better than it was, no doubt. There are other opportunities like I mentioned that could be beneficial, but hey if no one else agrees, I'm not losing sleep over it, I'll just watch other MTB group's content, no big deal.

    And it seems people have had very different experiences over the years with volunteering with NEMBA.....understandable with a chapter based organization.

    You guys seem to have all the ideas and answers......good luck with them.
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    I see NE and I read it as, "North East" that's just me though. I most defiantly won't lose any sleep over it


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    Quote Originally Posted by River19 View Post
    Oh the web presence is absolutely better than it was, no doubt. There are other opportunities like I mentioned that could be beneficial, but hey if no one else agrees, I'm not losing sleep over it, I'll just watch other MTB group's content, no big deal.

    And it seems people have had very different experiences over the years with volunteering with NEMBA.....understandable with a chapter based organization.

    You guys seem to have all the ideas and answers......good luck with them.
    I get the different perspective and experiences. Just my opinions here anyway. Watch content? I'll be watching where my front wheel goes. Enjoy the ride. How do you steer a ship with thousands of riders? Slowly with small course corrections. Not every voice gets heard. Otherwise the boat just goes in circles. IMHO. Same thing with any large org. I hear a similar refrain of newer, flashier with pretty pictures. Hmmm. We welcome fresh ideas and an extra hand on trail days. How do you get those ideas across? Go to a chapter meeting, discuss and present. Show up for a ride and trail days. Boots on the ground vote. Nemba is a grass roots volunteer organization. Dig dirt, ride, repeat. That's my take anyway.

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    I also don't see any reason for NEMBA to get into the video business. For what?
    Again - build trails, help support creating local access on a grassroots level, organize trail work days, supply tools and pizza. I want NEMBAs time and money spent on TRAILS, not entertaining Youtubers. They're typically not the same people as those that are going to show up and work anyway.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveVt View Post
    Protect your primitive and scenic trails from the hoards. Keep things organic, local, protected and rider driven. Community, not commodity!
    100% man.
    We had some local businesses wanting to push our trails to the public in order to draw people. All I saw was someone else wanting to make money off our hard work and in turn create more and more work for us while degrading the experience of local riders. We refused to get involved and thankfully the idea died on the fine. That's why I have 20 miles of super-skinny goodness out my door and am on a first name basis with someone in any group I've ever crossed paths with out there. No maps, no Strava segments, you have to ride with someone who knows the trails or you'll never find the majority of it without putting in a helluva lot of exploration time. Just like the olden days but much better quality.
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  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    I get the different perspective and experiences. Just my opinions here anyway. Watch content? I'll be watching where my front wheel goes. Enjoy the ride. How do you steer a ship with thousands of riders? Slowly with small course corrections. Not every voice gets heard. Otherwise the boat just goes in circles. IMHO. Same thing with any large org. I hear a similar refrain of newer, flashier with pretty pictures. Hmmm. We welcome fresh ideas and an extra hand on trail days. How do you get those ideas across? Go to a chapter meeting, discuss and present. Show up for a ride and trail days. Boots on the ground vote. Nemba is a grass roots volunteer organization. Dig dirt, ride, repeat. That's my take anyway.
    On your above post I believe "we are in heated agreement" as my old VP used to say.....

    Volunteer and chapter based orgs are tough to change or guide etc. I get that, especially when a fraction of the membership are actually active contributors of time and dialog. 100% understand.

    My earlier posts are more about validating that other ideas and perspectives are also valid vs. an indictment of NEMBA as a whole. As I said way earlier in this thread, any group that advocates on any level for MTB is fine by me. My personal experience over the past 15 years or so with NEMBA (I think it has been that long) was closer to the OPs than yours and possibly radair's. Again, chapters and leadership all have different vibes. Kinda like one bad fraternity chapter shouldn't color a whole national org etc.

    As for content etc.I threw 2 quick examples of roughly what I was alluding to earlier.....granted these just scratch the surface but they are both similar orgs to NEMBA in scope and mission.....

    I put them there just so you know I'm not 100% talking our of my ass on this stuff and really do have positive intent vs. just throwing shade at NEMBA......

    As for Singletracks.....I don't ahve a dog in this fight, keep the shitter reading material for all I care, supplement it with well produced but cheap video content to augment the mission and market to the folks who prefer that form of medium....


