June Club Meeting & Social

June’s Club Meeting will take place at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery on Tuesday, June 16th at 6pm.  We’ll start off with a social, then around 7, we’ll be talking about the work we’ve done this past year, some of our plans for the next year and the results of this past Winter’s survey.

Please come out at join us at our last meeting until the Fall.  We hope to see you there!

Q&A: Trail Building/Maintenance

Q & A (#2)
with rvaMORE

Q: Trail Building/Maintenance: What’s the process?

How is it determined where and how the trails get built, their design, their
construction and their rebuilding (when necessary)?

A. rvaMORE has been working closely with land managers for over ten years not only to increase our off-road trail network, but to identify and brainstorm solutions for problem areas that creep up on the various trails. Since the ecology in the parks is in a constant state of change, it is necessary to identify, maintain and work proactively with these changes to keep issues at bay. When we build new trail, how is it determined where trail is put down? Who decides its design and the construction method? When we maintain trail, who decides what sections need reworking and why? We’re going to break it all down for you in this Q&A.

1. WHO is involved?
a. An important piece of information about trail building is that the advocacy groups (e.g. rvaMORE, Friends of Pocahontas State Park, etc.) do not have free reign to build trail wherever and whenever they want. The building process is a collaboration between the land managers, the advocacy groups, affected neighborhood associations and possibly other consultants such as IMBA and even hired contractors. It all depends on the project in question.
b. The land managers (e.g. James River Park Staff) have the ultimate authority on the trail design and construction method and approval of any and all trail work projects.
c. Who else is involved? Volunteers! (And we appreciate you!)

2. WHAT is involved?
a. Identify the need: Need can originate from several sources, including land managers, advocacy groups, and/or individual park users. Also identified are the general location of the need (e.g., Buttermilk East, North Bank) and the targeted users of that location (e.g., bikers, hikers, dog walkers, birders, etc.) The need could be as simple as the desire for new trail or more technical trail features or the need could be the result of a hazardous condition (fallen tree, storm damage, land slide) or unforeseen erosion and/or drainage problems.
b. Communicate the need: Once the need has been identified, the source alerts the land manager or advocacy group.
c. Assessment: The land managers assess the existing state of the trail bed of the area in need and try to forecast any foreseeable issues. Whether building new trail or reworking existing trail with erosion/drainage issues, the composition of the soil and rock are examined along with the surrounding, supporting environment. If on a hillside, is the slope going to present any challenges? What native plant species are present to help control erosion? Is there full access to the area or is the area restricted in some way, etc.
d. Collaboration: After the assessment phase, the land managers meet with the advocacy group(s), neighborhood associations, consultants, etc. to discuss a feasible design of the area, including the estimated cost of the project (man power as well as tool and equipment needs). The design phase also takes into account who the anticipated users of the trail will be.
e. Identify Funding Sources: Will the project be funded by the land manager, advocacy group, or possibly a combination of the two? Can materials (i.e., lumber, hardware, soil, stone) be sourced through private donations or from the land manager? Does the identified project require tools and/or equipment that the club doesn’t have? If so, the board members of rvaMORE discuss funding options to obtain the necessary materials, tools and/or equipment.
f. Green Light, Go?: Before the work can begin, the land manager has to give the final approval on the project.
g. Make it Happen: Once we’ve been given the go ahead, the club schedules and coordinates the trail work day(s). Depending on the scope of the project (and the participation of the weather), it could be knocked out in one day or may require several weekends of work. The club communicates through social media when and where the trail work will occur and the trail bosses secure the proper tools, equipment and trained volunteers to execute the design.
h. CELEBRATE THE SUCCESS!: After the work is complete, celebrate by RIDING YOUR BIKE!!
i. Two more things: First, the work, as mentioned in “h” above, is never really complete. The James River Park System, in particular, is a unique environment and is constantly evolving due to natural forces and heavy use alike. The park and trail managers don’t just work in the park. They ride bikes too and monitor changes in the trail system closely. Everyone involved in the process does their best to build and maintain trail that has the least amount of environmental impact and utilizes construction techniques that minimize future maintenance and rework. However, because the environment is always changing, challenges present themselves in different ways. This is why it is so important to give the trails a rest if they are muddy and to stay on the single track path and not ride around technical trail features unless there is a dedicated and purposely built ride around. (To that end, if you can’t ride something, walk it. There is no shame in doing so.)
Second, as mentioned above, our trail systems serve a huge swath of the community and a wide variety of users. The trails are constructed with the collective community in mind, not solely for mountain bikers. Keep in mind that while rvaMORE leads the advocacy for, and construction of, great RVA mountain bike trails, they are built with many other users in mind beyond the mountain bike community.

Trail Running Movie & Water Fountain Fundraiser

Here Comes A Hump-Day That’ll Beat ‘Em All!

Wednesday, May 13, @ 7:30PM!

