December 8, 2016 at 11:07 am #814617
I don’t disagree with building more stuff. It is about building it in the right places and building the right kind of stuff. Maybe I am not making that clear. If the city builds it, then a lot of thought has to go into as to long term costs, maintenance and usage. How many local skate/bike parks like the Port Credit example could you build for one Sunnyside. The City whichever has to be involved in building permanent structures like courts or parks based on concrete platforms. Anything with dirt takes a lot of work, and to be honest is difficult on the eyes. Dirt jumps and dirt pump tracks look like construction zones and neighbours have an issue with that. I was told this was one of the reasons that they did not get built at the Challenge Park. Some ad hoc ones were built later closer to the railway tracks and are barely used. That is another example of a stupid project in my estimation. The Challenge Park was in a location that was not accessible any other way than by car. The only close parking would be in front of expensive houses in a secluded neighbourhood with no transit. They were built with wood structures that became dangerous after a few years.
They were in a field which needed regular grass cutting by the city. Often times it was so overgrown, you could not see the structures. Talk about building problems into a project.
I totally agree with FastTimes about Centennial Park. They spent all that money, and that place should be open for use in some way or other. It is hard to believe that a plan for the continued use of the facility was not part of original plan. It still does not surprise me.
I think you point about tennis courts is a valid one as well. You see many installations with 2-3 courts and are poorly used. You could build a really nice skate/bike park on such a footprint. A few years ago though, you could hardly get a spot on many tennis courts. I used to play a lot, and actually ended up joining a private club. In the last few years you hardly see anyone play. Basketball and Tennis courts have almost no maintenance apart from re-surfacing every so often and nets. Maybe these can be re-purposed.
I think there is still room for grass roots building of many things. Just don’t expect that they will be sanctioned or supported. Even these need to be done properly.December 8, 2016 at 11:31 am #814618
I mean, if you look at an example of a privately run equivalent (Joyride 150), it’s going off. It’s a hard business and they struggle to make ends meet but they are succeeding and folks of all ages are using it. Kids and adults playing, it’s pretty awesome if you ask me. Sure it’s indoors but the same principles could be applied to an outdoor facility, their DJs are maintained and busy in the summer. So the fact that park is free does not trump a park that charges admission but is well managed.
I know Joyride offered to help with Sunnyside and were shut down, as were others. Like many of these things with the City, including our trails, it can only be the CoT and City contracts that manage things, but they never really do. They really just need to let others, who actually care about it, run it. I think that, like with the BMX track, the community needs to be involved. It has to be co-managed to succeed. Facilities like this not being used is a complete waste,
I think that tennis courts function pretty well actually. Camps and programs are run through them but the community and residents can also just sign up, book a time and play at no cost. They are lit, safe, clean and people use them. I don’t think a BMX track should function any differently. There should be open time for all to enjoy as well as times when the facility is booked for camps and programs. All that’s there now is the Park and Forestry banner in an empty park. We should be producing an Olympic gold medalist from there already, that’s the point of these legacy facilities. We own and paid for something we can’t use, manage, run programs or events through. It’s ridiculous really. When you compare this to the Veloreome, which is being used daily, you can see it’s largely due to mismanagement by the City. This is also largely due to the OCA, but that’s whole other can of worms.
You need not look much further than Brett Rheeder and the other world class athletes that Joyride has produced to see what is possible. I suspect that the BMX track will succeed as there are many good folks pushing for it. I look forward to cheering on the athletes it produces and to go ride there with my daughter.
For Sunnyside, other dirt parks and most definitely off-road trails in the GTA, the blame for the glacial pace of progress can be equally placed on the off-road cycling community. Those interested in advocacy need to get organized and stick with it for more than a year or two. I am, and sure the city is, tired of all the bitching, pointing fingers and sitting burn out at every obstacle. It’s going to be hard, everything that is worthwhile is. To those who really want to make a difference, get on it and most importantly, stay on it. If you don’t stick with it or pass of the torch, it was all for nothing. Do it right and get the community behind you. Apply constant, organized pressure than can’t be ignored. Or we can all keep calling our councillors with mixed messages and see how that goes. We need to get organized and inspired others to get involved.December 8, 2016 at 12:01 pm #814620
nail on the head.December 8, 2016 at 1:41 pm #814622
While I am not suggesting that an organized group of advocates wouldn’t be helpful I would also suggest that there is much more needed in the mix.
