SMBC participated in the IMBA Club Care Workshop last night at the Red Rock Ranger Station. We all learned a whole bunch about the necessary ingredients to build & sustain a successful club. There is a lot to work on and we are going to need people to get involved in taking on some of these tasks. Even the smallest items like getting some cards laid out and printed are important. We also need a few folks to jump in and focus on the ride we have planned for April 22nd. That will be our first chapter ride and will be a lot of fun (food, beer, and more). Probably the most interesting part of the workshop was the presence of two cycling advocacy groups. The Verde Valley Cycling Coalition (an IMBA Affiliate) who has advocated on behalf of road and mountain biking across the Verde Valley and the newly forming Sedona Mountain Bike Club (an IMBA Chapter) which is specifically focused on the unique issues related to mountain biking in and around Sedona. There was a great display of emotion and pride in each organization and some provoking discussion both during and after the workshop. Perhaps some of the most interesting comments were made by the IMBA workshop Trail Care Crew members Jake and Jenny. Their perception of Sedona is that we have a high density of trails (if you include the non-system trails) in and around Sedona. We think it is important to point out that the density of system-only trails was not specifically discussed due to time constraints. We will see them again on Saturday, and will specifically ask them to comment on system-only density during that time. Our IMBA presenters also reiterated their view that continued illegal trail building will have to be addressed in a real way. John Finch (not affiliated with either organization) issued a statement that new non-sanctioned trail building has stopped after a recent meeting of interested locals that he attended. The room was polled for what we wished for. This is something that SMBC has been soliciting on our website for some time as well. We have received some input, but welcome much more. From all the discussion the most pressing thing to work out is how one broad cycling club, who’s mission states, “We believe in the power of coalitions. We embrace partnership with civic, transportation, recreational, educational, social change, health, environmental, business, development and community organization.” will work with our Sedona mountain bike focused club in a constructive way moving forward. Parties agreed to have a detailed discussion with all advocacy stakeholders in the latter half of April. We look forward to building inroads with other organizations where we can best advocate for the Sedona MTB community.
The poll below is a direct translation of topics raised during the meeting and are reflective of individual request, and not specific to IMBA, SMBC, or VVCC, please vote to show what’s most important to you.
Another topic that really hit home in our fractured community was a conversation about ‘single solder” success vs. problems. This part of the presentation illustrated the fact that one man/woman may make some short-term success (trail building at night is an example which was provided), but in the long-term unintentionally cause major problems for bike access and is not necessarily reflective of the community desires. One of the goals of the SMBC is to build consensus in a bottom up approach. Taking the desires of the collective community, funneling them, and expressing them to the regulating agencies as well as other user groups. This is quite the opposite of the single soldier mentality. We have been asked to tell you what we want to do as individuals. So that you can decide if you agree and join, or disagree and abstain. If you need someone to tell you what they think (top down approach), then we have an option for you too. When we take all the feedback from the community and start to move forward with it, you can decide if you agree with where the community is going at that time. Wouldn’t it be better to help decide that direction on the front side though? We certainly think so. Based on what we learned during the workshop, we have some ideas that may help us serve you better. In the coming weeks look for new additions to the website such as “trail conditions”, “hours volunteered”, “system trail maps”, “community trail rating input” and more. Just like your ideas on how the chapter speaks for you, feel free to tell us what the site could do for you as well.
Special thank you to IMBA, Jake, Jenny and Patrick for their time and guidance, to the Red Rocks Ranger District for the use of your facility as a meeting place, and a shout out to the VVCC for initially scheduling the event.
The SMBC and our community of riders