Another weekend, another location, another Trailbuilding School. Every Saturday is exciting, inspiring, and full of fun. This past weekend we stopped in Flagstaff, Arizona to work with FBO – Flagstaff Biking Organization. Aside from bringin’ the trail education, we also had the great pleasure to speak to a really dynamic subject – gravity.
Over the course of the last two years we’ve seen and ridden a lot of different trails. For the most part, they serve a majority of the mountain bike population, but not every single rider. It’s our view that beginners and expert riders tend to be the most underserved in our sport. Collectively, we need to think seriously about two ideas; lowering the barrier of entry for new or less skilled riders and plan for the folks who continue to reach the highest levels of the stratosphere.
On Saturday evening after building trails, we took part in a public discussion regarding the gravity experience. We kicked off the conversation by sharing IMBA’s definition of freeride, our view on the subject, and explored some common objections to this style of riding. Finally, we shared some places around the US that have implemented successful projects. I’m pretty sure I was shouting (with joy) at the crowd, but I was just so thrilled to see a room full of people who were willing to talk, listen, and advocate for downhill/freeride/gravity riding.
We were followed by Anthony Quintile from FBO and local land managers who addressed current projects and future actions. Together with the rest of the community they have all been working on the where, when, and how to plan and accommodate for this style of riding.
It was pretty amazing for us to sit back and listen to an active discussion, full of realistic expectations. Everyone in the room seemed to understand the level of effort involved to make this kind of riding happen. They will surely find success due to a couple of key elements:
Organization – Flagstaff Gravity Riders are part of Flagstaff Biking Organization (FBO).
Bringing Solutions – FBO/FGR are actively participating in the planning, design, and funding of various projects.
Commitment – The projects that FBO/FGR are working towards won’t happen next week. However, they realize that they will have far better trails and experiences by being dedicated to their cause.
And finally. The most powerful thing that FGR/FBO is doing is to Educate and Advocate. By taking the time to meet with land managers and the community, they have been able to help everyone better understand who they are and what they want.
Get ready Flagstaff. Good gravity is coming your way.
BIG Thanks to Anthony and Steph, our awesome hosts. Thanks to FBO/FGR for your support of our visit. Thanks to the USFS for providing a room to talk and a trail to build. Thanks to all the Saturday volunteers for listening and working. And finally, thanks to everyone who attended the gravity/freeride discussion – it was awesome!
Photos from the weekend: