The Bike Lane meets new U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell

     

Prince William Forrest Park- A great setting to discuss getting more youth and family outdoors.

Prince William Forrest Park- A great setting to discuss getting more youth and family outdoors.

Anne Mader, co-owner of The Bike Lane Bike shops in Springfield and Reston, Va. , was among a group of  outdoors stakeholders and local students that met with  U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis at a National Park Week event April 25 at Prince William Forest Park, the largest green space in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

 Jewell and Jarvis met with students from Stonewall Middle School in Prince William County, Va. who were participating in a NatureBridge residential field science program in which students live and learn in the park, extending classroom learning with hands-on water-testing experiments of their own design and learning about the Great Depression-era history of their close-to-home national park.
Mader and other representatives of outdoors stakeholder groups were invited to meet with the nation’s top outdoors administrator.  Jewell is the former CEO of REI, Inc., a national chain of retail outdoors and recreation equipment stores that has a strong history of supporting environmental and outdoors causes.

Jewell said she could not “think of a higher calling” than the stewardship of America’s outdoors.”

One of her priorities is the redesign of America’s national parks to “attract all Americans, not just a subset. We need to bring nature into people’s lives.”
Mader said she was “very impressed” by Secretary Jewell.

“Her background working fAnne w:US Interior Secretary Jewell2or a company that values the environment and outdoor recreation, such as REI, will give her a unique perspective and an understanding of the importance of public and private partnerships.
“I was impressed by her eagerness to kick off her appointment by listening to stakeholder groups before creating her strategic plan/vision and goals.  She came across as very ‘un- politician’ and that was pretty refreshing. I hope her ideas will create more opportunities in outdoor recreation, especially for our youth. Outdoor recreation not only creates an appreciation for the environment and physical activity, which our youth desperately need, it also creates many jobs.

“I believe her plan to bring together the private and public sectors will be key in doing this. I just hope it doesn’t get lost in the politics of Washington.”

The Bike Lane stores have long been active in the creation of public-private initiatives to get more kids outside, including support of their local mountain biking club MORE, Trails for Youth, TBL’s own Junior Mountain Bike Development Program and national organizations such as IMBA and Bikes Belong, who is an associate member of the Outdoor Industry Associate.  The Bike Lane also helps in writing grants to get funding for trails, as well as supporting community mountain bike and running races that use local parks.

We Can Do It

Rosie the Riveter Call to Action

Rosie the Riveter Call to Action

We Can Do It!- The Fountainhead Project is under way!  Thanks to  Trek Bicycles, REI, Team IMBA/Sram and private donations MORE will be starting to plan Phase One of the Fountainhead Project. The trail project should start in the fall and we will need all of the volunteers we can get.  If you can’t volunteer, think about making a donation toward the project.  Your contribution will go toward making this trail system an awesome riding experience- the more money the project raises the better the trails will be!  Please check out the website for more details.

Below is an article for next months SpokesWomen Article by Anne Mader:

We Can Do It!
Congratulations to all of us mountain biking women who have conquered the trails, raced the races, and own bikes that match our counterpart mountain biking men!  We deserve a big pat on the back!  These days there is no doubt that women are a part of the mountain biking scene.   Not only are there numerous organized women’s rides and clinics; such as the Maryland “Girlie Rides” and the “Ride Like a Girl Rides”, but women riders can be seen taking over the parking lots at trail heads on most weekends and turning out in large numbers at the local XC and off road adventure races.  We also grace the covers of the most popular cycling magazines, decked out in the most fashionable mountain bike apparel, while riding some of the hottest XC bikes on the market.  Way to go Girls!

However, while we have made our mark on the sport as legitimate riders we are slightly behind in giving a helping hand when it comes to building and maintaining the trails that we have come to love.   The Mid Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts (MORE) maintain and build hundreds of miles of trails in Maryland, DC, and Virginia.  MORE is the local nonprofit mountain biking club that organizes hundreds of rides throughout the year as well as advocates for new trails while building on and maintaining the current single track we ride.  MORE schedules annual fall and spring trail work days at every park it maintains, which adds up to more than 3000 volunteer hours a year.  However, only about 10-15% of those hours are put in by women.  So, while there are many women out there who are definitely giving back (some give a tremendous amount), there are still some who need to get a shovel and get out there.   Anyone who rides the trails should take a little time each year to give back, and we are not the exception.  Trail work can be a great way to meet other riders.  It can also be a great family event- bring the kids and teach them that trails don’t just appear.  Hours and hours of volunteer service go into every trail you ride.  So, while we are in the heart of the summer; ride, ride, ride!  But when it starts to get cooler, check out MORE’s fall and spring trail work calendar on their website at www.more-mtb.org and give back to the trails you ride this summer.  Let’s show those guys what we can do!