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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    I also don't see any reason for NEMBA to get into the video business. For what?
    Again - build trails, help support creating local access on a grassroots level, organize trail work days, supply tools and pizza. I want NEMBAs time and money spent on TRAILS, not entertaining Youtubers. They're typically not the same people as those that are going to show up and work anyway.
    To tell you the truth, I don't disagree with you......but don't poo poo the idea of other marketing and PR avenues as purely entertainment. Sending a well produced vid highlighting advocacy, conservation of the land, messaging about the proper way to handle shared access etc. can go a long way in getting a seat at a red tape bureaucratic table than sending them a copy of Singletracks and hoping the call you back.....

    It can help open doors to getting new land open to trail building efforts. It can also help change the minds of fuddy duddy select boards who know how "peaceful and tranquil hikers and equestrians are" and how rowdy and destructive MTBers are....until they see images of kids and families and how united and caring the MTB community can be.

    Just saying......again WTF do I know.....I've just seen it work very well in other areas of the country....
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    I also don't see any reason for NEMBA to get into the video business. For what?
    Again - build trails, help support creating local access on a grassroots level, organize trail work days, supply tools and pizza. I want NEMBAs time and money spent on TRAILS, not entertaining Youtubers. They're typically not the same people as those that are going to show up and work anyway.
    Keep in mind, NEMBA is already in the entertainment business, their Single-tracks magazine. Take the time, money, and effort put into the magazine and transfer them to the video/social-media business. Less time, money, and effort wasted and you reach a greater number of MTB's/potential volenteers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Do you not read any magazines or the newspaper? There is more to life than a 4" screen.
    All the media (magazines/newspapers) I read is electronic I don't subscribe to paper. Reading text on paper vs reading it on a screen has no bearing on living a fuller life. The content is the same. Not sure what your point is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinshield View Post
    I don't mind Singletracks but printing a periodical today is kind of a waste of funds.
    Quote Originally Posted by bighit2005 View Post
    Keep in mind, NEMBA is already in the entertainment business, their Single-tracks magazine. Take the time, money, and effort put into the magazine and transfer them to the video/social-media business.
    I think we can all agree social media, eblasts, etc. would cost less than the magazine. It also has the potential to reach a wider market, thus getting more folks involved. The only argument seen so far is that people don't want NEMBA spending any more on anything besides pizza and beer to fuel their trail "building".

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveVt View Post
    Community, not commodity!
    I'm sorry you feel VMBA has turned your trails into a commodity. I would never advocate for such. If a resource is to be promoted, therefore seeing increased usage and subsequent greater maintenance needs, then there should be a direct cost associated with use that funds the associated cost of keeping it riding. My opinion.

    I am not advocating for anything except improving communities. Frankly the heads in beds argument for outdoor recreation is fairly narrow, in my opinion. I think a stronger argument is that outdoor recreational access and high quality trails specifically can bring in people/businesses who want to live and work there (or be there for their employees to live and work). That's brief, and by no means my goal in this discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by shwinn8 View Post
    I see NE and I read it as, "North East" that's just me though. I most defiantly won't lose any sleep over it
    Not sure where this comes from? NEMBA is the New England Mountain Bike Association.

    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    No maps, no Strava segments, you have to ride with someone who knows the trails or you'll never find the majority of it without putting in a helluva lot of exploration time. Just like the olden days but much better quality.
    Few people here know me. But where I am from there is no chapter, it is the olden days. The trails are a mystery to outsiders and the local crew has kept the lock on it. I have never gone against their wishes to keep it local, and I wouldn't. I loved growing up like that, and I still love riding there when I can. I love to explore, get lost, be challenged, and do what most of us consider mountain biking.

    But, I do think its a shame, few people here to keep them going and no interest in creating a group to formalize the help it needs. I also would not consider the trails very high quality. I think its too bad trails can't be improved, given priorities, and promoted within the community as infrastructure. As noted above, forget bringing people to town to ride and drink beer. The priority should be providing high quality recreational opportunities to those who live here. As much as I cherish my personal playground, I am excited about the idea of living in a community where more people play outside, value open space, and are involved. It just so happens that not everyone can agree on involvement. I don't think trails should always be something 3 guys and a 30 pack build a mile of in a Saturday afternoon.

