Swine Flu, Fall 2017. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Mountain bikers gearing up for summer

More mountain bikers are expected to hit the trails this summer as interest in the sport continues to climb.

The Fernie Mountain Bike Club last year recorded a modest increase in membership with about 950 individuals, families and corporate members signing up.

It came on the back of strong growth in 2016 when numbers surged 30 per cent to 850 individuals and families, and 25 corporate members.

FMBC board member Heather Lavers said so far, 350 individuals and families, and nine corporates had signed up for the 2018 season, with many more registrations expected at the club’s annual Spring Bike Blitz on May 19.

“Our memberships include individual and families, so it is a challenge to know exactly how many individual people that is,” she said.

“In general I would say our members are likely over 1000 people and growing each year.”

The FMBC encourages recreational and competitive cycling for all ages and abilities, while promoting responsible mountain biking practices and land use.

Membership includes entry to local events and this year fees have been raised to $25 for youth, $40 for adults and $90 for families to support the Fernie Trails Alliance.

Last year, the club donated all of its revenue to the FTA, which is responsible for land use agreements and trail maintenance.

“We aim to have 100 per cent of our membership fees go directly to building and maintaining trails through the Fernie Trails Alliance,” said Lavers.

“Volunteers are welcome and needed at most of our events, as well you can show up for weekly Thursday maintenance nights (no experience required).”

Lavers said it was unclear when local trails would open with plenty of snow still covering them.

Mountain bikers are heading to Cranbrook where trails are rideable.

For trail conditions and updates, join the “Fernie Trails Alliance (FTA) Trail Conditions and Ride Board” group on Facebook.

The Spring Bike Blitz will be held at Elks Hall, 491 1st Ave, on May 19 from 10 a.m. and feature a bike swap, barbecue and a scavenger hunt on bikes.

Visit Bikefernie.ca for more information about the FMBC.

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