Trail Maintenance - Keeping the System Rideable
Do you think those trails you ride during adventure bike weekends, hare scrambles, and enduros cut themselves? Think again. Trail maintenance is often done by small local clubs. It doesn’t matter if you’re a club member or just a guy who rides there a couple times a year—if they put out the call for help with trail maintenance—go to it.
You already expect it will involve the hard work of moving dirt and cutting trees, but it’s in what you might not expect that the value lies. The club will be excited that you showed up. Everyone will want to talk to you... let’s face it, we all share a love for motorcycles. The work isn’t that difficult and you’ll probably get a free lunch out of the deal if the club is conscious about not burning out volunteers. You’ll also get an understanding of what the club is facing in its efforts to keep trails open, and you’ll gain respect for the massive job these club leaders have undertaken.
Local clubs put a lot of time and effort into keeping trails open and maintained. The Seven Mountains Conservation Corp., located in the Bald Eagle State Forest Area of Pennsylvania, has not only kept trails open but also managed to re-open closed trails by working closely with representatives of the state’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and conducting trail work weekends with the help of volunteers. These guys keep some of the highest caliber trails I’ve ridden, public trails maintained by club funds and volunteer time (multiple weekends throughout the year).
Things to bring: Your significant other. You probably talk a lot about your riding experiences with them, so introduce them to these people. Familiarity could lead to more riding time. Bring an appropriate tool, like a shovel, hoe or pickaxe. And don’t forget your bike; when you get to that point in the day where they ask if you brought it along to test the trail, be able to say “Yes!” Experience those single tracks that looked a little sketchy from the main trail—or that you’ve passed by 10 times without seeing—all because you showed up to help.
Once the work is done you’ve not only put in a few hours of sweat equity, but have come out with some new riding buddies, a better understanding of what goes into keeping the trail system rideable, and at least one or two trails begging to be burnt in. I’m sure you’ll walk away with a lot more than I’ve listed here. Check your local clubs for what help they may need. Some may even have a standing invitation like Trail Tuesdays. Go out, maintain a mile or two of trail, cap it off with a few ice cold beverages. No need to go to the gym.