Dirt Rag Magazine

Knoxville, Tennessee, wins $100,000 Bell Built Grant

After an exciting vote, Bell Helmets and IMBA have announced that the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club of Knoxville, Tennessee, is the 2015 Bell Built champion. Situated in the heart of Knoxville, the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club will receive the full $100,000 grant to build their Urban Wilderness Trail Project.


The bike park is being constructed with a range of trails that will appeal to a variety of riders, highlighted by the proposed gravity trail that will feature rock gardens, drops, and constructed features in a highly visible area that will draw incredible attention to the regionally unique trail.


Voting for Bell Built Grant finalists is now live

The three 2015 Bell Built finalists have been named, and the final voting period is now LIVE through June 4. Unlike prior years, only one finalist will be dubbed the Bell Built grand prize winner, where they will take home the full $100,000 to build their dream trail.

See the finalists below and cast your vote at bellhelmets.com/bell-built.

West region

Exchequer Mountain Bike Park, Mariposa, California

  • Sponsored by the Merced Irrigation District
  • The Bell Built trail will be a highlight of a new bike park located within two hours of the Bay Area, home of hundreds of thousands of mountain bikers. With a handful of trails already in place the gravity run will challenge riders and offer panoramic views of the open terrain.

Central region

Spirit Mountain Bike Park, Duluth, Minnesota

  • Sponsored by Cyclists of Gitchee Gumee Shores (COGGS)
  • Spirit Mountain already offers the best lift-served riding in the Upper Midwest and the proposed new descent will up the ante by taking advantage of the mountain’s abundant bedrock for steep rolldowns, hucks, and rock gardens.

East region

Urban Wilderness Gravity Trail, Knoxville, Tennessee

  • Sponsored by the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club
  •  Situated in the heart of Knoxville, this bike park is being constructed with a range of trails that will appeal to a variety of riders. The highlight will be the proposed gravity trail that will feature rock gardens, drops, and constructed features in a highly visible area that will draw attention to this regionally unique trail.



Voting now open in East region of Bell Built Grants


Bell Helmets is awarding a $100,000 grant to the trail network that earns the most votes in its annual Bell Built Grant program. Exchequer Mountain Bike Park in Mariposa, California, was chosen in the West bracket and Spirit Mountain Bike Park won the Central division.

Now the East voting is live through May 24 and your vote will help determine the winner. The top project from each of the three divisions will face off in the final round of voting beginning May 27.

East finalists

Urban Wilderness Gravity Trail – Knoxville, Tennessee

Sponsor: Appalachian Mountain Bike Club

Situated in the heart of Knoxville, this bike park is being constructed with a range of trails that will appeal to a variety of riders. The highlight will be the proposed gravity trail that will feature rock gardens, drops, and constructed features in a highly visible area that will draw attention to this regionally unique trail.


Timber Trail – Anniston, Alabama

Sponsor: Northeast Alabama Bicycling Association (NEABA)

Rock, rock, and more rock will rattle and test the skill of any gravity rider who descends the Timber Trail. Already flush with a range of singletrack, Coldwater Mountain will be augmented by this gnarly, techy trail that will feature car-sized boulders, steep rollovers, and drops.


Gorges Jump Line – Brevard, North Carolina

Sponsor: Friends of Gorges State Park

A stronghold of East Coast riding, Brevard has the terrain to lay down a steep, rocky trail peppered with jumps and drops. The scenic waterfalls and deciduous forest will add to the experience of any visitor and make for a photogenic ride.



Voting now open in Bell Built Grants Central region

The Bell Built Grants are an annual endeavor from Bell Helmets that awards $100,000 to a local trailbuilding project, and you get to pick who wins it.

In the central region, where voting is live now, there are three projects vying for your vote:

Red Rock Park – Gallup, New Mexico

Red Rock Park is best known for its 400-foot tall red sandstone cliffs. With large areas of slickrock the trail will offer jumps, drops, and multiple lines down steep slopes with plenty of room for interpretation.

Cedar Creek DH Trail – Ruidoso, New Mexico

The Cedar Creek DH trail will pass through ravines and down ridgelines as it descends through an open conifer forest. At 1.3 miles, the trail will take advantage of the natural terrain but also highlight big jumps and berms for a breathtaking descent.

Spirit Mountain Bike Park – Duluth, Minnesota

Spirit Mountain already offers the best lift-served riding in the Upper Midwest and the proposed new descent will up the ante by taking advantage of the mountain’s abundant bedrock for steep rolldowns, hucks, and rock gardens.

