15 Mar What is the idea behind Table Mountain Bikers?
Here’s a recap of where TMB started and what the idea behind this initiative was.
TMB was never meant to be a club and that’s why we don’t have a committee, a constitution and an AGM.Some believe we are therefore not a legitimate organisation and have no right to speak for cyclists.We ignore the naysayers and get on with what we think is the right thing to do.
TMB started in 2010, by a keen mountain biker joining Table Mountain Safety Forum meetings to see where he could help make the trails safer for cyclists.The rider got tired of the endless talk in meetings and walked on to the mountain one day and placed small signs all over the mountain,naming the location and providing a contact number in the event of an emergency.This was the first time the TMB logo made an appearance.
We organised the first awareness ride in 2010,as part of a Safety Forum Mountain Awareness day and from there the support started to grow, with financial contributions coming in from all over. Some of you might remember the coffee trailer at the King’s Blockhouse.
The TMB newsletter became one of the most important reasons for cyclists to join.There was an information vacuum out there.There was crime,but very little information was being disseminated.There were trails,but very little information about group rides,trail advocacy,negotiations with landowners and progress reports.We tried to provide an overview of what was happening on the trails around the City.
The TMB kit gave us an identity, the group rides brought like-minded cyclists together and allowed individual cyclists to meet other riders, make friends and splinter off the bigger TMB group to form their own social groups.
Table Mountain Bikers believes that volunteerism has its place and can (temporarily) fill voids that have been left by those entities that have a full-time obligation to do a specific task.We don’t want to become a law-enforcement agency,a trail building company or a trail management entity. We are cyclists that want to enjoy well-maintained trails in a safe environment.We will help where we can as part of our civic duty,but in the end, there are already entities that have a duty to fulfill the above-mentioned roles.Volunteerism complements, it doesn’t take over an existing role,unless it is by mutual agreement and the volunteer organisation is then left to perform the role as it sees fit,with minimal intervention.
We will keep raising funds to maintain and develop trails,but in return there needs to be some leeway given,so that we don’t end up with a limited trail network, catering for an increasing number of cyclists. The network has to grow proportionately to accommodate more cyclists,otherwise the wear & tear simply overtakes the volunteer ability to do maintenance.
We can put forward our ideas that we think can keep cyclists safe,but we are not law enforcement professionals.Volunteer funding is never a lot and is eaten up quickest by paying wages,so our ideas are limited to those that don’t always offer market-related remuneration.
Working with land owners can be frustrating at times,as they don’t buy into ideas & suggestions as fast as we would like,or not at all.We do ask tough questions sometime and we have been critiqued for our approach at times, but we mend fences again as the land owners realise that while we can be critical,TMB has always put forward ideas of how to help and we have delivered on our ideas. In the end,having mountain bike groups actively lobbying and engaging with authorities in their own way has brought about a positive shift in the MTB environment across the mountain chain and adjacent land.
Table Mountain Bikers is a group of passionate cyclists,always willing to help when called upon.We don’t exist as a club,we are a private initiative,born out of a desire to help where we can and bring cyclists together.
We collect a bit of money from riders that choose to join us.If you ask,”where does the money go?”,look at the trail under your wheels and the signage you follow (when it hasn’t been pulled out by someone). You can decide for yourself whether the R400 you gave to TMB is well-spent or wasted.If you don’t get what you expected, we will refund your R400 immediately.
We would like more cyclists to join us to grow our trail fund,but we remain realistic about the numbers we can attract.Nobody needs to be to TMB member to ride the trails on Table Mountain.You need a San Parks Activity permit,that’s all.We don’t manage the trail network,like Tygerberg MTB Club does.In reality,we have very little to offer.
We value every “member’s” contribution, but even if TMB reverted back to a one-man show,as it was way back in 2010, we would keep on going.
Meeting TMB friends for a spur-of-the-moment Saturday afternoon ride around the mountain, arriving as a group at the King’s Blockhouse on a Thursday night ride or going for chilled ride along the top of Kirstenbosch – that’s what TMB is all about.
Oh,and we do ride road bikes too!
Table Mountain Bikers stands for 3 things:
Love the Mountain.Ride the Mountain.Respect the Mountain.
Whether we walk,run,cycle or just look at the mountain, Capetonians love Table Mountain.