    As an aside, there was a time when NEMBA felt differently:

    http://www.bustedspoke.com/RSD/phili..._interview.php

    Building Mountain Bike Mecca: IMBA's New Ride Center Initiative

    Take that how you want.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceboxsteve View Post
    ...

    As an aside, there was a time when NEMBA felt differently:

    http://www.bustedspoke.com/RSD/phili..._interview.php

    Building Mountain Bike Mecca: IMBA's New Ride Center Initiative

    Take that how you want.
    Are you confusing Philip with being "NEMBA"? Because the IMBA ride center article has nothing to do with NEMBA, other than the author is an employee.

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    Quote Originally Posted by radair View Post
    Are you confusing Philip with being "NEMBA"? Because the IMBA ride center article has nothing to do with NEMBA, other than the author is an employee.
    That is valid. I won't take it down in case others want to read. But you are correct, the ED is not the org. Though I still find it interesting.
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    Steve, you make some good points. You keep bring up promoting, bigger, better, improving trails? We have great trails all over the place. I can pedal more than 100 miles from my house in North of Boston, with some pavement connectors. People who live here already value and understand the great outdoors we already have. Improved, promoted, infrastructure, direct cost? Like disney? I hear what you are saying, very much disagree. Very. We have so many people living in this area( Boston metro, inside 128) We want more? High quality trails are already here, go ride willowdale, HP, ward hill, Russell Mill( and surrounding trails) even LLF and get back to us. Really. I know we differ on what we think " quality trails" are. thats OK too. The breadth, depth and variety boggles the mind, something for everyone. If you say flow trails I will just puke on my keyboard, enjoy your rides, just pedal faster than the new crop of horse/deer flies. Cheers.

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    But you see I don't say that. Or it comes off wrong. I don't bring it up as what I think should happen, merely as something different that could happen. If the people want it. But yes, I think some people do want something different.

    I say I think there are communities within NEMBA's sphere of influence who may want that different, whatever it is. I never said NS NEMBA is one of those communities.

    And my point is purely that if indeed those communities want that, then how can NEMBA help?

    If no communities want something different than fine, don't change. If one does, what does it hurt to try to help them?

    Yes we differ on the idea of quality, of the places you continually mention I've ridden Willowdale and while I had a blast, it would never cross my mind as high quality. Its a pretty standard community trail system. Wonderful. I'm not dissing.

    You are correct, we come from different areas. I live in a rural part of New England, which unlike the Boston metro area (yet similar to other rural areas) has different socioeconomic issues at hand.

    I do find it sad you quote the intense variety of trail in the world today as a positive, yet go and dismiss one style in the next sentence. If anyone knows me they know I have more fun at HP than on flow trails. Yet I would never put them down. Different strokes for different folks. If a community wants flow I say give them flow. And frankly, my harsh stance on the style has changed as I've let myself try them. Its a different way to play in the woods, and from communities I've visited with flow trails there is a lot of good they can bring.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceboxsteve View Post
    I do find it sad you quote the intense variety of trail in the world today as a positive, yet go and dismiss one style in the next sentence.
    Boom. Argument won.

    Steve - I agree with you on your main point, as I have said. Down here in MA, and throughout most of the rest of NEMBA land, we don't have those "next level" trail systems. Tons of high-quality community trail systems, for sure, many of which Leeboh has named, but not many approach the bar set by KT.

    I think it would be really cool if NEMBA put forth a dedicated effort to establish one or two other trail centers at that "level." Even Vietnam, a trail system totally owned by NEMBA, is a spaghetti-bowl mess of trails. Fun trials, for sure, but not top of the line.

    However, from what I've seen down here, every decent-to-awesome trail system has one or two mastermind trail builders behind it, reinforced by people who help out when they can, even if that's only one or two trail days a year.

    My point is - great trails aren't built by committee. If a big organization like NEMBA is going to do this, it's really going to be because some ambitious NEMBA member with a fire under his ass just goes out does it. The NEMBA name will just come along for the ride, at least initially. So I do agree with the others who say that change will have to come from within the organization. (Or maybe somebody will just say eff it and do it all privately - like KT. Won't be me though. Not any time soon.).

    Charlemont/Deerfield River trails fits this mold. Greenfield Trails in NH (home of the Hampshire/Crotched 100) almost does, too. I'm sure there are others.
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    I tend to view NEMBA as support, rather than a leadership.
    It does a great job providing that support IME.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dangur View Post
    My point is - great trails aren't built by committee. If a big organization like NEMBA is going to do this, it's really going to be because some ambitious NEMBA member with a fire under his ass just goes out does it. The NEMBA name will just come along for the ride, at least initially. So I do agree with the others who say that change will have to come from within the organization.

