TCoYTW, Trail Building Schools and Model Trails

Take Care of Your Trails Weekend

In 2017, IMBA Europe and DMBinS launched the first pan-European Take Care of Your Trails Weekend campaign, the largest coordinated voluntary trail repair, maintenance and build effort so far. ‘Take Care of Your Trails’ weekend will take place with trail repair groups from Scotland to Poland, Denmark to Czech Republic and Sweden to Spain to engage in a friendly competition to see which country can get the most amount of volunteers to work on paths and trails. The weekend is based on a successful pilot running for 2 years in Scotland by Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland (DMBinS).

Volunteers of all ages and abilities will hit their local trails to take part in the event. IMBA Europe and DMBinS are calling out for groups across Europe to organise a trail repair session on the weekend. The sessions which will be available for volunteers to participate in will be launched week beginning the 8th February. Groups responding after this date will still be included but will miss the benefit of being part of the launch. Dates for the TCoYTW 2019 haven't been announced yet. 

Winners of the TCoYTW raffle

  • WTB Volt saddle - Ramon Miklus 
  • WTB Trail Boss - Han Klinkien
  • WTB mug - Michiel van de Grift
  • WTB t-shirt (w) - Alexia Richelet
  • WTB t-shirt (m) - Robert McNeice
  • WTB mud guard - Philipp Hahn
  • Primal jersey (3x) - Gilles da Silva, Marco Cantarelli, Pascal Hourez
  • Trail Love t-shirt (5x) - Antonio Topolovec, Lise Norgaard, Nina Otto, Giannoulis Panos, Nejc Gosar

Winners of the Trail Heroes raffle

  • Specialized Epic S-works frame - Livio Lacitignola (CH)
  • SRAM GX Eagle group set - Vincent Lastennet (FR)

Trail Building Schools

Building new or improving existing trails and teach sustainable trail technology. Training volunteers, stimulate trail stewardship. That’s all part of our mission. It’s the old fashion ‘work in the dirt’ that’s shows mountain bikers, grant makers and bicycle industry partners what IMBA stands for. Tangible results that encourages local groups to join their national association or start their own trail project and advocacy work. Next to it, purposed build trails are a great way to get more people (greater diversity) on bikes.

Activities

  • Conduct trail building schools in cooperation with IMBA Europe members
  • Assisting of IMBA Trail Solutions with model trail development projects
  • Lead the effort of elaborating expertise in trail planning, design, construction and management
  • Promote the positive image of sustainable mountain biking to land management authorities, experts, policy makers, politicians, mountain bikers, other trail users and the general public.

 Results:

The concept of trail building schools has been very well received by national groups the last couple of years. Several associations already hosted this educational program and a number of them successfully invited land managers and land management agencies. Finding sufficient funding for a trail building school is a challenge but it’s important to start the planning process early. For member groups that have an interest in training and trail building assistance, we kindly ask you to send your request to info@imba-europe.nl . Please provide information regarding preferred period, location, land manager/ management agency involved and desired content.   

 

Model Trails

Once a year, IMBA recognizes outstanding mountain bike trails and locations with the IMBA Model Trail awards. The goal of this program — which encompasses Epics, Flow Trails, Gateway Trails, Community Bike Parks and Ride Centers — is to inspire and inform, so that we can all have more great places to ride.

We are confident that these awardees should go on your short list of riding destinations. These are the trails worth traveling to, the best places to introduce someone to the sport we all love and are the facilities builders and advocates should look to for inspiration. They vary from gorgeous adventures in the backcountry to innovative trail systems located amidst population centers.

Take a look at the European award winning trails and Ride Centers, including 2014 winners Alps Davos Trail, Flow Country Trail Petzen and Superflow trail!

The IMBA Ride Center® designation represents IMBA’s Model Trail recognition for large-scale mountain bike facilities that offer something for every rider. Bring your full arsenal of bikes to these destination-worthy areas. From backcountry adventures to shuttle-served gravity trails, and from expert-only to family-friendly, you’ll encounter the best the sport has to offer.

LIVIGNO (IT) - SILVER LEVEL

Situated in the Northern Italian Alps, the ski resort town of Livigno is sometimes called "Little Tibet" because of its mountainous setting near the Swiss border, in the heart of the Alta Rezia region. Livigno has a long history with mountain biking and is known for its diverse, naturally-flowing trails, and cycling infrastructure. Livigno has more than 15 bike hotels that specifically cater to riders' needs, two big ski lift operations on two separate mountains, and one of Europe's top bike parks: the Mottolino Bike Park, which offers flow trails, jumps, downhill trails, a skills park, an air bag and North Shore-style features.

