Saturday, November 18, 2006

Trailwork and EuroBike and 24 Hours

I went to a training session a few weeks ago (last week?) at Rosaryville with Disco Dan the Trailwork Man and Rich 'Grizzly' Edwards. Good-looking guys, eh? MORE got some money from the state of MD through the DNR and they decided to spend some of it on training DNR staff on sustainable trails including heavy machinery. Jeremy would have been stoked...

Rich works for IMBA Trail Solutions and he was contracted to do the trainings all around the state. The heavy equipment part was a few short miles away in Rosaryville, Maryland's newest mtn bike destination. If you haven't ridden there yet, it's really fun. It's no Patapsco, of course, but when you consider how quickly that place has come on-line for riding, it's pretty incredible. It's almost all narrow and the entire place is like a primer on how to build sustainable trail, being almost completely MORE and IMBA designed and built. IMBA has a few pics and stories of Rosaryville on their website although they list it on 'Maryland's Eastern Shore' which it ain't. To be clear, this project alone is worth joining MORE. So do it, if you haven't already. And if you aren't local, do it anyway and when you come to town, we'll get you a bike and take you for a ride. A few years ago when NEMBA was buying 'Vietnam' our family ponied up to help them buy it. Sure, it wasn't much, but that's the beauty of democracy. A whole bunch of littles make up a lot. And they bought the land to protect it. So let's spread the love, eh?

Here's Ben (pink helmet, no judgements) showing the controls to a DNR staffer as another staffer and Rich (far right) look on. This is a Sweco. It's one of the only trail-building-specific machines made. It's only 48" wide. It's one mean mamajama. On the right is the new Toro Dingo that lives at Patapsco. That's Rich showing all the parts that they've broken and the location of all the important grease fittings. I'm lucky enough to have built a section of trail at Rosaryville with one of these things and it's amazing what you can do with these little walk-behinds. They are quick and powerful and you can get into a lot of trouble quickly. My personal favorite task is popping trees out of the ground by pinching and pulling with the blade. These things do the work of 20 hard-working volunteers. If you can stand the noise, they are pretty fun to use.

On the trailwork side of things, we also have trailwork this weekend in Patapsco. Tomorrow morning, 9:30am at the Avalon Pavillions, the normal meeting place. We are doing post-storm cleanup and fixing those bridges on Cascade Trail off of Landing Rd. We are planning on laying down some geotex and building a turnpike on top of those locust stringers. I'm bringing Emma so bring the kids along if you are so inclined. Eric is bringing Emily as well. That's Emma with Big Daddy numero uno at the Quiet Waters art festival thing, by the way.

Here, used without permission, is Eric 'Other Big Daddy' Crawford's input on bringing kids to trailwork:

What I learned: Having a tool her size really helped, I didn't have to worry about her trying to use a Macleod as I could point to her rake and ask her not to use the big stuff. Having a little camelback was neat for her, but she lost the mouth piece ten minutes into the woods, hopefully she learned from the mistake. Pack a snack in the camelback that they like, I thought she would be cool with a clif bar, you know eat what I eat, be part of the pack and all that, wrong. She really would have rather had some yogo's or trail mix. Pack two ziplocks and small amount of toilet tissue and some purell hand cleaner or some such for coppin a squat in the woods, it's gonna happen. Be prepared to carry all of it out, she was super tired when we were finished.

I love that guy...

My last bit of information for the day is courtesy of BR&IN. EuroBike (Europe's bike trade show) just announced that it will have an event in Portland in 2007 that basically competes with Interbike in Vegas. For you fellow geeks out there, the BR&IN story talks about the previous trade show fractions and factions in the industry during the 80s and 90s, including CABDA and BIO. Here's another take on the announcement. While I've got nothing to say about the actuality of what type of 'competition' this really represents, I plan on having a few conversations with the few people I know in the industry to support going to Portland for one reason or another. Quite a lot of industry people are sick of going to Vegas. A lot of the industry newbies can handle the stress, travel and indulgences of Vegas, but us decade-plus veterans are getting sick of it. Vegas has got to be the most un-natural, soul-sucking, non-bike town on the planet. I'm not exaggerating here. It looks even worse when you compare it to a place like Portland. Those of you who have spent time there or live there know exactly what I'm talking about.

Portland has given us THE MOST bike-friendly Congressman on the planet in Earl 'Crazy Hippy' Blumenauer (I LOVE this guy). Portland's City Council voted on a resolution recognizing the bike industry as a 'target industry' for the city. They have more transit connections, bike lanes, inexpensive-but-super-nice hotels of any bike-friendly city. I mean, just look at the headlines on this page. Who wouldn't want to go to Portland? Oh, did you know what city has the highest number of microbreweries in North America? That's right. F'ing Portland. I'm going to Portland. You hear me Interbike? If you went to Interbike this year (or ever) send them an email saying you want to go to Portland with the crazy Euros. Go here and post a comment or two saying you want to go to Portland (or anywhere that ACTUALLY supports cycling). Tell your suppliers, tell your shop buddies, and bike people, tell US that you want us to do something that supports YOUR sport instead of supporting Vegas. Here's a shot of mtn biking on Mt Hood. Yeah, that looks like it sucks...

Hell, I'd love to get to actually use a lift at a mtn resort than sit around waiting for those trucks to haul us to the top of Bootleg Canyon. That wait got old, to be sure.

So come on kids, let's get together and go to Portland!

And finally, it looks like Jamis is going to come through with some sponsorship for a City Bikes 24 Hour national championship venture. I put the seed in the ground at the last Team Meeting (no not THAT type of team meeting) and we actually might have a team to do four or five of the races. That would be sweet. I picked up that last picture from the Granny Gear website. Too funny.


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