    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    I tend to view NEMBA as support, rather than a leadership.
    It does a great job providing that support IME.
    Totally agree with both points. My only idea was that perhaps NEMBA could lend more support, in other ways. If there are communities that want that.

    I think NEMBA could provide even more support to those ambitious folks through various methods and programs. I don't know what all those are, what would work best, or if its possible. But there are other organizations, specifically mountain bike organizations, that do things differently. So why not take cue and try? Or investigate?

    For instance with one paid staff member its hard to lobby at each of the five state levels. One idea would be a dedicated advocacy manager, the ED does their thing this person advocates for more trails/access/funds etc.

    Or chasing more dollars for the Trail Fund grant program.

    Or developing a trail crew of sorts, whether that is one person who travels to communities and helps, a group of teens led through the summer and taken to different projects, etc. So many options.

    The argument I hear again and again on here is people don't see value in NEMBA doing anymore than it currently does. And that is a-okay, they are members and have a voice. They just want money for pizza and beer when they have a work day. I think money could be better spent than on pizza to build more/better trails, that is my personal opinion.

    As noted a lot of this work; advocating for trails, chasing grant money, etc. is done by the passionate local volunteer(s). But if NEMBA offered more assistance in more of that, it would free up the volunteers to accomplish even more. Passionate locals will always be the foundation of a cause or project.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceboxsteve View Post
    Totally agree with both points. My only idea was that perhaps NEMBA could lend more support, in other ways. If there are communities that want that.

    I think NEMBA could provide even more support to those ambitious folks through various methods and programs. I don't know what all those are, what would work best, or if its possible. But there are other organizations, specifically mountain bike organizations, that do things differently. So why not take cue and try? Or investigate?

    For instance with one paid staff member its hard to lobby at each of the five state levels. One idea would be a dedicated advocacy manager, the ED does their thing this person advocates for more trails/access/funds etc.

    Or chasing more dollars for the Trail Fund grant program.

    Or developing a trail crew of sorts, whether that is one person who travels to communities and helps, a group of teens led through the summer and taken to different projects, etc. So many options.

    The argument I hear again and again on here is people don't see value in NEMBA doing anymore than it currently does. And that is a-okay, they are members and have a voice. They just want money for pizza and beer when they have a work day. I think money could be better spent than on pizza to build more/better trails, that is my personal opinion.

    As noted a lot of this work; advocating for trails, chasing grant money, etc. is done by the passionate local volunteer(s). But if NEMBA offered more assistance in more of that, it would free up the volunteers to accomplish even more. Passionate locals will always be the foundation of a cause or project.
    You don't need money to build mountain bike trails. You don't need grants to pay for affluent leisure amenities. When you go that route you give up control. I think you need your most talented riders to make trail in low impact ways, like with a rake and a hand saw. Keep those trails protected by obscurity or other natural filters. If/as traffic grows and the bones of the trail get exposed, volunteers build out those spots with benching/armor/whatever needed on their time, then drink beer and eat pizza.

    Over the course of several years you will eventually have built out significant portions of the original trail, while leaving much of it primitive, naturally armored, challenging and skinny.....if you picked a good line to begin with. You will have enjoyed the loamy phase, watched the preferred line shift and change as ledge, major roots become exposed. Little projects that you can handle present themselves, get fixed hopefully in a creative way that enhances the natural tempo of the trail, that work get's you stoked to ride...positive feedback loop. If you cherry-pick available land easy trail can be built this way that 5 year-olds can ride.

    In New England this model comes into conflict with an inherently capitalist model of "Mountain Bike Trails" that are permitted on public land on the promise of economic benefits. You need a lot of easy trail in challenging terrain. The compromises made here in terms of trail design and scale make the cost ridiculous, and the product gentrified to some extent. Since this level of construction generally side-lines volunteers for all but the most laborious and tedious handwork behind the machine (unless you're Radair who runs a machine as a volunteer), local interest is lost quickly. Suddenly all labor is hired contractors, and you need a paid guy just to chase grants. Meetings. Meetings. Meetings. E mails. Emails. Emails.



