Local Loam with Jeff Kendall-Weed: No Land Access, No Problem

Local Loam: Austin TX with Jeff Kendall-Weed:

The west coast of the USA is well celebrated for its mountain biking access.  California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, and much of the southwest, including Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Utah, are all known for extensive trail networks.  Nearly all of these trails are on some form of public land.

Moving east, to the central US, and land ownership changes quickly.  Percentages of publicly held land drop from near 40%, per state, down to 1-3%.

Texas, the second largest US state, has less than 4% publicly accessible land.  This creates a substantial obstacle for us mountain bikers.  But mountain bikers are a determined and crafty group, and have found a few unique ways to find their two wheeled fun.

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The first group I learned about in Texas is called Trail Party.

Known as “Team Trail Party” to the locals, this group is led by Jeremiah Work.  Jeremiah was a top level 4x racer for many years, and prior to that, grew up racing BMX.  After a few “bandit” style (non-sanctioned) enduro races were big successes, word got out about the group’s events.  Needing to legitimize, Jeremiah partnered with a ranch in Burnet, TX: Reveille Peak Ranch, or RPR.  RPR had allowed mountain bike access for quite some time, but was seeing a dwindling amount of usage.  However, with the first enduro race held at the ranch in 2014, visits before and after the event boomed.  The group used the proceeds from the event to pay for trail building and maintenance.  Through the years, the group has perfected this strategy, and they’ve found it to be a good solution.

The next group came up a few times while I was doing some pre-trip research.

Known as Freeride 512, they are a freeride oriented non-profit, and have worked with a few private land owners thus far.  A highlight for the club is Cat Mountain.  About ten years ago, a crew of riders built some bandit style trails on the hill, then all left the state in order to live in the mountains of New Mexico.  Years later, Seth Buckner happened to meet a fellow Austin local, and sure enough, the same guy posted on a local riding forum that he had just purchased Cat Mountain and was open to reviving the remnants of the old trails.  Freeride 512 had prior experience of working with private land owners, and jumped at this opportunity.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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