Fashionably late to the end of year round up, here’s our look back at 2022…

2022 Rider Survey

We ran our first ever survey and then took until now to share the results! Oops promise we’ll do better next time (maybe you’d like to help?)
Here are the highlights:

  1. Ashton Court is a key riding area in Bristol, over 90% of respondents ride there and 50% said it was their favourite trail.
  2. There is a demand for more red trails, both flow and technical.
  3. People view helping to maintain the trails and build new trails as Ride Bristol’s top priority.
  4. Lack of diversity is still a significant issue, however there is increased diversity in amongst riders.
  5. A lot of riders want to see Ride Bristol do more to lobby/advocate for official access to wild trails, but a similar number want us to promote responsible access to nature and responsible riding.

2022 Goals

Off the back of the survey we got together in May to hash out some goals for the rest of the year and for the most part we smashed them:

Goal 1 – Recruit, train and retain 12 dig leaders by the end of 2022
We now have nine trained up dig leaders with several others on the path, learning the skills. If you’d like to get more involved with maintaining the trails, contact us as we are always on the look our for new dig leaders.

Goal 2 – Run one dig day per month
We ran 14 dig days in 2022 with 144 different volunteers. Many of them volunteered for multiple sessions and one legend came to every single one!

Goal 3 – Recruit a fundraising trustee
While we struggled to find a dedicated fundraising trustee, we did manage to recruit another excellent trustee. Henry has joined the team and is already contributing lots of exciting ideas for the future direction of the charity and how we can raise the bar on the types of projects we can support and where we can find funding.

Goal 4 – Recruit a wild trails trustee
We knew we had to do something to contribute to the decades old problem of wild trails in Leigh Woods. We also knew that we could end up spending all our time on that topic to the detriment of all our other work. So, we decided to recruit and we were very lucky to find not one, but two extremely talented riders who also have a background in data science, public health and environmental sciences – what are the odds? We couldn’t pick between Hywell and James so we asked them both to become trustees dedicated to wild trails. You’ll hear more from them later in the year.

Goal 5 – Identify and deliver another successful project in partnership with Stif
At the risk of bragging, we smashed this one out the park. Super Nova is now the most fun thing you can do in Ashton Court on two wheels. And there will be more to come from our friends at Stiff in 2023. (Big props to Architrail too for the awesome build)

50 Acre dig days

At the start of 2022 we joined forces with Bristol Trails Group who have looked after 50 Acre for past many years.

We’ve only run four dig days there so far, but if you know 50 Acre then you know what a massive impact that work has had on the drainage. That’s why you can ride it this winter without being axle deep in mud.

We love 50 Acre and we respect its character so it will always be rooty, rough and rocky. But we have got plans (and permission) to do more with the space.

Expect new lines in 2023.

Super Nova reimagined

In 2021, we joined up with Stiff for the first of (at least) three collaborations.

Together with the skills of Architrail and generous support from Tarmac and Bristol City Council and a load of awesome volunteers we reimagined the steep section of Super Nova.

This year we came back for the top section and the results are one very fun sessionable, playful loop that can be ridden by all sorts of riders in all different ways. (Big shout out to Plantforce for their support this year too)

We’ll be working together again later this year – what should we remix next?

All in all it’s been a pretty fine year, but to be brutally honest is also exhausting and we only got done a fraction of things we dreamt of. Mostly because we are volunteers too. We all have families and jobs and for most of the year there were only six trustees running things.

We need more support from the local community and we need better representation of the people of Bristol. So if you care, get involved this year.

So what’s happening in 2023?

We’re putting the final touches to our goals for 2023 but here are the headlines…

  1. Developing an overall trail strategy – to guide our efforts and tackle questions like what do we do with Yer Tiz, where could we build more red trails?
  2. Developing a wild trails strategy – to take a balanced fact based approach to how we manage the desires and benefits of riding wild trails with the concerns and restrictions of land owners.
  3. Growing and developing our team of dig leaders – so we can run more dig days and build more cool stuff.
  4. Developing a strategy on how to get more people riding the trails in Bristol – mountain biking is an amazing sport and hobby for some many of us, but it’s also very expensive to get into. The trails around Bristol belong to everyone in Bristol and we’d like to help more people experience them this year for the first time.

To do all of that we need your help.

We will be recruiting new trustees very soon, several of us are coming to the end of our terms and we need fresh ideas and enthusiasm to keep things moving. But you don’t have to commit to the level of being a Trustee.

Here are some other specific project roles we need help with:

  • Running our website
  • Running our social media accounts and general PR activity
  • Graphic designer to come up with a visual system for signposting all the trails in the area
  • Fundraising
  • Grant applications
  • Community engagement
  • Videographers and photographers

You don’t have to become a trustee to contribute or be an experienced professional, you could be someone who likes to dabble in their spare time, or maybe you’re looking to build up your portfolio and experience to help you change careers or get a new job.

If you’re passionate about improving and protecting the trails and helping people enjoy them, please contact us today.

We need you!