2020 Addison Oaks Fall Classic is Cancelled

It is with a heavy heart that CRAMBA has decided to cancel the 2020 Addison Oaks Fall Classic mountain bike race, originally scheduled to be held on September 12th at Addison Oaks County Park in Leonard, MI.

For over 11 years dozens of volunteers have spent hundreds of hours each year putting on the Fall Classic as a fundraiser to help CRAMBA pay for everything we do; from trail tools to winter grooming equipment, from insurance to pizza for volunteers at trail days, from signage to bridges. On a good year the event has raised over $8000, but on light attendance years — such as 2019 — this has been less than $2000.

With COVID-19 and Stay Home, Stay Safe affecting spring and summer racing seasons, many promoters have moved their races to autumn. From mountain to gravel to cyclocross races, every autumn weekend in 2020 has multiple races to choose from; far more than in typical years. While the choice of races is great, there are only so many racers and this results in a smaller turnout per race than if they were spread out throughout the year. Fewer participants means less income, which is the primary reason why CRAMBA puts on the Fall Classic.

More than just a fundraising race, the Addison Oaks Fall Classic is also a social event. It’s a time to race against friends, cheer others on, then share stories about the summer while sipping your favorite fizzy beverage. Unfortunately, right now it’s unclear how long we’ll be having to keep distance from each other, with the distinct possibility that large gatherings will still be prohibited come September.

Springtime is when race planning seriously begins; signing contracts for timing and the race venue, setting up registration, soliciting sponsors, arranging food, ordering medals and number plates, and much more. By cancelling the race now we can save our volunteer’s time and avoid costs that come from having to back out of agreements and leave dated material unused.

Today, at the end of April 2020, CRAMBA has around $48,000 in the bank. Our yearly expenses — without special purchases — are around $8000 and most of this has already been paid for 2020. Without the Fall Classic income CRAMBA will have no problems continuing as normal. Our work of building, maintaining, and advocating for trails will continue, and we have plenty of money available to spend on special projects.

All of this added up — the likelihood of minimal income, the costs of cancelling at a later date, and the lack of immediate need for fundraising — has led us to cancel the 2020 Addison Oaks Fall Classic.

We will continue planning our other events, including Massive Fallout and Trail Days, and will let you know as they are scheduled.

Thank you for being safe on the trails; here’s to getting back to riding and working!

See you out there (but from a safe distance),

Your CRAMBA Board of Directors:
Roger Class · Michael Green · John D Knight III · Ken Markiewicz · Brian McPherson
Mike Reeves · Becky Padin · Marc Padin · Wade Robbins · Steve Vigneau

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April 2020 Board Meeting Minutes

CRAMBA’s April 2020 Board Meeting was held on Thursday, April 9th 2020 at 7pm via Google Hangouts.

Meeting was called to order with Brian McPherson.  In attendance also Marc Padin, Wade Robbins, Steve Vigneau, Mike Reeves, John Knight, and Ken Markiewicz.  Minutes recorded by Rebecca Padin.

Board Items:

  • Board approved motion to pursue the purchase of small, portable “silky saws” for Trail Coordinators, which can be used to saw through debris up to 18” in diameter
  • CK Canal Signage was purchased, cost for signs was shared between the Rochester Historical Society, the CK Canal Society, and CRAMBA.
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Announcing the Technical Features Program

In this year’s survey CRAMBA’s members said they want more man-made technical features along the trails. CRAMBA has the money to pay for the features, and we need volunteers like you to make it happen. To get more features along the trails, we are pleased to announce the ​Technical Features Program​.

Is there a place along one of our trails where you think a nice feature could go? Got an idea for a great new feature that you’d just love to build? This is your chance to make it a reality, and CRAMBA will pay for it.

We are looking for members like you to come up with a feature and make it happen. First, you come up with the idea, put it in a proposal, and get it to CRAMBA for review. Next, CRAMBA gets approval from the land manager. Finally, you get to build it and ride!

