Our trails, and the organizations that support their development, wouldn’t exist without this amazing MTB community. That means you!
There are so many ways you can help out.
1. Pay Your Dues
If you aren’t already a member of your local mountain bike association, please join up. An individual or family membership with NEMBA not only supports this vital organization, but also opens up a bunch of special discounts, deals, and offers. At the time of this writing, you can get a steep discount on Trailforks, MTB injury insurance, discounts at local campgrounds, bike park discounts, and more.
Another important organization is IMBA, the International Mountain Bicycling Association. Many New England MTB riders are members of NEMBA and IMBA, because we recognize the important work they do not just in building trails, but also in policy and advocacy. IMBA offers memberships at several levels to suit your budget.
You might also have a local chapter that you can donate to directly! There are seven different chapters here in Maine, with many more across New England. Look for your local chapter here.
NEMBA and IMBA aren’t the only ones supporting trail development. Look to your local town or city trail committee and see how you can help. Local land trusts and non-government organizations are often very active as well, and can use all the donations they can get.
Many trails and events depend on volunteers. Stop in at the next trail work day and bring a shovel!
3. Shop Local
Our local bike shops are often deeply involved in the politics, funding, and advocacy of our trails. When you shop local, you’re helping to hold up the foundation of the entire community. If you’re on a shoestring budget, try to make a pledge to yourself to make your next purchase (or bike service) locally!
4. Use Trails Responsibly
Being responsible with how you ride the trails doesn’t cost anything, but it helps.
Try to embrace the ethos of MTB trail etiquette: Be Nice, Respect the Trails, Respect the Signs. Every time a mountain biker clashes with another trail user, it sets back all the work the community is doing.
Independent trail work is also a dangerous idea. You might think you’re helping by raking that new trail in or cutting down that tree, but any significant trail work or modifications should always be in cooperation with the local association. Many trails share private land, and landowners might be inclined to completely shut it down if they see unauthorized trails popping up.
5. Clean Up
Major trail work might be risky business, but cleaning up branches and keeping the trails safe is something we can all help with! If there’s a small tree or branch down across the trail, stop and move it. If somebody left their trash on the trail, pick it up.
Lots of little efforts add up to a huge network of trails that are in great shape. It’s amazing, when Spring rolls around, how quickly thousands of mountain bikers can turn around hundreds of miles of trail with a little effort by everybody.
More Ways to Help
NEMBA has some other great ways you can help.
Aside from throwing around cash, shovels, and tree branches, you can play a part simply by being a good steward and advocate of the trails you ride. Encourage others to get involved, and help spread the love of MTB!