    These are the two sides of this conversation as I see it. The key is the bold type. If a community wants this, great. When a group of self-appointed experts decide to scale up to the state-wide level you give control away. Your beer bar may be full every night. You'll get a kiosk. Signs. Every group of riders who are the functional stewards of each network should always have that choice. Meetings and grants don't make any trail. Folks with tools and blisters do. I see NEMBAs model as pretty ideal. Curious about membership and logged volunteer hours. Any have that data handy? Budget too.
    Last edited by DaveVt; 07-14-2017 at 08:34 AM.

  84. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveVt View Post
    You don't need money to build mountain bike trails. You don't need grants to pay for affluent leisure amenities. When you go that route you give up control. I think you need your most talented riders to make trail in low impact ways, like with a rake and a hand saw.
    All I read was to here and I thought "what is so wrong with paying those guys who use a rake and handsaw?"

    I never said you need grants to build machine built flow. I think you need grants because those guys are talented builders and deserve a wage. Let them build with grant money in low impact, community style, whatever ways.

    Later I see you counter this with some points. But I never said you had to use money to build easy trail.

    I love the NEMBA model. Time and again I point out I support NEMBA. I'm throwing around ideas. I never said the grant money had to go to some guys as wages. It could buy the tools, the pizza, the beer, the whatever. In a lot of ways it does take money to build trails. I hate admitting it. Volunteer hours are often used as a match to cash. So maybe more cash would help do whatever.
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    Meh, not a big fan of the idea of NEMBA paying trailbuilders. Maybe if the state or a private entity wanted to do that, but I don't think it would help anything if a few certain folks started getting money funneled to them for doing what most of us do just for the love of the game. Be kind of silly IMO for me and all my trailbuilding friends to take money out of our pockets and put it in someone else's to do the same thing we all do for free.

    Thing about NEMBA is that when something worthwhile came up that did require a big chunk of money, they/we pulled together made it happen. Remember when we bought 'Nam?

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    Good discussion.

    One thing I think everyone hints at or recognizes but doesn't get directly mentioned is that many people now "in the sport" have more money than time.

    In today's MTB gear-centric world, the average bike for most people is $2,000 to $6,000 and when you add in the fancy pants gear that goes along with it the demographic starts to shift to include more and more folks who work their asses off professionally to afford their toys and hobbies. Kinda like the Downhill ski crowd. Admittedly I'm one of those people now. 15 years ago I could sling dirt 2-3 nights a week.....then 2-3 times a month and now rarely as I sit and work 60+ hrs per week so I can justify my fairly robust wage......if I am honest, when it comes to MTB I have more money than time.

    I think the MTB population has more people in my position now than 15 years ago.

    So the volunteer trail building model can be a tough sell to do anything of scale but grassroots type maintenance etc.

    Dave's model is definitely a more throwback to the soul and roots of MTB which was less gear-centric and more about being out there and just riding.....rake and ride, run what you brung and tip a cold one back.

    Now a days, when I have a chance to throw my leg over my fancy pants bike with my wife on her fancy pants bike and don all my "gear" and head out I have no problem riding the "pay to ride" places.....partially out of guilt for having no time to sling dirt anymore.

    I think there has been pretty explosive growth in pay to ride places that have sprung up over the past 3-5 years to kindly take our money and provide a professionally maintained trail systems......that niche is getting filled quite well I believe. I think, as others have stated, NEMBA fills a great niche in the grassroots support of community trail systems mostly on public access land with .org and .gov managers. I'm not sure NEMBA can effectively add miles and miles of smiles through volunteer work etc.

    What I do think they can continue to do, and can possibly be more effective at is advocacy and opening up previously closed areas to possible trail building. What even I have to remember is that effective advocacy doesn't always result in new trail miles.....it may be needed to just keep access to the miles we already have in an area when faced with opposition or more vocal land users.
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    Well, if someone does want to start throwing cash around to trailbuilders, I'd be happy to provide some addresses for ya'll to send checks.

    I gotta say I don't find the gear-centricity in my riding circles. Yeah, there are few big-dollar bikes in the mix, but far less than run-of-the-mill or older rigs. I also have ridden countless miles of NEMBA-built/supported trails and disagree that there hasn't been a huge expansion of MTB-specific trails over the time I've been riding. There is so much sweet trail around now it's ridiculous, and it's almost completely volunteer built. And more and more is constantly being created. The grassroots scene is very much alive and well, just sounds like some folks have fallen out of touch with it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Well, if someone does want to start throwing cash around to trailbuilders, I'd be happy to provide some addresses for ya'll to send checks.

