If we don't help, who will?One very important aspect for an off-road cyclist is trail repair and regular maintenance. Since these routes are often susceptible to the ravages of nature and the seasons, they require constant upkeep and attention. Tasks such as clearing downed limbs or trees, repairing or rebuilding bridges, re-establishing trails through and around washouts, building or keeping water bars clear and conditioning trail surfaces are just some of what these off-road routes need at various times of the year.
Most trails we ride fall under the jurisdiction and management of various public agencies but as many of us know, budgets for things like sufficient manpower and equipment for the purpose of adequate upkeep can be very tight these days. These agencies more often than not rely on free labor and even tools and and materials to supplement public resources. Without volunteers, especially mountain bikers willing to wield a shovel or trailer a chainsaw and gas, trails would likely fall into serious disrepair for all users.
A way to look at this need is to consider it a way to give back to your outdoor community, doing your part to protect our precious natural outdoor resources, and to preserve the trails you love to ride. Beside keeping the trail accessible, it will have many other benefits, including generating goodwill with other user groups. It may be a great way to meet people who know the trails best. It will certainly give a sense of pride in knowing you have done something that many people may take for granted or not fully understand how it got done, but appreciate nonetheless. Plus, you may be a part of building a new section of trail specific for bikers or one that connects other great trails.
So, volunteer to help with trails in your area. Check with the public agencies who manage the land and trails as these agencies often have volunteer opportunities that will suit you. Give 'em a call or check websites. Locate your local mountain biking or trail association, join and get involved with the process of protecting your off-road outlets. You'll feel pretty great!
Oh, and if you take some pics, post 'em here.