Building true beginner trails is harder than building any other kind of trail. Steve and I are intermediate/advanced-level mountain bikers, so naturally, we love building trails that we would love to ride. But we also like getting new riders into the sport. It’s important to remember that new riders will fall in love with mountain biking if they can ride a trail that’s fun, easy and leaves them wanting more.
As we learned last year during IMBA’s Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day, kids and true beginner mountain bikers have special requirements. A trail suited for true beginners is a bit wider (three feet, perhaps), pretty mellow in grade (they won’t want to climb trails steeper than maximum five to six percent grade and for no longer than 100-200 feet), and they probably don’t want to ride more than two miles, if that.
The success of a both bike shops and mountain bike organizations relies on attracting new mountain bikers to singletrack trails. The best way to do this is through approachable, close-to-home trails that give everyday joeys the mountain bike bug.
Rule of thumb: when building beginner trails, if it seems too easy, it isn’t! We’re building the future of the sport with these trails.
We built a beginner trail in Coeur d’Alene, ID this weekend with the Lake City Trail Builders Association at the Bureau of Land Management’s Blue Creek Bay. Thanks to all who attended to make the school and build session a success.
Hope you had a good Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day! Don’t forget to post videos and photos on IMBA’s Facebook page to win sweet goodies for kids.