In early May of 2016 Ryan Delany, then Prince William County Parks and Recreation Trail Manager, reached out to Martín Fernández, of the Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts, about the possibility of leading an effort to revitalize the existing legacy trail system at Locust Shade Park in Triangle, Virginia. Martín took the project by the reigns, and over the course of the next 5 years, with help from other volunteers and Prince William County staff, set out to transform Locust Shade’s trail system into a regional mountain Biking destination.
Today marked an important milestone; The rewrite of Mountain Bike Washington DC/Baltimore has begun.
It’s hard to believe that we’re coming up on the 20th anniversary of my first book, Mountain Biking the Washington, D.C./Baltimore Area, now in it’s fourth edition. To commemorate its anniversary I have begun talks with my publisher, Falcon Guides, to give it a much needed update.
Shortly after arriving back in D.C. in 1991 after a mandatory “Army” absence I became heavily involved with a small group of dedicated people looking for more Mountain Biking opportunities in the region and formed the Mid Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts (MORE). Truth be told, I was one of the very first few members recruited by the actual founders of the club.
By the time I actually joined MORE the club may have had no more than 20 or so members, yours included. That tight group rode often and worked hard to convince local area land managers and other user groups that Mountain Biking was a legitimate form of recreation and that we too could be stewards of the land and care for it just as well, if not better, than our peer user groups.
It was definitely an uphill battle. We were often viewed as reckless “dew drinking” irresponsible users bent on destroying trails and terrorizing other users. Thankfully that view has changed over the years and our sport has become much more accepted around the country and the world.
By 1994 I was serving as Vice President of MORE and in that capacity I was contacted by Scott Adams, author of Mountain Bike Madness in Central Pennsylvania and the first edition of Mountain Bike Washington D.C.
The success of Scott’s PA and D.C. books prompted him to start his own publishing company, “Outside America.” His goal was to help other regional authors publish local cycling guides around the country using his model, Scott himself began work on a Virginia edition of his guides. The management of the business, and the time devoted to putting the Virginia guide book together, took away from the time which he could devote to updating the D.C. book, so, he approached MORE to see if the club was interested in helping him take over that effort.
The issue was brought up and voted on during a MORE Board meeting but was rejected. At the time the MORE Board felt it unwise to align the club with a commercial entity, even though it would bring some needed revenue to the club. Instead, the Board wanted to focus on increasing membership and continuing to expand riding opportunities in the region.
The rejection by the Board prompted me to request “permission” to personally pursue the project and, with their blessing and me stepping down as Vice President, I began a partnership with Scott to work on a major revision to the guide. That revision doubled the number of rides detailed in the book and made me a co-author.
Since then, the book has seen two additional updates, the latest of which came about in 2003.
Now, with the 20th anniversary of it’s publication looming, and with the completion of Best Rides D.C., I’m getting ready to embark on a complete update of the book. If all goes as planned, the 5th/20th anniversary edition of Mountain Biking the Washington, D.C./Baltimore Area will be on book shelves across the region by the fall of 2014 or early spring 2015.
Stay tuned as more details arise in the coming weeks.