Goodbye summer, Hello CRAMBA Fall Trail Challenge! CRAMBA is doing something a little different this year. We wouldn’t have been able to hold the typical events that you enjoy so much so we came up with an Alternative! Sign up and Ride CRAMBA trails this Fall to get some CRAMBA swag! More details are posted on the CRAMBA Massive Fall-Alt: Trail Challenge event page.
CRAMBA’s September 2020 Board Meeting was held on Thursday, September 10th 2020 at 7pm at Stony Creek.
Meeting was called to order with Brian McPherson. In attendance also Mike Green, Marc Padin, Wade Robbins, Steve Vigneau, Ken Markiewicz, and John Knight. Minutes recorded by Rebecca Padin.
- Discussion regarding hosting digital/self-run CRAMBA
Trail Challenge (ride all the CRAMBA-sponsored trails in a certain duration)
- Potential for winter/fat-tire event depending on success of autumn event
- Stoney Creek – Loop B in progress, impressed with FlowTrack’s work so far
- Annual elections due to be hosted in October
- Bald Mountain/Addison Connector – Bald Mountain side due to be done by the end of the year, discussions still in progress with Addison.
CRAMBA’s August 2020 Board Meeting was held on Thursday,August 13th 2020 at 7pm at River Bends. The July meeting was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Meeting was called to order with Brian McPherson. In attendance also Mike Green, Marc Padin, Wade Robbins, Steve Vigneau, Mike Reeves, Ken Markiewicz, and John Knight, Kristen Berry, Pete Januszewski, and Josh Seyfarth. Minutes recorded by Rebecca Padin.
- Several members stopped by to pick up their CRAMBA-branded face/head coverings, which are available for free to all CRAMBA members (paid for by donations and membership fees)
- Technical Features program has started to see several new features completed, most recently the Tree Bridge feature located in the CK Canal Loop at River Bends
- Discussion for the feasibility of hosting digital or self-run events (race a specific route between two dates, email your GPS file), “CRAMBA Trail Challenge” (ride all the CRAMBA-sponsored trails in a certain duration)
CRAMBA’s June 2020 Board Meeting was held on Thursday, June 11th 2020 at 7pm at Rivers Bends. The May meeting was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Meeting was called to order with Brian McPherson. In attendance also Marc Padin, Wade Robbins, Steve Vigneau, Mike Reeves, , Jeremy Verbeke, Ken Markiewicz, and John Knight. Minutes recorded by Rebecca Padin.
- Board approved the purchase of 23 portable “silky saws” for Trail Coordinators, but difficulties in finding a vendor that had that many available for purchase caused delay. Order for all the saws has since been placed.
- Todd Szott (of the Szott Auto Group) approached CRAMBA regarding organizing a GoFundMe to fund the purchase of a few trimmers for Holdridge. Szott to front the money for immediate purchase of the trimmers, request to be reimbursed the cost of the trimmers from the GoFundMe, and any additional proceeds would be donated to CRAMBA for use to maintain the Holdridge trail system.
- As of Monday, the GoFundMe had already raised double the cost of the trimmers.
- Steve visited with Pete McCreedy to discussion signage needs at Oakdale, provided suggestions for spots for posts and numbering scheme.
- Board approves motion for Jeremy to purchase another string trimmer for River Bends.
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
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 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.
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:
- Bald Mountain Recreation Area
- Columbus County Park
- Lapeer Oakdale Trails
- Pontiac Lake Recreation Area
- River Bends Park
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.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
- 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).