Do you know those “WOW moments” when mountain biking, when the seemingly endless view, the beautiful shadow – light play in the forest or sweaty challenges provided by nature let you sink into the moment? You’re not alone in that. In many studies, nature is one of the main motivators for getting into the MTB saddle. No wonder, because exercise in nature is important for our physical and mental health.
However, nature offers not only a high value of experience and health potential for each and every one of us. No, it is THE basis of life and thus our most valuable asset. If that is not a reason to protect it and to preserve its value for future generations! But what does this have to do with us mountain bikers? What can you and I contribute to a sustainable development of the sport? And how do we as a society reconcile the mountain bike boom and environmental sustainability?
These are the questions we deal with every day in our work and so I would like to support you in the following with inputs to find your personal answers.
As already described, the experience of nature plays a major role on bike tours. But the extent to which the sport promotes a connection to flora and fauna is shown by the Europe-wide study “What is Sustainable?”:
On this subject, the words of the behavioral scientist Konrad Lorenz always stick in my mind:
“You only love what you know and you only protect what you love”.
The mountain bike sport can therefore bring about a stronger connection and mindfulness towards the environment. At the same time, like all other outdoor sports, it has an impact on nature.
First things first: It cannot be generally said that mountain biking has a bigger impact on the environment than other outdoor sports. In principle, it is the trails themselves that have the higher impact when it comes to trail-based sports. And with the trails, the impact can be managed. That’s why the principle applies:
Well-planned, official and coordinated infrastructure is the key to practicing sports in an environmentally friendly way!
Bikers are ideally directed to where they can pursue their passion without causing harm. Trail design determines the longevity of a trail, influences rider behavior on the trail, and reduces the creation of shortcuts or “wild” trails, for example, by making official offerings fun. Good infrastructure management prevents damage rather than having to repair it. Because nature sometimes takes a long time to regenerate. For us bikers, however, this also means sticking to existing trails at all costs, planning tours properly and acquiring good riding technique.
What can mountain bikers and other outdoor athletes now have an impact on and what can we do about it?
Advancing the sustainable development of mountain biking infrastructure sometimes seems very complex, but we can all contribute. In this way we can protect nature, which is the most precious asset and the basis of mountain biking. development of the sport is based on exchange, trust and the pursuit of common goals between Sustainable the mountain biking community, the tourism industry, environmental protection and the authorities. A great recent success is the MTB code that was created in this way. It encourages everyone, depending on their background and involvement, to do their part so that our children and future generations can also enjoy nature on mountain bikes.
The trails themselves and their design have a particularly strong influence on nature. Prohibitions are usually not very effective. They often merely shift the problem or meet with little acceptance. What is needed is targeted planning that also goes beyond local boundaries. An important building block for this has already been laid with the new federal law . However, it still needs a lot of driving force from the local mountain bike communities to make things happen – thank you for your commitment. Your personal contribution is also another stone on the path of sustainable development of the sport.
We appreciate nature and the opportunities it offers us to have fun on two wheels. This is also reflected in our work and master plans. We focus especially on active visitor management with attractive trails and support environmentally friendly trail management. What is our environmental commitment?
Expert knowledge must not be neglected in any case, which is why our entire team constantly deals with new findings in the field and brings them up to date.
In addition, we now have two environmental engineers working for us on all matters relating to the environment.
Particularly important for Felix is to convey to people the beauty and value of their natural environment and to support its sustainable use and protection. His strengths lie in visitor monitoring and management as well as nature conservation and, of course, biking.
With his incredible mountain bike enthusiasm, Sylvain is a perfect fit for the team. He is a specialist in sustainable trail building and lives this resolution as the leader of the trail crew in Verbier and is committed to passing on expertise in sustainable trail building as part of the DIRTT project.
On top of our own knowledge, we work closely with specialized environmental offices on environmental reports.
Nature and man are at the center of mountain biking. The movement in the midst of the beauty of nature and the accompanying indescribable experiences give mountain biking its meaning! For Bikeplan, the main goal is to contribute to transmit this irreplaceable value of nature and to sensitize the view of the mountain bikers for the big picture. In this way, we are committed to ensuring that nature will continue to be a place full of indescribable experiences for future generations.
Begleite Hannah auf ihrer Reise von der Inspiration bis zum umgesetzten Trailcenter und lerne in 30 Tagen die wichtigsten Schritte für die Entwicklung zukunftsfähiger Mountainbike Infrastrukturen kennen.
Wir zeigen dir, worauf es ankommt.
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