    I gotta say I don't find the gear-centricity in my riding circles. Yeah, there are few big-dollar bikes in the mix, but far less than run-of-the-mill or older rigs. I also have ridden countless miles of NEMBA-built/supported trails and disagree that there hasn't been a huge expansion of MTB-specific trails over the time I've been riding. There is so much sweet trail around now it's ridiculous, and it's almost completely volunteer built. And more and more is constantly being created. The grassroots scene is very much alive and well, just sounds like some folks have fallen out of touch with it.
    I agree with you on the trail expansion.....crap, did I give the impression that trail isn't being built/expanded? If so, that wasn't my intention......I don't think it is a realistic expectation for NEMBA to add miles and miles of trail each year......if it happens , awesome.....point being that I don't think NEMBA's place is to spend $50K per mile for a flow trail etc.

    Trust me I've ridden some sweet stuff built and maintained by local chapters.....love some of the stuff in CT etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post

    I gotta say I don't find the gear-centricity in my riding circles.
    Depends where you are, I think. At some of the Boston area week night rides, just about everybody's on a carbon Pivot or Ibis, regardless of skill level. And these are huge rides. It's crazy how much $ in bikes is out on the trails on a thursday night.

    River makes a good point. For many people, work, family, and other responsibilities really limit the amount of time they can contribute to trail building. Money is a substitute for time. I'd definitely be willing to shell out $15-$30 once in a while to ride a professionally-built XC system.

    I agree though that you probably don't want to pay people to work public lands. I could be convinced otherwise, but at first blush it just doesn't feel right.

    I keep mentioning Charlemont - most of those trails are on private property. That's an awesome model that we don't see enough of in NE outside of VT. Pay-to-play (to fund trail construction and maintenance) would make sense at a place like that.
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    Screw expensive manicured public 'flow trails', or any construction-intensive high maintenance types of trails for that matter.
    Those options are much better served as pay to play IMO.
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    NEMBA can't be bothered to pay for signage, proper parking or trail maps at any trail I've ridden in CT/RI or MA. Of course they can't be bothered to host their own festival. They are good at coming after me for my membership every year...
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    WTF is 'proper parking' and where in the world does anyone get the idea that's something a trail advocacy group is responsible for on public lands?

    Are MTBrs these days really looking to be coddled so much?
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    Quote Originally Posted by yzedf View Post
    NEMBA can't be bothered to pay for signage, proper parking or trail maps at any trail I've ridden in CT/RI or MA. Of course they can't be bothered to host their own festival. They are good at coming after me for my membership every year...
    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    WTF is 'proper parking' and where in the world does anyone get the idea that's something a trail advocacy group is responsible for on public lands?

    Are MTBrs these days really looking to be coddled so much?
    You both are right in you're own special way!

    NEMBA isn't responsible for signage, parking, or trail maps at any place. But yzedf makes good points about what others might want to see and what NEMBA could possibly push for more of.
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    Like there aren't countless maps already a button-push away? Do we need yet ANOTHER layer added? And if I ever used maps, I'm pretty sure I'd be able to find all sorts of info linked through the NEMBA site.

    Actually, wait, hold on....here ya go:

    Trails | NEMBA

    That took all of 10 seconds.


    And parking? Seriously? I've been riding for creeping up on 30 years and never once have I ever found parking my car so challenging that I thought I needed NEMBA to help me out. Or anyone else for that matter. I truly have no idea how this is something that anyone would want a trail group to be wasting time with.

    I don't get it. If mountain bikers couldn't get by without having everything pre-packaged and handed to them on a fluffy pillow bitd, the sport would've died on the vine. Things sure have changed I guess.
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Screw expensive manicured public 'flow trails', or any construction-intensive high maintenance types of trails for that matter.
    Those options are much better served as pay to play IMO.
    exactly. flow sucks. give me chunk that my pedals and crankarms fear and I am interested. flow, hell I can use the minuteman bikeway for flow

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    Unfortunately I'm not going to let myself sink that low.

    The sport to me has been a great way to explore and get lost. I value that a lot.

