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  • 18 Dec 2021 10:27 PM | Anonymous


    UPDATE: 8(ISH) DAYS OF XMAS 2021 RIDE SERIES

    With rain forecast for the next several days, be sure to check with the host of the subsequent rides to see if they will be held. Contact information for each host is below.

    The 8(ish) Days of Xmas ride series is back!  The 8(ish) Days was started in 2007 when some Tucson locals decided they wanted to ride every day between Christmas and New Year’s, and it’s grown into a showcase of the amazing trails and riding community in Southern Arizona.  It’s a chance for folks to get out with the organizations and clubs that make Tucson a great place to live and ride.  So come on out, try some new trails, make some new friends, and celebrate the holidays by bike!  All are welcome for all the rides, but make sure to check out the events for info about trail difficulties.

    Tuesday 12/28: Our MTB Rides Tuesday Night Lights

    Event Host: https://www.facebook.com/events/294374232574121/

    The Ride:  Camino Loma Alta to Pistol Hill and back on the Arizona Trail

    Difficulty: Intermediate

    Meet Location/Time: Camino Loma Alta TH @ 7:00 PM

    Wednesday, 12/29: Old Pueblo MTB

    Event Host: https://www.facebook.com/groups/203787656312279 

    The Ride: Honeybee trails with a Badlands option (bring lights!).

    Difficulty: Beginner/Intermediate (depending on route).

    Meet Location/Time: Big Wash TH @ 2:30 PM

    Thursday, 12/30: Portal/Explorer Trail Build Day

    Event Host: sdmb.org or https://www.facebook.com/SDMB.org

    The Ride: Build fresh trail at Tucson Mountain Park.

    Difficulty: You decide!

    Meet Location/Time: NW Corner of Kennedy Park @ 9:00 AM.  Bring water, snacks, rain coast, and work gloves.

    Thursday, 12/30: 50-Year Trail

    Event Host: Catalina Brewing Company, Brian Vance @ 520-275-2875

    The Ride: 50-Year trail to the Chutes, maybe Upper 50 and Baby Jesus if there is interest.

    Difficulty: Intermediate/Advanced

    Meet Location/Time: Golder Ranch Road parking lot @ 9:30 AM

    Friday, 12/31: Guy Fawkes and the Cycling Anarchists “Champagne Ride” (Champagne for Everybody!)

    Event: Cancelled because of forecasted rain

    The Ride: Tortolita Preserve Loop

    Difficulty: Beginner/Intermediate

    Meet Location/Time: Tortolita Preserve TH @ 5:00 PM

    Saturday, 1/1: MTB Addicts Hangover Ride

    Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/559650358462043/  

    The Ride: A leisurely booze-fueled loop at Fantasy Island

    Difficulty: Beginner/Intermediate

    Meet Location/Time: Fantasy Island Valencia TH @ 11:30 AM

    Sunday, 1/2: SDMB Poker Ride & Trail Run

    Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/428959222136299/

    The Ride: Non-competitive poker ride/run in the Tucson Mountains.  Multiple distances.  Get cards, win prizes!

    Difficulty: Intermediate

    Meet Location/Time: NW corner of Kennedy Park (Ramada #40) @ 9:00 AM


  • 11 Dec 2021 1:00 PM | Kirk Astroth (Administrator)

    E-Bikes, or electric bikes, have become increasingly popular in recent years with most major bike companies selling at least one mountain E-Bike. They have become widely accepted across much of the rest of the world; however there has been significant pushback to their acceptance in the United States. Here we strive to objectively discuss some of the ongoing controversy around E-Bikes, lay out the rules governing E-Bike usage for different land managers, and lastly identify where they can and cannot be ridden in the greater Tucson area.

    Note that SDMB as an organization DOES NOT have an position about E-Bike usage, however, we partner with multiple land-management agencies to build, maintain, and advocate for trails in the area and therefore feel it is our responsibility to explain and discuss local policy and potential controversy surrounding E-Bikes. Understanding the history of the debate over mechanized vs. motorized recreational designations is important to understanding the current debate over E-Bike usage, especially for e-mountain bikes on multiple-use single-track trails.

    ^ “The Elephant in the Room” by Stephen Haynes (originally published in DirtRag 2015)

    What is an E-Bike?

    There is a range of classifications for E-Bikes (see classifications below), but at a minimum all have a battery powered motor and pedal-assist function. Additionally, class 2 E-Bikes have a throttle that can work without pedaling. E-Bikes have provided a great resource for bicyclists who could not ride certain terrain or certain distances (due to age, injury, illness, or lack of physical ability) by providing an additional battery powered pedal-assist or throttle function. This also presents a potential problem, as the pedal assist and throttle functions allow more power to be transferred by any particular rider onto the riding surface.