A Very Special Evening! Visiting guest Ben Clark, “Nolan’s 14” screening, plus an awesome raffle to benefit installing a human/canine water fountain at the Pump House Drive/Boulevard Bridge Trailhead! Please Read On…

What:
Meet & greet w/ pro-athlete/filmmaker Ben Clark, and the screening of his 47-minute feature film “Nolan’s 14”. Tackling Colorado’s 100 mile mountain chain containing 14 14’ers! This is tough! Go to the link below for details.

Also, a Local Raffle Fundraiser for the installation of the human/canine-friendly water fountain at the Pump House Drive Trailhead! Great prizes valued at $75+! See the list-in-progress below. Raffle tickets $5 each, or 5 for $20, or 15 for $50! Cash only please, must be present to take home the goods! All revenues go directly to the fountain project, and will help us reach our goal of $15K-$17K. This project is supported by Kelleher HVAC, RVA MORE and our RVA Monthly Trail Run!

Where:
Carytown’s Walkabout Outfitters, 3015 W. Cary Street (across from Mellow Mushroom). (804) 342-5890. RSVP please. If possible, bring a camp chair in the event of a larger than expected crowd! WooHoo!

“Nolan’s 14” Trailer https://vimeo.com/ondemand/nolans14

Here’s the current list of raffle items :

  • 12-Month Subscription to Outside Magazine
  • Chaco Footwear Gift Certificate ($110)
  • Brooks Running Shoes (2 pairs)
  • Osprey Hydration Pack
  • Maui Jim’s Sunglasses
  • Osprey Duffel Bag ($120)
  • lululemon All Access Pack ($148)
  • Walkabout Outfitters Gift Certificate ($75)
  • Carena’s Jamaican Grille Gift Certificate ($100)

Q&A: So You Donated Money to rvaMORE….Now What?

Q & A

with rvaMORE

Q: So You Donated Money to rvaMORE….Now What?

So you made the decision to join or renew your membership with rvaMORE or maybe you just made a donation to the club. Now what? What does the Board spend your money on? Do they really even vote about these things?

When you donate, what happens with the money?

A.1 To answer this question thoroughly, we had to conduct a little research. This involved reviewing the club’s monthly financial reports for the past calendar year (which are prepared by our Treasurer) and dividing the club’s expenditures into categories (more details on that in answer A.2). If you just want the plain and simple response, our financials show that 96% of incoming funds are spent on program related costs and 4% on administration costs. For you visual folks, see the chart below.

qa_img1

A.2 For those who want a bit more intel, we divided the “Program Related” piece of the pie into five subcategories. These categories are: Tools and Equipment, Materials, Continuing Education, Advocacy, and Fundraising.

Take a look at the down and dirty visual of the subcategories pie chart and what percentage of funds were allocated to each category last year. Then we’ll get to what you really want to know.

qa_img2

Tools and Equipment: At each board meeting, the trail bosses discuss current and future trail projects. If some piece of equipment or tools are required to complete the work, a motion is put to the Board to fund their purchase. Ongoing maintenance of our existing tools (rogue hoes, rakes, pry-bars, grip hoists, etc.) and equipment (mechanized wheelbarrows, chain saws, sickle bars, etc.) is also discussed to ensure our toolset is in good working condition for the next volunteer trail day. One of our larger purchases recently (after much discussion and research) was a trailer in which to house and transport the club’s growing arsenal of tools and equipment.

Materials: The club helps with the construction and maintenance of the local trail systems – not just by providing labor, tools and equipment, but also by providing some of the funding for trail materials (rock, lumber, etc.). An example of this are the bridges that have been and continue to be constructed on the Poop Loop trail. We also recently assisted with the crowd funding efforts for a bike repair station near the skills park on Belle Island. Another example are the large trail maps that have recently been posted on each of the new trail head kiosks. These maps include QR codes so you can download a copy of the map to your smart phone. In addition, we are also assisting other groups with the installation of multi-user water fountains at several trail head areas. (These even provide a water bowl for your four legged family members.)

Continuing Education: The club periodically gets the opportunity to participate in various trail solutions classes to keep our trail builders knowledgeable, current (and certified) in areas like proper chain saw handling, rigging methods, etc. Continuing education costs also include trail building literature for use by the trail care crew. Last year the club helped subsidize a trip for Greg Rollins to attend the IMBA summit where he participated in various seminars relating to IMBA’s role as our parent organization in addition to lectures on other nonprofit topics.

Advocacy: This category received more attention this past year with the plans for the Richmond Regional Ride Center taking shape. The club also occasionally splits funds with other park user groups (such as JROC) who have partnered with us in organizing certain events. We were fortunate to get a visit from the IMBA trail care crew last year and some funds were allocated to hosting the crew who held a conference with local officials in the city and surrounding localities about trail building and its impact in our communities.

Fundraising: We wrapped up one of our annual events in February with Trailicious 3. Despite the snow, sleet and rain that plagued Richmond in the weeks leading up to T3 (and the day of the event), the turnout was great and the event received positive feedback. The club started Trailicious not only as a fundraising event but also as a little party to say “thank you” to all the folks who supported the club and our trail system throughout the year. In 2014, rvaMORE hosted three big events: Trailicious 2, Take A Kid Mountain Biking Day and the Tour de Fall Line. In order to make a little money, however, you need to invest a little. To pull off a successful event, the club has to allocate for items such as: insurance, security (hiring of police officer(s)), ABC licenses, site rental fees (if applicable), beverage (beer) costs, and other supplies like cups and/or pint glasses. Even small items are accounted for, like the green marking tape that was used to mark off the route for Tour de Fall Line (and yes, we realize that green was a bad color choice).

