Volunteering

It’s early days but we’re already supporting a number of existing developments and trying to get new projects off the ground. There should be more to come in the near future and we need your support.

VolunteersWhat do volunteers do?

Volunteers are the back bone of our local trails, we’re planning them, designing them, building them, refining them, repairing them and sometimes we even ride them. We take on all sorts of task from the obvious digging to hauling gravel though to building bridges, rock gardens and northshore. Trails hand built by volunteers have a very different feel to the contractor, machine built stuff. We don’t need to clear as many trees maintaining a tighter feeling trail, we don’t churn up the moor land so the riding feels more natural from day one. Most importantly we ride so we already know how a trail should feel, we build it, ride it, then build it a bit more until it’s the trail we want.

Vitally we also maintain the trails we’ve built, regular small scale non-invasive maintenance keeps the trails sweet without having to drag big machinery back to rebuild a wrecked trail. Often it’s (relatively) easy to get funding to build new trails, that’s sexy and the local politicians are more than happy to back new trails and have their photos taken. Repairing what’s already there is far less photo opportunistic but still vital, materials are cheap, labour is not.

Log ChiselWhy Volunteer?

Well you ride the trails so it makes sense that you help build and maintain them – rather simple really! Other than that it’s fun, it’s social and it’s good for you, just like riding. You’re happy enough to go out and get covered in mud and come home knackered on the bike, why not swap a few rides in the year for a couple of dig days.

Volunteers can also contribute directly to unlocking funding for new trails through the work they do. often funding grants are dependant on someone else matching the cash the funding body has put up. Volunteer hours are seen as funding in kind so every hour of volunteer time put in unlocks more cash from the funding bodies to pay for materials or even contractors. Effectively for every metre of trail we put in we can get funding for another metre.

So come and earn your trail pass for the year by building a few extra metres on your local trail.

VolsWho volunteers?

All sorts, we’ve had hardcore riders, weekend warriors, leisure riders, families and dogs out helping. It doesn’t matter if you’ve no experience, aren’t particularly fit or don’t know one end of a spade from the other. The digs are all run by experienced volunteers who will show you the tools and techniques for trail building. Every spade of earth or barrow of gravel you shift is one someone else doesn’t have to, it all adds up.

P.M.B.A. is actively working to support and develop the trail building groups, we’re arranging insurance to cover the diggers and we’re laying on training courses for the dig day leaders including first aid training and on site health and safety training.

Where can I help?

There’s a number of groups locally and the lists growing so you shouldn’t be too far from one.

Gisburn Forest
The Gisburn Forest trail building volunteer group has been going strong now for over seven years. Started by Martin Colledge (beat forester for Gisburn) after he realised that single handedly building the trails would take a while. The volunteers started building before the contractors built the upper loop of the 8 and have continued building ever since. You can keep an eye on the dig days (2nd Sunday of every month) in the Facebook Group

At the last count (Jan 2014) 3.2km of singletrack, berms, bridges, log rides, rock gardens and boardwalk had been hand built and many tonnes of gravel laid in repairs (equivalent to over £100,000 of contractor costs, including the additional cost of trail features and drainage). One of the signature sections of singletrack at Gisburn, Homebaked, was built by the volunteers. The fact it was hand built and not bulldozed through with machinery gives it a very special extra tight and twisty feel. With no need to bring the heavy stuff in, only those trees which had to be removed were. The other key ingredient is the that the trails are built by local riders for local riders. We build, we ride, we tweak. You’ve heard of air guitar, well we practice air handle bars, and yes it does look as nerdy as it sounds but it does work. Fancy building a drop off in the trail, switch backing around those trees or going in the other direction, all you’ve got to do is convince your fellow volunteers on the day and that’s where the trail goes next. The map below shows in blue the sections built by volunteers so far on the bottom loop of the 8.

Healey Nab
Healey Nab’s currently progressing well with an active volunteer dig team. PMBA has put a number of people through first aid training and dig site health and safety training to lead the digs. There is an active Facebook group which is worth keeping an eye on if you ride the Nab or want to help out with maintenance.

Lee and Cragg Quarry
Lee and Cragg quarry have a new maintenance team and are looking for volunteers to come and make a difference. If you want to get involved join the Facebook Group

Singletraction

SingletrAction is a sister group (well more like big brother to be honest) to Pennine Mountain Bike Action. They have been building and maintaining trails across a large part of Yorkshire for a good number of years. They are responsible for the trails at more than 6 separate locations and are regular asked to consult and advise on many new developments across their patch.

 

SingletrAction – Dig Day @ Stainburn, March 2010 from Chris Maloney on Vimeo.

 
 

More info on the Singletraction Website…

 

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