Who We Are

Who We Are Issue 12.2

If we've learned anything during more than a year of stay-at-home restrictions, it's how fundamentally important human connection and community are. While being cooped up with family and close friends for months on end has indeed presented challenges, there have also been many positive aspects.

Families have spend more quality time together, deepening relationships between parents and children while forcing them to get outside simply to retain their sanity. More people have taken up cycling than ever before and on any given weekday neighborhoods are filled with entire families pedaling around together. And with non-essential travel continuously discouraged, folks have resorted to smaller gatherings of neighborhood "pods" for much-needed social activity.

There has been no shortage of social strife and chaos broadcast on repeat by mainstream television news outlets, yet everyday situations in many communities continue to be defined by cooperation and acts of kindness. The broader mountain bike universe has mostly benefited from the newfound spirit of magnanimity, and to reflect this, we've devoted this edition of Freehub to stories of hope, resilience and generosity.

We chronicle the extraordinary life of Shaums March, the legendary downhill racer and freerider whose love of riding bikes helped him overcome a complicated childhood and catapulted him into our sport's upper echelons. When misfortune and injury shortened his professional career, rather than turning his back in bitterness, Shaums reinvented himself as a coach and has spent the past two decades sharing his passion for mountain biking with countless riders from all walks of life.

In much the same tenor, big mountain freerider James Doerfling is transitioning his career into helping others—channeling his uncanny ability to find imaginative lines into building trails alongside First Nations communities throughout interior British Columbia. The efforts of James and his friends have not only brought world-class trails to these communities, but they have also helped Indigenous youth form a renewed connection to their ancestral land—and, in the process, rekindled James' own passions for trailbuilding.

Such selfless acts of service are sweeping across continents, with many local and regional advocacy groups making quantum leaps in their trail-development initiatives. From the rolling hills of Chattanooga, Tennesse to the rocky bluffs of La Crosse, Wisconsin, the boundless energy of volunteers is bringing hundreds of miles of new multi-use singletrack to these unique cities.

For all the depressing talk about isolation and withdrawal from society, there certainly seems to be an awful lot of collaboration and unity in the mountain bike world right now. And you don't have to look too far to find it. We hoe the stories in this book will inspire us all to get in on the action.

Brice Minnigh, Editor in Cheif

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