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EMBA November 2023 Newsletter

Season in Review

Another Spring/Summer trail season wraps up and now is a great opportunity to share with you, valued EMBA member what we got up to this year.


We have a new contributor to the newsletter and it's his first crack at it. Send in your kudos, kriticisms, spellchecking and suggestions to trails@edmmtnbike.ca. Our newsletter took a longer break than we hoped for, but we plan to get back on a regular publication cycle. We also want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who volunteered their time and hard efforts to make Edmonton a great place to bike.

The EMBA Executive

 

My first year on the EMBA executive

by Gavin Radzick


I got into mountain biking in the early 90s and at that time, we gave no thought as to how trails showed up – let alone got maintained. Not longer after, there was talk of banning mountain bikes and some of us tried to make a conscious effort to ring our bells and say ‘hello’ when we passed pedestrians.


I can’t remember how I had heard about EMBA (probably through a friend) and it was another year or two before I actually joined and paid my 20 bucks. That was the extent of my involvement.


My kids are now in post-secondary and apart from housework and my garden, I have time on my hands. A few of us that live by Mustang groom those trails in the winter for fatbiking. Other riders would see us snowshoeing and pulling our groomers made out of 2x4’s and thank us for our efforts. I’d pass people out walking their dogs and they thought the city groomed the track. They were really happy we did this and in my small way, that was my first experience of being an ambassador for us.


I started out benefitting from others’ hard work and now I wanted to give back to the community. I wanted to make mountain biking in Edmonton better. I wanted our fatbike grooming to get better. I went to Squamish to ride. If you’ve never been, you should go. Mountain bikers are 1st class citizens there, not 3rd class. I got a tiny bit angry about how we’re perceived here. Maybe a lot of people start volunteering after a dose of altruism and frustration.


From getting a $20 membership, my next step was to volunteer at a trail night. My first one was on Dirty Mattress and Blue Man group. Jesse ran the night. He’s a part of the new local legends in the city. I interview him in the next lengthy article in this edition. He’s a super cool guy who knows a lot about trail building and loves working on trails. On my 2nd trail night we worked on my home track at Mustang.


Like my trips to Whistler, working on the trails changed me as a rider. I now paid attention to the condition of a trail. I gained a whole new appreciation for the ‘trail fairies’ who keep the trails you ride and enjoy in great shape. I was hooked on this helping-out thing.


I met some EMBA board members on rides and thought I’d have to get ‘Vote Pedro’ buttons and go door knocking. I attended the AGM in March (it was really interesting) and me being me, I asked a tonne of questions. During the mixer, a few of the board members told me if I wanted to volunteer on the board, I just need to attend the next Zoom call. It was that easy.

I don’t know a thing about trail maintenance, so I joined the board in hopes of helping with sales, marketing and PR. Hearts and minds stuff. Getting those thankful people on the groomed fatbike track on our side.

 

River Valley Alliance Trail Naming Ceremony

If you don’t know, our President is Joe Yurkovich. In a future edition, I’ll write about him. He’s OG EMBA and when you hear his story, you’ll know why he's the perfect President for us.


The River Valley Alliance www.rivervalley.ab.ca is a collection of 6 municipalities with the objective of building a continuous trail between Devon and Fort Saskatchewan. They were behind the pedestrian bridge from Terwillegar to Oleskiw. We’re talking serious dollars and serious political clout. They had a trail naming day on May 11 https://rivervalley.ab.ca/events/rva-trail-name-announcement-ceremony/ and Joe got an invite. I offered to tag along and be his sidekick.


Joe’s a downtown lawyer, so he had on a suit. I work in the ‘burbs, so I put on a suit. The Mayor was there. He walked up to us and said “Hi Joe”. The mayor knows this guy. Joe introduced me to his worship. Later on, Councillor Ashley Salvador chatted us up. She’s one of our biggest proponents. If you see her, tell her you’re an EMBA member and pass along a ‘thank you’.


