CAMBC Q4 2020 Membership Update

November 2020

Winter is coming, eventually.  We hope.  This fall has been amazing—weeks of dry weather and beautiful colors.  On top of that, we have some updates for you.

Riding in the time of Covid

First, Covid safety practices are still in effect.  We can’t have socials, big trail workdays, and group rides.  We CAN be good role models and help keep our trails open and in good shape, especially as the winter season kicks in.

  • Don’t ride on wet or muddy trails.  Don’t skid.  Don’t ride at crazy speeds on crowded trails. Don’t use or create shortcuts.  Stay on the trails.
  • Practice good trail etiquette and COVID safety.  Yield to hikers and runners.  Stop, move off the trail and let them pass.  Keep at least a 6 ft distance.  Give a friendly greeting.  If you see folks failing to yield or be considerate, please remind them of this need and that we’re all ambassadors for our sport.
  • Get a bell if you are riding locally.  We’ve sold out of ours, but we highly recommend investing in one (local bike shops carry them) and USE IT on busy trails as a warning when approaching other trail users.  Avoid startling other trail users.
  • Help with trail upkeep: Nick wet spots, pickup/move branches, and obstructions.  Pack a saw/clippers and keep the trail corridors clear.  Notify CAMBCs Board of any large downed trees that need clearing.  CAMBC works with City and County staff and RTF volunteers to clear downed trees.
  • Have fun, and stay safe.

Pump Track

Not much progress since our last update.  We still feel a pump track is needed in this town, for many reasons.  We are willing to pay for it.  We cannot seem to get the attention or interest from the City Parks and Rec. department.  Given the skate park’s success, it’s pretty clear a pump track as a destination would be as popular for many types of riders from all backgrounds and ages.

We’ll keep trying to keep the flame burning on this by preparing a proposal for another location at McIntire Park and looking into other locations that are more centrally located to diverse populations.

Trails Updates and Advocacy

Despite Covid’s impact on our local governments and communities, our local trail systems have made some amazing progress. CAMBC continues to help drive progress in these areas.

Triangle Trails

Our last report introduced the Triangle Trails area in McIntire park and all the good work happening there.  More dirt was delivered in the last month, and more volunteer work contributed to improving the existing trails and adding some kid-friendly features.  If you haven’t been over there, check it out.

Ragged Mountain

Still no concrete news on the court case where the County is suing the City about code violations (or whatever it is… if anyone knows exactly what the County is arguing for and why it failed arbitration, please let me know).  Despite the increase of users on the trails, including runners and bikers, there is still no concrete guidance on what activities are allowed and where.  For a quick talking points reminder if you encounter someone who questions your biking out there:

  • Clarity on whether Biking is or isn’t acceptable at Ragged is unclear until the Court case is resolved. Until the courts rule, this can be a sensitive situation, so please consider all users while biking at Ragged to help avoid ill will toward biking.
  • RWSA has no concerns about biking or pets impacting the water supply.
  • CAMBC supports a network of hiking-only trails that is separate from multi-use trails.
  • CAMBC and its volunteers are actively helping plan, build, and maintain sustainable trail re-routes.  Are any other groups doing this?

We just completed a workday to put a re-route in on the other side of the floating bridge to address the steep sections.  We also need to finish cutting roots and to smooth out some of the new re-route down to the bridge.

What you can do to help

  • If you ride Ragged, help keep the trails clear and help address wet spots.  
  • Don’t go when it’s wet.  It’s bad for the trail, AND tire tracks look much worse than footprints.
  • SLOW DOWN when encountering other users.  
  • Demonstrate to the community there that mountain biking can co-exist with runners and hikers.

Our Position

  • We will continue to help design and maintain sustainable shared-use trails at Ragged Mountain.
  • We support the idea of having hiking-only trails, as long as there is a shared-use trail that loops the reservoir.
  • We will advocate for trails that connect the Ragged/Heyward area by trail to Charlottesville’s OHill and RTF trail networks.

