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Many riders see a mountain bike trail as a place to explore, exercise, or even rid themselves of the day's stress. However, to builders, a trail can be so much more. For them, trails are an outlet of creative expression. It's an art form where they get to start with a blank canvas and carve their creativity into the dirt for others to enjoy. Trail builders, like artists, have a unique style, and many times you can tell who built a trail just by riding it. Behind every ribbon of singletrack or flowy jump line is a trail builder with a vision and hours of dedicated dig time. Meet the WTB ambassadors who are committed to creating trails that allow all of us to enjoy the sport we love so much.

Welcome to WTB's Build With Purpose.

Name of organization:

Flagstaff Bike Revolution 

Responses by Austin Smith of Flagstaff Bike Revolution 

Headquarters location:

Flagstaff Arizona 

Favorite WTB product:

The Silverado. Great name, and has been a go to saddle for ages.

Favorite trail snack:

Frosted cherry pop tarts

Favorite trail tool:

Hoe or a shovel.

Favorite trail:

Pickle, Flagstaff AZ

What's a perfect day of biking look like to you?

4-5 hours with plenty of funky trails to keep me busy. 

When did you start building trails?

This year was truly my first year with our local governments organized volunteer efforts. and it was incredible. I never really had many opportunities before this years dig days.

What has been your favorite building project so far?

My bike shop has been spearheading promotion for volunteer digging on a project called MEDL. It’s an acronym for Mount Elden Dry Lakes, the area on which we are building. It’s a 50 mile update of singletrack, and is scheduled to take 5 years to complete. We did weekly Thursday afternoon digs every week from May till November, and would average 30ish volunteers every week. We have spent basically what a annual part time employee would cost us, in pizza, beer, raffles, and managements time to ensure build culture on these volunteer efforts takes flight in our town. It has been a huge success! Our goal is simple. We want more trails for ourselves and for our town. Putting in practice is a little more complex. We do not  want to have ownership of this event, or even recognition really, as we want the door to be open for other businesses or individuals to run with this as well. We just want to seize the opportunity our local government gave us with these volunteer events, and get the ball rolling for our town. The plan is working, more people are getting involved, more local businesses are jumping on board. And we are even seeing bike industry support from cool brands like WTB. Next year we estimate to have an even bigger volunteer work force, and build lots and lots of dope singletrack. 

Favorite type of trail to build:

I want funky mountain bike trails, complex, thought provoking, and full of character. I like messy rock gardens, and sections that let you go fast. 

 Why is building important to you?

More options for different skill levels, and dispersing users for my community are all very important reasons. Personally, route options and variety always excites me to get outside. Riding the same route every day is better than nothing, but variety is the spice of life.

If you had to pick one thing every rider and company needs to start doing today to support trail building, what would it be?

If you have the opportunity in your community, promoting “dig culture” is cool. Let’s celebrate our builders, and advertise for our volunteer digs events. And get creative about moving energy and attention towards building trails. I’d like to see pro riders, brands, and local riders all collectively saying digging is cool, we are then influencing our masses in a self fulfilling direction for our sport. As brands, the revenue follows where the trails are. As riders, more trails means more fun. 

What does the future of mountain biking look like to you?

It’s bright to me. The need for humans to get out and enjoy their dose of moving their bodies, and enjoying nature seems to be a good pairing for the  21st century lifestyle. I think this bodes well for mountain biking.

What does the future of trail building look like to you?

Well, locally. I want to keep promoting dig culture here in Flagstaff. I aim to support my local Forest Service, and promote our weekly volunteer trail days. I want to get new brands,  personalities involved. I want to keep it fun, and keep the pattern going. We are shooting for a 50 mile update on our primary mountain, and then have two more zones for trail updates after that which are pending approval now. Lots of digging ahead, and I want to be involved with all of it.

How many miles of trail have you built?

This year, volunteer events, and local forest service employees build 12+ miles of fresh single track. They estimate that half of these miles were dug by the volunteers. 

How many years have you been building and advocating for trails?

I am just fishing my first year, and it certainly will not be my last.

What user groups are you targeting?

We have mainly targeted mountain bikers, as that who we get to talk to the most in the shop. But we also have had a lot a success getting the trail runners out as well.


Biggest project to date: 

MEDL project

"Thanks WTB for supporting our dig days this year. And thanks for promoting digging! I am grateful for the opportunity our local government has given our town. And am grateful for my customer base that has listened to my staff hype this stuff, and then came out and worked to build some cool trails this year. Riding a bike is fun. "

-Austin Smith

Check out more about Flagstaff Bike Revolution on their Website or Instagram!




Follow more of The Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship on their Website and Instagram!

Words by Kamron Williams 

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