    The three E-Bike classes are defined as follows:

    • Class 1: The Class 1 e-bike provides assistance only when you pedal, and stops assisting when you reach 20 mph — great for bike lanes, bike paths, roads or anywhere you'd take a traditional bike.
    • Class 2: The Class 2 e-bike is equipped with a throttle which provides a boost without pedaling, and stops assisting at 20 mph.
    • Class 3: The Class 3 e-bike is equipped with a speedometer, and only assists until the bike reaches 28 mph — an excellent choice for commuters. The most popular bikes fit into Class 1 or Class 3 because riders still want to pedal.

    *All classes limit the motor’s power to 1 horsepower (750W).

    Classification of E-Bikes differs based on land-management agency and riding area. Many agencies (U.S. Government: US Forest Service / Bureau of Land Management / National Park Service, Pima County) define all E-Bikes as motorized therefore only allowing E-Bikes where other motorized vehicles (e.g. motorcycles) can also travel. However, some agencies (locally, the State of Arizona) consider class 1 E-Bikes to be functionally similar to non-E-Bikes and therefore allow them to travel everywhere that a mechanized bicycle can also travel. This disparity in interpretation means that is E-Bike access is not ubiquitous across all trail networks. From here on we will only discuss Class 1 E-Bikes as they relate to traditional road and mountain bikes due their popularity and to their variation in regulation by land-management agencies.

    Additionally, E-Bikes were initially very easy to spot, as they had an externally mounted battery, large motor case, and heads up control panel (e.g. Haibike SDURO shown below). However, as E-Bike design has progressed in recent years, they have come to look increasingly like non-E-Bikes (e.g. Specialized Turbo Levo below). This “blending in” of E-Bikes has led to difficulty in differentiating E-Bikes from normal bikes for park and law enforcement rangers and therefore regulating them within different agencies.


    What’s all the controversy about?

    Remember the mention of motorized vs. mechanized travel above? This debate stemmed from federal agency interpretations of the Wilderness Act of 1964 (Act) (for much more information on federal wilderness click here). That act defined motorized methods of travel as inconsistent with wilderness character and banned motorized travel within all future wilderness areas. Separate federal agencies then interpreted the Act, subsequently developing their own regulations governing recreational use within wilderness areas managed by each agency. In those regulations, the U.S. Forest Service defined bicycles as a mechanized form of transport, as they are human powered but provide a mechanical advantage (via gearing) to the rider. The agencies also interpreted that mechanized travel was not consistent with wilderness character and banned mechanized forms of transport (including bicycling) from all current and future wilderness areas. Additionally, there is a currently a push by some members of the mountain bike community to reopen that debate about the interpretation of whether mechanized travel is consistent with wilderness character, as it was not explicitly stated in the Act and bicycles were riding previously in areas that have since been designated wilderness.  That long-term debate directly influences the current debate about E-Bike usage on designated non-motorized trails within the United States today.

    Federal trails and roads are all specifically designated based on the types of allowable uses on that trail or road through the formal travel management process. These use types include hiking, horseback riding, bicycle riding, motorcycle riding, larger off-highway vehicle (OHV) driving, and street-legal vehicle driving (see table below). As E-Bikes are considered motorized, they are lumped in with motorcycles in where they are allowed to ride on federal lands. Many trails in popular riding locations (e.g. Santa Catalina Mountains) are designated as non-motorized, therefore E-Bikes are not allowed on those trails. Additionally, many state and local jurisdictions (locally, Pima County) have adopted federal guidelines for designating allowable uses on trails to maintain consistency with adjacent federal lands.

    ^ U.S. Forest Service singletrack trail signage in Sedona, AZ

    Allowable uses by trail/road designation:

    Designation

    Allowable Uses

    Non-motorized/non-mechanized trail

    Hiking, horseback riding

    Non-motorized trail

    Hiking, horseback riding, bicycling

    Primitive motorized trail

    Hiking, horseback riding, bicycling, E-Bike / motorcycle riding

    Primitive motorized road

    Hiking, horseback riding, bicycling, E-Bike / motorcycle riding, OHV driving

    Improved motorized road

    All other uses and street-legal vehicles


    Regardless of how you feel about the wilderness debate or how mountain bikes or E-Bikes have been classified by federal agencies, current regulations govern where and how we can recreate. Not following posted regulations not only opens you up to a citation from law enforcement, but it also risks losing continued future access for all mountain bikers on our local trails.

    So, where can I ride an E-Bike?