Long known has a highlight on trans-Alps routes, Livigno and the surrounding area has more than 1,200 miles (2,000 kilometers) of mapped trails — it's possible to ride for weeks without even scratching the surface. In 2009, Livigno built the first IMBA-designated "Flow Country" trail, and plans are underway to build many more such purpose-built bike trails in upcoming years. The small town offers shopping (duty free), diverse accommodations and plenty of other activities. Trail maps, guided tours, retail and rental bike shops, bike instruction schools, a pump track, circuits for kids, and shuttle services.

SINGLTREK POD SMRKEM (CZ) - BRONZE LEVEL

Singltrek pod Smrkem (“Singletrack under the Spruce”) is the first purpose-built mountain bicycle trail system in continental Europe. Weaving through the picturesque Jizera mountains above scenic villages with histories that date to medieval times, the trails provide nearly 40 miles of singletrack for riders of every skill level. The trail network follows the border between the Czech Republic and Poland, and every segment has been crafted with flow in mind.

In the character of the United Kingdom’s highly successful Trail Centres, Singltrek pod Smrkem boasts a comprehensive trailhead facility that includes a bike shop, rentals, café, bike wash, showers and changing rooms — all situated above a gorgeous lake. Just 2 minutes by bike from the town center, visitors can easily access the trails while enjoying the unique culture of the Czech countryside.  Serving riders in the Czech Republic, Poland, and Germany, this Ride Center brings purpose-designed singletrack to an audience that is more accustomed to riding dirt roads and well-worn hiking trails. We’re confident that this cross-border trail network will soon attract a large base of appreciative fans.

RYCHLEBSKÉ STEZKY (CZ) - BRONZE LEVEL

The rural countryside region of the Czech Republic known as Moravia is covered in rolling green hills and quaint little villages. It is there in one of the smallest towns, Černá Voda, that you will find Rychleby Trails and its frontman, Pavel Hornik, who is both the town's mayor and master trail builder. The system Hornik created features nearly 60 kilometers (37 miles) of all-weather, sustainable trails that follow streams, pass by an old castle, wind through meadows and eventually climb over 470 meters (1541 feet) to a mountaintop overlooking Černá Voda. From there you can choose from a number of rocky descents or soar down on a buttery-smooth flow trail.

Epic Rides

With the addition of new Model Trail classifications in recent years, IMBA has returned the Epics to the original intent of the designation—demanding, singletrack adventures in a natural setting. The 2013 class of Epics celebrates true backcountry riding experiences that are technically and physically challenging, more than 80 percent singletrack and at least 20 miles in length. All of theses Epics feature offer amazing opportunities to interact with the natural world. Existing Epics that meet this criteria will retain Epic status. We have also created an IMBA Epics Hall of Fame to recognize the rides we have honored in the past but no longer meet the new criteria.

LAUGAVEGUR ROUTE (ICELAND)

A mind-blowing, multi-day, overland route in the highlands of Iceland. On this point-to-point hut adventure you'll ride singletrack through a multitude of landscapes including geysers, multi-colored Rhyolite mountains, bubbling mud, endless lava fields and glaciated mountain vistas. The 54-mile trip is best tackled as three long days or five shorter rides. The last day from Þórsmörk to Skogafoss is truly epic and travels between two major glaciers, across the slopes of a cooling volcano.

SININEN SAAVUTUS TRAIL (FINLAND)

The wildlife of Hossa National Park is best experienced by biking on the Sininen Saavutus Trail, which runs as a 32 mile (50 km) circular route through western Taiga forest spotted by eskers and glimmering waters. The mysterious rock paintings at Värikallio cliffs tell you stories from the shamanistic world thousands of years ago. 

The trail offers a variety of challenges but also a wealth of flowy natural trail sections to make up for a whole day's adventure (unless you want to experience the arctic midnight sun and ride through the night). The plentiful campfire sites, 14 of them in total, on beautiful sandy lakeshores allow for dipping into the crystal clear waters of the National Park for a quick refreshment.

