5.01.2013

DCMTB donates knobby tires to the bicycle program at Fort Dupont in Washington DC


DCMTB Donates Knobby Tires to Fort Dupont Bicycle Program

This past March MORE hosted their monthly board meeting at the activities center at Fort Dupont in Southeast Washington DC. For those that do not know, I am on the MORE Board as the DC Advocate, while also being a member of the DC Cycling Team DCMTB aka DC Mountain Bike. As the DC Advocate of MORE I reached out to Kevin Barry to see if we could have our meeting at the activity center at Fort Dupont. This was in an effort to start building a relationship between The National Park Service and MORE as well as showing the MORE board the only set of legal mountain biking trails in Washington DC. Sure enough, Kevin was able to get us the conference room space as well as attend the meeting.

Before the MORE board meeting there was a pre-meeting mountain bike ride in Fort Dupont lead by National Park Service Ranger Kevin Barry. In addition to a handful of MORE board members on this ride the DCMTB club president Darren Biggs was also in attendance.

It was a cool tour of the park!

The riders got to sample some of the strengths and weaknesses of the natural surface trail system in Fort Dupont as well as getting a historical tour of the actual Civlil War era fort at Fort Dupont. 

During the ride it was noticed that Kevin Barry's mountain bike had slick non-knobby tires. It was then learned that the entire fleet of mountain bikes for community use in the park also had this same style of tires. This seemed easy enough to remedy.

After the MORE board meeting a message was shared on the DCMTB team list serve, it was a call for 26 inch knobby tires. In this age of the 29ers it is not uncommon for people to have new-unused 26 inch tires that may never get back into "rotation."

Sure enough...  a few more electronic pushes and there were roughly 20 knobby tires to be donated to the bicycle program at Fort Dupont!
Most of these tires were brand new... never used!


With a stack of tires packed into the Honda Element I drove out to Fort Dupont in Southeast DC to meet with NPS Ranger Kevin Barry. 

It was good to get together with Kevin to just hang out and "shoot the shit." I like Kevin Barry. Kevin and I talked as we worked to swap out the slicks for knobbies.  While we hung out I had a chance to chew Kevin's ear on the topic of having the National Park Service broaden their understanding of appropriate use of the natural surface trails in Rock Creek Park and other NPS land in the DC area. We talked about the potential of Fort Dupont... the possibilities of re-routing some trails, building a pump track, and even adding a mountain bike skills park. It was good hanging out and getting to share some of these ideas.

WOW! 

In our talks Kevin spoke about the various group rides he leads including a Girl Scouts merit badge earning bicycle adventure! It was cool to hear this... but we both agreed that the bicycle facilities in the park are currently being under used. But, until the trails are worthy of mountain biking, there is no real need to push too hard in this direction. Which means... we need to accelerate the trail improvements in Fort Dupont!

Okay, talk is cheap. But it was good to hear someone in the National Park Service green on green uniform talking a language I understood. But, just because we agreed on some things, it does not mean that those making the final decisions see things the same way. That said... it is a start and it is important to have someone on the inside understanding your perspective.

After a few hours of hanging in the bike shop in the back room of the Fort Dupont Activities Center we had replaced the tires on roughly ten bikes! SWEET! And just in time for a ride that Kevin would be leading in the park the following day.

National Park Service Ranger Kevin Barry also sat in on the MORE Board meeting. It pleased me to have Kevin sit in and witness the passion and commitment of all the members of the MORE Board. It was good for Kevin Barry to hear about the action occurring on various mountain bike trail networks in the areas surrounding DC. Maybe hearing this will help to inspire Kevin to push for some similar effort to occur on National Park Service land within the DC city limits.

Fort Dupont
http://www.nps.gov/fortdupont

MORE:Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts
http://www.more-mtb.org/

DCMTB: DC Mountain Bike Team
www.dcmtb.com

there are still a number of bikes in the Fort Dupont fleet in need of knobby tires
so... I am going to collect some more tires
when I have a surplus, I will return to Fort Dupont to swap out some more tires and speak with Kevin Barry some more

also... it pleased me that Kevin Barry took my advice and went to check out the Rockburn Skills Park
It is important for the people who make the decisions about the use of this land to understand what we are talking about when we talk about "mountain biking."

In short, mountain biking is actually riding a bicycle with fat knobby tires on natural surface trails. It does not need a mountain, it does not even need a Mountain Dew soda. It is really something similar to walking or running in the woods only on a bike.





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