A long-dormant Tahoe mountain bike association is showing signs of life this year. With state and federal budgets shrinking and often eliminating funding for trail building and maintenance, the group’s resurrection comes at a crucial time for local trails.

The Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association, which was active in the 1980s advocating for trail access, has been reborn as a trail maintenance and trail building group that is seeking North Tahoe and Truckee members. The association re-formed last summer during an International Mountain Bike Association conference in South Lake Tahoe, and has been improving trails including Mr. Toads Wild Ride and the Armstrong Connector in South Lake Tahoe. TAMBA has plans to work on the Tyrolean downhill near Incline Village before the winter hits.

‘I think it was the late ’80s, the advocacy need was access. [TAMBA] got that. Their role became less defined after they were able to get access to trails. Nowadays it is more about improving the trails we have,’ said Mike Lefrancois, a Kings Beach resident and the North Tahoe representative for the association. ‘Working with the Forest Service, they have an incredible amount of trails but they don’t have the resources to maintain those trails.’

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TAMBA is seeking to build and advocate for trails that are specifically built with mountain bikers in mind. Mountain bikes and bikers have evolved, demanding more from trails than in the past, said Lefrancois, and TAMBA wants to design and redesign trails that keep up with the evolution in mountain biking.

‘People want more flowy trails. When there are opportunities to make improvements, why not make them better?’ said Lefrancois. ‘The trail needs have changed, and the U.S. Forest Service has been instrumental in building these trails to be more fun on a bike.’

As TAMBA and other groups puts the muscle behind the improvement and maintenance of Tahoe trails, expect to see more berms and features on local trails that keep mountain bikers challenged and happy.

‘There’s no reason we can’t have world-class trails here. We have the backdrop and the terrain,’ said Lefrancois.

The association has been incorporated as a nonprofit, and is seeking paid members. Annual donations for memberships are $10 for an individual, $20 for a family, and $50 for a business.

To join TAMBA, sign up for its email newsletter, or learn more about the organization’s mission, staff, or upcoming volunteer trail days, visit mountainbiketahoe.org.

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  • David Bunker

    David Bunker almost dropped out of journalism school to hunt non-native rats on an uninhabited Pacific island. Instead, he graduated college and launched into a career of dump truck driving and ditch digging before taking up writing as a profession. He’s written for newspapers and magazines across the West and won numerous first place awards in the California and Nevada press associations.

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