    In order to answer this question, you need to know what agency manages your local riding area. If you don’t already know, please read our first SDMB In the Know dispatch: Land Managers 101. E-Bikes are prohibited from all non-motorized trails managed by any federal agency or Pima County. E-Bikes are allowed on state lands, City of Tucson property, and trails managed by the Town of Marana (please see the table below for specific riding areas). *Note that as the Arizona Trail was designated as a federal non-motorized National Scenic Trail, E-Bikes are not allowed on it even if it is passing through lands that would otherwise allow E-Bikes (i.e. AZT in Oracle State Park). Additionally, while the Town of Marana has provided funding for trail construction and now maintains trails within Tortolita Mountain Park, Pima County manages this land, so E-Bikes are not allowed on the Ridgeline/Wild Burro Loop and roughly the upper half of Wild Mustang. Bikes (and E-Bikes) are only allowed on specific Town of Marana managed trails in the area including Lower Wild Burro (above Alamo Spring Spur)*, Alamo Spring Trail and Spur*, lower Wild Mustang, upper Javelina, and the Tortolita Preserve (* Note as these trails are accessed through the Tortolita Mountain Park, one could not ride an E-Bike to these trails). Finally, note that there are also many Forest Service motorized trails and roads (north and east side of Catalina Mountains, Redington Pass area, Santa Rita Mountains) that allow E-Bikes as well as motorized vehicles (see Coronado National Forest Motor Vehicle Use Maps here).

    Essentially, this means that E-Bikes can legally ride on less than ¼ of the ~400 bike-legal miles of single-track in the greater Tucson area.

    Land management agencies and local riding areas where E-Bike are or are not allowed to ride:

    Agency

    Local Riding Areas

    E-Bike Use Allowed?

    U.S. Forest Service

    Santa Catalina Mtns (Mt. Lemmon), Redington Pass, Santa Rita Mountains

    NO

    National Park Service

    Saguaro Natl Park: Cactus Forest Trail, Hope Camp Trail

    NO

    Pima County

    Tucson Mountain Park, Sweetwater Preserve, Enchanted Hills, McKenzie Ranch, Big Wash Trail, Colossal Cave Mountain Park, Painted Hills, Tortolita Mountain Park

    NO

    *Multiple Agencies

    *Arizona National Scenic Trail (statewide)

    NO

    Town of Marana

    Dove Mountain Trails, Tortolita Preserve

    YES

    City of Tucson

    100-Acre Wood Bike Park

    YES

    AZ State Parks

    Catalina State Park, Oracle State Park

    NO

    AZ State Land Dept.

    Fantasy Island, Honeybee Canyon, 50-Year, Willow Springs / 24 HOP Course

    YES

    It is imperative that local riders know and comply with the posted regulations governing E-Bike use for all local riding areas. Not doing so could potentially jeopardize future access for all mountain bikers. If you are a rider considering purchasing an E-Bike, please research where you can legally ride it. Bike shop owners and employees can be crucial in this education process by informing potential E-Bike buyers that they will be limited to riding in the few local areas that allow E-Bikes or trails and dirt roads that also allow motorized vehicles.

    Thank you for taking the time to learn about where E-Bikes can legally be ridden in the greater Tucson area. If you have any questions about E-Bike or general mountain bike trail access, please contact us at advocacy@sdmb.org.


  • 7 Dec 2021 6:00 PM | Kirk Astroth (Administrator)

    The results of the recent McKenzie Frenzy Race are now posted. Congrats to everyone who participated and enjoyed fabulous weather for a race--and no wind! More than 80 people signed up to participate. Also see overall results here: 2021 McKenzie Frenzy Results - Overall.pdf

  • 13 Nov 2021 8:55 AM | Kirk Astroth (Administrator)

    Arizona State Parks and Trails has launched the 2023 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation (SCORP) public survey. Every five years, the SCORP must be updated. This plan gathers information and recommendations to guide the management and funding priorities for outdoor recreation in Arizona. Please make your voice heard.

    If you participate in outdoor recreation in the state of Arizona, please take the survey. The survey takes approximately 15-20 minutes to complete and is available in English and Spanish on the Arizona State Parks and Trails website (azstateparks.com/scorp).

    Public participation by Arizonans over the age of 18 is vitally important. Arizona State Parks and Trails is collecting feedback from user groups, the general public, stakeholders, advocates, and recreation providers to develop outdoor recreation priorities for the state for the next five years. These priorities will inform grant criteria to guide the distribution of state and federal monies to non-profits like SDMB that can aid in the acquisition, development and maintenance of outdoor recreation sites.

    The survey will be active through December 2021.


  • 10 Nov 2021 8:26 PM | Kirk Astroth (Administrator)

    Southern Arizona is a great place to ride all year long and we have some of the best beginner trails in the state. "Singletrack" ranked the Sweetwater Trail as one of the best beginner trails in the state.

