No Dig, No Ride?

“No Dig, No Ride” It’s something you hear from time to time, what do you think? What happens if someone rides where they “No Dig”?

That depends really. There are folks who may put in a lot of time and energy on a different trail system or work on various boards, associations or committees that people don’t realize.

I would like to do more actual trail work but last year I did more on the advocacy side of things. Much more interesting and enjoyable building and maintaining trail to be honest.

Then there are those who organize events and races as their priority as opposed to building/maintaining trails.

Another group are those who have done a ton of work in the past and for whatever reason (family, work, personal choice) have decided that it’s time to spend some time riding instead. (i.e. Randy, Kvuammen, Kavanaugh and many others).

All important aspects to growing our community in the end.

It would be a downer on MTB tourism.

An interesting topic. I’ve certainly heard this expressed, especially from riders who also happen to have the passion to create amazing trails that we all get to ride, and obviously benefit from. In a way, unless you’re building trails on private land, you have to expect that people will eventually find the trail system and begin to utilize it, without ever having contributed to the build or maintenance.

It also seems like our sport is in a bit of a decline commercially given how few actual mountain bikes you see in local shops compared to commuters and road bikes which seem to be in greater favour than ever (not a bad thing, either). So, to contend that you don’t get to ride unless you contribute to the trails is actually a little counter productive. A thriving riding community and more engaged MTBers should mean more advocacy, more bikes/parts available to buy in local shops, more races, etc etc. It feels to me like the people who do ride are more invested than ever in the sport, but there are fewer of us than before.

With regards to my own personal involvement, as the former owner of the first incarnation of ecmtb, having put on dozens of events, races, movie nights, charity rides, trail build days and all that, I really just want to ride now. I’ve still done a bit of maintenance and line making, but it’s really not my focus at the moment.

Good topic. Interested to hear other opinions.

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I always set aside one day a year where I go out and contribute to a trail. A couple of years ago I hung signs on the trail system at Spider Lake ( Sadly, a lot of them have been destroyed by idiots but that is a topic for another thread and day). My company makes signs so I thought i could contribute to the cause this way. My buddy Rick and I built the Simon and Garfunkel bridge at Spider Lake. We will repair it now that the trees have uprooted. I also have done some signs to hang at Whopper to direct you to the Lake Loop, to replace the one at the “T” where there is a sign made from a plank and a sharpie that says

Suzie Lake West -->

I also have a sign made to mark the entrance to Flipside.

I have learned my lesson from Spider and will hang these better. Just waiting for a trail to be beaten down and I will walk/ride there and hang everything

I don’t tell you this for a pat on the back but to illustrate my point that just because I don’t build trail doesn’t mean that I don’t contribute. There are lots of ways to be part of the community.

God love the Trail Builders. They are the most important members of our community. It kinda sucks to ride a $3500 mountain bike on a paved roadway. The builders make the whole thing happen.

And I agree with Britewhite on this one. WE make the community.

Don’t you find that the riders you encounter on the Trail are +40’s? I’m the youngest in out group of 4 at 52. We have a 63 on the top side. Most of the riders I see are my age. I never see 20’s or teens out there. Maybe that’s just me.


When the last big wave of ‘freeride’ hit, lots of younger people got into it. That’s what ecmtb thrived on. We had an incredible number of people using that site at it’s peak. Close to 100,000 visitors a month, IIRC. Peanuts now, I’m sure, compared to the sites that are still going. But it doesn’t seem like that influx of fresh blood has continued to this day, and @muddy’s right. most people I see are 40 or older.

If we want to encourage more new riders, we’ll need to really nurture the sport at the grassroots level. NS is a hard place to make that work though. The local trails are, let’s face it, not very beginner friendly. High quality, good value trailworthy bikes can be hard to find. So, it’s a sport that’s hard to break into. I think there are a lot of casual riders who might like to give it a try, but don’t know who to ask to show them around. And if newbies encounter push back from trail builders, they may be less likely to stick around.


Don’t you find that the riders you encounter on the Trail are +40’s?

With the price of bikes these days, you need a good paying job.

+1 to that.

All good points, definitely lots of different ways to contribute. It would be awesome if we all had the time to help build too.

When someone specifically says “No Dig, No Ride” I take that as a threat. As in we’ll cause you physical harm if we catch you on “our” trail. Sure if it on your own private land whatever rules you want is fine but seeing as most trails in NS aren’t…I can’t see how someone could have the gall to think they can dictate like that.

Probably the stupidest thing I’ve heard in awhile. Someone saying or thinking that, I mean.

I’ve never actually heard it before, but I imagine I’ve heard something like it at some time or other.

Haole, locals only!

With a full time job and being the parent of two kids who a lot of the time are my sole responsibility (my partner has a job that keeps her on the road about 19-23 days a month) I’m lucky I even get to ride never mind build new trails. Having said that I do make an effort to maintain- clearing deadfalls and that kind of thing on the trails I ride.

I think the whole ‘no dig, no ride’ thing is pretty bogus. If I were the builder I’d rather my work was ridden and appreciated, what’s the fun in keeping it to yourself? Don’t get it.

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Exactly what I was going to say Aimish…

Of course it would always be nice to have people pitching in but, at least for me, I build trails for people to ride and enjoy… I actually get bummed out when I think no one is using them in some way…lol


in my experience any of the builders I have met and worked with have been keen to show off their work and I do not ever remember being told that you can’t ride if you don’t work.

i dig a lot for work, and by that i mean i build and maintain trails for parks, so digging for fun isn’t really high on my list of weekend activities. i do put a trail day in here and there with a couple different clubs, and pay my club dues, but i think a “no dig, no ride” policy is counterproductive and would do a lot to hurt any given scene. and, as jeffv already mentioned, it would actively discourage mtb tourism, which can be a boon for certain communities.

in the end, it takes a whole community to make a trail network grow and prosper. builders, event organizers, race promoters, advocacy groups, as well as riders all help sustain the scene. builders certainly deserve respect, but even a tourist riding through contributes to the greater community by buying gas, food, beer, and spare tubes, and that’s just as important.

interesting discussion.

Again more great points. I think the whole concept of “no dig, no ride” is BS and I’m glad to see everyone so far agrees. I was doing some incidental social media surfing when I saw the sentiment in regard to a local trail… just got me curious.

I think this has a lot to do with dirt jump trails. People put a lot of hours into building the trails(which erode very quickly) and don’t want people in riding without putting a little work in. It could also have a lot to do with trails(illegal) getting removed if being discovered.

Personally I also think it’s total BS. Share the love.

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I would think that most riders contribute in some way or another if they have the time. Even if it is just getting off their bikes and moving some dead fall. I ride the same trails all the time and see good work being done here and there in spots that I often think could use work but never get around to doing it. Thanks, Jeff V. It’s guys like you who take the time to go in and get things done and then let us all know that it is there and ready to ride and I tip my hat to the many others on this site who are so generous with their time and resources so we can all enjoy the ride.