Me in the blue suit ready to spontaneously combust. Source: The Sherwood Park News

We sat out in the baking sun in our suits, listening to the presentation and making our rounds. This is what Trail Advocacy looks like and this is what’s keeping the city from ticketing you on Moonraker.

 

Edmonton Mountain Bike Film Fest

On our board, Josh is the guy that knows everyone in the mountain bike community. He’s a ride lead for Mud, Sweat and Gears and his big project is the bike park. Vixen Racing MTB talked to Josh and they wanted to do a fundraiser. Their idea was to hold Edmonton’s first ever film festival. It was at Garneau Theatre and it went off like a bang. The place holds 527 seats and I think almost 500 attended. It felt like there were 501 people in the beer lineup before the show.

Adele running the show

Josh needed someone to help out Adele from Vixen Racing and I figured this was as close to sales, marketing and PR as I was gonna get. I met Adele, she gave me posters and sent me on my way. Cranky’s is close to my place and I stopped in to drop off a poster. I wasn’t sure what their reaction would be. They loved the idea! Cranky’s is one of the shops that gives you a 10% discount on regular-priced gear. Go buy something from them and pass along a ‘thank you’.

Pretty impressive fundraising!

Vixen Racing MTB raised $7,000 for the bike park and the event went way beyond anyone’s expectations. I hope they do it next year and I hope you help them out. If you see Adele and her crew, pass along as many ‘thank you’s’ as you can.

 

EMBFest

EMBFEst was down at Queen Elizabeth Park and EMBA had a booth there. If you stopped by, maybe you talked to me. If you went home and bought a membership after hearing my sales pitch, I would like to pass on a ‘thank you’ to you. I told you that membership is $25 and hopefully you were pleasantly surprised when you saw they’re only $20. Over-promise, I always say.

Trail day at EMBFest
 

Camel Humps

John is an engineer and our Treasurer. He’s also been tasked with Communications, IT and 5 other things I can’t remember. One of John’s hidden talents is posting trail night announcements on social media. After my blowout summer, I finally had time to get back to this volunteering thing. John posted this announcement on Camel Humps and who can say no to it, right?

Just like old times, Jesse ran the trail night. I hate to admit it, but I had actually never ridden Camel Humps. It’s super fun and worth the climb. It runs well if you come out of Mill Creek and hit it.


Jesse has a buddy who lives close by and at the end of the night, we gathered in his backyard for beer and hot dogs. Everyone loved it. I loved it. This is what I want to do. Grill up hot dogs. Help make trail nights fun and social. Make mountain bikers feel like they’re a part of a community. Jesse’s hidden talent is making trail work fun. And track stands.

 

Mustang

When you volunteer and you open up your big mouth, you’ll be rewarded with work and responsibility. I emailed the board about muddy spots on Mustang and GO trail. And that’s how I got voluntold to run my very first trail night as an AAT lead.


We got approved by the city to do dirt work, which is serious business. Pretty much everyone out that night knew more about dirt work and drainage than I did. But I had a blast and got hooked on that too. And I grilled up hot dogs for the volunteers afterwards. Mostly because I wanted to, and partly because John promised that in the trail night posting.


Newsletter

So here we are. I put up my hand to write the newsletter and hopefully I get to write the next edition. At our last meeting I pitched the idea of organized fatbike grooming and a bunch of other stuff this winter. They said, "sure, go for it". Just like joining the board, it was that easy.


During my first year I learned that the board puts an incredible amount of work into this. But you don’t need to give us your life. Just give us 2 hours on a Friday night. Get your riding buddies to join EMBA. Buy your bike stuff from shops that support EMBA. A little help goes a long way. At this time next year, I hope I get to interview you after your first trail night, your first AAT lead or your first year on the board.

 

November 2023 Updates from EMBA


Don't have a membership yet? Get one today:


 
Courtesy Trailforks

Did you know?

Around 2012 the city heard concerns from an environmental group about The Trap, which runs up the ridge in Mill Creek ravine. The trail crosses a wetland section (or wettish section) used by a species of frog unique to the area.


