aj strawson

AJ Strawson and Rachael Raven are the IMBA Canada Trail Care Crew. Follow their blog for stories from the road – stopping all across Canada to build trails and meet incredible advocates.

Jun 11, 2013, 2:22 pm

This past weekend, we had the pleasure to visit Surrey, BC, where the Surrey Off-Road Cycling Enthusiasts (SORCE), call home. Before arriving, we wondered what this large, but relatively flat city situated south-east of Vancouver would have to offer. Most input we received from others (upon mentioning our next visit) was that Surrey had lots of farmland, but had little to offer in the way of riding.

Jun 3, 2013, 4:37 pm
MTBA | IMBA Club | event

The mountain bike community is awesome.

We are reminded of this every week, with every new community that we stop in. But getting to attend an event like the BC Mountain Bike Tourism Symposium is extra special!

May 21, 2013, 7:50 pm
Parks Canada

Last year we had the chance to visit two National Historic Sites in the Sault Ste. Marie region of central Ontario. In our blog, we contemplated the value of trails taking us places - not just for recreation, but to cultural and historical destinations.

May 7, 2013, 10:01 am

It can be very challenging for trail builders and land managers to strike a balance between trail experiences for beginner or novice users, all the way to experienced users seeking wilderness.

Factor in rugged terrain (like our experience building beginner mountain bike trails in Abbotsford, BC) and it can create a very difficult situation for trail builders to offer green-level singletrack.

May 5, 2013, 9:50 am

Setting goals - and seeing them through - is no easy feat. Are you a head in the clouds, long-term planner? Or maybe a short-term, master of to do lists?

It can be hard to strike a balance, and even more difficult to manage short and long term goals. Even more difficult when you're talking about the future of an organization, or a trail network.

Jan 22, 2013, 2:06 pm
Staff | fat bikes

Throughout the past 6 months on the road, we'd always get a laugh when we told folks that we were wintering in Thunder Bay. Our final visit of the year was December 9th, in balmy Nanaimo, then AJ and I repacked the car one last time and did the four day drive back to Ontario. We're hibernating for the next few months, while we wait for spring and the trail building season to arrive. Meanwhile we have lots of time to catch up on office work, and couch surfing.

Dec 19, 2012, 12:50 pm

We had a great day of building and teaching in Nanaimo; tons of great volunteers ready to tackle the challenging terrain we had, plus help from the previous Trail Care Crew to supervise other sections of trail. The project consisted of about 150 metres of trail construction and rehabilitating older trail to bring up to sustainable guidelines.

Nov 30, 2012, 11:41 am

Trail design can sometimes be a pretty complicated endeavour. One must balance many considerations when adding new trail to an existing network. This includes the basics like user types, difficulty level, existing trails, and the ever present question of sustainability. Furthermore, different types of terrain provide additional challenges; a beginner trail in rooty and rocky terrain can require significant effort.

Nov 20, 2012, 8:06 pm

It can take quite a while for an organization or club representing a group of people to become an established part of the community. Especially when the club has to work with both local or regional governments, and at the same time establish a membership base which can support the activities and long term goals. Furthermore, when an organization is just starting out, the list of obstacles and challenges is often much larger than the lists of successes.

Nov 12, 2012, 4:29 pm

For years, mountain bikers have had to tell land managers exactly what type of trail we like. For those who've never ridden a mountain bike, it would be reasonable to assume a wide doubletrack with gravel or wood chips is good enough. But anyone who has ridden a mountain bike knows the amount of fun that can be had on narrow and twisty singletrack.