In our 2020 closing letter we talked about the positive side of the growth mountain biking is seeing (besides product delays). We predicted that the MTB community is going to get a bigger seat at the table when it comes to recreational land development, MTB specific trails, bike parks, pump tracks, etc. Well... it's happening.
It's been said that the future belongs to the kids. We're proud to have a rider, who when he's not showing up riders twice or more his age, or editing footage for his Youtube channel (just hit 5K followers), or at school, he's kicking doors down on behalf of Gateway Off Road Cyclist's "GORC", in his home state of Missouri. Justin Rausch, AKA @One_MTB is the future of this sport. When he rides, people watch. When he talks, people listen. So if he wasn't busy enough, we asked him to talk about the changes he's helping to implement...
2020 was an interesting year for the biking community and many people rediscovered the fun of riding bikes with family. At home schooling led to many lunchtime rides for kids all over the country. But 2020 wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for the mountain biking community. Bikes became hard to get for shops and customers alike. Bike Mechanics were overbooked with work. Even more frustrating, rides with friends became really difficult and less frequent due to social distancing. While frustrating at times, 2020 brought more good than bad to the mountain biking community which means the future is bright for the rest of 2021.
As a grom in 2021, I have met more riding buddies my age than I have ever met before. It seems that many BMX kids are discovering mountain biking and adding it to their list of favorite things to do. At the beginning of the pandemic, many kids picked up mountain biking as a way to fight boredom. This year, these kids are turning this pastime into a lifestyle and the biking community is more than stoked to support them.
More people riding bikes has led to community support for RAD trail projects. Along with more progressive local trails with features to entertain kids and adults, communities are pushing for entire parks dedicated to mountain biking. In Missouri where I live, the first shuttled downhill park with world class trails is set to open in early April. Shepherd Mountain Bike Park is built and designed by Jagged Axe Trail Designs with the Help of GORC Gravity. It has unique terrain that will rival the best parks in the nation. The excitement for this park has led other neighboring communities to jump on the stoke train and more bike parks are in the planning stages.
With the lifting of some Covid-19 restrictions, bike races are starting to resume. This combined with the new bike parks has made for an exciting time. For the first time in the entire Midwest, the Big Mountain Enduro will host a race in this area. The BME Shepard Mountain Enduro will mean a lot to the community of Acadia Valley, which is nestled at the bottom of the mountain. The many riders and fans will bring much needed revenue to the community.
Racing is not only for pro downhill and enduro riders though. The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) is starting again this year and is exploding in popularity. Record numbers of groms are signing up to race and nearly as many parents are signing up to coach. This is an AWESOME way for families across the nation to get on two wheels.
2021 will prove that the stoke for mountain biking was not just a flash in the pan. There are riders all across the country just like me who cannot wait to see what the future holds.
SHRED FOR LIFE, PEACE,
One little plug we're gonna throw in here. We are partnering with Traction Coffee Roasters to raise money for GORC and a few other trial advocacy groups. You can read more about it here.