last night, there was a local IMBA membership meeting. on the fakebook event page, i wrote this:
we started SORBA Mid TN years ago, there are more shops open, there are
more mountain bikers, and there are more trails. but the number of
people involved has not grown equally.
100% of the trails you
enjoy in middle tennessee have been built and maintained by volunteers,
by hand, using shovels and rakes and mcleods, and any other hand tool
that helped. it has taken thousands of hours, sweat, blood, dedication,
and commitment to make it happen. and all differences aside, i am
honored to have worked with everyone involved in building and
maintaining our local and regional trails.
if you are going to
this event tonight, bring someone with you. if you have never attended a
workday, go do it. giving donations is great, but nothing makes a
larger positive impact than showing up and busting your ass building or
maintaining or repairing the trails you love. nothing shows the land
managers how important trails are more than huge turnouts on workdays.
no matter how much money you have donated, no matter how many times you
have talked about mountain biking, no matter what you have "done", if
you have ridden trails anywhere in the world and have not attended one
single work day to give back, you really suck.
if you can find time to ride, you can find time to dig. so do it.
followed by this:
my statement is directed toward bicycle shop owners and employees too. they are the ones who should be setting the example.
so yeah, twice. but you know what? it's true. giving back seems to be the hardest thing for people to do. whether it's mountin bike trails, or any type of volunteerism, people are just fucking lazy and think if they throw money at it, all will be good.
you know what people don't understand? burnout. when the same people work their asses off for years on end only getting thank you's and pats on the back, but never a "what can i do to help", it fries you like a fucking chicken wing. one can only take that for so long before they feel like they are doing everything, get fed up with the people who tell them what they should be doing or how to do it, but never... ever... once showing up to help.
i'll say it again, if you ride trails and have never shown up to spend a saturday or sunday morning busting your ass to help keep those trails, they should be taken away from you. there's an old BMX adage, "if you wanna ride, you gatta dig."
this creates ownership, and would deter people from doing stupid shit, like building jumps and ramps without permission, riding wet trails, and basically doing those things that the trails themselves don't much enjoy.
it also helps create community. those local CAT4 Pro racer dudes that never say hi, or blast past you recklessly, once they spend a few hours working with you, side by side, creating beautiful rolling grade dips or berm turns, or just simply cutting out a fallen tree that's too big to ride, the next time you run into each other on the trail, that bond is there.
this is the heart of cycling. this is why the grand tours are so great. this is why you hear stories of actual pros stopping mid race to make sure a beginner that ate shit is ok. this is a mountain bike community.
so happy friday you lemmings, get out and enjoy the weekend. but make sure you give back, so you can continue to enjoy your weekends for years to come.