The North Shore Mountain Bike Association (NSMBA) takes its motto – “Trails for all. Trails Forever.” seriously. The North Shore trail organization has been working steadily to address issues of inclusion and diversity in mountain biking for years.
Right now, the NSMBA is raffling a limited edition 2020 Knolly Warden to support its ongoing trail work in North Vancouver. Naturally, the organization is using the raffle as an opportunity to turn talk about inclusion in the mountain bike community into action. Proceeds from the “Trails Forever” bike raffle are set to be split between helping NSMBA’s own activities and Vancouver’s Colour the Trails, and organization working towards diversity in outdoor recreation.
Cooper Quinn, President of the NSMBA took time to answer our questions about why the organization needs help more than ever in 2020, why the mountain biking community needs to work towards diversity and inclusion (and what NSMBA is doing about it), and how riders outside the Lower Mainland can start doing work wherever they are.
Read through Quinn’s insightful answers, then check out details of the limited edition Knolly Warden LT and links to enter or donate below.
NSMBA: Trails for All
Canadian MTB: Let’s start with the NSMBA. Why are fundraisers like this important to the organization, and how will its portion of the proceeds be used?
Cooper Quinn: There are three ways we can do things; volunteers, donations in-kind, or we have to pay people. We try to do all three. Having a fundraiser like this gives us more freedom with the money than some of our other revenue streams, and its extra important in 2020. Our general revenue is down, we’re unable to do much of our normal volunteer activities to lever dollars and keep trails maintained, and they’re being used heavily. Our portion of the proceeds will go into our general operating budget, which helps cover much of the work our trail crew does, as well as administration.
NSMBA is splitting the proceeds with Colour the Trails. How did NSMBA choose this organization to work with? And what work will you be doing with Colour the Trails outside of this fundraiser?
Working on diversity and inclusion initiatives isn’t new to the Association. We stand with the Black Lives Matter movement, and believe that trails should be a welcoming place for BIPOC; a demographic underrepresented both in our membership, and on the trails. We wanted to work with an organization that was working to overcome systemic barriers; ideally locally and in an outdoor recreation & trails setting. We reached out to Colour the Trails to see if they’d be interested, and the founder Judy [Kasaima] said yes. We’ll be working on a few fronts with her; the monetary donation is a no-brainer, but importantly to both organizations, we’ll be getting out on the trail together! Developing relationships takes more than just money and marketing. It takes time. We’ll also be working to help set up some administration and some more boring but important stuff on the backend to support Colour the Trails in becoming a non-profit organization. It’s a lot of legalese, paperwork and effort that is very off-putting. We see value in sharing our privilege and experiences as a non-profit to help others establish and thrive in this arena as well.
NSMBA is already working to engage with issues of diversity and inclusion, and has been for several years now. Can you talk about some of the other ways the NSMBA’s been engaging with that problem?
Often, this work has really been focused on gender inclusivity to date. And I think it’s been somewhat successful; we’re seeing increases in women participating in trail days, Fiver races (well, were. pre-COVID), and overall in the membership. We’ve done specific things like women’s specific trail day, and less specific things like working to ensure women and BIPOC are represented on our website and social feeds. We’ve also been working with the LGBTQ+ community; again with trail days. Last year, we donated profits from our Fiver World Champs race to the BC Aboriginal Youth Mountain Bike Program, and a couple of small engagement days with a local First Nation. If I’m honest, we haven’t done much to work with BIPOC beyond that in my tenure; that’s a failure, and part of why we’re very excited to get to work with Colour the Trails.
Many of our readers are outside of the lower mainland. Do you have any advice for riders looking to engage with issues of inclusion and diversity in their own communities?
Here in BC (and, Canada), pretty much all the land we recreate on is the traditional territory for one or more First Nations people, and trails are a great path working with local nations on reconciliation. Heck, a lot of the trails are ancient indegenous trading routes. Work to engage there, if the Nation is interested. Do lots of listening. I highly recommend ‘Working in a Good Way‘, put together by Patrick Lucas of the BC Abroriginal Youth Mountain Bike Project, and another organization I sit on the board of, the Outdoor Recreation Council of BC. We also have a list of resources and links on the NSMBA website around inclusion, diversity, and privilege.
NSMBA “Trails Forever” Knolly Warden LT
For the Trails Forever raffle NSMBA has put together a custom, and very Canadian, all-aluminum Knolly Warden LT, “Seymour Edition.” In addition to the frame, the bike features components from Squamish’s One Up Components and carbon fibre wheels hand-laid in Kamloops by We Are One Composites. SRAM Eagle components nad Rockshox suspension fill out this custom build.
2020 Knolly Warden "Seymour" edition, with the mountain's topography graphics. and One Up Components bars. Photo: Gavin Kennedy
Knolly Warden 2020. Photo: Gavin Kennedy
NSMBA x Knolly. Photo: Gavin Kennedy
We Are One carbon fibre wheels and SRAM XO drivetrain. Photo: Gavin Kennedy
Whistler brand Chromag adds a Lynx saddle on top of One Up's dropper post. Photo: Gavin Kennedy