                #1—The Bike. To get started, make sure you have a good quality bike that is sized for you. A competent bike shop can get you outfitted, and we have many good bike shops in Tucson, Oro Valley, Vail and Sahuarita. Whether your decide to go for a hard tail (front suspension only), full suspension; aluminum-frame, carbon-frame; fat tire, chubby, regular; or 27.5 or 29’er tires; tubeless tires or tubes; flats or clip-in pedals--all are personal choices. Confused? At first this can all be TMI (too much information) but learning about all this will help ensure that you have a bike you can grow into. Spend some time talking about all these features at a local bike shop that specializes in mountain bikes. Buy a bike that is better than your current level of riding so your can progress into the bike. For more information on buying the "right" bike in a video, click here.  Don’t buy a cheapo bike (like a Huffy or Mongoose) to save money, and if you rent a bike, rent only from trusted, reputable bike rental shops. This is a “buyer beware” market because not all bike rental companies are the same. The best ones should provide a good quality bike with tubeless tires, basic bike repair tools, water, a map of the areas you will be riding, a helmet and a bike lock, at the minimum.             

               #2--The Trails. Next, check the SDMB website for the best beginner trails as a place to get started. We have put up 4 of the best beginner trails.  Master your competence on those and then progress to some intermediate trails.  Check them out here. 

                #3—Personal Gear. Personal equipment is another essential. Everyone who bikes should wear a helmet, riding gloves are very helpful and help reduce numbness that can develop, water is absolutely essential, as is sunscreen. Depending on how long you plan to be out riding should determine how much water to take. Always over-estimate how much water you will need so you don’t run out. Using an electrolyte solution in your water or by itself will help prevent cramps and replenish body salts and other electrolytes you will lose by perspiring. If your bike uses tubes, be sure to carry a pump and patch kit. Know how to fix a tube with a hole in it before you head out on the trail or ride with someone else who knows how to do this. For Arizona conditions, we highly recommend riding with tubeless tires--you will have fewer flats.  Click here for a video about tubes vs. tubeless tires.  If you ride tubeless tires, be sure to carry at least one CO2 cartridge and air value. Sometimes a small plastic bottle of sealant is also a good idea for longer rides where the trailhead may be miles away. You might also consider carrying some tire plugs as these are a better solution than putting in a tube if you do experience a flat. Walking back to your car while pushing a bike with a flat tire is never fun. For more information via video, click here.

                #4—Tips for Safe Riding.  Your bike is an advanced piece of technology and engineering that can overcome many obstacles, but you have to trust the bike to do what it was designed to do. Remember, though, that you are always in control and can stop, steer around obstacles, or slow down as you wish. Here are a few common riding tips we usually provide to beginner riders:

    • You have a bunch of gears—use them. Don’t try to stay in one or two gears. Find the right gear ratio for the terrain and your ability. Click here for an instructional video.
    • 9:00 and 3:00—keep your feet on the pedals at this orientation when coasting to avoid pedal strikes on rocks or dragging in the dirt on corners. Click here for an instructional video.
    • Ride in the center of the trail—the edges of many trails have loose rocks, sand or shrubbery that can derail your travel.
    • Avoid riding into V-cuts—some trails have water erosion channels that can suck in your front tire and cause you to crash. Avoid these deep grooves and ride up on the sides where there is more level ground.
    • Learn how to hop your front tire over trail obstacles. Some rocks in the middle of the trail may seem intimidating, but using the engineering in your front shocks, press down on the handle bars right before the obstacles and hop your front tire over the obstacle. Practice on smaller objects and the progress to larger ones once you get the hang of it. Your bike is designed to roll over objects as large as a football with the right speed and control. Click here for an instructional video.
    • Uphill and Downhill—When riding uphill, put your weight forward almost to the point that the point of your saddle is in your butt. On the downhill, shift your weight to the rear so that your butt is over your rear tire. Ride in the "attack" position on downhill slopes with elbows bent rather than shifting so far to the rear that your butt is behind the saddle--which unweights the front tire resulting in a loss of control. Click here for an instructional video. And here's another to watch.
    • Braking 60/40—Your Right brake is your Rear brake, and the left is your front brake. Many people think that you should rarely use your front brake, but this is not true. Clearly, clinching down on your front brake is dangerous and can cause you to flip (Over The Bars, or OTB). But a judicious use of both brakes can help slow your speed, particularly going downhill when most of your weight is on the front of the bike. Try to use your rear brake for about 60-70% of your breaking while the front brake is used about 30-40%. Play around with this and get a good feel for how much braking pressure is just right. Click here for an instructional video.
    • Don’t be afraid to move around on your saddle. Move forward or backward as you ride the trail, stand up on fairly level sections to relieve pressure points. Many riders stand up to ride uphill sections, but it is your personal choice how to ascend as well as descend. Click here for an instructional video. Here's another to watch.
    • Cornering—cornering is one of the most common areas for beginner crashes because your speed is too great, or the surface is sandy or loose gravel. Here in Southern Arizona, we have a lot of granitic soils and they can be quite slippery, especially on corners. Practice distributing your weight to stay over the bike rather than leaning one way or the other on corners. Pivot at the hips and lean your bike. Click here for an instructional video.

