I have often been asked “Besides trailwork, what does SDMBA do?” SDMBA’s primary function is to advocate for mountain biking opportunities. In a nutshell, we pursue legal access to trails and/or the establishment of needed trails.
Advocacy is a marathon, rather than a sprint, and the success of SDMBA rests squarely on the shoulders of its volunteers who toil for countless hours, get more doors slammed in their face than an encyclopedia salesman, but come back for more.
It has been written that 80% of success is showing up, and to a large extent that is true. What is not written is the development of mutual respect with land managers and municipal officials is far more important in the long run. As Gardner has alluded to in his farewell, SDMBA has been very successful in cultivating excellent relations with many local agencies.
Historically, trail work has been a key component in that equation. SDMBA provides 2000-3000 skilled man hours of trail maintenance each year. Via grants from REI, Clif, Mitchell Foundation and others trailwork tools, equipment trailer, BBQ grill, canopy and bear bell programs have been funded at no cost to our valued members. The success of the bell program has reduced user group conflict and enabled continued bicycle access to some of San Diego’s most prominent (and popular) trails.
Trailwork season spans November to May. So far this season we have built three new trails, two of which are singletrack trails at Crestridge, a California Department of Fish and Game Ecological Preserve in East County. The symbiotic SDMBA/Crestridge relationship is the model to which we will continue to aspire to at all CDFG preserves. A special thanks is owed to our Kevin Mortensen for his continued diligence.
SDMBA-PRO was formed in the fall of 2011 with the goal of bringing more progressive riding opportunities, such as a bike skills park, to San Diego County. To date SDMBA-PRO representatives have met with officials from both National City and the City of San Diego in efforts to establish bike parks. With the aid of Balboa Park officials, a potential site has been identified near the velodrome to create a world-class multi-cycling complex that would serve the needs of the community. There are, of course, many obstacles to overcome in gaining municipal acceptance. Bike parks are a foreign concept to most city officials. Risk management is the primary concern despite the well established presence of skate parks, swimming pools, and even the La Jolla Underwater park. It’s a gap in mindset we’re working hard to bridge.
Speaking of bridge building, the most recent SDMBA-PRO group event was a trail repair within Balboa Park that entailed both dirt work and construction of two bridges. This repair will vastly improve safety for users of the trail that previously had to clamber over a guard rail into oncoming traffic. Thank you, one and all, who braved the rainy conditions and contributed.
Once again, SDMBA will host the annual Archipelago Ride this April which links the “islands” of open space between La Costa and Los Penasquitos via a 45 mile 98% dirt route with over 4000 feet of climbing. This event has limited capacity and sells out within a day. SDMBA membership will be required to be on the invitation list for this year’s ride. Don’t miss out!
Many other social rides and events are currently being planned in addition to the Arch Ride. As the calendar and details are firmed up, these events will be announced. Sign up for Trail News to stay up to date with the latest announcements or frequent the SDMBA Forum.
As we forge ahead I welcome any and all constructive input that can lead to a stronger SDMBA and a closer knit San Diego mountain biking community. Last but certainly not least, on behalf of the board, I wish to thank our membership and generous sponsors for your continued patronage in furthering SDMBA’s mission.
Thank you and see you on the trail,
Board Member and 2012 SDMBA President