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Mountain Bike Bill, Get the Dirt on the Dirt

 

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Got Trail? Do A Little Trailwork!

Now I am not talking about cutting your own trails and doing a bunch of illegal stuff.  I'm talking about getting involved in your local trails group to keep the trails we use well maintained.   Upcoming Trail work

Why Do It?

 

Here are some of my personal reasons why I like doing trail work.

1.  It feels good to give a little back.   You will not just be a trail user but an "owner" when you are done.

2. You get to meet new people who share your interests.  I have made quite a few new friends by doing trail maintenance and have gotten turned on to some new trails and group rides.

3. There are actually skills involved in doing trail work and you get to learn them for free. 

4.  I feel like I am helping to promote a positive image of Mountain Bikers with land managers.

5.  If you have kids, it is a great way to spend a day.  I try to take my two young boys out on trail work projects once a month.  My youngest was four when he first started.    They certainly enjoy playing in the dirt, carrying rocks, and the general outdoor stuff while hanging out with Dad.   After the trail work we go out for some lunch and generally make a day out of it.  I consider this to be quality time with my kids and it is certainly never to young to teach them good values.   So the next time you enjoy this section of Noble Canyon  remember that a four year old helped keep it up.  (Yes that was blatant attempt to shame you into thinking about trail work :)

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How to get involved

 

Here are some the local clubs here in Southern California that coordinate trail work efforts.

San Diego County

Orange County

San Diego Mountain Bike Association - SDMBA coordinates monthly trail work parties with of the various parks, forest service, and trail groups throughout the county.  You can subscribe to their Trail Newsletter to keep up on the latest events.

Share MTB - ShareMTB is a local MTB club that promotes responsible mountain biking and coordinates trail education and maintenance.   Their maintenance efforts are primarily focused on the  city and county parks.

The Warrior's Society - A local group dedicated to trail access and responsible use in the Santa Ana Mountains.  They work extremely close with the USFS for trail maintenance throughout the Santa Ana's.

 
Here is a link to International Mountain Biking Association's list of the California affiliated clubs which most likely are involved in trail maintenance.   Here is a link to find any IMBA affiliated club.
 
Just for the record: I do not agree with sanitizing trails (making them easier) when there is no erosion control or trail sustainability issues to be resolved.   Trail features that are above a rider's ability should be walked over not destroyed.   The end product of trail maintenance is somewhat a reflection of the folks that do the work.  The more technical riders that get involved in trail maintenance the more technical features will remain on the trails.

Upcoming Trail Work

 

Check out the
San Diego Mountain Biking Associations Event Calendar

Signing up for their SDMBA newsletter is also a great way to stay on top of the latest trail happenings.

 

Pictures from Trail Work Events

 

La Costa Preserve - January 19, 2008
Sponsored by SDMBA, Spyoptics, Prana, El Camino Bike, Swami's Bike Club and Squadra

There was a huge turnout for the event. I think I counted close to 40 volunteers. There were folks from all over San Diego County as well as Orange County. Of course there were some who some stepped right outside thier front door. The work today was to open the new Vista Del Mar trail and deconstruct and rehab the old trail.
     

La Costa Trailwork Day La Costa Trailwork DayLa Costa Trailwork DayLa Costa Trailwork DayLa Costa Trailwork Day

After the usual work and safety briefs we hiked off to the work site.

     
La Costa Trailwork Day Marcus, Patrick and Jesssica from the Center for Natural Land Managment did an excellent job of showing us how to do the rehabilitation work as well as making sure there snacks and water available throughout the event. The picture to the left is Jessica showing us how to plant the young plants and install an irrigation supplement. These things are really cool. They are a big glob of gel that is mostly water. We buried a couple of these gels with each plant and over the course of a month or so bacteria in the soil will slowly eat away the gel and release the water suspended in the gel in the soil. La Costa Trailwork Day
 
La Costa Trailwork DayLa Costa Trailwork DayPhoto of La Costa by Steve GordenkerPhoto of La Costa by Steve GordenkerPhoto of La Costa by Steve Gordenker
With so many volunteers we were able to complete a tremendious amount of work. I really enjoyed this trailwork session as it involved things I have typically not done in the past like planting new plants and trail "removal".
     