                Most importantly, have fun and be safe. Mountain biking is a great sport that is growing, and so are the number of trails. You’re only a beginner once, so learn how to ride the easy trails first so you can move on up to things more challenging. And check SDMB's Facebook and Instagram pages for announcements about bike clinics led by certified MTB instructors.



  • 29 Oct 2021 2:37 PM | Kirk Astroth (Administrator)

    A Vision for an Arizona Office of Outdoor Recreation

    Outdoor recreation is an iconic part of Arizona - from the rim of the Grand Canyon to the canyons and bajadas of the Sonoran Desert. Arizona has a history of stewardship for our lands, waters, and wildlife. Yet, we are falling behind our neighboring states in capitalizing on our unique outdoor assets. Arizona needs an Office of Outdoor Recreation to help us leverage the potential of our natural and cultural resources. The time is long overdue. The time to act is now.

    An Office of Outdoor Recreation would help to enhance the quality of life for Arizona’s residents, promote sustainable outdoor recreation opportunities for both residents and visitors, and expand and invigorate the outdoor recreation economy. This office would leverage jobs, prosperity, and wellness for all state residents in both rural as well as in large metropolitan areas.  Bridging the missions of existing state agencies such as wildlife conservation, tourism, and management of state parks and trails would allow each to build upon the work of the other and scaffold the effect of their efforts. 

    Goals

    • Enhance economic opportunities and job diversity, particularly in rural communities;

    • Increase access to and opportunities for transformative outdoor experiences for all segments of Arizona’s diverse population;

    • Facilitate the growth of new outdoor recreation businesses and industries;

    • Cultivate a stronger, more resilient outdoor recreation workforce;

    • Increase awareness of the value of outdoor recreation for improved public health, community well-being and economic vitality;

    • Provide a unified voice to promote the economic, social, health and other values of outdoor recreation, trails, wildlife protection, and access to public lands;

    Outcomes

    • Enhanced outdoor recreation economic activity, particularly in rural areas;

    • Measurable growth in local and state tax revenues from outdoor recreation activities;

    • Coordinated planning, use, access, and promotion of outdoor spaces within Arizona;

    • Provides a central clearinghouse for outdoor business support, recruitment, expansion, retention and recruitment, especially for rural areas;  

    • Improved vitality for rural communities through increased population growth, fueling jobs for teachers, doctors, construction workers and more;

    • Higher success rate for local community grant writing and fund development.

    Arizona would benefit from a unified voice to promote the economic value of outdoor recreation, trails, and public lands. Our neighboring states’ offices for Outdoor Recreation have already demonstrated the value of having such an office. The time for Arizona to tap into the $459 billion dollar per year outdoor recreation industry is now.



  • 31 Jan 2021 11:23 AM | Anonymous

    • Happy 2021 to everyone in the mountain biking and trails community!  As we watch the past year fade into the rearview mirror, we can all agree that it was challenging and memorable for everyone.  2020 was defined by the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, extended social and political unrest, one of the worst and most sudden economic downturns we will see in in our lifetimes, and the most contentious presidential election in history.  Simply put, 2020 sucked…

      2020 was also a hard year for SDMB.  COVID hit us hard, as it did so many nonprofits across the country.  Social distancing and pandemic safety requirements meant that we were unable to run the social events, fundraisers, and community outreach events that support our core mission.  Many of the larger events that SDMB has relied on for ongoing funding were postponed or cancelled, including the McKenzie Frenzy and the Mt. Lemmon Gravel Grinder.  We had to significantly scale back our volunteer trail building and maintenance events, including temporarily halting construction at 100-Acre Wood Bike Park.  And in the face of funding cuts and the ongoing economic downturn the SDMB board elected to terminate the contract of our only paid staff person, Executive Director Evan Pilling.  As of September 2020, SDMB returned to being a 100% volunteer-driven organization.

      In spite of the challenges of the past year, SDMB saw some significant successes thanks to the hard work of our board and volunteers.  Even a pandemic can’t stop our mission to Build, Ride, and Protect trails in Tucson and Southern Arizona!  We want to give a huge thanks to all of the volunteers, donors, and business supporters who have made all of our 2020 successes possible.  Read on to learn more about SDMB’s accomplishments in 2020…

      SDMB 2020 YEAR IN REVIEW

      National Civilian Community Corps Team

      In late 2019 and early 2020, SDMB hosted our third team of AmeriCorps volunteers from the National Civilian Community Corp.  For this team we did things a little differently and worked with some of our partners to help the team work on trail projects throughout the area.  The NCCC team worked with Pima County NRPR on construction of Painted Hills Trails Park, maintained trails on Mt. Lemmon with TORCA and the Arizona Trail Association, and finished their stay by assisting with cleanup and trail building at 100-Acre Wood Bike Park.