Speaking of giving back, have you ridden the trails at Fountainhead Park lately?  If you have, you may be aware that the trails are in dire shape and in need of some TLC!  MORE has been maintaining Fountainhead for over ten years.  This amazing trail system is a mountain biking gem in Fairfax County however, due to an increase in ridership and the way the trails are built these trails are becoming increasingly unsustainable.  As a result, MORE and the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority hired IMBA Trail Solutions to create a trail plan that will help rehabilitate the trails and build a sustainable trail system.  The rehabilitated trail system will provide a more diverse trail for beginners to advanced riders.  The plan suggests a stacked loop system with skills areas and an increase in mileage from seven miles to 12-15 miles.  A stacked looped system is very unique and provides an opportunity to create levels of difficulty the further one gets into the trail.  As a result, the trails can have increasingly more difficult trail sections because riders will have trail options depending of their skill level.   This also increases educational opportunities along the trail- so those of us who need to learn certain skills will have the opportunity  to learn these skills before moving on to the next trail section.    Trail features and armoring will also create a trail system with unique features that enhance sustainability while providing an amazing riding experience for all mountain bikers.  MORE and the park are very excited to get this project underway.  A website has been specifically set up for this project at www.fountianheadproject.org.  

The Fountainhead Project is a huge undertaking for a small nonprofit like MORE.  Not only does MORE want to create a more sustainable trail system the club also wants to maintain the challenging legacy of the Fountainhead trails. As a result, the price tag for this project is larger than many other trail building projects.  Fundraising has been underway for the Fountainhead Project for a couple of years and it will take a few large fundraising efforts to complete the entire project.  However, thanks to the generous contributions of trail users and funding from Trek Bicycles, REI, and TEAM IMBA/SRAM; the first phase of the Fountainhead Project will be underway this fall!   MORE hopes to use the first phase of the project to showcase what can be done at Fountainhead to create sustainable, fun, and challenging trails. 

However, the Fountainhead Project will only be successful if volunteers step up to the plate.  This is where WE can make a difference!  It just so happens, that Rosie the Riveter is helping to get the word out about the Fountainhead Project.  So it is only appropriate to use this opportunity to call women riders into action!  MORE will need all of the volunteers it can get to help out with this project.   Volunteers will be needed to haul, shovel, lope, and cut new trail.  A little muscle power is important, (not a problem for us women mountain bikers) while trail building knowledge is not necessary.  By volunteering you will be adding to the legacy of mountain biking while giving back to the trails you love.  You will also gain an appreciation of what it takes to build and maintain the trails you and thousands of others ride.   Keep an eye out on the Fountainhead Project website for trail work dates, or sign up for updates on the site. If you can’t make the Fountainhead trail work days check out the MORE trail work calendar for other options.  We can do it!

Fifty Kids came out for Nat’l Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day


Trips for Kids Metro DC, The Bike Lane and MORE celebrated National Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day at Accotink Park in Annandale Va yesterday. More than 50 kids and adults showed up to ride the trails. The weather was perfect and the rides were a blast! We split into different groups depending on skill level. Some kids headed over to Wakefield Park while others rode the cinder trail and some single track at Accotink. After the ride, everyone enjoyed a healthy lunch prepared by Trips for Kids.

I can’t tell you how cool it is to see these kids out on the trail. Some of them get to ride alot while for others it is very rare to have the opportunity to spend a beautiful day riding a bike. The kids ranged in age from 6-15 and come from various socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. But on the trail none of that matters. And while there were a few falls and a few bee stings everyone supported each other and rode to their hearts content. It was a day to forget about school, home, and stress and just enjoy being outside and on a bike. It was so much fun I forgot to take pictures, so I have none to post.

A record number of kids from around the world took part in IMBA’s fifth annual National Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day. It was a lot of fun and we are looking forward to next year!