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Portland, Maine: The Sweet Spot

The Greater Portland Chapter of NEMBA has only been around since last fall. To our delight, they’ve already hit the sweet spot; they're a group that is already ‘in the flow’.

We talk about flow about a third of the way through our Saturday morning session. It’s an abstract idea that we’ve always attached to the physical attributes of a trail. This past weekend our perspective was redefined when a hand shot up during this particular section of the Trailbuilding School. Damon, a local rider, shared “flow relates to something called the scale of challenge. It’s the sweet spot between anxiety and boredom.” If you think about it, the idea of ‘flow’ transcends the trails we ride on; it can also apply to the way we operate in the world of mountain bike advocacy.

The GP NEMBA folks are rockin’ that flow with steam. They are bright, balanced, and in the midst of building a very strong mountain bike advocacy presence in the great state of Maine. Our Club Care session on Friday evening is a good example of the positive direction in which the group is headed. Check out their current list of goals:

- Preserve Land from Development – avoid opportunities lost (potential places to build trails)

-Build Relationships with Land Managers – these folks are looking to make connections to small pieces of open land and develop trails

- Build fun trails to ride, mountain bike specific trails - provide a different experience than the current multi-use trails provide

- Build better trails that have more sustainability – ride more, maintain less

- Improve Cash Flow, Leverage Money – A local bike shop recently organized a movie night (Follow Me). The proceeds went to GP NEMBA to host our Trail Care Crew visit.

- Succession Planning – Build a sustainable club that carries on after the current leadership steps aside

As you can see, they have a handle on that thing called the Triangle of Advocacy. Nothing seems to daunting or dull; each goal is an integral piece of the big picture.

The main event of the weekend was the Trailbuilding School, hosted in the town of Falmouth. After congregating in one of the local churches, we rallied on a newly acquired piece of open space to work on some brand new trail. 30 volunteers put in some serious sweat equity to hike into the site and then spend a few hours digging in the dirt. By the end of the session they discovered the joy of beautiful singletrack and tired muscles. Afterwards, we recharged with a plate full of fresh lobster and some fizzy drinks; a fitting end to a wonderful visit in Maine.

Thanks to Greater Portland NEMBA for a fantastic schedule of events, food, and good fun! Thanks also to everyone who attended the Thursday night ride, Friday Club Care, and Saturday trailbuilding events.

Special thanks to Scott and Sunny at the Freakin’ Inn (get it your freakin’ self). Your hospitality was out-of-this-world!

Photos here.

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