      24 Hours in the Old Pueblo

      SDMB hosted another successful trail maintenance weekend to help get the course in shape for the big race.  And a small army of volunteers manned the beer garden and served many cases of tasty Huss Brewing company beer to thirsty racers.  Huge thanks Epic Rides for letting us be a part of the event, and we’ll see you in 2022!

      Fantasy Island Trails Park

      Fantasy Island is saved!  SDMB, along with TORCA and SAMBA, worked with the City of Tucson over the last several years to negotiate permanent preservation of the northern part of the trail system as outlined in the 2006 Master Plan.  That means that Lone Cactus, Burro Pit, Bo’s, and Christmas Tree loops will be part of the City-managed Fantasy Island Trails Park.  In August 2020 SDMB and the City of Tucson finalized a development agreement that allows SDMB and our volunteers to oversee long-term maintenance and improvement of the trail system.  In June and July, a crew of hardy volunteers braved the heat and spent several hundred hours pruning and brushing Burro Pit and Bo’s loops and started the process of laying out comprehensive signage for the entire system.  To gather more data to support ongoing efforts at Fantasy Island, SDMB deployed a trail counter for a year and conducted a user survey.  We recorded nearly 19,000 bikes over a 12-month period and had 583 riders respond to the survey.  In addition to collecting valuable information about rider demographics and use patterns we learned that the majority of Fantasy Island users support construction of improvements like berms, jumps, and technical features.  Signage and system improvements coming in 2021!

      Starr Pass Trails

      110-degree plus temps?  No problem!  In August and September SDMB volunteers built the new .3-mile Mockingbird Trail at Starr Pass in Tucson Mountain Park.  Mockingbird connects Rock Wren and the old Starr Pass trail, bypassing the Wall and keeping the trails on County-owned land.  Mockingbird also includes 135 feet of armored tread, which required thousands of pounds of rock to be moved by hand.  And in November/December 2020 SDMB volunteers helped Pima County lay out a new connector from the Starr Pass Marriott to the 5-way intersection and a reroute of the Yetman trail that bypasses the wash near the Stone House.  4 more miles of new trail to come in 2021!

      100-Acre Wood Bike Park

      We started off 2020 strong at the bike park, with the Americorps NCCC crew and dozens of volunteers helping with continued site cleanup and building/finishing the Green XC Trail and the Green Flow Trail.  More berms and tabletops!  COVID meant that SDMB couldn’t run large volunteer events so bike park construction had to take a pause for the rest of the year.  In December, after more than a year of negotiations, the City of Tucson finally approved the Sponsorship and Advertising policy so we can start accepting sponsors!  SDMB is actively looking for folks to step into leadership roles for the bike park.  Go here to fill out the interest form: https://bit.ly/bikeparkleadership

      Mt. Graham/Coronado National Forest Safford District

      Mt. Graham is in the Pinaleno Mountains outside of Safford, a Sky Islands range that rises to more than 10,000 feet from the desert floor.  It’s home to more than 75 miles of trails, incredible views, and huge riding potential.  In November SDMB finalized a volunteer agreement with the Safford District of Coronado National Forest to help re-open the trails on the mountain after fires in 2004 and 2017 left them neglected and fading into obscurity.  We’re starting with the Arcadia National Recreation Trail, a hidden gem that descends 2,500 feet over 5 miles.  In November and December, SDMB volunteers spent two weekends brushing out Arcadia to re-open the corridor and the trail should be rideable by the end of February 2021.  By the end of 2021 we hope to have re-opened another 10 miles of trail on the mountain, with many more to follow. 

      Be Cool Trail Etiquette Campaign

      Be Cool is a campaign to educate riders, and all trail users, about etiquette on multi-use trail to help folks get along on crowded trails.  In April 2020 SDMB was awarded a $7,500 Safety and Environmental Education (SEE) grant from Arizona Parks and Trails to expand our Be Cool efforts.  In November SDMB volunteers ran five Be Cool outreach events in the Tucson Mountains, engaging and educating trail users of all types.  Look for Be Cool ambassadors at trailheads near you in 2021!

      Statewide Advocacy Efforts

      Did you know that SDMB supports trail advocacy efforts across the state?  SDMB board member Evan Pilling sits on the Arizona State Committee on Trails (ASCOT) and is a founding steering committee member of the Network for Arizona’s Trails.  And board member Kirk Astroth sits on the Network steering committee and is leading the charge for statewide legislation to support and fund trails and outdoor recreation and eventually establish a state Office of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism.  On the local level, we continue to work towards permanent preservation of the Honeybee Canyon Trails, and were thrilled to take the Oro Valley mayor and several town council members on a ride to check out the trails.

