Trail Ambassadors

Trail Ambassadors

6 min read

Breaking down barriers to increase diversity in mountain biking

It’s difficult to find a sport that simultaneously satisfies people who are propelled by adrenaline and those who thrive amid tranquility. Mountain biking, however, manages to serve both.

There are adventure-seeking mountain bikers who yearn to sail over park features such as jumps and drops, as well to ride over roots and rocks while avoiding trees. And although death-defying thrills sit on one shoulder, mountain biking promises peace on the other. Mountain bikers can, and do, reach meditative headspaces while pedaling along a forest’s quiet trail. 

The path to mountain biking is distant to some though. Real barriers, besides the will to ride, prevent some bikers in economically underserved communities from participating. There are intersecting reasons for this, but essentially, the sport as it exists today is not diverse. 

A handful of Montgomery Parks employees in Maryland understood the sport’s racial disparities, so they tried to remove the barriers for nine teenagers through a new pilot program, run by Jim Corcoran, trails volunteer and community partnership coordinator

“Montgomery Parks has an amazing trail system, and we want to share that with folks,” Corcoran says. “We wanted to reach out to those who may not have known that these trails are right in their backyard.”