TAMBA rides on without Gary Bell
Mountain bike riders rely on quick decisions to keep rolling.
The same applies to the organizations that support the sport.
So when about a dozen people stepped up to the plate at Emerald Bay Physical Therapy this week to take over the Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association formed in 1988, one of its founders, Gary Bell, was relieved to see good management grabbing the handlebars.
He and his wife, Becky Bell – the remaining two keeping the nonprofit organization going – are retiring from the extracurricular work.
“I’m sad. This is something that’s been dear to me for a long time,” Gary said, adding his main enticement was the sense of accomplishment in riding a trail he’s worked to keep open.
That’s all the nudge the group needed.
A handful of core people have stepped in to divvy up duties as primary officers of the club.
As a team, Dave Hamilton and Teresa Bertrand agreed to handle trails management. Dave Cooper will handle the finances for the club, for which he intends to run as a business. Pat Meadau pledged to take on the advocacy part of the group, while Tony Rabinowitz and Bryan Rosner expect to crank out a club newsletter.
“We’ve had people in the past who we’ve been close to doing this with, but they were just not the right leaders. Now we have a group of people we feel will manage it well,” Bell said.
Taking on a leadership role, Hamilton plans to evaluate mountain biking trends and steer the club to address those issues.
As its primary mission for the North and South Shores, TAMBA aims to keep trails open for mountain biking in Lake Tahoe and Truckee. The club’s next meeting will be held 6 p.m. June 22 at the Lake Tahoe Community College Theater.
Hamilton, who runs the theater, mentioned four priorities that will get the club rolling. A focus on advocacy should keep the club connected to land managers like the U.S. Forest Service.
Education may take the forefront at times, as the club expects to teach other riders to behave responsibly on the trails.
Hamilton said the club may toy with the idea of putting bike patrols and signs on the trails and educational kiosks at the bike shops.
Trail management and communications round out the list of priorities.
“The Bells worked hard to open trails. Our focus now shifts to maintain what we have and make sure they stay open,” he said.
“TAMBA has now taken on a new direction where we need to grow and be more responsible (as riders),” Cooper said. “It’s going to take more people, more money and more involvement.”
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