No Dig - No Ride?
SCOR Collective member Fannie Burkhardt has been involved with the Bike Attitude trail association for several years. Their mission? To develop freeride mountain biking in Chaumont, Switzerland, through the creation and maintenance of purpose-built tracks.
Fannie has been digging dirt for as long as she’s been riding enduro. To her the mantra ‘no dig, no ride’, was, well, a no-brainer. “From the start I wanted to be actively involved in the trails here and not just ride them,” she explains.
To find out a bit more about Bike Attitude we met up with them on their first dig day of the season and, between shoveling dirt and raking leaves, asked them a couple of questions.
How was Bike Attitude created?
The story began here in Chaumont over 15 years ago with three friends; Brice, Seb and Alban, who wanted to create trails with a freeride feel.
For the first few years things stayed pretty small scale but as time went on the trails grew and we got more support from the community. Since then, a whole bunch of doubles and drops have sprung up. The tracks here aren’t really designed for beginners…
Bike Attitude has also grown, our committee now has a dozen members and we’ve more than 80 volunteers. There’s been little support for the trails from the tourist board or the city, but we’ve had significant help from the forestry service.
What are the group’s goals?
Our main objective is to create fun and safe tracks. We have a particularly unique style which consists of a lot of jumps – everything from small jumps through to some very big jumps! We always keep this style in mind, even when we want to create easier trails.
Keeping existing tracks in good shape is just as important as building new ones. Most of the main line was created six years ago using machinery and every year sections are redone and, of course, new jumps are created.
How do dig days start?
Always with a smile! A meeting point and the jobs for the day are planned in advance. Volunteers meet at around 10am and work stops late afternoon. There’s a really laid-back family atmosphere to the day and everyone is welcome.
There are no strict rules when it comes to volunteer involvement, everyone is free to dig and shape whenever they want during the day. There are just a few common-sense rules that need to be followed; staying on the track, not digging outside the designated areas, etc.
The vibe on dig days is always good, we all learn from each other, and we all get involved. Everyone gets to have a say and by the end of each session, we’ll have created something special together.
No dig, no ride?
Of course! It's part of the philosophy here. It doesn’t matter how big or small the contribution, it’s the doing that counts.
How can I help Bike Attitude?
Funding is really important, it allows us to buy tools, materials, food for the dig days and to hire or buy machinery – all to make the trails safe, fun and challenging. We sell T-shirts, hoodies and membership cards to help raise funds.
Everything we do is based on volunteering, so the workforce is essential. The more of us there are, the more we can do – so get involved!
Bike Attitude’s passion for their trails is infectious. After spending time with the dig crew, you can’t help but want to join in and get some dirt under your fingernails and not just your tires.
If you’d like to get involved with Bike Attitude then head along to the trails in Chaumont on a Sunday or check out their website for more information.