Bikes, Beer, BBQ, and Banjos
We talk to local bike clubs about the three corners on the “triangle of advocacy”: physical advocacy, social advocacy, and political advocacy. A balance among the three is needed to keep clubs and a local mountain biking community sustainable and moving forward.
Physical advocacy – Check!
- Miles and miles of sustainable trail designed and cut in by club volunteers, across multiple parks
- Recognized by the Indiana DNR as knowledgeable trail consultants and responsible stewards and ambassadors
- Educating others about responsible recreation and sustainable trail building
- Appointing representatives from the club to act as trail stewards for specific sites
- Utilizing professional trail building resource, Spectrum Trail Design, to extend reach and facilitate progress
Social advocacy – Check!
- Variety of fun events held throughout the year, with the help of Sub-9 Productions (also run by HMBA members).
- Events draw attendees from around the country and grow with each passing year, some drawing more than 500 people.
- Funds raised at some of these events put money back into HMBA for advocacy and trail work.
- The increasingly renowned Brown County Breakdown is the HMBA’s largest annual fundraising event, raising as much as $20k in one weekend of festivities.
- HMBA knows how to have a good time, welcome new people into the fold, and go BIG!
Political advocacy – Check!
- HMBA has a great partnership with the Indiana DNR, working with them for years on gaining access for mountain bike trails in Indiana state parks.
- Following the great success of the singletrack trail system at Brown County State Park, the DNR is anxious for HMBA to build trail in other state parks across Indiana – a great example of the shift from resources outweighing opportunity, to opportunity outweighing resources to build trail.
- In addition to appointing a trail steward for each park, HMBA has an appointed Trail Advocacy representative to stay on top of access issues, DNR relationships, and other advocacy matters.
- HMBA has secured several grants to fund trail projects. Effective fundraising has enabled them and the DNR to contract with Spectrum Trail Design for professionally machine-built trails.
- HMBA has received awards from the DNR for their excellent work on Indiana’s trails.
We were very impressed with the HMBA – their savvy, hard work, perseverance, expertise, hospitality, and commitment. The Brown County Breakdown was a blast, filled with fantastic riding, rockin’ live bluegrass, free beer, great grub (including a post-ride pig roast), bike demos, and great people. Extra special thanks to Tania and Jonathan Juillerat for inviting us and setting us up with camping gear!
If you’re ever in the vicinity of Brown County, Indiana, check out the local trails. They’re beautiful. They’re fun. They’re worth a trip. Put the Brown County Breakdown on your calendar for next year. And if you want to learn more about how to build a mountain biking community and sustainable club, take a page out of HMBA’s book. DIALED.