La Costa Trailwork DayLa Costa Trailwork DayLa Costa Trailwork DayLa Costa Trailwork DayLa Costa Trailwork DayLa Costa Trailwork DayLa Costa Trailwork Day
The junior league had a strong showing today and these kids put in some solid work. I think this is most kids I have seen at a trailwork event.
     
After the work was completed there was a raffle with a bunch of schwag courtesy of Spyoptics, Prana, El Camino Bike, Swami's Bike Club and Squadra. Between all of them I think everyone went away with a goodie. I was pretty freaking impressed with the custom "Vista Del Mar Trail" jersey from Squadra.

La Costa Trailwork DayLa Costa Trailwork DayLa Costa Trailwork DayLa Costa Trailwork DayLa Costa Trailwork DayLa Costa Trailwork DayLa Costa Trailwork Day

La Costa Trailwork DayLa Costa Trailwork DayLa Costa Trailwork DayLa Costa Trailwork DayLa Costa Trailwork DayLa Costa Trailwork DayLa Costa Trailwork Day
La Costa Trailwork DayLa Costa Trailwork DayPhoto of La Costa by Steve Gordenker

     
     
Photo of La Costa by Steve GordenkerPhoto of La Costa by Steve GordenkerAfter the raffle, it was time to give the new trail some traffic. The trail was a big hit and a major improvement over the old trail. The gradual grade and well designed turns and switchbacks should make for a highly sustainable trail that will not need a bunch of maintenance. Not to mention that it is scenic and a ton of fun.
La Costa Trailwork DayPhoto of La Costa by Steve GordenkerPhoto of La Costa by Steve GordenkerPhoto of La Costa by Steve GordenkerPhoto of La Costa by Steve Gordenker
The rock wall technical feature was a major hit. Just before you get to it there is a really cool sign pointing you to either the easy or the hard route. This feature got throughly tested by both the young and the not-so young going in both directions. The really cool thing about the easy route is that it does not look so easy because it is made of rock, but in fact it is not much more difficult than a mound of dirt. It gives newer riders the reward of doing something harder without the actual risk of something harder. Jake (My eight year old son) rode it his first time up and giggled afterwards. Will (My 12-year son) wanted to take on the hard line. I was in catch mode, but it was not needed and he cleaned it on the second attempt.
 
Hats off to Rich Julien from the San Diego Mountain Bike Association and Markus, Patrick and Jessica from the Center for Natural Land Management for working together to make the Vista Del Mar trail happen.
 

 

Indian Creek Trail - January 12, 2008
Sponsored by SDMBA and Cal Coast Bicycles

Indian Creek Trailwork Indian Creek TrailworkIndian Creek Trailwork
Getting to the worksite was a bit of an adventure on its own
Indian Creek Trailwork Indian Creek Trailwork Indian Creek TrailworkIndian Creek TrailworkIndian Creek TrailworkIndian Creek TrailworkIndian Creek Trailwork
The work this day was focused on giving the brush a "haircut" with a little nip and tuck given to the tread

Indian Creek Trailwork Indian Creek TrailworkIndian Creek TrailworkIndian Creek TrailworkPhoto courtesty of Steve GordenkerPhoto courtesty of Steve Gordenker
My grommets were out there as well today and they put in a good days work. This was their third trail work event on the Tour de Noble route so they should have a good feel for the trail when they get to ride Noble for this first time (Which maybe sometime this year).

Indian Creek TrailworkIndian Creek TrailworkIndian Creek TrailworkIndian Creek TrailworkIndian Creek Trailwork
Indian Creek TrailworkIndian Creek TrailworkIndian Creek Trailwork
Charlie from Cal Coast Bicycles has a bounty of cool swag to raffle off after the work was done. All sorts of goodies including T-shirts, tires, pumps and even a camelbak found there way into the hands of the volunteers.

 

Noble Canyon - January 20th, 2007
Sponsored by SDMBA and Cal Coast Bicycles

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  Sycamore Canyon - May 28th, 2005
Sponsored by SDMBA

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It got warm this day and everyone did some hard work.  My boys rarely complain, instead they just go off and do something more like playing.

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Often times playing involves chasing critters like this alligator lizard.
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My boys made out on the swag raffles, coming home with a pair of Kona jerseys.