    But I'm not going to dismiss others experiences. Frankly, the site sucks, there are countless systems not represented and countless more without good maps or signage, and yeah knowing where to park can be a bit tough.

    I clearly said it is not NEMBA's directive to provide any of this, but attacking someone's views because they would appreciate better maps and signs and parking is rather childish.

    Like you said, times are changing. Unfortunately for you and your buddies the only attack you have is that riders are soft babies who bitch on the internet. I think most rational adults can agree that is a worthless argument. It really is a shame the old guard is so stuck to their ways all they have to cling to is to bash people's expectations or experiences.
    Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades.

  97. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceboxsteve View Post
    Unfortunately I'm not going to let myself sink that low.

    The sport to me has been a great way to explore and get lost. I value that a lot.

    But I'm not going to dismiss others experiences. Frankly, the site sucks, there are countless systems not represented and countless more without good maps or signage, and yeah knowing where to park can be a bit tough.

    I clearly said it is not NEMBA's directive to provide any of this, but attacking someone's views because they would appreciate better maps and signs and parking is rather childish.

    Like you said, times are changing. Unfortunately for you and your buddies the only attack you have is that riders are soft babies who bitch on the internet. I think most rational adults can agree that is a worthless argument. It really is a shame the old guard is so stuck to their ways all they have to cling to is to bash people's expectations or experiences.
    well, so be it then.

    you can stop your armchair quarterbacking right now, and your slacktivism, and become a board member of Nemba, or get the ear of one, and initiate actual CHANGE.

    much change ain't happening through mtbr forums posts

    and yes, old farts who used to sit on a log and beat themselves with hammers, before having stumbled into mountain bikes and discovered 'we can do the same thing slogging thru the woods on wheels'....are in control, and do make the decisions.

    so, get on board and get on the inside track with your ideas and energy and initiate change.

  98. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceboxsteve View Post
    Unfortunately for you and your buddies the only attack you have is that riders are soft babies who bitch on the internet. I think most rational adults can agree that is a worthless argument. It really is a shame the old guard is so stuck to their ways all they have to cling to is to bash people's expectations or experiences.
    "Suck it up princess" is absolutely a worthwhile argument IME, and particularly so when it comes to mountain biking.

    Maybe you should volunteer to be NEMBA's parking coordinator.
    Sinister Bikes
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  99. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Like there aren't countless maps already a button-push away? Do we need yet ANOTHER layer added? And if I ever used maps, I'm pretty sure I'd be able to find all sorts of info linked through the NEMBA site.

    Actually, wait, hold on....here ya go:

    Trails | NEMBA

    That took all of 10 seconds.


    And parking? Seriously? I've been riding for creeping up on 30 years and never once have I ever found parking my car so challenging that I thought I needed NEMBA to help me out. Or anyone else for that matter. I truly have no idea how this is something that anyone would want a trail group to be wasting time with.

    I don't get it. If mountain bikers couldn't get by without having everything pre-packaged and handed to them on a fluffy pillow bitd, the sport would've died on the vine. Things sure have changed I guess.
    Not everyone is a battle hardened badass such as yourself.... some of us are new to the area, or maybe some of us have ridden in other parts of the country, or the world, and know what proper trail systems look like. I do a lot of solo riding, if I ever needed an emergency pickup I'd be hard pressed to describe where I was to 911. And don't give me this GPS garbage, that's too new school namby pamby for you. The maps online are woefully out of date, and without signage how is someone supposed to know which of the twenty braids they are on? Not to mention trail names... locals call it one thing, openstreetmaps something else, Strava or whatever app another name. It's a joke and NEMBA doesn't give two shits.

    Parking, look at Mooween. They put in 10 miles of trails in a few months and never figured out where all the cars and trucks are supposed to park. Now the town is fighting to get rid of the trails, locals have started sabotaging trails and damaging cars. If your going to advocate for creating new trail systems you have to do more than just cut some trail in.

    And if you want to call someone a ***, do it in person. Hopefully we never meet...
    I like bikes

  100. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by yzedf View Post
    And if you want to call someone a ***, do it in person. Hopefully we never meet...
    We won't. You wouldn't like the trails I tend to frequent; they're not likely to be packaged, catalogued and sanitized for mass consumption. And the parking lots are totally sub-par.



    I'm hoping NEMBA can do something about the mosquitoes and ticks myself. Somebody tell PK to get on it!

    Sinister Bikes
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