During the month of December, Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance
, a professional trailbuilding and advocacy nonprofit in Washington State, is featuring essays, personal anecdotes, and portraits of workers who have used mountain biking and access to trails as a tool for coping with the stresses of 2020.
After putting out a call on social media to speak to mountain biker “essential workers” in early November, we received responses from a huge range of people all playing their own part in fighting the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Doctors, nurses, and medical lab technicians shared firsthand how important mountain biking has been for their mental health, engineers and utility workers chimed in with stories of long hours followed by long rides to clear their minds, and teachers described a school year filled with constant challenges and the relief that comes from a good rip in the woods.
Some even described mentally working through tough situations at their jobs while out on a ride.
“At times, I would think of solutions for work while pedaling down fire roads between trails. In fact, a lot of how I’ve dealt with Covid has come about on the trail,” said Mike Cheney, an engineer with Washington’s iconic ferry system that transports millions of passengers each year across the Puget Sound region.
Here at Evergreen, we’re calling this collection of stories our “Essential Trails Series” because they illustrate how vital outdoor access and trails are to keeping communities healthy during difficult times. Of course, trails don’t build themselves– maintenance of existing mountain bike trails, construction of new ones, and the protection of all through behind-the-scenes advocacy work is often done by local trail organizations that rely on community support and donations. Many of these local organizations, including Evergreen, are in the midst of their annual year-end fundraising efforts to ensure a bright future for mountain bikers going forward. If you’re able, please consider making a donation to your local trail organization before the end of the month to ensure a productive 2021.
Check out the Essential Trails Series on the Evergreen Blog
Photos by Ian Terry / Courtesy of Essential Trails Series participants.