W2 - AFAN FOREST PARK (WALES)

The amenities created for mountain bikers on this demanding ride include several cafes, parking lots equipped with bike washes, restrooms with showers and a well-stocked bike shop. The singletrack, however, is the real draw of this Epic, with narrow, twisty trails that open into well-crafted jump lines. Great flow and grippy rocks abound, and the trails hold up well to the soaking Welsh climate. 

ALPS DAVOS TRAIL (CH, GRAÜBUNDEN)

This 27-mile (45 km) ride takes you across Sound-of-Music landscapes. Mostly singletrack, you’ll ride through alpine meadows, forested valleys and idyllic farmland. It all begins with a trip up the lift in Davos to the top of Jakobshorn Peak. From there, you’ll descend into the valley where you can enjoy free, fresh milk from a dairy farm and sample local cheeses.

Pick up speed on a flow trail through the valley before climbing gently to Rinerhorn Mountain. From there, descend into the village of Monstein and visit its brewery, which claims to be the highest in the Alps. The final bit of trail—the “Via Romantica” segment—delivers you to Filisur, where a cappuccino and a train ride back to Davos awaits.

BERNINA EXPRESS (CH)

Rocky, challenging trails that weave by cafes at mountain passes, down endless backcountry descents, and out again to restaurants serving plates of pizzocherri. Linking the Engadin with the Valposchiavo, the trail leads through several climatic zones, crosses the backbone of the Alps, and offers dramatic views of the highest railway line in Europe - a Unesco World Heritage site. The iconic red Swiss trains, corkscrewing through mountain tunnels, serve at the same time as a shuttle from both sides of Bernina Pass, so all trails can be ridden to maximize descending.  Total distance: 37 km (unpaved: 35 km, singetrack: 14 km) / 23 miles total.  Elevation: Begins at 1,708 meters (5,603 feet) at Samedan, climbs to a high point of 2,264 meters (7,427 feet), then descends to 1,014 meters at Poschiavo. Click here for an elevation profile of the trail. Route finding: This is signed as a directional trail: Samedan to Alp Grüm toPoschiavo. Follow the logo indicated on the red signposts with the number 673. Ride with a copy of the map with you.

Highlights: The start point is the key junction of Samedan; the end point is the town of Poschiavo. Despite the high-alpine terrain, the route—which for extensive sections is a singletrack trail—is passable throughout. The northern approach is characterised by long stretches with a very gentle gradient, interrupted by a couple of short, steep climbs. The view of the dazzling glaciers of the Bernina massif is just one of many highlights. From Pru dal Vent, above Alp Grüm, there is a magnificent view of the Lago di Poschiavo. The piazza in Poschiavo has a wonderful, unmistakably Mediterranean charm since the Italian border is close by.

CORTINA EPIC - CORTINA D'AMPEZZO (IT)

Cortina is big: it's got twice the vertical of Vail or Mammoth Mountain. Cortina is dramatic: located in the heart of the Dolomites near Italy's northeast corner, it's an exceptionally sharp and rocky cluster of limestone peaks. Cortina is famous: host to the 1956 Winter Olympics, Cortina has been one of Europe's premier ski resorts ever since.

But Cortina for mountain biking? To a first-time visitor, the towering rock cliffs that surround town appear too severe for anything that resembles reasonable riding. (The Sly Stallone film, Cliffhanger, was filmed nearby.) Wrong! Cortina offers a variety of big loops - some of which cross into Austria, just to the north. Many of the routes include mountain rubble roads that were roughed in by the Italian, German and Austro-Hungarian armies during World War I. The pedaling is rarely smooth - then again, neither is Moab's - but the vistas make the Sound of Music look like Kansas.

Off the mountain, you'll find plenty of well-marked rides, and you'll appreciate the universal respect of Italians for cyclists of all types. Bring your climbing legs and, of course, your appetite. Location: Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy. Cortina is about 20 miles east of the final exit on the A27 motorway, Pian di Vedoia. Length: To be determined. Most Cortina rides stretch about 20 miles, passing high mountain lakes and often, mountain refuges that provide meals and simple lodging during the summer. Climbing: Typically 3,000 feet. Longer rides may have as much as 5,000 feet. Terrain: A mix of rocky dirt roads, ancient cart paths and singletrack. Highlights: Sharp spires, shear cliffs

Traveling outside of Europe? A complete (global) list of Model Trails and Ride Centers can be found on https://www.imba.com/model-trails