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This week I came across a couple MTB news items that, although unrelated, point to interesting trends affecting the mountain bike world…

nanotube

Image from cnano-rhone-alpes.org.

James Easton donates $2M to UCLA for Carbon Nanotube Research: Remember the early days of mountain biking when guys could just modify old Schwinn bikes into badass off road machines? Or even the days when anyone who knew a thing or two about welding could throw together a bike frame? Those days are coming to a close as carbon fiber and now, carbon nanotubes become the mountain bike frame and component materials of choice.

Easton actually makes a number of products beyond mountain bike handlebars and wheels including golf clubs, tents, bows and arrows, baseball bats, helmets, and every hockey sticks. While there’s no direct link between the carbon nanotube research funding and any upcoming MTB products (that we know of), it just goes to show the technology involved in building mountain bikes is becoming more and more complex. Is there a 5-pound rig in the future for mountain bikers? Time will tell…

trail-tool

Unemployed Australians Build Mountain Bike Trails: The world economy has hit a bit of a rough spot but in Queensland, Australia the government is paying unemployed workers to build downhill and cross country MTB trails at Amamoor in the Mary Valley. Workers receive training in chainsaw operation and trail building and will even get a chance to build trail features and obstacles.

It’s interesting to think about how many of the trails we ride today were actually built for hiking during the New Deal in the 1930s. These days it’s mostly volunteers who are adapting old trails to new uses but building trails AND getting paid – now that’s a trend I’m on board with!

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# Comments

  • Mongoose

    That is soooo cool to hear this. I do volunteer trail building & maintenance, actually more maintenance now than building, but anyways I love it. I would like to get out and travel some more to help with maintenance or building at other trails within my state, but getting out is not as feasible as it used to be for me, especially with my business, family, and health issues. I really wanted that trail maintenance job with IMBA, but having younger kids puts a damper on all that. Anyways, thanks for sharing this with us trek.

  • CraigCreekRider

    I was hoping without all the bailout money for banks, car companies, etc. that someone would resurrect something like the Youth Conservation Corps. Politics aside, our National Forest trails are in dire need of help anywhere there is not a strong MTB volunteer base (like where I live) to keep them up.

  • Mongoose

    Hey CCR…..That Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) you mentioned, does that have anything to do with the older Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)? It was made up of young adults only, back in the 30’s and 40’s that Roosevelt put together to stamp out hunger and the jobless young adults during the depression and after wards. They built 8 parks here in FL and many others all over the US, and led to the foundation of the US Park Services and all the State Park Services. I was just wondering if that YCC program was the awakening of the older CCC program or just another given name, but same program.

  • CraigCreekRider

    Yes Mongoose. The YCC was pretty much a carbon copy of the CCC that was brought about in the early 80’s and lasted a few years. I worked with them for a few months. Same concept – bunkhouse and free meals with a little bit of cash. It targeted young adults, of which I was one back then.

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