[Simon wrote this article way back in August 1997. It's interesting from a historical perspective because back then it was considered odd for mountain bikers to bother doing track work. Ya' just went out and rode whatever tracks you could find. - Paul Kennett, 31 January 2011]
Why do track work? That’s the question a friend asked me recently. This is the fifth year we are organising volunteer track work parties on local council land. There are three main reasons.
The first is that it is a return to the tracks - a way of saying ‘thanks’ for so many good times in the past. So maybe I did scour the track a little on a steep tight corner - there need be no hard feelings or regrets after a bit of track work. For this reason I reckon track work is worth doing on a track even if you will never ride there again.
The second reason is as an investment for the future of the track and mountain biking in general. It’s pretty hard for someone to oppose bikers on the grounds of track damage (which even walkers contribute to) when we’re the only track user group out there putting something back into the trails. And smart track work - whether it be clearing waterbars or gorse - is incredibly effective in keeping tracks in good nick
Finally track work parties really are good times. Nobodies cracking the whip, there’s a sense of comaraderie and good karma. People appreciate what you’re doing and the results of the work are obvious straight away, so it’s really rewarding. I’ve never failed to go away from a track work party with a big smile on my face and every time I return to the area, the smile returns to.