December 3, 2021
Looking back on the 2021 TCoYT Campaign
The year has come and passed, and as we approach the last weeks and days, it is time to reflect on the positive outcomes of this year’s campaign. During the month of May, IMBA EU encouraged its members and partners to engage as many people as possible across Europe to sign up and participate in a local trail maintenance campaign. The goal of the TCoYT campaign is to promote trail stewardship, community engagement, conservation and preservation of our trail networks. It is an opportunity to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of volunteers who give countless hours to the trails. The campaign highlights the need to educate trail building crews on the importance of sustainable trail development and maintenance in order to protect and preserve the natural environment.
Considering most countries were still in some form of ‘lock down’ during this period, we were extremely impressed by the level of engagement from all the groups that participated. In total, 92 activities took place in 15 EU countries. More than 1000 volunteers contributed approx. 6700 hours of volunteer work. A big THANK YOU to all trail crews, local heroes, partners and sponsors that contributed to the 2021 campaign!
As part of the campaign, we reward and recognise the individuals and crews who go above and beyond in their efforts to maintain and preserve their trail networks. We were extremely pleased to partner with Specialized Bicycles (soil searching program) again this year as one of the leading sponsors for the prizes and SRAM for their continuing MTB advocacy support. We are also very grateful to EVOC and Trail Boss USA for providing all the tools and equipment our crews need to continue on with their incredible work.
“Trail builders and advocates are the soul of our sport. Take Care of Your Trails is not just a campaign, but a celebration of the mountain biking community and the magic that happens when this passionate community pulls together. IMBA Europe took it from advocacy to action through TCoYT and we’re stoked to bring some drinks and snacks to the party!” said Fanie Kok, head of Specialized’ Soil Searching program.
This year the ‘Outstanding Trail Crew’ award included three sub categories. These crews distinguished themselves by innovative and refreshing trail projects; by making a positive contribution to the local community, by protecting the places they love to ride; by creative volunteer recruitment strategies or by ways to make the MTB community more inclusive.
Winning trail crews
Most Inclusive Local Trail Crew – Shape n Ride Bagnols (FR)
The core group of Shape n Ride Bagnols consists of four people and about fifteen people who are involved in the events. The club doesn’t recruit volunteers in a traditional sense, but have found that the volunteers are drawn to the club and the atmosphere that has been created, which is to include everyone from the community. From children as young as 6 years old, to their older community members , one of which is approaching 80 years of age! Shape n ride Bagnols looks and feels like a family where children and women have their place, a place where everyone feels included and welcomed.
Most Innovative Local Trail Crew – Vivabike Valposchiavo (CH)
Vivabike Valposchiavo has been selected for their innovation in trail maintenance as well as their means in recruiting and engaging volunteers. Vivabike Valposchiavo strives to expand their mountain biking offer in Valposchiavo by ‘recycling’ historic paths that are hardly used today, but which can be very exciting as bike trails. In order to make these paths fit again as bike trails, Vivabike Valposchiavo regularly organises Trail Care Weeks. Volunteers come to Valposchiavo for 5 days, in the morning they work on the trails and in the afternoon they go on rides with local guides. They also visit local producers and taste local products. Board and lodging is provided by local bike hotels.
Both winning crews took home a Specialized Levo, trailer and trail building tools.
Trail Advocates of the Year
Part of the award categories is also recognising the ‘Trail Advocate of the Year award’ for both men and women. This award is to recognize an individual who goes above and beyond expectations within their club/organisation.
Trail Advocate of the Year (F) – Sarah Wälde (DE)
This year, Sarah Wälde has been awarded as female Trail Advocate of the year due to her ongoing advocacy work for her club in Munich and the legalisation of the Isar trails. In her new position as representative of the club, she got more involved with trail advocacy in the region. Sarah is one of the few women in the region involved in trail advocacy and her patience and right tone of communication with authorities and political parties are refreshing and positive. Patience is an important character trait for a trail advocate, and is evident in the case of the Isar trails. An initial agreement in 2017 to legalize a mountain bike route that included designated protected zones for flora and fauna has never been put into practice. Nevertheless Sara is not discouraged by this backlash and continues her advocacy work with passion and determination.
Trail Advocate of the Year (M) – Ludovic Lechner (FR)
As president of his local club and founder of the Mountain Bikers Foundation chapter “MBF Massif des Vosges”, Ludovic Lechner has been heavily involved in the development of sustainable mountain biking in the Vosges region. He created strong partnerships with municipalities,, the Regional Natural Park Ballons des Vosges and the Fédération du Club Vosgien (hiking association). Historically speaking, the region of Vosges has not been easy to grow our sport but Ludovic has never let this bring him down and continues to be relentless in his fight for sharing trails amongst all users and protecting trail access for mountain biking.
“The work of trail advocates should not be underestimated, especially during the covid pandemic. Welcoming new entrants to our sport and witnessing more people riding more often is great, but also led to a lot more work for local advocates while land owners, managers and nature conservation organisations reported more perceived issues. All the work done to keep trails open and places accessible to mountain bikers has never been more important than now”, said Mark Torsius, IMBA EU’s general manager.
The winners received a VIP Pro Deal on a Specialized Bike, Evoc Trail Builder Backpack and Suit & Trail Boss Packable Trail Tool.
What’s happening in 2022?
IMBA Europe alongside our key partner, Specialized are already planning the 2022 edition of TCoYT. Mark your calendars for April 22nd 2022, which will be the official launch of the campaign. The campaign will run until May 31st, with the announcement of the winners taking place at the IMBA Europe 10th anniversary in Val di Sole- June 1st-June 4th. AS per every edition, we want to make the 2022 campaign bigger and better. By bigger and better we mean more more trail maintenance days, more diversity in participants, more volunteers across the board!
So start planning… 😉