Heyward Community Forest

Great news to report.  First, the City is getting an additional 5 acres of land to add to Heyward via a grant. We’ll find out shortly when that becomes official.  Second, CAMBC has contributed $3275 to help pay for two new trail segments and committed ~$4000 for another in progress.

  • Dam to Round Top Saddle – Amppletrails.org put in a super fun trail that connects the Foxhaven/Round Top trails to the trail connecting the Lower parking area and the dam.
  • Saddle to the Road trail – Amppletrails.org added a switchback to bypass the steep section that significantly improves the trail.
  • The City has put in a trail that follows the stream, starting where the gravel road begins and ending at the Saddle to Road trail.
  • CAMBC is fully funding a trail up what we’re calling “Song Mountain” on the other side of the stream and has committed to completing ½ of it by hand and doing the finishing work on the rest.  Thanks go to Amppl Trails for the amazing work and passion they’ve brought to turn these dreams into reality in mere months and to the City’s Parks and Rec department for making this all happen.
  • We are exploring grants to help raise funds and recognition for this City/CAMBC partnership in creating a new trail system in a community park.

We have dreams and plans for more trails in the area.  Stay tuned.

What can you do to help?

  • Next time you ride there, bring some clippers and spend 10-15 minutes clipping the exposed root ends down to dirt level.
  • Slow down for non-bikers.  Reduce trail conflict and negative feedback from non-bikers.
  • Be prepared to help out when we put out calls for trail days for the upcoming trails.
  • Don’t ride the trails that are under construction.
  • Send in good feedback to the City Parks and Rec department saying how much you love the work they are doing there and being inclusive for biking.

Our position:

  • We will continue to help design and fund shared-use trails in Heyward.
  • We would like to consider some bike-specific trails on the side close to the highway.  

Biscuit Run

Not much to report here.  The County is re-submitting a plan for a parking lot entrance to get VDOT’s approval.  They are allegedly re-starting the discussion with the local HOA’s to get formal access to the Wegmans to Biscuit section.  We’re frustrated at the lack of movement.

Meanwhile, the trails there are being used.  They are lovely.  We want more. We’re willing to help flag, build, and maintain shared-use trails.

What can you do to help?

  • Don’t park in the Neighborhoods to access the Biscuit trails unless you have permission from a local resident—Park at Wegmans or Hickory St.
  • Don’t build new trails and get the County upset.  Let’s work with them.
  • Put pressure on the County to get things moving.  Ask during the Supervisor meetings.  Write emails to bos@albemarle.org.

Walnut Creek

The trails are clear.  It is riding well.  The County is doing a great job of keeping it clear.  If you do encounter issues, contact them via ???

Preddy Creek

Riding well and flows!  The park is incredibly popular these days, so please use a bell when you ride there and be a good role model.  If you encounter issues, contact the County via ???

Rivanna Trail

CAMBC continues working closely with the RTF, and we’ve contributed significantly recently to trail work and re-routes.  Some recent news:

  • The Woolen Mills bridge is officially closed, but people are using it.  We continue to work on the best way to improve the rock rip-rap section to be easier (aka dumbed down) and more friendly to foot/bike users.  Several small work parties have started working in this section.
  • The bridge across Meadow Creek just below Locust Ave. is in place to connect future trails to Penn Park has had its footings reinforced.  No news on when it will officially open.
  • RTF north around Belvedere is about to have a section closed for construction.  There are alternative options to get past Belvedere, and we’re hoping there will be signs to show where to go.
  • CAMBC members participated in trail work and brushing activities to keep the RT trails open this autumn.  As far as we are concerned, the RT is in the best shape it ever has been.  Thanks for your support and participation.
  • Consider becoming a member of the RTF if you use the https://www.rivannatrails.org.

Trailwork

Trailwork is an important part of what we do as a club and helps establish our reputation as trail advocates and trail stewards.  CAMBC is now considered a resource for trail design expertise by the local land managers.  We had established a monthly trail work schedule on the third weekend of every month.  It will resume post-covid.

