Friends, pixies, fairies... lend me your shovels!

Trail maintenance volunteer groups across Europe are coming together to get their trails in shape this spring following a successful 2017 event.

IMBA Europe Take Care of Your Trails 2018 is on April 7th/8th 2018.

We all know mountain bikers have great community spirit, right? Well now’s our chance to prove it.

That means we could see Friends of the Hurtwood, Oneplanet Adventure’s Volunteer Trail Pixie Team, the Glentress Trailfairies and loads more all working on the same day, across the UK. It’s basically a big call-to-arms for trail repair, maintenance and building works. It could be the largest ever concerted dig day too.

Trail repair groups from Scotland to Poland, Denmark to Czech Republic and Sweden to Spain will heft their shovels in unison. It’s billed as a friendly competition to see which nation can get the most volunteers out there.

>>> Trail etiquette — the mbr guide to how to behave on the trails

The weekend will be centrally co-ordinated by IMBA Europe who will collate each countries results at the end of the weekend. The whole thing is based on an idea by Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland (DMBinS) which has been running a similar scheme nationally for two years.

Pic: IMBA

How do you sign up?

All you need to do to register your event is click this link and register. It’s a fairly simple form, detailing which days you are taking part and what you are planning to do. Complete this form by noon Wednesday 14th February 2017.

Basic guidelines

The event needs to be either hosted by the landowner or you should have prior permission from the landowner.

Ensure that you have the necessary insurance in place to run your event.

Ensure that you have an appropriately experienced or qualified leader for your event.

Ensure that you have adequate First Aid provision to meet the needs of the group and work location.

Ensure that you complete a volunteer sign-in sheet prior to commencing work. This should include names and emergency contact numbers.

Ensure that volunteers are adequately briefed prior to the event and adequately supervised during the event.

Ensure that you have a range of tasks planned to suit the ages and experience levels of your group e.g. litter picking for those without experience or appropriate personal protective equipment.

If you are running a session which is offered to children or young people (under 18) your group should have the necessary child protection measures in place or be clear that any children or young people who wish to attend will need to be accompanied by a supervising responsible adult.

Who won last year?

In 2017, Slovenia were crowned the ‘Best MTB Community in Europe’ with an amazing effort with 32 groups and over 440 volunteers including the Slovenian prime minister! They were closely followed by Scotland where the idea originated.

The winning country of 2018 will be presented at the Enduro World Series, round 3 (12-13 May) in Olargues, Montagnes du Caroux, France.

Tools for the job

There’s a new trail building weapon from BTR, called the Tough Rake. It’s handmade by Burf and Tam from BTR, zinc plated and comes with a hefty wooden handle, yours for £80.

Then there’s the Trailhead TT-Mk1 tool, also £80 and also lovingly handmade and heavy duty. It even has a bottle opener in it.

Finally, we love the Pick Azada from get-digging.co.uk — it’s light enough to heft all day and slices through soil. It’s much cheaper too, at £29.

Some inspiration from Sam Pilgrim

Sam Pilgrim: “So we decided to give ourselves two hours to build and ride a track from fresh in an effort to show you that it is possible to make a fun bike track fast and with ease!! All you need is some friends and a hill and its time to ride!”