Listen up, you turkeys, those trails we all love riding don’t cut themselves. I don’t want to hear any of your whining or excuses – if you dickheads have time to ride, it’s time to drop the throttle and pick up a shovel.
Yeah, I know your type. You were the best C class hare scramble rider in the county 15 years ago and now your truck is half blocking the exit to the trail because you couldn’t be bothered to look for a spot. Or maybe you won a race two at some motocross events back in the day. Whatever, I don’t give a shit.
Why? Because those trails you’re out trying to prove you’re Jimmy Lewis on don’t cut themselves, and even that dude gets out and lends a hand. Trail maintenance, the difference between closed/overgrown trails and well-marked/drained/maintained ones, is done on off weekends by the local area clubs. I dare you to show up to a maintenance day or join a mailing list. Ten bucks says you’ll understand real quick what a massive undertaking these clubs are facing.
Local clubs put in a ton of time and effort to keep trails maintained and open. The Seven Mountains Conservation Corp, operating in Pennsylvania’s Bald Eagle State Forest, not only keep trails open – they’ve managed to re-open closed trails by working closely with the Department of Conservation and National Resources.
The thing about trail maintenance is that, even though it sort of just feels like yard work, it’s so much more rewarding. A day of yard works means your significant is appreciative and the yard looks a little less shitty. A day of trail maintenance will net you some new riding buddies, info on trails you probably didn’t know about from said new riding buddies, new or better trails you can now go ride, and a whole community of people that love what you love and now think you’re the cat’s meow. There’s even a good chance you’ll get a free beer or two out of it.
Splendid. Now that you’re coming, let’s talk a minute about what to bring and expect.
The best thing you can bring is your wife (or girlfriend, or boyfriend/husband if you’re a badass). Chances are, this is the person you ditch to go ride or the person you bore with all your stories of glory, and this is a great way to share some shit you love with them. Let them get a chance to meet the people you share this hobby with and help them put faces with the names in your stories. It might even help you get permission to go ride more.
Next, bring some clothes you don’t mind getting real dirty and some tools. Yes, your own tools. This is volunteer work, it isn’t their job to buy you shit. A shovel, hoe, pickaxe – think of the type of the landscape of the trails in your area and pack accordingly. We wouldn’t want you to hurt those soft hands of yours, so don’t forget a pair of gloves.
Finally, bring a bike! I mean, someone has to test the trails you just cut and you might as well be the guy.
Getting involved is easy, so don’t be a fuck. Check out Americantrails.org or use the Google machine to search trail maintenance and the name of your local or favorite riding spot and get connected with your local club.
They’ll have a standing invitation like Trail Tuesdays, or some sort of email list, and will get you all sorted out. If you’re in Pennsylvania, come join me with Seven Mountains Conservation Corps.
See you dickheads soon.
Helmet: ICON Variant Raiden Carbon
Jacket: ICON Raiden DKR
Pants: ICON Raiden DKR
Boots: ICON Raiden DKR
Steve Kamrad is Lanesplitter’s most bearded contributor. He loves hockey, drinking beer, covering the face of his wife’s iPad in stickers, and mounting a fresh set of Vee Rubber 401 Big Block tires. You can follow along as he pursues glory in the hockey rink and Pennsylvanian mountains on Instagram.