Mountain bike trails don’t generally build themselves*. Even those trails that do build themselves require maintenance after a while, and that’s where local mountain bike clubs come in. Singletracks wants to help travelling riders learn more about the local clubs that build and maintain sweet singletrack all around the world, so we recently added some features we’re excited to talk about.
Club info on trail pages
We added a small ad on the right side of trail pages with info about the club that maintains the trail with the heading “Get involved.” If you’re not involved in your local mountain bike advocacy group already (financially and/or through volunteering), shame on you. But even if you already support your local club, it’s important to consider how you might be able to help the organizations that build and maintain your favorite trails outside your area.
How to help? Sign up for a race (clubs often use these as fundraisers) or schedule a trip at the same time as a work day and work in the morning, ride in the afternoon (this is also a great way to meet local riders). Or, if you’re feeling really generous (or just guilty), make a donation. On the advocacy side, clubs often run petitions and letter writing campaigns to gain or maintain land access, so consider taking the time to add your voice to an out-of-state issue (the tourism economy is very important to many communities).
Now that you have some ideas about how you can help out-of-town clubs, it’s time to get connected. Click the club link on a trail page to get more info about the club itself: a map of trails the club maintains, a link to the official club website, and photo highlights from the club’s trails.
Not only that, on the right side of the page you’ll see a list of Singletracks members who are part of the club (peer pressure!), links to upcoming, club-sponsored events, and the number of club followers. You can follow as many clubs as you like by clicking the follow button near the top of the page. This will get you connected to any club updates or announcements, plus it’s a good way to show your support.
Club leaders are smart to use social media tools like Facebook to connect with local riders. On the other hand, Singletracks is well-suited for connecting with mountain bikers who travel away from home to ride great trails.
Once a club leader has verified they are affiliated with a particular club, they’re able to edit club info and even the information presented about club trails on Singletracks. By posting great trail photos and engaging in the Singletracks community (several hundred thousand mountain bikers visit Singletracks each month), club leaders can promote their work to riders all over the world.
Club leaders can also post races and work days to the Singletracks calendar for additional exposure.
If you’re a mountain biker and you’re not supporting your local club, start today. If you’re not supporting the out-of-town clubs that maintain the trails you travel to ride, poke around a bit to figure out how you can help.
For club leaders, find your club listing on Singletracks (or add it if it’s not already listed) and claim your club’s trails. Then make sure to request verification so we can set you up to make changes to your club and trail pages. If you’re not a club leader, be sure to pass this along to someone who is so they can start promoting the local club to the Singletracks community!
Trail work happens at the local level, and building awareness is the first step to getting more folks involved. Resolve to get connected in 2014.
* It’s possible to construct trails using a method known as rake-and-ride where a trail is literally raked in the dirt/leaves/pine straw and little to no cutting, digging, or sawing is required. There’s yet another trail building method I like to call ride-and-ride which involves riders taking the same line over and over until it’s well defined enough for others to follow. This is as close as a trail gets to building itself!