Get ready to bike, but be kind to trails
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#seekersambassador Shaun Hutt drops some bike knowledge, including trail care and tips for getting involved with your local bike community
It's that time of year again in Western Canada. The days are getting longer and temperatures are starting to warm, depending where you are. It may come a little later to Alberta than BC but we are at that time of year where the transition from winter to summer sports starts to happen.
For me, it's the signal that bike park season is just around the corner and preparation on my bikes has begun (although I'm fortunate enough to have access to rideable trails pretty much 365 days a year living in North Vancouver). Still, bike season is about to kick in, and it’s time to get ready!
Early season riding is about bike trail care
If you’re itching to hit the trails, remember that this is a fragile time of year for the trail system. With the snowmelt from higher up on the mountain and the rain we receive during the spring, ground conditions are soft and become muddy quite quick. A few quick steps to care for trails can keep our favourite riding networks in prime condition (and growing!) through the months ahead.
1) Join your local bike association
It's the time of year that I suggest buying a membership to your local bike association if there is one in your area. These memberships help offset some costs of trail building and trail maintenance. As a resident of the North Shore, and also a member of the NSMBA, I really appreciate what the NSMBA does for the trail system here and the fee isn't expensive ($50/year) when you look at the funds that we put into equipment for the sports we love.
Looking for the bike association in your area?
Alberta bike clubs and associations
BC bike clubs and associations
2) Help divert pooling water from trails
I also encourage you, that if you're out on the trails and you see water collecting or pooling in spots, to stop and dig a small ditch with your foot/rock/stick to divert water away from the trails. This helps to maintain the integrity of the trail system and only takes you away from riding for a brief moment.
3) Report local trail issues through TrailForks
If you aren't comfortable doing trail maintenance yourself, you can report these issues on the TrailForks App and they get dealt with pretty quick by the trail builders and maintenance riders through these associations. TrailForks is also great to check on trail conditions as riders update them quite frequently in the more popular areas.
Sign up for ZenSeekers enews and get ready for summer adventure!
Shaun Hutt getting up to some DH fun
4) Get a local mtb association going
If you don't have a mountain bike association in your area, I suggest advocating to get one started. It's a great way to build relationships within the communities we ride in and it's a great way to mediate between riders and residents in these communities.
5) Choose your trails appropriately
If it’s too wet on the trails, there’s always road riding, as #SeekersAmbassador Heather Gardiner demonstrates:
Let’s care for the trails together
Let's leave these trail systems better than they were before we dropped that first run of the day. Be a positive steward to the sport. Let's maintain a positive sense of community so we can continue to have these trails to ride.
Here's to a great bike season in 2023 and hoping to catch you on the trails or in the bike parks. I'll be the old guy on the old iron bikes. Stay safe, stay dusty, and keep the rubber side down.
Start planning your bike season
Here are some leads on great bike trails and parks across Western Canada.
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