Attention all mountain bikers and trail lovers!
The Edmonton Mountain Bike Alliance is enjoying Spring and hope you are as well! Here are some of the latest updates, as well as tickets are still available for the Mountain Bike Film Festival, and another story on mountain biking here in Edmonton. We also want to share another friendly reminder on proper riding etiquette to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all.
Last Chance to Have Your Say in our Bike Park Survey
The Bike Park Design Survey can be found by clicking right here. Thanks to everyone who has been able to spare up to five minutes and those who will to provide valuable input for EMBA regarding our Bike Park. The Bike Park Committee is busy going through your responses which influence our future direction. Please visit the bike park website to see any updates, progress, and what comes next.
May 2023 Updates from EMBA
Avoid muddy trails: Help preserve trail integrity by checking local trail conditions before heading out. If you encounter muddy sections, consider turning around or choosing an alternative route to prevent long-lasting damage to the trail surface.
A Mtn Bike can create a fire: Watch them bike pedals especially if it scrapes a rock. It is like when you strike a flint against steel to start a fire. If you think you feel pedal hitting rock it doesn't hurt to stop and make sure your pedal is okay. And of course no sparks, flare ups, a fire...
Bike Park Design Survey: Thank you to everyone who was able to spare up to five minutes providing valuable input for EMBA regarding our Bike Park. The Bike Park Committee is busy going through your responses which will influence our future direction. Be sure to see below for how you can still take the survey! Please visit the bike park website to see any updates, progress and what comes next.
Join us for Trail Days: We will be posting on our social media, website, and of course on our events page upcoming trail days! We are excited for what our AAT Director (Jesse) has in store for us this season! We are also excited to announce as well as thank Blindman Brewing for their sponsorship again this year!
Fort Saskatchewan Trail Alliance: Jim Grant and Colin Hafer recently appeared before Fort Saskatchewan City Council introducing the FSTA. They were able to answer questions from Council informing them more about what they have accomplished as an Alliance and improvements made on trails in Fort Saskatchewan. They are also gearing up for a safety realignment trail maintenance day on May 27th. Want to help out? Sign up here as spots are limited.
Support Edmonton's Single-Track Trails, Get Discounts on Gear! EMBA members can enjoy discounts and special incentives at a growing number of local retailers. Check out our list of participating stores below and be sure to show your support!
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Trail Karma: Thanks Mud Sweat and Beers!
(Pictured here from Left to Right: Matt Edwards (EMBA), James Grant (EMBA), Paul Burgess (MSG), and Josh Nowochin (EMBA))
Big news from the trail! YOUR amazing community, Mud Sweat and Beers, has set the bar high, raising $3000 for the Edmonton Mountain Bike Alliance (EMBA)!
Long-time trail champions, Mud Sweat and Beers, are now also the proud inaugural group members of EMBA, showing their unwavering dedication to preserving and advocating for our local trails.
Here's to you, riders! To the trails we love, the sweat we shed, and the beers we share. Your enduring commitment and recent contribution are truly making a difference.
Follow Mud Sweat and Gears for the latest!
Inspired by Mud Sweat and Beers' example? Join the EMBA family and become a part of trail stewardship. Get your group membership here: https://www.edmmtnbike.ca/support
#MudSweatAndGears #MudSweatAndBeers #EdmontonMountainBikeAlliance #EMBAMembership #CommunityPower #TrailStewardship #EdmontonRides #YEGTrails #EdmontonMTB #YEGMTB #YEGOutdoorLife #ExploreEdmonton #TravelAlberta
Edmonton Mountain Bike Film Festival: May 25th
Do you have your tickets yet? Get them Now!
This is happening so quickly! The evening will feature mountain bike themed films, vendors, creators, ambassadors, games, and, of course, prizes.
This event is a fundraiser for the construction of the Edmonton Bike Park, and 100% of proceeds will go to the project.
