And it’s in… California???
I’ve got to be honest and say that I don’t enjoy many mountain bike videos, or edits as they are called these days apparently 🙂
But yesterday I watched one that really made me think.
No, it wasn’t the gap jumps, the triple somersaults, or even the skidding rear tyres in a cloud of dust to the sound of bad trash metal. In fact it had none of these.
The Trail Stewards of the Lost Sierra is a film about erm… trail stewards. Yup, people that build and maintain trails. But the message is so much bigger than that. It’s about a community working together to bring sustainable tourism to an area with few jobs (ring any bells?). It’s about getting people out into the outdoors, where they can get and stay healthy and enjoy the beauty of the place they grew up in. And it’s about educating the local kids that there is stuff to do…
And if all this isn’t enough in itself, there’s something else.
The trails they build and maintain aren’t just for mountain biking, but for hikers (walking to you and me), horseback riders (no need for translation there) and even motorbikes. Yes, they are all working together! And as a result, there’s a level of mutual respect and understanding that is just so missing in so many places in the UK. Just see the story of Surrey’s Summer Lightning if you’re not sure what I mean *.
This started off as a bunch of guys trying to look after a few trails and ended up as an NGO with people that travel from out of state to help out, and a series of socials and competitions that help glue it all together.
Back home, it’s fantastic to see so many local groups now being set up to represent mountain biking with various authorities, landowners etc. There have been some great achievements and things are definitely going in the right direction.
But having seen this film, I wonder if we couldn’t be aiming much higher? Could this kind of thing work here? Or is it really an unrealistic model and something we could never achieve in the UK?
The film in question is here
[vimeo 98398651 w=500 h=281]
It’s well worth a watch and I’d love to hear of any success stories like this in the UK. Or perhaps just ideas about how we could go about creating them for the future?
Tom Hutton is a mountain bike journalist/photographer and guide. He runs www.tomhuttonmtb.co.uk who specialise in mountain bike breaks in Wales and across the UK.