Crack open just about any Bike mag in the last oh, let’s say 5 years (or more) and you will likely find a very common theme about all the ‘it’ or ‘up and coming’ spots for riding. Aside from a group of dedicated volunteers there seems to be a rather simple recipe for making it happen:
1. Economically depressed area due to primary resources being exhausted or large manufacturing facilities moving out of town
2. Forward thinking politicians/ landowners/ land managers/ local business owners who see the benefits of building and maintaining trails and become involved in the process
3. Space to build (maintain) aforementioned trails
4. Small(er) municipalities
Unfourtunately, while we have had various iterations of the volunteers for many years the other key components have been in rather short supply.
As far as sticking with it for more than a year or two, well call me selfish but when you see little or no progress it can be pretty downright deflating.
Case and point from personal experience:
It took me over two years or constant emailing, calls, face to face meetings even a spot on CBC News to have that sign installed. A sign. A sign that already should have actually been there. A sign that has done little if anything to actually curb the issue. As a resident of the community where that sign has been installed I know firsthand from neighbours and other park users that I am not the only one who has and continues to lodge complaints – endlessly – about the issue. So while I and others continue to stick with it we often ask ourselves to what end?
Just some observations.December 8, 2016 at 3:11 pm #814623
With regards to trail advocacy in Ontario, clubs and associations that formed were largely due to a group’s desire to formalize their local trails. They either saw a risk of losing what was there or the potential to have more. With most networks such as SCMBC, DMBA, HAFTA etc the trails already existed to a great degree, same with us in the GTA.
Groups approached the land owners about formalizing and maintaining the trails. For the most part, what the land owner received was lability coverage and to ensure their environmental and other particular needs were met. They all differ slightly but that’s a common thread with most of them. Some have been able to build more trail some have not. What is the case with all of them however is a group of dedicated members coming together and not letting up to ask for what they want. I think it took the DMBA almost 10 years to get where they are now as far as relationships with the TRCA and municipalities are concerned. And it’s still a battle at times. But they have built a long, slow history of steady progress. A record that they can use in their favour and that carries weight when asking for more. Same goes for SCMBC, they fight hard for what they want. I just have to believe that with an organized group who plugs away and inspires the community we could have the same. I’ve thanked those who have tried numerous times. I unfortunately know all too well what it’s like to do thankless things and to take away from my own family time to do my part for the cycling community in Ontario. I’m certainly not blaming anyone, quite the opposite. Everything done has been appreciated but if we are really taking about doing something, then we need to raise the bar much higher.
From my standpoint, the trails in the GTA are there. Having them formalized and allowing us to maintain them, organize build days, events and cleanup days is all we (me anyway) ever really wanted. Also to have a say in the planning and direction. With the trails now completely on Trailforks, with the CoT’s, knowledge, I would argue that they are formalized – in a stupid, around the back, we should have done it better way. I’d say anyone finding the trails that way 100% thinks they are sanctioned trails. Or as the guys I came across this week wearing no helmets, riding the trails told me “Trailforks rules”! Sure does buddy! Here is your Darwin award. But I wish an advocacy group could be part of the trails and put up some signs, maybe one about safety? This is literally a massive accident waiting to happen.
So to bring it around to the baseball diamonds and basketball courts, and why I think we need to be better organized and keep up the pressure. The trails in our ravines see well over 100 riders an hour, at off-peak times. So when we compare that to other amenities/facilities and their usage, there is a strong case. We as mountain bikers think we’re a small group because we’re divided and fail to see each other as a whole. There is a need for formalized trails in the GTA. Sadly, I think it will come down to them taking it away before we realize that, but by them it will be too late to fight for our piece of the pie.December 8, 2016 at 7:43 pm #814624
When you compare this to the Veloreome, which is being used daily, you can see it’s largely due to mismanagement by the City. This is also largely due to the OCA, but that’s whole other can of worms.