This was at a time when EMBA started establishing a formal relationship with the city. The shape of this bridge is considered a 'feature', which is normally not approved. Gary Ogletree and EMBA proposed that the bridge would be a Wildlife Overpass. The city accepted this proposal and marks one of first times a wood structure was officially recognized.

 

2023 Season in Review: Trail Maintenance

EMBA’s two main roles are trail advocacy and trail maintenance. Jesse Seright oversees trail maintenance and he’s the AAT Coordinator. AAT stands for ‘Adopt-A-Trail’. Jesse is our liason to the City of Edmonton for trail work.


Jesse had a busy year and is happy to report that we:

  • Organized over 650 volunteer hours

  • Ran 18 Trail Nights on:

Science Park

Lovers Lane

Victoria’s Secret

Back Breaker and Root Canal

Gnome Trail

Gold digger

Hustler

The Pete’s

Andre’s and Happy Endings

Dirty Mattress and West Coast

Fireman’s Descent

Camel Humps

Mustang

Oldtimers

Wonder woman

  • Added 12 new rakes to our tool lineup and we also acquired 6 new Milwaukee batteries for the hedge trimmers and grass trimmers. And some watering cans

  • Added 3 new AAT Leads

 

What’s an AAT Lead, you ask?

They organize, host and run trail nights for us. We actually need more AAT Leads next year and you can put up your hand by emailing us to aatlead@edmmtnbike.ca

We run AAT Lead training every Spring and we’ll teach you everything you need to know about leading a group. Jesse emphasizes that there is NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY. We just need you to be eager and have a good attitude. We also give you $10 per person for your volunteers towards food and drink after the trail night.

Jesse also wanted to mention that when the trails are too wet to ride, they are perfect for trimming and maintenance. Take care of the trails you ride and they will take care of you! There’s no need to be intimidated or nervous. We’ll train you and set you up for success.

 

We can always use more volunteers and we didn’t get to work on:

GO Trail (the mud holes are getting unruly)

Holy Trail

EMP

Kinsmen

University area, below High Level

Those are on deck for 2024, along with a bunch of other stuff



Jesse's a trail guru and track stand wizard

A Year of Trail Nights

In terms of a year, Jesse spends April and May planning what trails need work and he’s also doing AAT Lead training. June and July see almost half of our trail nights as the trails get beat up and need TLC.


The trails get overgrown in August and we try to do dirt work if it’s not too dry. We also do dirt work in September when things cool off and the ground has some moisture in it. This is probably easier than getting even more watering cans.


What we learned this year

Of all the nights to run a trail night, you’d think Friday would be the worst. Turns out, Friday is the best night. Most of our Friday night trail nights were completely full. For next year, we plan to run more trail nights on Friday, followed by beverages and food.


Short Notice

When Jesse requests a trail night, the city gives us a 1-week window. This is why you don’t see a lot of trail nights posted on our calendar months in advance. For the Mustang trail night, we asked for backup days in the event of rain, and we’ll do that again next year. We can only give about 1 weeks’ notice, but if you can make it, we’d love to see you out!


In the Spring edition of the newsletter, we’ll have lots more information on trail nights, training and everything to get you psyched for the 2024 trail maintenance season.

 

Next Edition: Fatbiking…..FATBIKING…..FATBIKIIIIIING


With snow on the way, fatbike season is here, baby! We’ll have a special edition devoted to fatbiking and exciting announcements on our trail grooming pilot project. Go dig up your snowshoes out of the basement and get ready.

 

EMBA Membership Perks

Members get 10% (or more) off regular priced items at these amazing stores! Head on over to these incredible bike shops, show them some love, and take advantage of this incredible deal!

*Certain exclusions and limitations apply. Contact any of these stores for full details. Certain stores may offer other discounts.

Don't have a membership yet? Get one today:


Check out the EMBA Merch Shop! can enjoy wearing the swag and support EMBA as we continuing efforts to advocate as well as maintain single track trails. Plus the merch is pretty cool. Thank you for your support!









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