We are blessed with some great trails in our community, both within the City of San Antonio and in the Texas Hill Country that surrounds it. Most of us know these trail networks don’t happen by accident, and if you’re like me, you might feel a little guilty sometimes knowing that you’re not doing enough to nurture the trails and the sport we love.
Clear your conscience, my friend, and join the South Texas Off Road Mountain-Bikers (STORM) chapter of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). Today. Like now. Stop reading and do your part to support mountain biking in our region. https://www.imba.com/join/chapter/storm
From my perspective, STORM has been infused with new energy the past few years. The leadership of the organization has worked tirelessly to get more riders involved. They organize advocacy campaigns to push for trails in new or expanded parks and fight to protect the ones we already have. They host “Take a Kid Mountain Biking” events every month to plant the seed with the next generation. They organize trail building and maintenance days at our local networks. They sponsor and organize races. And they set up tables at numerous community events to spread the word about the best freaking sport in the world!
And yet, I don’t blame them for feeling like so much of their work goes unappreciated. Even with permission from the City to build trails in certain parks, they often struggle to get enough volunteers to really expand our riding opportunities. I get it: most of us have limited free time as it is, and we like to spend that free time riding. Hence, the guilty feeling I mentioned.
Whether or not you pick up a tool and contribute sweat equity or show up and speak at a public meeting – and every one of us should be doing both – the one thing we can all do is support STORM financially. It costs a mere $39. We rarely get out of the local bike shop without spending more than it takes to join STORM for an entire year! Join at the minimum membership level and you get a magazine subscription and entered into a contest to win a bunch of cool stuff, including a Yeti bike! Contest entry available during the Fall membership drive. Join at the $50 level or above and you get free socks, too.
The point is this is the least we can do for the sport that gives us so much joy. And there is so much untapped potential in San Antonio. Bicycle skills parks are in the works at McAllister Park and planned for the OP Schnabel Park Expansion, new trails are about to be unveiled at Devil’s Den, and there are many more natural areas that wind through the city that have the potential for new trails.
The best mountain bike communities in the country have strong local advocacy groups. Let’s make sure San Antonio’s the strongest it can be. It all starts with you becoming a card-carrying member of STORM. And feeling just a little less guilty the next time you are ripping down the trails.
Jeff M. Coyle