By Jon Pratt
I recently sat my lazy butt down on the couch to check out a new movie we got in the Dirt Rag office: Pedal-Driven a bikeumentary. It’s a film about how a group of mountain bikers in Leavenworth, Washington, fought to build and ride their local trails, and won.
Leavenworth is all U.S. Forest Service managed land, and mountain bikers were being forced onto a boring old fireroad to get their kicks. Of course this didn’t sit well with the locals; they wanted to enjoy 700,000 acres of the surrounding Cascade Mountains, on their bikes. We can all guess what happened next….illegal trail building, and land mangers up in arms. It’s a common theme we’ve all experienced. Every year I hear about some cool new trail that a few dedicated riders have put their blood and sweat into being threatened with extinction because they decided the best way to deal with a land manager was to just ignore them.
The film follows a few riders through their interactions with the government agencies that are entrusted with maintaining the land around Leavenworth for the public’s use. Riders initially built trails and had them ripped out by the Forest Service, then gained insight on how to express their desire for fair use of their public lands, worked with the land managers, and joined with local and national trail advocacy groups like I.M.B.A.
The movie was slightly boring in spots, mostly when it tried to teach correct building techniques, but it also showcased a lot of success stories around the nation: I-5 Colonnade, The Lair in Bend, and Duthie Hill in Issaquah.
I’ve been involved in a similar process over the last few years; a local, illegally-built freeride trail that grew into a county approved skills park. So the film resounded well with me, and it’s something I think a lot of trail builders should watch. Especially if you’re one of those evildoers building where you shouldn’t.
Oh and it’s got some cool riding and tunes we have all become accustomed to in our favorite bike porn, but that’s not the main focus of the film…more of a nod to the riders the filmmakers want to reach out to. Check it out.