      WHATS NEXT

      So many exciting plans for 2021!  With all of the recent changes, the board is in the process of designing SDMB 2.0.  We have lots of exiting projects in the works and are actively recruiting new leadership to help move things forward.  The COVID pandemic is still in full swing and we need to ensure the safety of volunteers and event participants and do our part to stop the spread, so unfortunately large volunteer events and social events will be on hold for the foreseeable future.  The board is confident that we can keep folks safe while still continuing to build trails and expand riding opportunities.

      In 2021, SDMB is focusing on:

    • Recruiting new leadership for the board and our various working groups. 
    • Starting construction on 4 miles of new trails at Starr Pass, including the Shemwell Trail to connect 36th St. and Explorer trails and an extension of Explorer Trail to Kennedy Park.  Trails will be built with a combination of volunteer events and grant-funded Conservation Corps crews.
    • Starting recruitment of sponsors and re-starting construction at 100-Acre Wood Bike Park.  Get ready for more jumps, more berms, and more features!
    • Installation of signage throughout the Fantasy Island trail system, along with maintenance and improvement of the preserved trails and closure of the numerous wildcat trails that are popping up.
    • Continued trail work on Mt. Graham.  We’re going to finish opening Arcadia, then start work on Ladybug and a number of other MTB-friendly trails on the mountain.
    • More Be Cool!  We’re working with Cirrus Visual Communication to develop a standalone Be Cool outreach setup so that volunteers can run more events at trailheads to spread the Be Cool gospel.
    • Starting social events and fundraisers again!  We miss you all, and can’t wait to plan events like social rides, Thirsty Thursdays, the Starr Pass Poker Ride, and the McKenzie Frenzy.  As soon as we get COVID under control and it’s safe to run more events, we’ll see you out on the trails!
    • HOW YOU CAN HELP

    • There are so many ways to support SDMB in our mission to Build, Ride, and Protect the trails we all ride and love.  Please consider supporting us in any way you can.

    • Become a member!  One of our biggest funding sources is your membership dollars, and more members help us advocate for more riders and more trails.  Memberships start at only $40 per year, and if you join or renew during our membership drive you can get some sweet perks.
    • Volunteer at a trail work event!  Volunteers make it all happen.  Stay tuned for volunteer events at Tucson Mountain Park, Fantasy Island, Mt. Graham, and 100-Acre Wood Bike Park.  Information can be found on the SDMB Facebook page and at www.sdmb.org.  Make sure to sign up for the newsletter!
    • Get involved!  SDMB is actively recruiting new board members and members for the Fantasy Island and 100-Acre Wood working groups, along with our various committees.  We need folks to step up into leadership roles if we are to continue expanding MTB and trails opportunities in Southern Arizona.  Please email trailsteward@sdmb.org for more information on board, working group, and committee opportunities.


  • 11 Dec 2020 12:17 PM | Anonymous
    Welcome back to a SDMB's Meet the Board, where we introduce our current board members and give them an opportunity to talk about what motivates them to volunteer their time with SDMB. Fourth up, board member and mountain bike extraordinaire, Mike Mucker!

    1. How long have you been involved with SDMB?

    We did our first rides with SDMB in December of 2005 on a section of the Arizona Trail at Pistol Hill (which SDMB helped build) and for a photo shoot for Bike Magazine on the Arizona Trail at Kentucky Camp. We took part in various SDMB events over the next 10 years and I was invited to become a board member in June of 2015.

    2. What about SDMB’s mission and work really motivates you?

    I have a passion for cycling. I want to share that passion with others and create opportunities by increasing access for mountain bicyclists, building new sustainable trails, and improving existing trails.


    3. What is one personal/professional asset you bring to SDMB?

    I am also the founder of a bicycling organization in Pennsylvania, LHORBA (Laurel Highlands On & Off Road Bicycling Association), and served as president for the first 16 years. There I worked with eight different State Forest, State Park, and Regional Park land managers to help in new trail construction and trail maintenance. I made it a priority to teach trail advocacy to local cyclists. Through this I gained valuable experience in trail building, trail maintenance, trail advocacy, event planning, delegation and communication. I hope to use these skills to serve SDMB as a Board Member, Pima County Trails Program trail crew leader, Advocacy and Events committee member, and ride leader.

    4. What do you want to accomplish with SDMB moving forward?

    I would like to help build more trails in the Tucson region and improve the existing trails. I would also like to get more people on mountain bikes especially by helping to make the sport more inclusive and diverse.

    5. What is your favorite trail to ride (local preferred, but anywhere works)?

    There are too many great trails around Tucson to pick just one!

    • The 36 mile section of Arizona Trail from the Green Forest Gate south of Lakes Rd to the Hope Camp Trailhead.
    • Ridgeline and Wild Burro Trails in the Tortolita Mountains along with all of the trails in Honeybee for one big ride.
    • Tucson Mountain Park including the trails at Starr Pass, Robles Pass and Enchanted Hills.