One has to keep in mind that the Velodrome is on the grounds controlled by a University. The best track facilities around are at York Uni and on their grounds. Same as the Pan Ams Scarborough Facility which is at UofT Scarborough Campus grounds. No city or muni control.
All these facilities are seeing use. And don’t have to deal with city crap to function.February 25, 2017 at 6:51 pm #815377
Interesting thread… Went to the local meeting a few years ago of the skate park being built in Bolton to advocate for accommodation for bikes. Was shot down by the skaters and their parents. Brought to their attention that the power point presentation by the contractor featured bikes in the background of every shot. Guess who uses the park now mostly… Anyway in Ontario most mtb clubs (not all) are in a way their own worst enemies to the sport. When the clubs reach a certain maturity they tend to become overly protective and cloistered. This creates stagnation and the sport can not progress and evolve. Snowmobile clubs actually realised this and actively try to prevent this. IMBA tried to crack this here (hats off to them for trying ), but they failed. It’s sort of why renegade building is still going on and on a whole renegade builders are more cooperative with each other.February 25, 2017 at 7:54 pm #815380
“ Anyway in Ontario most mtb clubs (not all) are in a way their own worst enemies to the sport. When the clubs reach a certain maturity they tend to become overly protective and cloistered.”
Interesting observation Singlesprocket. I would think that Ontario’s MTB clubs are open to all to join. How would any club prevent people from joining? Why would they want to prevent people from joining? The whole goal is to better the sport through combined effort. Pool some user money together to do good things. Why would any group want to limit that?February 26, 2017 at 9:15 am #815382
Interesting, I never said clubs prevent people from joining. That is what you said. I think you missed the point.February 26, 2017 at 2:38 pm #815383
I’d have to agree, the various outdoor basketball and baseball facilities that I see are rarely used for casual unorganized play. In part, because the organized basketball and baseball groups in Toronto are quite successful in meeting demand. While not free, both activities are still comparably affordable to play in organized leagues. Basketball is also a big indoor sport and benefits from the vast number of tdsb facilities which are available for rent at very reasonable cost. So I do see a priority for building new public outdoor recreation facilities for which there is no equivalent organized sport and which lend themselves primarily to casual recreational ‘play’.February 26, 2017 at 6:50 pm #815384
having or enclosed by a cloister, as in a monastery.
“a cloistered walkway bordered the courtyard”
kept away from the outside world; sheltered.
“a cloistered upbringing”
Um, I guess I did miss the point. I do not think clubs are “overly protective and cloistered”. I think they are the ones who are working to keep our activity from stagnation and helping the sport to progress and evolve by providing funding for ideas. They group like minds and doers together for a better combined effort.February 26, 2017 at 8:55 pm #815385
Um, I guess I did miss the point. I do not think clubs are “overly protective and cloistered”. I think they are the ones who are working to keep our activity from stagnation and helping the sport to progress and evolve by providing funding for ideas. They group like minds and doers together for a better combined effort.
They do all that, but mainly within the club & its members. Think this over for a while and you’ll see why this is problem, particularly in the long term big picture end of things.February 27, 2017 at 7:15 am #815387
So aerius I am always open to ideas about how to make singletrack/MTBing better. I have been thinking about clubs/community/trail support since I started raking in the year 2000. Have thought about it non stop since. Did not want to start a club because it was too much work. Then in 2013 several people stepped up and the time was right. It has been a roller coaster of emotion during these 4 years because being on the board means you own all the issues and pleasing everyone is not possible. So no matter how hard you volunteer, people will always find your efforts to be wrong. Mostly people who think $40 is too much to pay for public land. They think buff new singletrack just happens. Why should they spend money on it?
