Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Should Tuff Riders and Los Alamos Singletrack Association Merge?

Chris Collord, the current president of Tuff Riders, sent this message appended below out to the Tuff Riders list this morning and he agreed I could post it here.

My uneducated $0.02?  I don't know the politics of Tuff Riders vs. LASA, but to me, it would be useful to have a coherent, strong voice or voices from the cycling community to not only discuss cycling matters amongst ourselves, but to discuss a coherent policy with local government and both address issues proactively and reactively. The timing could not be more critical with Pajarito Mountain in the news as the snow situation leaves our ski resources dangling by a thread. Perhaps more could be done to make Pajarito Mountain sustainable, indeed more of a year round money maker to a town that desperately needs a second horse to pull its economy.

Anyway, if you are interested in the discussion, leave comments here as well as contact Tuff Riders and LASA.

From Chris

Tuff Riders,
Over the past month I've met several times with Steve Watts, the head of the Los Alamos Singletrack Association (LASA).  Steve is an active member of the community and a great advocate for mountain biking here in Los Alamos. Some of you may also know him as the general manager of the Los Alamos Cooperative Market.

LASA was formed several years ago as a local IMBA Chapter.  In that time, they have had a positive effect on the mountain biking community around Los Alamos with projects such as the IMBA "Los Alamos Community Trail Plan" [1], a bicycle swap meet, and several other events.  Steve also works closely with the county council, Craig Martin (for trail work), and a number of local businesses.  He is also known to join the Tuff Riders on an occasional ride.

Steve has expressed an interest in combining LASA with the Tuff Riders to form the "LASA Tuff Riders".  This would make the Tuff Riders into a full IMBA chapter and Steve would join the current Tuff Riders board in an advocacy position.  Tonight, the Tuff Riders board met and discussed his proposition and we are unanimously in favor.  We'd like to hear what you all have to say.
My thoughts on the matter:
I believe this merger is mutually beneficial.  IMBA Chapter status would give us access to national resources that we can leverage to improve Los Alamos for everyone.  The "Community Trail Plan" is a great example of the types of resources that IMBA can provide and Steve has already demonstrated his enthusiasm for this type of advocacy work.  These benefits extend beyond mountain biking- they improve the trails for runners and hikers too.
These changes also come at a good time.  The county is currently investigating long-term investments into Los Alamos' economic development, and I believe that having a strong voice now will significantly increase our resources in the future.  The joint LASA/Tuff Riders group, with Steve as an advocate, would have a united voice when working with the county council and other local groups (our National Forest Service representatives, Craig Martin, etc.).
What would NOT change is the rides, the parties, or any of the other things that have made the Tuff Riders such a fun group to be a part of. 
Please let us know if you have any questions or comments.
Chris Collord, 2014 Tuff Riders President
P.S. -- Send me your jersey orders! :-)

[1] http://http://www.losalamosnm.us/parks/trails/Documents/Los%20Alamos%20Community%20Trail%20Plan.pdf


Club founding member Gabriela Lopez Escobedo adds this as a comment, and I've moved it up front.

Good afternoon everyone,

Please consider the following before making this drastic change to the Tuff Riders Mountain Bike Club.
The club has been around since 1994, with the 20 year anniversary is this year! We have accomplished so much and have had such an impact in this community:

- At the time the club started, the mountain bikers in Los Alamos started to see some of the local trails closed to bicycles. At the time there was a huge movement to close trails to bikes and only have them open to hikers and horses. One of the reasons (if not the main reason) we started the club was to change that attitude, and the Tuff Riders was successful in changing that; currently there are no trails that are marked closed to bikes in the area (with the exception of the National Park Land of course), and I have not heard anyone speak of trail closures in years. When we started the club, we worked with the local agencies (Forest Service, National Park, and County) to ensure trails were open to bikes, and we initiated a huge movement for doing trail work even in the national park were we could not ride. I think this is one of our greater successes.

-We brought IMBA to Los Alamos, after the Cerro Grande fire. We had an IMBA Trail Crew here for several days. We received a grant to purchase tools and materials, and IMBA and the Tuff Riders Mountain Bike Club held a series of workshops and completed hundreds of hours of trail work in which dozens of participants received training and participated in several activities, including building new trails (the Cabra trail re-route and the Pajarito Canyon re-route).

-Club members provided leadership during the Cerro Grande Fire rehabilitation efforts around town, we planted hundreds of trees and helped re-build almost every trail that was affected by the fire including the Guaje Ridge Trail. We raked and mulched hundreds of acres of forest land around the town.

-Members of the mountain bike club are largely responsible for the mountain bike trails in the Pajarito Ski area. We built a race course in a matter of days to ensure the Pajarito Punishment could go on the year of the fire.

-The club has fitted and given away thousands of helmets for kids (with the help of the Heart Council) in the last 10 years. We have helped keep kids safe.

-We have held many community activities were we did bike safety checks for anyone, and provided advice on places to ride around Los Alamos.

The Tuff Riders was already an IMBA affiliated club; we used to pay the fees for that every year. I am surprised to hear that we no longer are one.

I propose that you keep the club as it is and perhaps evaluate the work that the club is doing these days. I agree that the club could benefit from doing joint projects with other clubs including LASA, but I ask that you review the bi-laws of the club, re-assess your decision, and keep the Tuff Riders Mountain Bike Club for the purpose for which it was founded.


Gabriela Lopez Escobedo
(Founding member)


Gabriela Lopez Escobedo said...
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Steve A said...
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Jimbo said...
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