Currently we are looking for submissions for technical features at:

Interested? Click here to read the full program information (PDF): CRAMBA Technical Features Program (2020).pdf

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March 2020 Board Meeting Minutes

CRAMBA’s March 2020 Board Meeting was held on Thursday, March 12th 2020 at 7pm at Steampunk in Utica.

Meeting was called to order with Brian McPherson.  In attendance also Diana McPherson, Michael Green, Marc Padin, Kevin Gorman, Wade Robbins, Steve Vigneau, and Roger Class.  Minutes recorded by Rebecca Padin.

Board Items:

  • Insurance for the year has been paid, but there was an increase over last year. Next year CRAMBA will consider going with IMBA’s insurance.
  • Board approves motion to purchase Clinton Kalamazoo Canal signage, cost to be shared with the Clinton Kalamazoo Canal Society.
  • Ideas for Summer Events: 10th Anniversary of the first River Bends ride (6/27), Take a Kid Mountain Biking (host at River Bends?), Bike Patrol/instructor led clinics for new bike buyers
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February 2020 General Membership Meeting Minutes

CRAMBA’s February 2020 General Membership Meeting was held on Tuesday, February 18th 2020 at 7pm at Hogg’s Hollow in Utica.

34 members were in attendance.

Membership: currently have 456 members – 404 current, 52 lapsed/expired.  May is our annual Spring Membership drive

Finances: Currently $51k in the bank, big expenses for the year include $6k for insurance and expenses related to the Addison Oaks race

  • Stoney Creek: No bids had yet been placed on the project during 2nd round of bids
  • Ay CRAMBA Winter Event: Weather for the weekend is forecasted to be too warm, but membership elects to continue to hold as a social event, and refrain from trail use if the temperature gets too high.
  • Survey Results: Survey results are available on CRAMBA.org. Highlights of the findings include requests for more features, harder lines, better communication/improvements to the website, and more group rides.
  • eBikes: Survey results indicated that most had no opinion or were in favor. CRAMBA is a group that advocates for trail access for mountain bikes, and supports Class I (pedal-assist) at the Land Manager’s discretion, and if a usability study has been performed.  CRAMBA is against all forms of Class II (throttle-controlled).
  • Restructuring of Committees: Current committees (Events, Communication, Trail, and Membership) are largely inactive. Looking to rebrand these as Special Interest Groups, requesting volunteers and sign-up sheets were passed around during the meeting.
    • Bike Patrol: officially recognize as a part of CRAMBA, currently not identified in bylaws and looking to formalize.
    • Trail Improvements: Ride trails, identify areas that need attention or have good potential for new features or reroutes.  Work with the Trail Coordinators to make things happen.
    • Events: Run existing events, come up with ideas for new events, collect feedback and ensure CRAMBA is using that feedback.
    • Advocacy: Dedicated to the advancement of mountain biking in our area.  New trail developments, solving potential conflicts with land managers through education.
    • Membership Involvement/Community Outreach: Get people to attend our events, rides, and trail days.  Make announcements, manage social media pages regarding our events.  Work with Events group.  Bring topics to the board that may need discussion.
    • Fundraising: Garner donations for new projects, events, and ideas.  Files for relevant grants.  Seek out local organizations to sponsor events as long as the businesses don’t conflict with CRAMBA’s mission (no MLM).  Seek membership signup/renewal contributions for people at our events.
    • Ride Hosts: Help run group rides, meet attendees’ expectations.  Come up with other rides that could be more social in nature, or to other destinations around the state.  Host rides at other times of the day.  Daytime and nighttime rides, weekend rides, etc.  Ex. host rides on MOT when trails are under water.

Trail Updates

Addison Oaks: Need people to show up so that they can take pictures of “people on fat bikes” (held 2/22).  CRAMBA was presented with a plaque as a thank you for donating snow grooming equipment for the trails.

Bald Mountain: Lake Orion high school has a trail system, but is not recognized by the state at this time (currently, some of the trail goes onto private property and needs to be redirected).  A connector bridge is being started this summer from Paint Creek to Bald Mt. South.  Looking to structure Bald Mt South as a “beginner” trail system, and turn Lake Orion into “intermediate” trails.

