Bell steps down as president of TAMBA |

Bell steps down as president of TAMBA

by Timothy Bowman

The Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association is looking for a new leader of the pack.

Gary Bell is stepping down as TAMBA president next month after 13 years. Bell said TAMBA is looking for new people to carry on the tradition of teaching trail maintenance and responsible riding.

“We have sent a ballot to a bunch of members to get nominations, suggestions, all that stuff,” Bell said. “It has been great. It has been a lot of fun. I just reached the point where there is other stuff I want to do. We just need some new people with new ideas and new energy.”

Bell and two others started TAMBA in 1988. Mountain biking was a relatively new sport and many areas where people ride were closing because of damage caused by riders.

“Mountain biking was growing around here and we saw other places like Marin County and Colorado that were closing trails,” Bell said. “We were at the point where the Forest Service couldn’t keep up with the maintenance. There were trails that were going to close. We realized we needed a voice and get out there and help out.”

Bell said the Forest Service welcomed the help. TAMBA holds trail days where members go out and work on trails.

“(The Forest Service) was immediately interested and we had a good rapport with them ever since,” Bell said. “They say, ‘we need help on this trail, can you send a crew up?’ “

TAMBA also focuses a lot of attention on educating mountain bikers about riding the trails with respect.

“Education is a big part of what we do,” Bell said. “We teach people how to take care of the trails. We also do a lot of lobbying even at the federal level to keep trails open.”

TAMBA has about 90 paying members around the lake and sends out its newsletter to about 1,200 people. The organization will split into North and South Lake chapters when Bell steps down.

“Basically our plan is to split it into two divisions, north and south,” Bell said. “We are looking for people on South Shore because the people in the North Shore have already started. They have the ball and they are running.”

There are already some candidates to take over as president of TAMBA, but Bell said they are looking for more.

“We have right now a group of four that want to take over some stuff,” Bell said. “We are looking for a few more just so we have a complete board. We are going to have a meeting in June and we will call it our transitional meeting. We don’t have an actual date for that yet.”

Bell said running TAMBA has been a educational and fun experience for him.

“It is a lot of fun and it is a really rewarding thing to do and it gives you a lot more respect for the trails and the land managers out there and the job that they do. I wouldn’t have done it for 13 years if it wasn’t fun and exciting.”

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