Where would mountain biking be without its community of loyal volunteers? You know who we’re talking about; the dirt merchants of trail building, the unsung heroes of maintenance, shovels and drainage, and those who donate their free time and hard graft to shape and sculpt the trails we love to ride. These communities keep our sport alive, fuelled by passion and paid in sweat, but to sustain their efforts, they need your help. That’s why we’re introducing the YT Industries YTF. Your. Trail. Fund.
Talking us through the initiative in more detail is YT Customer Service Agent, and Head Honcho of the YTF, Chris Mock.
“As with all the best things, the idea for Your Trail Fund (YTF) was born from a discussion while out on a ride with YT’s Director of Retail, James Lawrence. This idea eventually snowballed as we both realised how many avenues it could fit, and that was that. This is something that I’ve wanted to support for a while.”
“Generally, the people behind the trails we all ride are tiny groups of volunteers, doing what they do for the real love of it while staying almost completely unknown. For the most part, they’re happy with things staying like that, but every now and then, they need a bit of cash, some people power, or just a bit of a voice. We’re in a position where we can provide them with all these things.”
Most of the refurbishment was simply a case of hours and hours of volunteer time by B1ke, Olly Wilkins and many others. Still, there is always a financial element, too – in this case, hiring a digger and replacing all the signage.
We then introduced a £15 charge for our YT Mill demo rides where, again, all proceeds are given to trail organisations. One organisation is the Surrey Hills Trail Builders, who have used the funds to train their builders, meaning the landowners are now comfortable with them working on their land, as well as providing additional tools to make volunteer dig days feasible. As these are our local trails, the YT Mill crew have also volunteered our time digging and putting on volunteer dig days, using our platform to get more riders involved.
“This is the year we really start to increase the visibility of the project and make it a real campaign rather than just helping out various groups in a fairly low-key way.
The first big project is to introduce fundraiser events for the groups we’ve supported in the past, such as anything involving forestry works on famously slow timescales (i.e. felling cycles). We found that the time between getting involved with a project and it being realized was really long.
Therefore, the plan is for each organization we support to put on an event at their trails, working to raise additional funds and awareness for what they do. We’ll head down there one weekday evening, bring the Good Times, a few quick talks about the organization, what they do, and how people can support, and head out for a ride, back in time for beers, food, and ideally some well lubricated, generous donations.
Hopefully, this brings the project to the next level, meaning all the other plans I have squirrelled away can become a reality, but I’m keeping those quiet for now!”
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