“But why are trees such social beings? Why do they share food with their own species and even go so far as to nourish their competitors? The reasons are the same as human communities: there are advantages to working together. A tree is not a forest.”
– Peter Wohlleben (The Hidden Life of Trees)
The North Shore Mountain Bike Association’s vision – Trails for All, Trails Forever – is powerful. We lean upon it in our day-to-day decision making and it guides us in times of uncertainty. When we reflect on “Trails for All”, the phrase goes far beyond considering the offering of trails in the network. It also encompasses all ages, abilities, ethnicities, sexual orientations and identities, along with recognizing that the land we recreate and work on is the unceded territory of the Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam and Squamish Nations, who have been working and living on this land since time immemorial. All should feel welcome in the trail community.
While the core of what we do is to build, maintain and advocate for trails, as an organization that serves and represents many we have the responsibility to continually lead in a direction towards an inclusive and welcoming network for everyone. Mountain biking culture has evolved greatly since its inception with more and more voices bringing new perspectives and experiences to the sport. However, there are still voices that remain underrepresented in our community, so we are educating ourselves on the inequalities that exist and taking active steps to create the change we want to see. Those of us who use the trails, live in Metro Vancouver and ride a mountain bike are very privileged to do so. By acknowledging this privilege and understanding how we as an association can support the inclusion of diversity we will learn and grow together so that everyone feels they have a space on the trails.
The bicycle has always been a vehicle for change and what we do and say while recreating, even if it seems insignificant in the grand scheme of things, has an impact and will change the world. We encourage you to start by having these conversations at home, with people you trust and can lean on. Read through and digest the list of online resources we have provided, engage with us in this conversation online, and get curious about how you can start to shift the culture of mountain biking and contribute positively to the inclusivity of our community.
During this next phase, we may not always say the right thing as we practice our pronouns and learn how to communicate and act in an inclusive way. We will facilitate opportunities and discussion in our community on becoming a more diverse and inclusive one. We will not be able to do this alone and encourage local riding groups, bike shops and businesses to get involved in this conversation knowing we are here to support. We recognize that the goal will be an ever moving post, but a goal worth striving towards.We invite you to give us feedback and support us on this journey. We invite you to share your experiences, ideas, suggestions and stories as we open up this dialogue to support Trails for All, Trails Forever!
All are welcome – let’s ride!
Christine Reid & the NSMBA Board of Directors
We have brought together resources we have leaned upon in our crafting of the above statement. This is by no means an exhaustive list of resources, but acts as a launch pad for your personal education. We will continue to update these resource pages as necessary. Thank you for participating in this conversation either by listening, educating yourself or contributing your experiences. Please email us firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to have any further conversations AND you stand behind our statement “I support creating a diverse mountain bike community”
The call for Equality, Justice and Diversity
The NSMBA has been working towards having a gender balanced Board of Directors and Staff, with varying ridership abilities ranging from beginner to world class. We acknowledge there are voices missing at all levels of our organization and are working to actively encourage diversity.
NSMBA BOD: http://nsmba.ca/board-of-directors/
Sierra Club: https://www.sierraclub.org/equity
Building Diverse Teams: https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2018/05/building-diverse-design-teams-innovation/
Why Diversity Matters for Nonprofits: https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/tools-resources/why-diversity-inclusion-and-equity-matter-nonprofits
We acknowledge that our community and membership are predominantly of Caucasian descent and those who are participating on the trails are privileged and can be part of the solution in creating a more diverse user group.
What is White Privilege and how to understand it: https://nationalseedproject.org/white-privilege-unpacking-the-invisible-knapsack
National Post Article “Why it doesn’t make sense for the great outdoors to be such a white space”: http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/canadas-adventure-gap-why-it-doesnt-makes-sense-for-the-great-outdoors-to-be-such-a-white-space
We support the call for more visible minorities to be represented in outdoor media, recreational activities and our Board of Directors and we will work to create change.
Women of Colour in Cycling: https://www.outsideonline.com/2309396/ayesha-mcgowan-cyclings-traiblazer
The NSMBA acknowledges that we recreate and are working on the unceded territory of the Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam and Squamish Nations. We have partnered with Patrick Lucas from the Aboriginal Youth Mountain Bike Program to continue to develop our relationships locally.
Tsleil-Waututh Nation: https://twnation.ca/
Musqueam Nation: http://www.musqueam.bc.ca/
Squamish Nation: http://www.squamish.net/
First Nations: Aboriginal Youth Mountain Bike Program – Allies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5l5WjdNPPk&feature=share
Learn which First Nation Territory you were born on, live in, recreate on: https://native-land.ca/
Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: http://reconciliationcanada.ca/
Outdoor recreation should be available to people of all abilities and it is our responsibility to learn about the specific needs of our community and create spaces for all to enjoy being outdoors and support the Province of British Columbia in achieving its goal of being a truly inclusive place by 2024.
Rick Hansen Foundation: http://www.rickhansen.com/Our-Work
Tara Llanes: https://www.tarallanesindustries.com/media
Adaptive Mountain Bike Trails: https://amtbtrails.wixsite.com/blog
Give a listen to an episode of Front Lines MTB on Adaptive Mountain Biking: http://frontlinesmtb.com/2018/06/22/ep-44-adaptive-mountain-biking-round-table/
The state of being (typically used with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones).
Categories into which humans and many other living things are divided on the basis of their reproductive functions.
No Big Deal Campaign on using Pronouns: https://www.nbdcampaign.ca/
Michelle Dumaresq: http://transgriot.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-day-i-died.html
History of women in cycling: https://www.bustle.com/p/the-feminist-history-of-bicycles-57455