Bloomer: Last fall new signage went in, but there are still a few spots that would benefit from additional signage.  Recent rains have done damage to the trails, and trail work will need to be done.  Bloomer suggested as a potential location for a weekly ride, or possibly night rides.

Clinton River Park Trails: $800 was received from the Rotary Club to help rebuild a bridge, there is deadfall that needs to be removed, and the trail could benefit from additional signage.

Columbus County: A bridge was donated for the trails but still needs to be installed, brush needs to be cleared out.

Holly Holdridge: Not permitted to use snow grooming equipment on certain sections of trail, but there is a snow bike route (visible from Ron’s Strava).  CRAMBA donated money to help replace a roof on a pavilion with the stipulation that a dead tree overhead is removed.

Holly Rec: Wilderness Trail – signs are incorrect: Lakeshore Loop is not open to bikes but the Wilderness Trail is.  Looking to see what traffic the trail is getting in the winter.  Fuel sponsor for trail grooming: CMS Fueling Station and Craft Beer.  Groomed twice at Holdridge, three times at Wilderness Trail.  Look on Facebook for Holly Area Mountain Bikers “HAMBsters” for group rides and trail conditions.

Pontiac Lake: The portion of the trail that’s groom (via snow mobile) is rideable, some additional signage was recently put in.

River Bends: Groomed as often as it can be, given the current weather.

Stoney Creek: Needs a cleanup day sometime in April.  Looking for people to step up as “foremen” to be able to lead trail workdays.

Oakdale: Lapeer wants another 4 ½ miles put in this season, and is actively looking to make the are an “all season trail”.

Holly High School: Drainage issues have been fixed, the school is looking to expand/tune up the trails as they are actively used by kids.

Seven Lakes: Interested in doing some re-routes around rattlesnake land and repairing some blown out trails.

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February 2020 Board Meeting Minutes

CRAMBA’s February 2020 Board Meeting was held on Thursday, February 13th 2020 at 7pm at Steampunk in Utica.

Meeting was called to order with Brian McPherson.  In attendance also Michael Green, John Knight, Marc Padin, Ken Markiewicz, Kevin Gorman, Josh McCreedy, Kelly McMillen, Bob Costello, Lisa Apone, and Carl Moody.  Minutes recorded by Rebecca Padin.

Board Items:

  • Stoney Creek: No bids had yet been placed on the project during 2nd round of bids
  • Ay CRAMBA Winter Event: Weather for the weekend is forecasted to be too warm, will discuss the event at the General Membership meeting next week.
  • eBikes: Class I pedal-assist bikes vs. Class II throttle-controlled bikes. CRAMBA is a trail advocacy group for mountain biking, and support the decision of the land managers on their stance on Class I eBikes.  CRAMBA does not support the use of Class II bikes as they bring safety concerns for riders and other trail users, as well as the conditions of the trails themselves.  Survey results indicate that clear communication is needed on where you CAN ride your eBike.
  • Restructuring of Committees: Current committees (Events, Communication, Trail, and Membership) are largely inactive. Looking to rebrand these as Special Interest Groups, and will ask for volunteers at the General Membership meeting.
  • Survey Results: Survey results are available on CRAMBA.org. Highlights of the findings include the need for more transparency on what we do and what we advocate, posting trail etiquette-related content online, membership desires for new features with ride-around options to prevent “dumbing-down” the trails, and trail days needing more structure and more advanced notice (advertise on more than just Facebook, and more than 48 hours in advance to allow people to plan their attendance).
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¡Ay CRAMBA It’s Cold Out? – This Saturday, February 22nd

Wow, what an unseasonable winter we’ve had… But don’t fret, this Saturday we’re still hosting ¡Ay CRAMBA It’s Cold Out! at River Bends Park, but we’re moving the start up to 10am.

Even though temperatures are forecasted to get well above freezing on Saturday we’re still going to get together and celebrate Winter riding; whatever it brings. Even if the mountain bike trails aren’t ridable, River Bends has almost five miles of paved trail, and the more adventurous can double that by taking a spin over to Dodge Park along the beautiful Clinton River.

