Revelstoke Cycling Association president Keith McNab says the association plans to move forward with trail-building

Revelstoke cycling groups plan amalgamation

Revelstoke cycling enthusiasts are exploring ways to amalgamate their efforts under the collective umbrella of the Revelstoke Cycling Association (RCA). This comes after many years of operating as a patchwork of formal and informal groups focused on specialized cycling categories, such as road riding, freeride mountain biking and cross-country mountain biking.

Revelstoke cycling enthusiasts are exploring ways to amalgamate their efforts under the collective umbrella of the Revelstoke Cycling Association (RCA). This comes after many years of operating as a patchwork of formal and informal groups focused on specialized cycling categories, such as road riding, freeride mountain biking and cross-country mountain biking.

Revelstoke Cycling Association president Keith McNab met with the Times Review last week to discuss what led to the changes and the trail ahead.

“There’s lots going on in the cycling world,” he says, listing off ongoing work on the Macpherson trails, the nearly-completed new Frisby Ridge trail, ongoing work at Keystone/Standard Basin, and efforts to apply for tenure in order to bring rogue trails on Boulder Mountain into the fold. Now, an annual general meeting is scheduled for the evening of Monday, April 18 at 7 p.m. at the Revelstoke Community Centre, followed by a community open house on the evening of Tuesday, April 26 to update the community on ongoing cycling association efforts. The association will also be pushing for new members.

Up until now, explains McNab, the cycling scene has been somewhat fragmented. He explains the background. Here’s a brief summary, painted with broad brush strokes:

The Revelstoke Cycling Association has been around for about a decade, building legal, sanctioned trails, focusing on cross-country trails. Last year they were joined by the new Revelocity road biking group, who came under their fold, but were semiautonomous.

In the meantime, freeride and downhill mountain bikers have been involved in building so-called ‘rogue trails’ around town, including a concentration on Boulder Mountain. The majority involved were doing so without formal organization.

The Revelstoke Trail Alliance (RTA) was created about two years ago with a broader focus on activism for all trails, including hiking and pedestrian trails. The RTA drew some members and activism from the downhill bike scene. They had a considerable overlap with the Revelstoke Cycling Association.

The problem with the status quo, says McNab, was this overlap. Different groups were applying for funding for different projects, creating confusion amongst funding organizations.

An issue that brought the situation to a head was logging on Boulder Mountain last year. The Ministry of Environment explained to the Times Review in September, 2010 that logging was done by tenure-holder Stella-Jones to deal with an infestation of Douglas-fir bark beetle “as quickly as possible.”

This left several of the trails on the mountain damaged, with riders needing some kind of formal framework to address the situation. This led to a series of meetings over the winter where representatives from all groups sought ways to work towards a cohesive organization.

McNab said the focus now is to bring all groups under one tent, including making all cycle trail-building the responsibility of the RCA.

McNab said the RCA will present a merger proposal to freeriders at the April 18 annual general meeting. The RCA will look to adopt some of the RTA’s cycling trail work, although the RTA will continue on with their advocacy for trails in general.

After that, the newly-amalgamated RCA club will look at plans for the future.

In the foreseeable future, plans including ongoing work on the Frisby Ridge trail and work to repair damage on Boulder Mountain trails and bring them into the fold as legal trails.

McNab says he expects  membership fees to jump significantly because the RCA will need to join Cycling BC for insurance purposes.

Also, the RCA is planning extending its toonie race series at Mount Macpherson to six races this summer.

The RCA has continued seeking funding for their ongoing trail-building efforts, including through Columbia Basin Trust grants. They hope to develop bigger, long-term plans in the near future, including more funding, possibly through the city’s Tourism Infrastructure Advisory Committee.

McNab hopes new faces will get involved in the RCA in the coming months. “We have a fabulous network of trails,” McNab said, adding there was lots of room for volunteer involvement.

“There’s lots going on; there’s lots of ways to get involved,” McNab saying taking out a membership with the RCA is a good start. “We need the finances to keep building and managing the trails.” The RCA’s open house is on the evening of Tuesday, April 26 and will include draw prizes, map presentations, and other general information. The Times Review will provide the exact time and location of that meeting in our Community Calendar when it is finalized.