All that said, fundraising events have a demonstrated track record of generating net proceeds 2-3 times our investment, so not only do they pay for themselves but we are able to create more of an impact with your donations and have a great time with the community while doing so.

So there you have it. These are good examples of what the club does with membership dues and donations.

We do post board meeting minutes on the club’s website which will provide you with specifics about what was voted on or discussed at our most recent board meeting and we will aim to do a better job of posting meeting highlights on social media sites.

The take away from this is provide additional transparency to our members, supporters and partners and by allowing you to see how we carefully spend your donations for the betterment and expansion of the trail system, and to provide user groups with a positive experience. I say “user groups” and not just “mountain bikers” because while many of the improvements made to the trails by rvaMORE over the years may have been done by a mountain bike club, at the end of the day, the James River Park System is a public, city park and attracts many different groups. These trails simply cannot be restricted to a certain group. The club recognizes this and works hard to make the best out of the land with which we have to work.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for hanging in there. You can expect more exciting “Q&A’s with rvaMORE” in the near future. If you have a question you would like answered, please email it to: info@rvamore.org and we’ll do our best to respond thoughtfully and respectfully.

rvaMORE

Enhancing trail experiences through people, tools and advocacy.

Thirsty for a Cause

Join Mark Iscool Guzzi, on behalf of all lovers of the James River Trail System, in launching  Thirsty For A Cause

An evening to aid in funding the installation of a human and canine friendly water fountain at the Pump House Drive trailhead!  This initiative is supported by rvaMORE and Kelleher Corporation!

Droves of hikers, runners, cyclists, dog walkers and nature lovers have come to know the James River Trail System as a refreshing retreat from the world of concrete and asphalt. A great many of them utilize the Pump House Drive trailhead as a start/finish or as a via-way.

Unfortunately, the James River Park System is way underfunded for handling the trail system development needed to support the explosive growth and popularity that the trails have seen in recent years. But that doesn’t mean that we have to go without a reliable source for water at this popular trailhead, particularly in those hot and humid summer months.

We take pride in these trails, and we can make a difference!

Hosted by lululemon athletica, Short Pump

11800 Broad Street, #1128, RVA 23233 (804)360-7923

A percentage of your lululemon in-store purchase on Wednesday, April 8, between 5-9pm will be donated to this grassroots cause.

Giant Demo Day and Raffle

This Saturday, Giant will be parking their demo truck at James River Park and rvaMORE will be there to share in the excitement.  As if loads of incredible bikes wasn’t enough of an incentive, you can enter a raffle for a $5000 Giant Bike & Gear package (drawing takes place at Tour de Fall Line). You could be the lucky winner!

The demo will take place from 10am to 3pm on Saturday, April 4th. You’ll find us and the demo truck at the 22nd street parking lot off Riverside Drive, on the Buttermilk Trail.  We hope to see you there!

5KGiantBucks_B

Saturday Trail Work

Saturday (April 4th) at 9am, we’ll be meeting at the Pumphouse Rd. entrance to the Dogwood Dell Trails to work on cleaning out the dip and drains.  Andrew and Chris from the city will be leading the work.

Buttermilk East Trail Work

With your help, we can open Buttermilk East this weekend.  We tackled a deep bench cut last weekend and this weekend the focus is on the final touches to open RVA’s newest trail.  There’s 20 feet on the western end to cut, 50 feet on the eastern end and some light cleanup work in the middle.

We’ll be meeting at 9am (Saturday, March 28th) at 21st and Riverside Drive.  Bring gloves and water, we’ll supply all of the tools.

Belle Isle Bike Repair Stand

We’re over half way to our $1200 fund raising goal to purchase a bike repair stand for the Belle Isle Skills Area.  You may have seen the one on Brown’s Island or at Great Shiplock Park.  rvaMORE is sponsoring one at the Skills Area.  In addition to the pump, it has hex keys and wrenches for making repairs while you’re out on the trails.

1218141050aIf you’d like to help make this happen, head on our to our fundraising site: https://www.ioby.org/project/purchase-and-install-bike-repair-stand-belle-isle-skills-area

On Wednesday, April 1st, Sticky ToGoGo will be helping us in our efforts.  10% of food sales (carry out and delivery) will be donated to the fund.

 

Buttermilk East Trail Work

The snow has melted and it’s stopped raining long enough for things to dry up.  So despite the threat of more rain tomorrow, we’re going to be out working on Buttermilk East this Saturday (March 21st).
We hope to knock out the final two sections and open up the trail from the 21st Street Tower to the Floodwall.
Meet us on Riverside Drive just east of 21st. Street.  We’ll get started at 9am and work until noon or 1.  We have tools, so all you need to bring are gloves and energy.
See you Saturday.