Vote now

Voting for the Central region is open now until May 10, with voting for the East region opening the following day. The final three will face off for a winner-takes-all vote announced May 25.


Bell Built trail building grant returns for third year

The Bell Built trail building project, a partnership between Bell Helmets and IMBA, will award a $100,000 grant to a single mountain bike project in the USA this year to construct an advanced and aggressive technical trail. The award is a departure from previous years where the grant was split into three winners, one in each region.


For 2015, three finalists will be selected from the East, Central, and West regions by Bell and IMBA, and the winner for each region will be chosen by votes. Then the regional winners will face off in a final vote for all the cash. The grand prize winner will also receive technical assistance from IMBA Trail Solutions to construct its dream trail.

Bell and IMBA have received more than 200 grant submissions in the previous two years, from IMBA chapters, clubs and land management agencies. Six project have been completed by IMBA Trail solutions, two in each of the three regions:

Previous winners


2013: Kingdom Trail Association, Burke Bike Park/Jay Peak Resort, Burke, Vermont.

2014: RVA More, Richmond Regional Ride Center flow trail, Richmond, Virginia.


2013: Copper Harbor Trails Club, Overflow Trail, Copper Harbor, Michigan.

2014: Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists, Cottage Grove Bike Park, Cottage Grove, Minnesota.


2013: Routt County Riders, Bear River Bike Park, Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

2014: Flagstaff Biking Organization, Ft. Tuthill Bike Park, Flagstaff, Arizona.


If your club or agency would like to apply, you must fill out the application and submit it by March 6. Applicants must be a 501c3 or public land management agency. Some of the requirements for consideration:

  • Project’s proximity to a large population center.
  • At least 300 vertical feet of continuous descending.
  • Presence of a well-organized community of mountain bikers that will provide ongoing support and maintenance for the project. (IMBA Chapter or other stable mountain bike organization/club)
  • Land manager support to ensure quality product and management.
  • Applicant’s ability to raise sufficient funds to complete the project if the total cost exceeds the service grant value ($100,000).
  • Project must enhance the local riding opportunities. Goal is to maximize the “fun factor” for the local community and provide a quality experience.
  • Volunteer Capacity and Organization: Is there a plan in place for applicant’s volunteers to assist IMBA Trail Solutions with construction if needed, and will volunteers/the applicant’s organization participate in the facility’s ongoing success/maintenance?


March: Regional winners will be selected and contacted
April 13-April 27: West Region voting period
April 27-May 11: Central Region voting period
May 11-May 25: East Region voting period
May 25-June 5: Grand Prize voting period
June 5: Winner announced



Central region winner chose in Bell Built Grants, voting now open for East


With voting live for the past two weeks in the Central region, Bell Helmets has announced that the Cottage Grove Bike Park in Cottage Grove, Minnesota pulled in the most votes out of the four Central region finalists to earn a share of the 2014 Bell Built Grants. The project, headed up by the Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists (MORC), will split the $100,000 in grant money with the other two regional winners.

Read the full story


Bell Built Grants announces West Coast winner


$100,000 in prize money? Split between three winning trail networks? That’s what’s at stake in the annual Bell Built Grants. Bell Helmets and IMBA have teamed up to build three dream trail projects and after whittling the contenders down to 12 finalists in three regions, the West Coast winner has been decided by popular vote.

Click here to see the winner.


See the 12 finalists for the $100,000 Bell Built trailbuilding grants


Bell Bike Helmets and the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) have announced the 12 finalists for the 2014 Bell Built Grants: $100,000 in technical assistance money put up by Bell for three bike projects to be built in 2014 by IMBA Trail Solutions. Public voting to choose the winners is open now and ends May 18, with winners announced May 19.

See the finalists here.


Bell and IMBA team up to award $100,000 in 2014 trail building grants

Last spring Bell Helmets and IMBA partnered to award a total of $100,000 to three trail projects in the first Bell Built Grants. With the hope of making it even bigger in 2014, Bell and IMBA hope to spread the word so riders all around the country realize the opportunity they have for a trail to be built in their community for the benefit of local shredding. Like last year, Bell will be providing IMBA with $100,000 in grant funding in support of trail building.

Starting in January and running through the end of February, Bell and IMBA will begin taking applications for 2014 trails, with finalists named during the first week of March. Voting will then come in three regional phases, starting in April with the West coast, and ending in May with the East coast, with central voting in between. From there, all winners will be officially announced in May 2014, with trail design and construction beginning in June.

