The term “Trail Magic” is most often associated with the Appalachian Trail and refers to seemingly small, but largely impactful acts of kindness that happen trail-side (picking up trash, offering up extra food, being nice to strangers). This year, we’d like to introduce you to the Mountain Bike Edition of Trail Magic and 6 simple ways to spread it.
1. Be a Good Human
Let’s start with the most basic and obtainable forms of trail magic; Being a Good Human. Say “hi” to other trail users, understand trail etiquette and follow it, drive slowly in and out of the trailhead, pick up litter, and avoid riding in trail-damaging conditions.
Share these basic rules with your friends, family, and kids and don’t be afraid to (kindly) mention them to a fellow trail-user (who’s not a stranger because you’ve just waved and said hello!). Staying on positive terms with other trail users will allow mountain bikers to maintain and even improve access to our favorite riding areas. And you never know what a difference a simple “Hello / Howdy / Yay bikes!” can do to brighten another rider’s day.
2. Connect with Your Trail Organization
No. Those trails you’re riding were not stomped in by flow-seeking reindeer. Nor were they chiseled away by tiny elves with pick-axes. Head to Trailforks to find a trail near you, scroll down to “Local Trail Organization” and voila! Those are the generous souls that build, maintain and advocate for the trails you ride. Become a member, sign up for their newsletter, follow them on social media, let them know when you see an issue like a downed tree, and, most importantly, stay in the loop on all the different ways you can get involved at your local level. There’s no better place to spread trail magic than in your own backyard!
3. Show Up and Dig In!
Now that you know about all the volunteer opportunities thanks to your new friends at your local trail organization, it’s time to show up to a dig party! As you play in the dirt shoveling, tamping, and molding the singletrack, you’ll find yourself getting lost in the process and uncovering a fresh appreciation for the trail. When the time comes to ride that section, the payoff is a whole new level of rewarding and you are guaranteed to feel the magic!
Bonus points for the upper body and core workout!
4. Inspire the Next Generation of Mountain Bikers
Seeing the world through a kid’s eyes is always a treat. Seeing the singletrack through their eyes, however, is a gold mine. Become a Little Bellas mentor, volunteer at a Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day event, or ride sweep at a NICA race and transport yourself back in time to when you were just discovering the freedom, exhilaration and connection with nature that a bicycle gives you. Kids need to see that growing up doesn’t mean you have to stop playing and we know you’re up for that task! You might just find yourself feeling like a kid again.
5. Share your Love of Bikes with _____ Generation of Mountain Bikers
More comfortable hanging out with folks your own age? Get involved with a local ride or advocacy group. Offer to lead a group ride (more on that here), show up and support your local shop ride, or grab a neighbor, loan them your old bike and a helmet and introduce them to the sport.
Some of our favorites local groups to ride with are: Girls Gone Riding (San Diego, CA), Sorella Cycling (Atlanta, GA), and Girls Rock (Santa Cruz, CA).
A dollar can go a long way in this day and age. Giving up just one $4 soy vanilla latte can help your favorite bike non-profit spread their own special trail magic. Consider supporting your local trail management group or cycleing club or checkout the trail magic happening at World Bicycle Relief, People For Bikes, Project Bike Love, and Outride,
So there you have it. Lots of ways, big and small, to spread trail magic. Now don’t be shy! Tell us, how do YOU spread trail magic?
I was actually surprised to learn so many little tricks!
Last Sunday I went to the Intermediate/Advanced mountain bike skills class in Malibu and loved it! I bike quite a...
Last Sunday I went to the Intermediate/Advanced mountain bike skills class in Malibu and loved it! I bike quite a bit and feel comfortable doing pretty tough trails, but I had never learned proper riding technique. This clinic focused on the skills needed to properly ride obstacles and how to ride them with maximum efficiency. I'm a professional drum instructor and I really enjoyed Richard's teaching methods. He not only showed us how to do something, but WHY we should do it. It really makes the information stick! Kris was great too, super motivating! I was actually surprised to learn so many little tricks and can't wait to practice them on my own! I'd love to go to another clinic or do a one on one session soon. ~Andrew T.
