DC: Ridin’ Dirty

A hard core crew of Mappy enthusiasts braved the thunderstorms Tuesday to hang out with leaders of the Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts (MORE).

Currently 1,500 members strong, MORE is much more (pardon the pun) than just a mountain biking meet-up. Their motto is “riding bikes and building trails since 1992,” and 25 years later they still take both parts of this mission seriously.  The group hosts regular rides for riders of all abilities, but also undertakes serious trail-building efforts.

“We love the outdoors so we want to take care of it,” said MORE President Ernie Rodriguez.

With a fully volunteer crew, MORE works with local parks to design and build trails (while mountain biking is their focus, these are trails that can be used by hikers and runners, as well). The process can be complex. It begins with getting access to the land, which requires buy-in from the park manager. Then, the team must understand what sort of requirements the park has, and these can vary from park to park. Some, for instance, allow machines in the park for use building trails, while others do not. (As you can imagine, this significantly changes the work plan.)

The MORE crew also follows the International Mountain Biking Association standards for trail building, which requires them to meet certain standards, design to ensure trails are build in a sustainable way. When it rains, for instance, you want the rain to sheet off the trail, not pool in one spot. IMBA standards account for this and help ensure that the trail has minimal impact on the land.

All of these steps and considerations mean it can take years to build a trail. In fact, MORE currently has a 15-year agreement to do the stewardship of all the trails in Frederick, MD–a huge undertaking but a huge opportunity. (A note for mountain bike enthusiasts: they’re hoping to build some serious downhill trails!)

“MORE is not just about riding,” Ernie said. “It’s about being part of a group that enables opportunities for people to enjoy outdoor activities.”

Of course, when they’re not building trails, MORE members love to ride. Club members suggested some great places to ride, including: Fort Dupont (the only mountain bike trails on National Park land!), Lake FairfaxLaurel HillMeadowoodPatapscoRosaryville

For those who are interested in learning more and connecting with other mountain bikers and trail builders, MORE’s summer festival is June 10, and will feature a potluck lunch, mountain bike rides, disc golf, and more. All are welcome.

Thanks to MORE (especially Ernie, Aaron, Jonah, Steve, Greg) and to the Wunder Garten for a great night!

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