Bell and IMBA received over a hundred grant submissions last year from IMBA chapters, clubs and land management agencies, and it is expected that the number of applications will increase in 2014. IMBA Trail Solutions, the international leader in developing singletrack trails, was responsible for the building and designing of all three trail projects and will continue this in 2014 with help from local volunteers.

Bell and IMBA have also produced a short video of each of the 2013 winners. See them below. Keep checking back here to see how to nominate your community.


More cowbell! 2013 Moots Ti Sticks now available


Cyclocross season may be winding down, but if you’ve got Holiday Fever, the only solution might be MORE COWBELL. Moots is happy to obliged with the annual release of Ti Sticks, a noisemaker made from excess or scrap tubing from Moots frames.

The titanium tubes are cut and finished in just a way to provide the perfect resonance for heckling your favorite racer. They will undoubtedly ride faster and farther thanks to your assistance.

Each year, 100 percent of the proceeds from the Ti Sticks goes to charity or advocacy groups. For 2013, the recipient is the Great Colorado Flood Relief, a natural choice after the devastating floods along the Front Range in Moots’ home state. Each of the 2013 tubes is also marked with the Great Colorado Flood Relief logo for extra specialness. There are only 31 being built this year, and with Cyclocross Nationals coming up in January in Boulder, these are likely to go fast. Order yours here.


Ride Guide: Copper Harbor, Michigan

By Justin Steiner

Copper Harbor, Michigan, lies at the very northern-most tip of the Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, marking the northern terminus of both the M-26 and US-41 highways. This sleepy, little one-stoplight town boasts about 120 year-round residents, all of whom are far hardier than I to deal with the region’s yearly average 125 inches of snowfall.

While this region’s copper mining heritage may be in the distant past, the town’s most recent natural asset comes in the form of silver. Specifically, a Silver-level Ride Center designation bestowed by IMBA—one of just four Silver-level ride center designations in the world right now. These Ride Center designations are designed to highlight areas where professionally developed trail networks cater to riders of all skill levels, ensuring a good time for beginners through experts. Think of the Ride Center designation as an IMBA “stamp of approval,” where you’re guaranteed an awesome mountain bike experience.

Copper Harbor has been on my list of places to visit for quite some time, so my girlfriend Emily and I took advantage of a friend’s wedding as an excuse to drive north for a visit. We choose to base our Copper Harbor stay out of historic Fort Wilkins State Park, just a mile from the town’s main drag. This location offers ride-in, ride-out access for all of Copper Harbor’s official trails, as well as heated restroom/shower facilities and even WiFi. Check out copperharbor.org for more information about accommodations.

All the trail information you’ll need can be found on the Copper Harbor Trails Club (CHTC) website. The interactive map includes elevations profiles and video footage of each trail from beginning to end. Locally, you can pick up a physical trail map and route advice at the Keweenaw Adventure Company. The Keweenaw folks even run bike shuttles up the mountain Tuesday evenings, Saturday and Sunday.

Trails range in difficulty from beginner to a double black diamond trail with large gap jumps. Three trails are gravity specific, one-way trails so even bigger bikes have terrain to run. With 24 miles of trails that can be linked in a variety of ways, we found plenty of riding to keep us occupied for three full days, while leaving a few trails to explore the next time we’re in town. Additionally, trail builder Aaron Rogers told us there are plans for expansion of both the gravity and XC riding in the area, including the Overflow Trail, a downhill trail running from the top of Brockway Mountain down into town. All trails are clearly signed in conjunction with the map, including difficulty ratings. 

Back in April, Bell Helmets announced that Copper Harbor was one of three locations chosen to receive the 2013 Bell Built Grants. A total of $100,000 will be split amongst these three locations for specific projects.

At the end of each day’s riding we cruised into Copper Harbor’s new microbrewery, Brickside Brewery for a beer before heading back to our campsite. Emily and I both highly recommend their dry-hopped Fish Camp IPA.

Overall, the Copper Harbor experience was well worth the drive. Be sure to put this destination on your bucket list, and pick up a pasty at Toni’s County Kitchen in Laurium on your way north. Call a couple hours ahead and they’ll make you vegetable pasties too.

Keep an eye out for our Access column in Issue #172 (now shipping to subscribers and newsstands) for more background on this trail success story.

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