The Hamilton Cycling Club (HCC) is Canada’s oldest club and has been up to this point, a road club. Less than a year ago a group of mountain bikers joined the HCC to form an advocacy branch of the club. Their main goal was to get legal access to trails in the Dundas valley. It was due to the efforts of the advocacy group that the HCC was approached by the Christie Lake Conservation Area and a partnership was formed.

It is not very often that we come into an area that has a blank canvas to work with. Our first task was helping the club configure a stacked loop system within the existing double track trails. We then sat down and talked about the details to be included in their final trail plan to the Conservation Area. This also gave them a good sense of what their trails were going to look like on the ground. During the week we spent time with the core advocacy group walking them through the processes of flagging corridor, pin flagging for each level of trail, and prepping for the volunteer day.

We had heard this visit was going to be a popular one because of it’s early season timing, but nothing really prepared us for what became the biggest trail building school in Canadian history. We had 77 registered attendees at the classroom session, and at least a dozen more showed up for the build in the afternoon. Freewheel Cycle who hosted the BBQ sold out of all the food, and we barely had enough tools to go around. It was an astonishing sight to see a crowd of volunteers marching down the double track trails to the work sites. Due to a late season snowstorm some volunteers had to work through frozen ground, others got stuck in soupy mud, but most had a sunny side slope to work on and by the end of the day about 400 meters of brand new singletrack trail and two awesome insloped turns were built

With thunderstorms rolling in on Sunday, the group ride was cancelled but we got one more quick meeting in with the core advocacy group to debrief on the volunteer build and provide feedback on their work. Our time with the HCC has had a great impact on the community of Dundas and we expect to see some positive changes in the area over the next couple of years.

Everyone we worked with in Dundas was fantastic, but we have to give special thanks to Marc and Kim for housing and feeding us during our extended stay. Thanks to the most wonderful land mangers Bruce and Sandy for supporting this project. To Braden, Greg, Phil, Peter A, Peter M and Tim; thanks for being amazing students! Special thanks to Krys at Cafe Domestique for keeping us caffeinated, Freewheel Cycle for feeding our army of volunteers, MEC Burlington for supporting another great cycling project, Joyride 150, and Raceface.