Fall isn’t usually associated with newness – a sentiment usually reserved for Spring. But our visit to the DC area was full of newness and excitement. And we anticipate the sale of a few bikes in the area as a result.
On Friday we participated in the Fall IMBA DC Bike Ride in Occoquan, Virginia. Jake and I rode with the first-timer group comprised of five women who had never before been riding off-road, joined by a few ride leaders from the Mid Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts (MORE). The ride started with some trepidation, a near-endo, and a few exclamations of “This is CRAZY!” Throughout the ride, however, you could see the ladies gaining confidence, picking up speed, tackling new obstacles, enjoying the awesome scenery, and becoming new mountain bike enthusiasts.
Some favorite quotes from the new riders out on the trail:
“It’s like a life lesson: Look at where you want to go, not at the hard stuff.”
“I actually just said ‘WEE’.”
“I felt like I was in a video game!”
And that rider that said, “This is CRAZY” at the beginning of the ride was whooping and hollering as we rode back to the starting point, and yelled out, “Whoo, I feel like I’m FLYING!” Freaking. Awesome. They said they’d love to do it again…and again and again. I hope they have someone who can take them out and help grow their excitement and confidence as they explore new trails and new victories.
Back at Rockburn Branch Park in Elkridge, Maryland, the locals are excited about their brand new pump track and future bike park, which will feature gravity runs, dirt jumps, an advanced singletrack line, a rock garden technical climb, and more. IMBA’s Trail Solutions team is doing the design and construction on the project, which is sure to be a hub for the local riding community, as well as a draw for newcomers to the sport. Like a puppy, while everyone wants cool features and bike parks, not everyone is willing or able to take care of them. It’s important to develop a culture of care around pump tracks, dirt jumps, and similar features. You ride, you dig. Being a completely new thing for folks in this area, we did a session on Sunday to go over how to maintain the pump track on an ongoing basis.
If that wasn’t enough, it looks like more singletrack is in the near future for these folks too. In the Avalon section of Patapsco Valley State Park, the land managers have agreed to open the hiking-only trails up to mountain biking once a couple of key reroutes are completed. We flagged in their top priority reroute, but a bad turn in the weather prevented us from tackling the field project during our visit. Nonetheless, it looks like riders in the area will soon have a few more miles of trail to hit in one of their favorite riding spots.
So, people are stoked, and the local bike shops may just be selling a few more mountain bikes and dirt jump rigs next season. Good stuff. Big thanks to MORE for having us out and for their support on the DC Bike Ride!