We had several trail workdays pre-covid. Thank you to all of you who have participated.  Since our last update in August, we’ve

  • Several BIG volunteer days at Heyward and Ragged Mountain helped prepare the new re-routes and trails for use.
  • Several smaller groups helped with the RTF in various areas.
  • Nov. 14 Dave Stackhouse and a small group put in an amazing re-route near the Ragged floating bridge.  Check it out!

Trail worker of the Fall?  Eric Magrum – who has put in a significant amount of time rallying workgroups at Heyward, stoking enthusiasm for that area, and working with Amppltrails to get these trails put in at record speed.

Trail Champions

We are looking to find people who are willing to be the formal “trail monitors” for our area trail systems.  We hope that these monitors can act as liaisons between CAMBC and the trail system land managers and keep an eye on the trails, reporting issues, recommending work, and leading workdays.

  • Walnut Creek – Jenny Whedbee 
  • Preddy Creek – Bob Newman
  • Ragged/Heyward – 
  • OHill – 
  • RTF Trails – John Lewis
  • Mint Springs – 

Your Dues at Work

List of accomplishments since August.  

  1. CAMBC clothing order.  Raised $~500 for CAMBC.  So popular we had another round of orders, due to arrive in December.  Expecting to raise several hundred dollars more!
  2. $2350 to help fund the new trail at Heyward (Dam trail to Round Top Saddle)
  3. $1925 to fully fund the switchback on the Heyward Road to Saddle trail
  4. Committed ~$4000 to fully fund a new trail on the highway side

Thus far, all of our income for 2020 has gone right back into supporting local trail building in our area!

We depend on membership dues as our primary income and supplement it with donations and volunteer events (Fridays after Five etc.), which didn’t happen this year.  So, if you ride our local trails, please join CAMBC if you haven’t, renew if you’ve let your membership expire, and encourage others to join!

Also, we’ve activated an Amazon Smile account, so when you purchase via Amazon, we can benefit.

  1. Go to https://smile.amazon.com and register to donate to “Charlottesville Area Mountain Bike Club.”
  2. Use https://smile.amazon.com as your address when you purchase via Amazon, and we benefit.

And finally, you can donate directly to CAMBC via Paypal at money@cambc.org.

Upcoming Events

Socials & Rides – 

On hold until Covid gets resolved, and we can be safe with each other in groups.

ABOUT CAMBC

Mission

A reminder of our Club’s mission: Our purpose is to educate the public with encouragement to live healthier lives through trail use and stewardship.  Our goal is to promote sustainable multi-use public trail systems within Charlottesville and surrounding counties. We emphasize responsible trail use and bicycle safety. We strive to foster positive relationships with other trail users, clubs, and municipal and federal land managers. We also ride bikes!

Who We Are

CAMBC is a community of mountain bikers and trail advocates.  We are a Chapter of IMBA, an international trail advocacy non-profit that helps manage our membership renewals.  CAMBC has MOU agreements with UVA, the City, RTF,  Albermarle and Fluvanna Counties, and Virginia DCR to help build and maintain trails.  We provide trail maintenance assistance on approximately 100 miles of trails in Central Virginia.  The club currently comprises 200-225 paid members.  Our main club mailing list has about 600 subscribers who can post bike-related messages that reach all subscribers, a great way to meet people, find rides, learn about trails or trail work.  We have a shed located at Meadowcreek Park with various trail building tools that we use for trail building and maintenance efforts.  

Leadership

Our board of directors currently comprises the following biking and trail advocates:

  • John Lewis – President
  • David Stackhouse – Treasurer
  • Sam Lindblom – Vice President
  • Annette Dusenbury – Secretary
  • Shawn Tevendale
  • Bobby Casteen
  • Eric Magrum
  • Jip Palakawongs
  • Will Sanford

We meet every other month to vote on club decisions and provide updates on ongoing projects. 

We always want to hear from you, and we encourage involvement from all our members, friends, and fellow trail users.  Let us know if you’d like to join our Board or have ideas and initiatives to help CAMBC serve our community.  You can email us at board@cambc.org.

Pictures thanks to Annette Dusenbury, John Lewis, Jon Ciambotti, Eric Magrum

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