Sonoran Desert Mountain Bicyclists (SDMB) announced today that Good Is awarded them a $50,000 grant from Ford Motor Company. Last week, thousands of SDMB supporters voted daily on-line to help the local trails group win the “Reinventing Outdoors” contest over other celebrity-endorsed groups.
SDMB president Brian Vance of Tucson exclaimed, “Incredible! Unbelievable! This is a tremendous time for SDMB and Tucson area outdoor enthusiasts. The mountain bike community will have a great time utilizing this grant to work with our land managers to enhance and expand existing trails and develop new trails.”
“I woke up at 4:30 am and checked my email and thought, Oh my God, we won, awesome!,’’ said trails advocate and SDMB member Martha Lemen. “I couldn’t go back to sleep after that!”
Specialized mountain bike pro Todd Wells championed SDMB efforts against Hollywood types like Will Ferrrell and Ed Norton and their outdoor groups. “I would like to thank everyone for voting for us and supporting what SDMB and other mountain bike trail groups like them are doing to preserve our lands keep trails open to cyclists,” said Wells, who trains on Tucson trails each winter.
“Winning this grant speaks volumes for what a large and cohesive group we cyclists are and the influence we can have when working together,” the triple national mountain bike and cyclo-cross champion said. “I look forward to having access to the trails I love and new ones like them for many years to come thanks to the work SDMB will be able to achieve with this funding from Ford.”
The funding will be used to build bike park easily accessible for city riders. “Most significantly this grant will help create—and greatly enhance—a pending in-town bike park that will provide access to outdoor activity and introduce biking to people of all ages,” explained Vance.
“To keep our sport growing, we need to get folks out and learning how to ride,” Lemen emphasized. “We want to create a place somewhere in the urban environment where kids can easily ride their bikes to the facility.”
She said at a trailhead survey this past weekend, “We learned that a lot of adults said they’d like to learn to jump or ride over rocks or learn some other skill in a safe environment.” So kids of all ages will be riding in the bike park.
The bike park will be open to “kids of all ages,” according to Lemen, and will be suitable for every wheel size. The bike park will have a complete different layout than Tucson’s two bmx parks. Lemen mentioned a similar urban bike park in Seattle, the I-5 Colonnade. “They built it on abandoned trashed land beneath Interstate 5,” he said.
In addition, the SDMB park will be separate from Pima County’s efforts to build a bike track at Elvira Elementary School in the Sunnyside District.
The location of the bike park has yet to be determined. “We’ll be talking with the City of Tucson or Pima County, depending on who is managing the tract of land that is available for a park. Could even be the federal government, depending on where it’s located,” says Lemen.
“The park will be open to the public and follow the rules of the jurisdiction, for example, open dawn to dusk for riding, like county and city parks,” says Lemen. “But hey, we just got $50,000, so maybe we can get some lights and extend the hours!”