Over 300 tickets have been sold! That is over half the theatre being full! Thank you to all those who have purchased tickets already and by spreading the word, all 527 seats could be filled!!! "the overwhelming enthusiastic response from the MTB community has been truly inspiring. Thank you to everyone for your support!" - Vixen Racing MTB
All proceeds directly support the construction of the Edmonton Bike Park.
The venue is licensed, alcohol will be served, and the event is intended for adult audiences.
A huge shout out to the growing list of partners and supporters for the event: EMBFest, EMBA, Oxburger Studios, Mud, Sweat and Gears, SheShed, Fox Racing, Ottalaus Inc, RollingDale Cycles, AlleyKat Brewing, BELL Helmets, Image West Graphics...
If you have questions, check out the ticketing link above, or reach out to email@example.com
HEY! Got an event or know of any Mtn Biking Events?
BE sure to let EMBA know so it can be put on the Mountain Bike Events Calendar. Anything mountain bike related will be on there and the go-to for all groups and all things mountain biking! Just like the 2023 YEG Trail Blazers Kids Race from Vixen Racing MTB on Sunday, June 11, 2023 at Gold Bar Park! Invite EMBA to be a part of your event too!
EMBA & TRAILS: Mountain Biking History in Edmonton
EMBA is proud to introduce a series of stories about mountain biking in YEG, including the people as well as trails that make it happen. From the past, present, and what we can hope for in the future, we want to write about it. Learn with us as we continue to grow as a community. Want to be featured? Email us and we will definitely be in touch with you.
Hey Harvey! Brauer Power!
One of EMBA’s AAT Coordinators said it best when sharing about the man in this month’s story. Kent Zucchet says “Harvey was one of the original founders of EMBA and was one of the leaders in pushing a vision of a trail network through the city. Harvey’s vision is still the foundation driving EMBA’s long-term plans for a trail network in the city. In addition, he is a great builder who helped design and modify the first trails that EMBA was allowed to reroute and improve.”
Harvey Brauer has been in Edmonton since day one and has been mountain biking since the early 1990’s. What got him into the sport was when he volunteered at a running event as a Marshall of a big marathon. Harvey would attend the volunteer appreciation party where there was a bunch of door prizes with the big prize being a mountain bike. He would sit at the party and realize after awhile he may not get any of the prizes, but then ended up getting his name drawn winning the bike. It was a rigid hard-tail called a proctor, built by none other than Brad Proctor with the help of Bob Townsend.
Around the same time, some of Harvey’s friends had sort of gotten into mountain biking too where it was about discovering where the trails were and how to ride them properly. “Riding around Edmonton, it was really a hit and miss as far as it goes with single-track trails here. Like Ewok, for example, and then hit a patch in Mill Creek, Kinsmen, and you even might hit a patch on the way back on the Dawson side.” At the beginning, Harvey shares one would ride a lot of the multi-purpose gravel trails, which some are now paved today.
They would try to find out what other places there were to ride such as the mountains, Fort Saskatchewan, or even other parts of the city, and do so by running into other riders. Mountain biking took off in Edmonton and Harvey, amongst others, would develop a real passion for the sport. In June of 2005, a man and a woman from IMBA were going around the country leading trail building schools. On their own initiative, this man and woman happened to come to Edmonton.
This was kind of the trigger for the Edmonton Mountain Bike Alliance. A group came together, including Harvey as well as Doug Gleddie, and they would get the ball rolling. In August of 2005 on Doug’s deck, the group would be drinking beers determining the next step for EMBA, and where the organization would head. At the time there was a need or push, and even a want for a mountain bike park. It turned out to be a little too much to chew on at the time, and so the direction of EMBA became more about single-track.
Harvey recalls the first few years for EMBA and how the alliance was definitely more in a holding pattern where direction was still sought, and having a strong purpose or focus as to what to get the organization really into. “The name was there but not a lot was going on.” Then things changed around 2008 or 2009 when there was another trail school. A few limited trail days were held with random mountain biking enthusiasts in conjunction with the City of Edmonton where small projects would get started, improving trails in Mill Creek as well as MacKinnon Ravine.
