This weekend marks the opening of the UCI World Cup of Mountain Biking in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, and so I am led to believe that Spring is here!
Of course, where I sit writing this, it is a typical March day in the Canadian Rockies. The clouds can’t seem to decide if they should drop rain or snow, so instead are just puking down slush. No bike season here yet! But for many people living elsewhere, the bike season is stretching its legs and getting ready to let ‘er rip.
Even from my view here, I can see that the snow pack at lower elevations is beginning to recede, and it is only a matter of time before we start assessing the damage done to our precious singletrack over the winter. Heavy winter snow and winds blow down a lot of trees, and heavy spring rain and run-off will do its dirty work on the freshly uncovered trail surfaces. Spring is the busiest time of the year for trail maintenance. It is also the time of year where your local bike club will be looking for the most help.
Around here a lot of work is done voluntarily by local riders. We are lucky to have several active and effective bike clubs where I live, and most trails near the town are cleaned up before all the snow has even melted from them. This is in part thanks to a paid trail care crew, that is funded out of the not-for-profits’ own treasuries. That said, the majority of cleanup in most areas is still performed by volunteers only.
As important as donations you have made to your local bike clubs are, and as much as they appreciate the funding, what they require much more is man (and woman!) power. Paid trail crews don’t come cheap, and the money can in most cases be spent in other important areas like trail signage, tools, and trail infrastructure.
Spring is a great time to check in with you local bike club and offer what ever it is you can. Your bike club should have a list of reported trail issues which can be assigned to anyone with the hands and time to address them. See if there is one you would feel good about taking on.
Have a great spring. If you are already riding, I envy you! I plan to be joining you on the dirt soon, but for now just have to continue with the skiing until the snow melts in the mountains here.
Find a bike club near you. Help them out if you have the time and energy: