August 14, 2023

Meet Kvido Klawe- Youth Trail Advocate of the Year

In this article we had the pleasure of catching up with our first ‘Youth Trail Advocate of the Year winner – Kvido Klawe. Enjoy the interview!


Kvido, congrats you’re the first recipient of the ‘Youth Trail Advocate of the Year’ award. How does it feel?

Thank you for the congratulations. Honestly, I was surprised. When Vašek from the Czech Mountain Bike Association told me that I was nominated for the TCoYT, I couldn’t imagine that I could receive this award. It is definitely valuable feedback for me regarding this project and a small satisfaction for my work. I appreciate it and see it as support for my current activities, as well as motivation to continue creating and push myself further.


Would you like to introduce yourself by telling the audience where you live, how old you are, what you do (study or work), and how you got into mountain biking?

I am 21 and live in the Jeseníky Mountains in a small town in the foothills where I dig trails. I have been involved in cycling and mountain biking since childhood, and with the trend of single trails and trail centers, I immersed myself in this topic. I started racing in enduro and became interested in the potential of building a community trail area in my area. It made sense to me, so I dove into it. Currently, I manage a few tens of meters of trail with local riders, and we are planning further expansion. In addition, I am studying architecture on the other side of the country, which does take up some of my time.


How did you educate yourself on sustainable trail building principles and techniques?  

Honestly, I am currently educating myself through self-study. I have seen things, read articles, and based on my experiences riding my bike – we have great trail builders around here! Maybe it’s a stubborn approach, but at least it’s proof that you don’t have to be a construction engineer to create a meaningful trail in the forest. There are principles to follow, and they are easily accessible online. I don’t want to claim that trail building can be learned solely through reading, that’s the wrong approach, but definitely, lacking experience doesn’t mean you can’t start. Volunteering with trail maintenance crews in nearby trail locations is also a great way to learn, but I haven’t had the opportunity yet. It just doesn’t fit into my schedule right now.


What processes were involved in creating this trail and was it relatively easy to get your trail plans approved?

It seemed to be more demanding than it actually was. However, it is true that the authorities and entities from whom I needed approvals were cooperative and did not hinder the process. It is all about people, just like everything else. Additionally, my plan did not involve extensive terrain modifications and had a very modest scale, which allowed me to bypass the need for a construction permit itself. The office classified it as a territorial decision, which meant only one document and a statement from the forest administrator. It took a long time to wait for it, but it can certainly be managed in this case even with no experience.


Did you construct the trail alone or with assistance from the local community?

I undertook the construction alone. The lockdown opened the doors for me. A year of intensive work. Quite monotonous days consisted of morning online classes at school and then off to the forest until sunset, and back home. I couldn’t find anyone willing to embark on this with me, and I don’t blame them. Nevertheless, it was the best way to spend my free time in my life, and it could only be realized thanks to Covid. However, nowadays a group of skilled guys takes care of the trail in my absence. I am incredibly grateful for that, and I have achieved the goal I set at the beginning of the construction.


Since creating the trail are you seeing many other MTB users taking advantage of the trail?

I will continue the previous question. Currently, we, the trailkeepers, are the main users, but occasionally someone new also comes and that makes me happy. The trail is not heavily used, but thanks to that, it is easily sustainable and there are no issues from the forest management side. There is a mutual symbiosis between the different entities. After all, even the forest and its furry inhabitants are not so stressed. We all live here in peace and harmony. Mountain bikers, foresters, hunters, animals, trees. One big family 🙂

Is trail building a career path that maybe is of interest to you in the future?

Hard to say. It would be a beautiful job, no doubt. But at the moment, I see it as a side interest. But who knows. If I lose interest in architecture, the possibilities are open. I have plans for what could be built in the surrounding forests, but currently there are no resources, especially time.

What is your vision and hope for MTBing in the future (for the Czech Republic)? 

I believe that we are a promising nation for MTBing and there are as many of enthusiasts as ants. Thanks to this, over the last few years, more than 50 biking sites have been created, which is not bad at all considering the size of our country. And more and more are being created constantly. We don’t have three-thousanders, but we have diversity like few others. We also have plenty of trails right behind our houses, not always legal, but that counts too. This touches upon the hope for the future. Unfortunately, tense situations between diggers and forest owners are more common than one would think. Many times, they can be prevented, for example, by a single document or through communication. Negativity and the difficulty surrounding legal trails still persist among bikers. I want to dig a few meters without having to fly to the office… However, then we get into a cycle where the authorities see MTB as vandalism, making any communication even more difficult. Perhaps the vision of how to prevent this could lead to the creation of suburban community trails that these guys can build on their own. Their illegals in a legal place. I believe in mutual understanding, whether it’s that I can’t do whatever I want on someone else’s property or that a tread pattern printed on a tire is not a bigger problem than erosive grooves from wood harvesting. The question is where we will go in the future, but I see the determination to establish, build, and take care of our trails, and that’s when things can happen.