I love to ride bikes, and I love to ride them fast. After some years of road riding, I decided...
I love to ride bikes, and I love to ride them fast. After some years of road riding, I decided (read: my boyfriend suggested) that I should give mountain biking a try. And not just weekend lah-de-dah, pack-a-peanut-butter-and-jelly-sandwich mountain biking--I decided I was going to RACE mountain bikes. After all, it couldn't be THAT hard, could it? I mean, I knew how to ride/race a bike, I had great fitness, and I had a totally sweet custom-built race mountain bike (courtesy of said boyfriend). So I signed up for a local race series. Well, several races and countless crashes later (and, allegedly even some tears--although I will deny it to my grave), I wanted to put the kibosh on my mountain bike race career. I had so many cuts, scrapes, gashes, and bruises that you'd have thought I was trying to bring the "mummy" look back into style with all my bandages. (Honestly, I should have bought stock in Band-aids and Advil.) And those were just the external wounds.... My pride/ego and my psyche took a big hit, too, and not even my beautiful series overall winner trophy could take that pain away (yes, I did win, but it wasn't pretty). I just couldn't understand how I could be so terrible at something (ie, how I completely lacked the bike handling skills to navigate around a course crash-free). However, instead of heeding my calls to sell/destroy/part-out my mountain bike--which at that point I had taken to calling "That Stupid Bike"-- my boyfriend suggested that I take a mountain bike skills class with Ninja Mountain Bike Skills. (My boyfriend....he is so full of suggestions). So, in March 2013 I took the Beginner Level 1 class and, wow! Boyfriend's idea was great (for once)! What an amazing and transformative experience. I had...
Aaron Lucy ran an AMAZING training camp,even as an experienced rider I learned all kinds of new skills about corning,...
Aaron Lucy ran an AMAZING training camp,even as an experienced rider I learned all kinds of new skills about corning, technical riding up and down trails, even properly setting my shocks for my exact body weight and riding style! Aaron knows his stuff and I highly encourage anyone even considering a training session to get on it! I use the skills I learned almost constantly when I ride (about once a week!) ~Bruce Barnes
I recently took the intermediate/advanced clinic. It was excellent and would recommend it to anyone who is looking to improve...
I recently took the intermediate/advanced clinic. It was excellent and would recommend it to anyone who is looking to improve their skills. All the instructors were great and made the clinic very fun and informative. ~Greg E.
They took time to explain the reasons behind what they were teaching …
I recently attended the Ninja Mountain Bike Performance -Jumping mini-clinic on March 10 along with Sorellas Jean Miller and Robin...
I recently attended the Ninja Mountain Bike Performance -Jumping mini-clinic on March 10 along with Sorellas Jean Miller and Robin Allen, another lady, and a few good men. The instructors at the clinic went above and beyond for us ladies and the entire group. During the clinic the instructors demonstrated the skills multiple times and then let us practice as we pleased. They were excellent at providing insight and recommendations as to how we could improve. They took time to explain the reasons behind what they were teaching and the variances based on rider size and body mechanics. I cannot say enough how they helped us ladies figure out how to correct our body position and land the jumps exceptionally. At one point it began to rain and after making sure we wanted to continue, they made sure the conditions were safe, checking the ramp and ensuring our safety. We were unable to finish the trail part of the clinic due to the rain and risk of damaging the trails, which they were considerate of as well. However, the instructors are allowing us to continue at another clinic anywhere they teach. How awesome is that! Rarely will you get another chance to continue something once you start it. Just another kudo to this company. Professional, kind, knowledgeable and one of a kind. Just the key elements you want from a mountain bike clinic. Be sure and check them out, you will not be disappointed! ~Emily Davenport
We are a group of passionate, dirt-loving, community oriented, world class mountain bike skills instructors committed to helping you reach your personal riding goals through clinics and camps. We are excited to work with riders of all ability levels and share the joy (STOKE) of mountain biking.