Perhaps you’re familiar with the meme, “When I get sad, I stop being sad and be awesome instead.” As goofy as that may sound, it’s a good reminder for any organization that’s facing challenges. Each week, we meet with a new advocacy organization, most typically a mountain bike club. Each club faces obstacles, some unique to their area or situation, but most following common themes – low community support and involvement, overwhelmed and burnt out leadership, personality clashes, communication breakdowns, lack of funding, and any number of other difficulties.
It’s easy to become discouraged and let these frustrations bog you down. People lock horns and dig their heels in over differences, or tired and frustrated members throw in the towel and walk away. The organizations that thrive in the long run are those that can face these challenges head-on and work together to overcome them. Sometimes you have to step back, take stock, and assess where things are going right and where they need tweaking. And then get to tweaking. Be open to input and fresh perspectives, and don’t let things get personal. In the end, we all want the same things – to have cool places to ride our bikes and cool people to ride them with. Getting together as a club is a means to achieving and enriching those things.
Redding Mountain Biking, the hosts for our visit this past weekend, like many clubs, has faced its share of challenges since its inception in the late 90’s. In spite of that, they have been effective advocates for mountain biking in the area. They have established successful partnerships with local land managers, offer weekly group rides and regular skills clinics, and in 2010 they took over the Lemurian Shasta Classic mountain bike race. They have a wonderful group of dedicated, enthusiastic, and friendly folks who earnestly want to make good things happen in their community. Even in the face of challenges, rather than buckling under the potential frustration, they are choosing to forge ahead in good spirits and be awesome instead.
And they could use your help! Get involved. Join. Donate. Volunteer. Participate. A little or a lot – whatever your life and schedule allow. Whatever your skill set and time allowance, there’s something you can contribute, on a one-time or ongoing basis. You will be rewarded with new friends and riding buddies, new trails to ride, fun events to attend, and the gratification of knowing you’re giving back to mountain biking in your community. Go forth and be awesome!
View pictures from our visit below: