Mountain bikers from all over Europe will be out in force volunteering their time to take care of their trails this weekend, Saturday 1 & Sunday 2 April. The driving force behind this international competition is Graeme McLean, project manager of Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland (DMBinS), a partnership project which SNH is pleased to support. Graeme is co-ordinating the Scottish groups over the weekend and he would love to have you as part of the Scotland team. Graeme explains how the idea for this friendly battle came to him.
On a cold, wet and wild winter Sunday in April 2014, I took my two children to the beach to take part in a ‘Surfers Against Sewage’ spring beach clean. It was a great day and the kids and I all loved playing our part in cleaning our beaches and getting blasted by fresh North Sea air.
I had a thought – if this works for surfing (& with over 7000 volunteers it is!) why couldn’t it work for mountain biking? In 2015 we started Take Care of Your Trails weekend – it was a success – and it grew in 2016 with 18 trail crews and 154 volunteers taking part in the weekend.
I was then asked to present at the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) Europe Summit in Germany last Easter, where I talked about our weekend of co-ordinated trail repair sessions.
People were enthusiastic about the idea and we followed this up by hosting a Scotland stand at the world’s largest bike show, EuroBike – also in Germany. Then, at an international conference we ran in November, we decided to go ahead and expand the weekend to include groups from across Europe.
So, in 2017 we are delighted to announce that Take Care of Your Trails will be a Europe-wide friendly competition to find out who has the best mountain bike community! Trail repair groups from Scotland to Poland, Denmark to Czech Republic and Sweden to Spain will engage in a friendly competition. The winners will be the country that can get the most volunteers to help repair trails, per head of population. The winning country will be presented with a prize at the IMBA Europe 2017 Summit in Agueda, Portugal.
Scotland has some of the best mountain biking trail provision in the world and those who spend time on these trails are keen to ensure that it stays that way. Scotland is in with a great chance of winning with 13 dedicated groups spread across the country. We are anticipating nearly 200 volunteers to take part and this could be enough to win us the award.
We are also delighted that the Scottish mountain bike business community is getting behind the weekend and we have a range amazing prizes – including event entry, helmets, fork servicing, shorts and more – which will be randomly selected and given to volunteers who take part in the weekend.
Volunteers considering taking part in the event do not need any prior experience as there will be a range of tasks to suit everyone who volunteers, no matter how young or old.
It is a win, win, win scenario – you get the opportunity to win prizes; Scotland wins the ‘Best MTB Community in Europe’; and the trails we love get improved and better to ride – a great combination.
If you, alone or with friends and family, would like to join the Scotland team, you can find out how to get involved here. We look forward to seeing you out on the trails this weekend – let the friendly battle commence!