In 2010, the group who made up EMBA at the time had a brainstorm. Joe Yurkovich, Garry Ogletree, Doug Gleddie, as well as Harvey Brauer, amongst others, would start an adopt-a-trail program. It began with word of mouth where it was hit and miss when it came to trail days. This means where some would not see the benefits of maintenance at the time, others would through the AAT program turning into a real winner.
The key to the program was getting the various bike clubs in Edmonton to adopt a particular area in the river valley system. Harvey says “that was the magic bullet.” Starting out with six to ten people showing up for a trail day would grow to fifty people. Hardcore, Pedalheads, and then the Dirt Girls were some of the first to adopt trails, and Harvey definitely remembers the Dirt Girls coming in and being ready to tackle anything.
“Whether it is here in Edmonton or other hot areas for mountain biking in North America, the roots of the sport in any of these locations is rogue building. All these trails had to start somewhere. Mountain biking would expand faster than any location could catch up on.” Harvey acknowledges that even here in Edmonton, coinciding with trail maintenance, there would be rogue trail building. This in turn would be a part of the single-track trail system we see today.
“There was no policy, permissions, etc. on how a trail was built which still rings true today.” Along that same timeframe, Harvey was the go-between for EMBA and rogue trail builders. The City of Edmonton was easy to work with at the time. EMBA was allowed to put in boardwalks or such, as well as improve on trails, re-routing them, and improving on them overall. Harvey made note that there would still be trails off the books or also known as unsanctioned.
Six years later in 2016, there was a change in direction as well as staff at the City of Edmonton overseeing the River Valley operations. EMBA got “their fingers slapped” and had to scale back on the trail maintenance. Things became more bureaucratic. It essentially boiled down to trimming, minor drainage, and though this is still very important, being limited with what could be done for trail maintenance did not allow for as much improvement as a couple of years beforehand. Harvey shared that when this happened, though trimmed trails make more of a difference, it was unfortunate that with the scale-back not many people would come out for the trail maintenance days.
A year after in 2017, Harvey wanted to get a feasibility study completed specifically for Edmonton. “This would just highlight how valuable the trail system was in the city for mountain bikers as well as other user groups.” That study never materialized, and in the meantime EMBA would be content with the position they were in. This included the direction with maintenance as well as trail advocating for mountain bike use.
After putting his heart and soul into trails while seeing the city backing off in terms of allowing trail maintenance, and how much more politics would play and be involved, Harvey packed it in around 2018. “It got too complicated and frustrating where there needed to be walk-throughs, scaling back on trimming, grooming, drainage, and studies of the ecosystem.” Harvey wanted to have an interest for “less-sexy” maintenance. He also wanted to see the hiring of a summer position with grants and EMBA funds materialize as the interest from mountain bikers dwindled for maintaining the trails.
Though the city was good with this at the time it was a challenge to get a summer student position happen as not every one on the EMBA board saw it beneficial due to the lack of funds and source of funding through grants. Harvey saw this as an opportunity despite the funding, but with board members having different visions and not seeing the organization going in the same direction, he would take a step back and leave the board. Being disappointed with the city and the pushback, after 13 years from 2005 to 2018 as Treasurer, Harvey Brauer resigned from the Edmonton Mountain Bike Alliance board.
Here we are five years later, and Harvey still keeps in touch with EMBA as well as some of those on the current board or past members. He also rides with Garry Ogletree, who he worked with to get the single-track trail called the GO trail, and Harvey also still takes time to maintain trails to this day. Growing up in Bonnie Doon and now living in Gold Bar he will continue to ride with family and friends. As for the rest of us, I hope we don’t forget about his contributions amongst many others to what mountain biking in Edmonton is today. This is a story of the Harvey “Brauer Power.”
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