The Sonoran Desert Mountain Bicyclists: Preserving Nature is Part of the Ride
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The Sonoran Desert Mountain Bicyclists (SDMB) was established in 1998 by a handful of intrepid mountain bikers advocating for good trails and land conservation in southern Arizona. It has only three full-time staff and eleven board members, but has been able to preserve most of the mountain bike trails in the Tucson area. They have become the go-to local experts in trail advocacy, helping build a bike park for a neighborhood school, training others on how to build trails, and chipping in funds for trail signs when the Forest Service is short on cash.
Illustration by Jessica de Jesus
Funded through donations and fees from its 130 members and T-shirt sales, the SDMB is a nonprofit that lobbies, petitions, and forges partnersips with local land managers like the National Forest Service. The group also maintains current trails, and they’ve recently established the Trail Love Corps. If bikers notice a felled cactus or water issues on a trail, they contact SDMB who dispatches volunteers to help fix the problem.
SDMB also remembers that biking is fun, too. It hosts twice-monthly rides, regular skills classes for beginners, and quarterly parties.
To read more about their activities, go here.
Championship bicyclist Todd Wells dominates both mountain biking and cyclocross. He’s won numerous titles and awards all over the world but considers Tucson his second home. He cares passionately about local trails and the work Sonroran Desert Mountain Bicyclists (SDMB) is doing with outdoor conservation.
To read the full interview with Todd Wells, go here.
Application engineer by day, avid mountain biker every other possible moment, Brian Vance is an integral part of SDMB. He’s been on the board of the organization for the past four years, and this year, he’s the president—as well as the founder and owner of TucsonMTB.com, the social networking sister site of SDMB.
For Vance, preserving nature for mountain biking is a must: "We attend public meetings any time an area is slated for development. We work with the county and developers to either leave land as is or move the development over a little to leave a nice natural area alone," he says.
To read the full interview with Brian Vance, go here.
Has the SDMB inspired you to make a difference in your own community? First, find out if there is already a local advocacy group in the area by checking out IMBA. If you have a local chapter, offer to help, or just donate and get out and ride. If not, SDMB Director Brian Vance has some advice: “Find a like-minded group of folks who like to bike and play, and organize around that. But make sure you’re organized and professional. Because if you’re seen as a group of renegades that rides on any dirt lots that are around, you won’t be taken seriously.”
Read more about how you can help the SDMB and your own biking community here.