Starting at 10am we’ll get the bonfires going and ready for whatever a weird February Saturday brings our way. Bring some food and beverages to share and let’s have a party!

If you want to try riding the mountain bike trails, please show up early while it’s still cold. If the trails get soft, please duck out to the pavement. Ride Dirt Trails, Not Mud Trails.

Because the ground is likely to be soft, please keep all vehicles in the paved parking lot and off of the grass.

See you there!

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CRAMBA 2020 Trail User Survey Results

The CRAMBA 2020 Trail User Survey is closed and we’d like to share the results.

Thank you to everyone who participated. We received 566 responses which shows just how much you all love and care for trails and mountain biking here in Southeast Michigan.

We’ve split the data into two sets: current CRAMBA Members (209 responses) and All Respondents (566 responses), and excluded contact info.  The data is available as both PDFs and using SurveyMonkey’s web interface:

CRAMBA Members Only: PDFWeb
All Respondents: PDFWeb

Notes:

  • One trail — Lake Orion High School / LOHS — was left off the lists of trail choices until ~20 hours after the survey went live and ~50% of responses were received. Therefore this trail is likely under-represented in the results.
  • Survey was open from January 29th, 2020 until the morning of February 10th, 2020.
  • Survey was shared via CRAMBA mass email and Facebook. We asked people to share the survey with friends as well, with the goal of getting responses from members and non-members across southeast Michigan, including those who are members of other mountain bike advocacy chapters (eg: MCMBA, PotoMBA).
  • Some respondents manually entered Other responses which are the same as pre-defined choices. This results in slight under-reporting of these options. (eg: Manually entering MDMB as an Other item instead of choosing the Metro Detroit Mountain Bikers option on the Other Clubs question.)
  • CRAMBA Members Only is the respondents who answered Yes to question 16, “Are you a CRAMBA Member?”All Respondents includes every survey response.
  • PDF format results show open-ended and comment responses in line with the other response data. The web view is more of a summary and requires additional clicks to get to this data.
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Take the 2020 CRAMBA Trail User Survey

We need your help!

Please join your fellow trail users in completing the CRAMBA 2020 Trail User Survey.

We are looking for your feedback on CRAMBA, the trails you use, eBikes, asphalt pump tracks, dogs on trails, and more! Please share this survey with all your friends, as we want opinions from all types of trail users whether on foot, bike, or whatever

Click Here: CRAMBA 2020 Trail User Survey

Thank you for your help and support of CRAMBA; we’ll see you on the trails!

EDIT: As of February 10, 2020 the survey has been closed. Thank you for responding!

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January 2020 Board Meeting Minutes

CRAMBA’s December 2019 Board Meeting was held on Thursday, January 9th 2020 at 7pm at Steampunk in Utica.

Meeting was called to order with Brian McPherson.  In attendance also Wade Robbins, Steve Vigneau, Michael Green, John Knight, Marc Padin, Ken Markiewicz, Chris Westerlund, and Kevin Gorman.  Minutes recorded by Rebecca Padin.

Board Items:

  • Bald Mountain/Addison Connector: DNR is currently working with Federal for approval. As existing service road approximately 50’ west may be utilized as the endeavor would be seen as “restoring infrastructure” instead of “new development”.
  • Ay CRAMBA Winter Event: 2/1 (2/22 backup) Event scheduled to run from 12pm to 5pm at the Picnic Area at River Bends. Chili Cook-Off canceled to honor the simplicity of the event.  Potluck still encouraged.

Addison Oaks Race Items: Confirmed timeline to setup Friday, CRAMBA race Saturday, MISCA race Sunday.  MISCA will mark the course for their races, and will be responsible for teardown on Sunday.

National Mountain Bike Patrol Items:

  • Banner with new artwork received, came in under budget due to donation of materials by the vendor.
  • Bike Patrol members are also required to be registered with the National Ski Patrol, which brings their total membership cost to $125 annually. Chris Westerlund is requesting that CRAMBA assist in subsidizing membership costs to encourage membership.  Board to consider based on setting a guideline/minimum number of hours and events to support CRAMBA.
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