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This Is How It Gets Done

A scant 3.5 years ago┬áthe MMBA Metro North chapter, now known as CRAMBA-IMBA, finished completion of the first phase of official mountain bike trails at Shelby Township‘s River Bends Park. Today we had another trail work day to give the trail a nice autumn cleanup and the rerouting of a couple problematic spots.

It’s pretty amazing to me how things like this come together. A group of us, who generally all get along and work well with each other, came together and worked to make something that we enjoy even better. Even though the specific mechanics still baffle me, this is how it seems to work: people with a wide variety of skills but a common interest come together, self-organize, then volunteer their time building publicly accessible facilities that the entire community can enjoy.

As a community we essentially have two ways of making new public resources exist: we can either pay for something (via taxes, with all the overhead of getting this to happen), or we can make it happen ourselves doing the work without direct compensation, something generally known as volunteering. Parks typically don’t know what mountain bikers actually want, so for building new bike-accessible trails the best way is for us to get like-minded folks together and work with the parks to make it happen. This is what we did, and just like countless other locales across the country there are now trails that we all enjoy.

The trails at River Bends aren’t particularly challenging, but more people than I can remember have told me about getting started riding these trails. This was the goal, and it makes me, and surely everyone who has worked on these trails, very proud. We do good work.

(The photo above shows, from left to right, a number of people who were out at today’s trail day. In the top row: Mark Johnson, Erik Silvassy, Mark Senyk, Roger Class, Mike White, Rob Wedding, Bob Costello, Jeremy Verbeke (Co-Trail Coordinator at River Bends), Rodney Gullett, and Deanna Velasco. Second row: Aaron Burgess, Steve Vigneau (me, the other Co-Trail Coordinator at River Bends), Art Fleming, and Jeremy Kozak. Down in front is Jude, who is Mike White’s son and a perpetual presence at trail work days. Not pictured are the folks who were had to leave early or were out grabbing food for the rest of us, including Greg Kuhn, Chris Goddard, Erik Silvassy, Kristi Heuvers, Erick Mile, Katie Mile, Nick Shue, Marty Shue, or Pete Kresmery.)

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