IMBA asks "What would you do without trails" in its well-known 2004 ad campaign.

But, really. What do you do without trails?

I started riding as a teenager in Bolton, ON, just 5km away from Albion Hills, home to the largest mountain bike race in North America. Then I moved to Ottawa for university and lived just a few kilometers away from Gatineau Park and the South March Highlands.

Along with our tight-knit group of riding buddies, my fiancé AJ and I routinely rode mountain bikes 4-5 times a week.

Now we find ourselves living temporarily in Lindsay (just west of Peterborough, ON).

We made the trip to the Kawarthas so that he could attend Fleming College for an 8-month post-grad program in GIS mapping. Leaving the National Capital Region — and our favourite singletrack– we told ourselves, ‘What’s eight months? You can do anything for eight months.’

So here we are in a town with a strong winter trails community (read, snowmobiles), but which offers few opportunities to mountain bikers. In order to find decent, legal, singletrack, AJ and I — and other riders from Lindsay — make the trip to Harold Town in Peterborough, Durham Forest in Uxbridge, or Ganaraska Forest in Port Hope, all more than 40 minutes away. There may be other places to ride, but we haven’t found them yet.

It wasn’t until we were living in a town with no good singletrack that we truly realized how good we had it before.

So, what do you do without trails? Lately we’ve been riding the region’s gravel rail trails and dirt roads on cross bikes. Surely, it’s something, but it doesn’t satisfy our craving for singletrack, and for flow.

As IMBA’s communications specialist, I know I’m biased, but it’s times like these (and communities like Lindsay) that IMBA’s mission to create, enhance, and preserve trail opportunities is proves to be so important!