The world of mountain biking is taking off like nothing else I’ve ever seen before. I’ve always been an active kinda guy whether it was white water rafting, rock climbing, snow or water skiing, sports, or being a grunt in the Marines. Many hobbies of various kinds seem to come and go for various reasons but mountain biking is soaring through the roof! And I love it!
I have been approached by some of my co-workers to help or lead them into beginning a bike club. We have a another club already in place (running) but, not everyone enjoys that activity. Heck, I didn’t even when I was a Marine! lol
My question here to you guys is: How do I begin such an enormous undertaking?? This isn’t going to be any kind of official club that has any kind of ties to IMBA or a local SORBA. Are there any guidelines, etc to show how to get this kickstarted? A few mentioned also about doing some beginner classes, etc and I wonder if that’s something where it would be best to bring someone else in.
I’d say one of the best things you can do is to have a weekly scheduled ride that is easy for YOU (assuming you’re starting the club) to make week in, week out. You could get fancy with the schedule, like have it move between locations each week, but that may get confusing.
For instance, my local team/club, Faster Mustache, has a weekly Tuesday night mountain bike ride. It meets every Tuesday, year-round, at 8:30 PM with a 8:40 rollout. If it’s pouring rain when the ride starts, then the ride is technically cancelled, otherwise it’s on! If the weather is cold and shitty, two might show up. In the summer, it could be anywhere from 10-20 riders.
If you take this on as your baby, you’ve got to commit to being there. Once a ride gets established, you can miss it every once in awhile. While I suggested a weekly ride, it could also be every two weeks, or just once a month, just make sure it’s not too sporadic. Consistency is key!
Aaron and Jeff, very sage advice and you both give some great ideas on how to start and to show some key consistency. The one thing I certainly don’t want to happen is anyone getting hurt early in this. And that could mean some “basic training” in a grass field somewhere to teach and observe as they go through the nuances of getting on a mountain bike. I may also challenge/recommend they get in some “road” time for now as well to get in shape before we ever get on some trails. I am the one who brought up the idea about starting something Aaron as a young lady at my work place went out and got a bike and was excited to tell me about it. Most likely I will help get it off the ground and eventually turn it over to someone else just due to locations, logistics, family commitments, etc that come into play. But one thing is for sure: I love mountain biking as much as the air I breathe and it’s imperative to me that those who I know and have around my life learn how to do this exciting sport CORRECTLY so they enjoy it like I do. So in short, I am definitely committed to this. And one thing that really jumps out at me that you mentioned is – consistency. If they don’t see that, then they’re going to think or believe this is not as awesome as we all know it is and the interest will wane quickly.
Nick, I appreciate your feedback as well. Teaching trail care and maintenance is absolutely vital and is something that I plan on making sure they understand. In fact, I am going to highly recommend (in time) that they join their local SORBA and IMBA as well. I think it’s the minimum they can do and, over time I want to make sure they learn to volunteer to work at their local trails.