    Here are a few my favorite trails that are not in Tucson:

    401 in Crested Butte, CO; McKenzie River near Bend, OR; South Boundary Trail in Taos, NM; Hurricane, Gould, Jem Loop in St. George, UT; Bear Gulch, Sun Valley, ID; Surveyors Ridge, Mt. Hood, OR


    Thanks Mike! Be on the lookout for more bios coming soon!

  • 24 Nov 2020 10:21 AM | Anonymous

    Welcome back to a SDMB's Meet the Board, where we introduce our current board members and give them an opportunity to talk about what motivates them to volunteer their time with SDMB. Third up, board member and current events committee chair, Dave Slagle!

    1. How long have you been involved with SDMB?

    My first event was Brats and Beers up at Catalina State Park in November of '13. I was late and missed most of the ride but still had a great time. I was determined not to be late to the next one. My next event was a trail build day working on the Yetman Wash reroute in early 2014. I still think of that day every time I ride that trail.

    In 2015, I was working on my first Our MTB Rides jersey, when I was asking Zach McDonald (then SDMB president) about putting the SDMB logo on our jersey when he suggested that I join the board. Sounded fun, but I was way too busy with family, work and running my own bike group. A few months go by and I get a call from Evan (current SDMB president) who again asked if I was interested in joining the board. After attending a single board meeting, next thing I know Pedro and I are on the board.

    2. What about SDMB’s mission and work really motivates you?

    I really enjoy being part of the projects we are working on. I find building new and maintaining existing trails very rewarding. I like to think that I'm a small part of the reason Tucson is an awesome place to ride.


    3. What is one personal/professional asset you bring to SDMB?

    I run the Our MTB Rides Facebook group and use that platform to advocate for SDMB. I really enjoy running some of SDMB’s events and further building community.

    4. What do you want to accomplish with SDMB moving forward?

    I would love to be part of the reason our projects (100 Acre Wood bike park, Starr Pass and Fantasy Island trails projects) encourage people to start cycling and to promote Tucson as a riding destination!

    5. What is your favorite trail to ride (local preferred, but anywhere works)?

    • Favorite single trail: Bug Spring. So much fun.
    • Favorite trail system: Starr Pass with all the new trails I've worked on. The feeling you get riding on trail you helped build is hard to describe. And Fantasy Island is the trail system that got me to love mountain biking!!
    • Favorite trails outside of Tucson: Moab's Hymasa and Captain Ahab. Then there is Bentonville. Lots of fun there. Maybe I need to get out more but we have it so good here in Tucson.


    Thanks Dave! Be on the lookout for more bios coming soon!

  • 12 Nov 2020 1:22 PM | Anonymous

    Welcome back to a SDMB's Meet the Board, where we introduce our current board members and give them an opportunity to talk about what motivates them to volunteer their time with SDMB. Second up, acting board vice-president, Kirk Astroth!

    1. How long have you been involved with SDMB?

    I have been involved with SDMB for about 5 years. (I really am vague on this—who even knows anymore?)

    2. What about SDMB’s mission and work really motivates you?

    Two things really motivate me about SDMB’s mission: trail building and protection. I love the fact that we are working to actively expand trail networks in southern Arizona and that we have an advocacy mission.

    3. What is one personal/professional asset you bring to SDMB?

    I got involved in the board because I am passionate about protecting trails like Honeybee that are constantly under the threat of development and elimination. I enjoy working in the political realm. I also bring my passion for data collection to SDMB. I have been placing a bike counter on various trails for the past 4 years and conducting rider surveys in order to ensure that we have hard data to bring to public discussions about the importance of protecting trails.

    4. What do you want to accomplish with SDMB moving forward?

    Moving ahead, I would like to see SDMB continue to build out more trails, like the 100 Acre Wood Bike Park, Tucson Mountain Park, McKenzie Ranch and other places. I also see a critical role SDMB can play in larger advocacy coalitions like the Network for Arizona Trails and the Pinal Partnership Open Space and Trails Committee. It is important to me that we have a statewide influence on trails and collaborate with groups like the Arizona Trail Association to pursue an agenda at the state level that protects trails and helps get the people of Arizona outdoors. I would also love to see SDMB expand its efforts beyond Tucson and bring others in Pinal County, Santa Cruz County, and Cochise County into our outreach and advocacy efforts. There are many trails outside the Tucson basin that could benefit from our trail maintenance and advocacy efforts.

    5. What is your favorite trail to ride (local preferred, but anywhere works)?

    My two favorite trails to ride are Honeybee and Sweetwater. Both are very different experiences, but both provide the kind of outdoor Sonoran Desert environment that I seek when I want to go for a spin. Plus, I almost always see someone I know when I am out riding those trails!


    Thanks Kirk! Be on the lookout for more bios coming soon!

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