Trail advocacy and building post #3

Just by using this title alone i will get another 100+ hits. Such is the power of controversy. It occured to me recently that people have called me thin skinned. Not just 1 actually a few. I had a pretty long think about it and thought it over and considered their point of views but decided to disagree.

I posted what i posted not because of personal reasons. I didn’t read something on the forum i wasn’t happy about and then decided to blow up. I simply saw a need to voice what i was feeling in regards to the issues of trail advocacy and the way it is often presented these few days especially on BMU forum. I do not think this is thin skinned. I think this is called addressing issues. Plus i am sure most of you guys reading right now most likely hate my guts and since i am still posting that is a pretty clear indication of my skin thickness.

So onwards to the real topics at hand. Trail advocacy/building. I had a talk yesterday with a guy named Tai. We had a discussion in regards to many different topics in regards to mtb trails and it was decently decent. I say this because in the midst of all this discussion, he helped me, maybe indirectly to realise what needs to be done and how it can be potentially addressed. The issues i am talking about here is unrelated to my previous two posts in that it isn’t a reaction purely based on how i felt we were treated unfairly but rather issues that deal with where we go from here. IE how do we take what we have discussed and use it for the better of the mtb community. So i will NOT be talking about BMU vs RB vs other communities and how i feel it is unfair here. That is done. Done in the previous two posts and done in the forum threads that blew up on the Internet.

I realised that many of us “not just bmu people judging from some of the responses” do want to help but trail work ie actual trail maintenance is a little inaccessible. No matter what you say, without the right people, right connection it is slightly daunting to go about. People will say stuff like “if you are dedicated you can do it” and yes you are correct but not everyone is as dedicated as everyone else *refer to my first 2 blog posts*. So what am i going to do about it? Well i am going to dedicate myself to making trail work more accessible.

There you go i said it. I want to make trail work more accessible and friendly to potential people that have always thought about it but never turned up. For people who have less dedication than the most hardcore people. To let those people know that a little dedication is better than no dedication and that even the littlest dedication is more than appreciated as they are already 1 step ahead. I honestly believe this is the next step to a healthier trail system across Australia. So i am going to go through the “daunting” process myself so others don’t have to. I kinda wished i had someone to guide me along but i have attempted and completed things i believe that are just as hard in my life time so what is a new challenge?

I have my IMBA trail solutions book on order and i am reading IMBA pages in regards to various solutions. As a trail rider i have often thought that certain sections could be done better. More flow and i guess this is my time to express that in actual trail shaping changes with the help and advice from others of course. IMO trail work is fun. I have never doubted that. I reckon you can make it as fun if not more fun than a ride day and i reckon it is all about marketing. The current trail advocacy people obiviously don’t market too well and i reckon that is something i can greatly build upon and possibly bring more people to. You guys already mentioned we post a lot of pics and videos and i intend to stretch that to potential build days. Showing people that previously would never consider trail work that trail work is actually fun. Pics and videos do this much better than you telling your mate and your mate telling your mates that trail work is actually fun.

I intend to get the different techniques of trail building down pat over time and start a series of DIY guides for EVERYONE to view. IE how to stop the annoying rocks at appin’s roll down from moving all the time. If not possible what can be done as a temp fix in the best possible way? How about what to do in the event of a downed tree or branch? Of course i will consult a few people and ask if i am digging a big hole or not but i am hoping with IMBA’s guide and more experience my posts will be just as good as Grant’s or any one of you trail workers. I am doing this out of my own spare time because i realised not everyone has the time to do so and that isn’t wrong. I am going to do this for the love of MTB and not because i want to simply appease others or get in their good books. If members on our forum do not turn up to trail days so be it. I will not treat them as negative contributing members knowing that they have contributed in other ways to our sport *hell even a simple bike purchase is contributing if you want to be super anal*.

I am suggesting for BMU to have a trail advocacy section as well so on the public front we don’t look like locusts. I know we are not but people do and we need to address this. Bmu people do respect and care about the trails and i can tell you this because i am thankful to god/trailworkers/whoever that has maintened and built and advocated for a trail everytime i carve a section of a singletrack that gives me that buzz. The one and same buzz i am sure all of you feel.

As an aside one little tid bit of information which noone but a few knows.

On one sunny morning ride at loftus oval myself and a friend ran into a couple of rangers clearing out branches. We stopped, talked to them, introduced BMU and told them how much we appreciate their work and how we want to give back. We told them because we rode the trails so much we feel we need to do work on it. 1-2 months later loftus oval maintence days was setup and BMU members were turning up. In small numbers? yes. There working in earnest and for the best of our community? yes.

This is exciting times for me, let’s see where this goes from here like someone said on the forums.

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