I have thought about this more as a renegade builder (13 years) then as a legal builder (4 years) . The difference between legal and renegade is astounding. I could not go back to sneaking around. This summer we were able to build 10 kms of beautiful singletrack with 9 bridges in a wet area. Monday night builds where all 750 members were invited to partake. $ 4 000 worth of club tools. Power equipment working away loudly and proudly, all with no worries who heard it. Until the SCMBC presentation to our land owners they did not allow structures to be built in their forests. They let us build one as a pilot project and then gave us their enthusiastic blessing for 8 more. This part of the forest is unique to our trail system and the entire community, members and non members love it. It has become the favourite of hikers/skiers/snowshoes and of course MTBers. Non of this would of been possible without an organized club. The costs involved with this one project would make renegade building out of the question. Plus the land owner would of just cut out the work like was done in this original threads skate park, wasting all the effort.
The best thing that clubs do is give a voice to any MTBer who wants one. Anyone can join their local club and have their voice heard. Compare this with the Nashville tract where you have a few committee members who “speak” for a community without that community having a way to voice their thoughts. Also compare what happens when MTBers ( not Government officials) pool together money for trail work. Very cool things can happen with a $10 000 annual budget and a bunch of volunteers.
I am open to ideas and would love to hear them. But vague criticism of hard working democratic clubs is not an idea. It is undermining and harmful. Hard working clubs are putting beautiful marked and mapped MTB trails on public land all over Ontario for all to enjoy. Renegade builders are building hidden trails that you need to know the right person to be able to find. Some people appreciate public well known marked MTB trails and support more singletrack with a small yearly membership.
If you have a better way aerius, I would love to hear it.
“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”
― Winston S. ChurchillFebruary 27, 2017 at 10:58 am #815402
Think about the big picture is what singlesproket and myself are saying. We have bunch of clubs in Ontario each doing their own thing in their own area and that’s about where it ends. There’s no representative body or structure for clubs to work together on common causes such as land access, development, securing grants, and so forth. The influence of each club essentially ends at its boundaries which greatly limits what can be done since the resources of an individual club only go so far.
Let’s say for example that the MNR proposes to clear cut half the forests on your trails. Your club will know about it, some of here will as well, but the vast majority of mountain bikers in Ontario will be in the dark and unable to help. With some kind of federation or organization of the clubs in Ontario, you can get the word out to a far larger group of people, have a much larger voice in the issue at hand, and more resources & people to help out.
The snowmobile and motorcycle guys get this. Mountain bikers need to get this figured out if we’re going to move to the next stage.February 28, 2017 at 7:13 am #815414
One big problem with your idea aerius is that many MTBers think that they should not pay any money towards trails. They think the Government should pay for everything. So we are a long, long way from embracing a federation. The big difference between Snowmobile/motorcycle and MTBers is that membership is not a choice for the motors. It is a must, so then they have everyone who uses the infrastructure helping with the cost. For MTBing it is choice and many times the people who speak up about the need for membership money are shot down. So yes we are a long way from the motors, but it is not because clubs are too stupid to figure it out, it is because too many people want a free ride.
Take a look at the Nashville Tract project that Singlesprocket has been involved with for around 8 years. All free to use, no ask for user pay money, but the big problem right now is that the whole project is on hold because the Government cannot afford the big plan. The group gives next to no communication about progress, no way to see daily concerns and ideas. If their was individual membership with skin in the game like other clubs it would be whole lot different in accountability.
This conversation is about clubs and many people think they are the wrong model and we should just sneak around “It’s sort of why renegade building is still going on and on a whole renegade builders are more cooperative with each other.”
Or build a huge round table I guess ” With some kind of federation or organization of the clubs in Ontario, you can get the word out to a far larger group of people, have a much larger voice in the issue at hand, and more resources & people to help out.”
Both plans are grandiose in thought for a better way forward. I think I will stick to my own small yearly $40 and volunteering at legal respected weekly trail builds. All with an open club who is open to ideas and membership voices. So far 70 kms of beautiful hand built singletrack, legal and open to all MTBers. You two should come on up and enjoy some of our work. Your welcome.
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