Mountain biking on upward climb
"Over the last two years, it seems like people want to go riding again," said Dennis Baldwin, owner of the Ellicottville Bike Shop. "About 10 years ago, it was super-popular and now people are coming back to it. ... We have younger people, older people, guys and girls. It's pretty cool. Even in the small town of Ellicottville, I've had four younger, local guys, who hadn't been mountain biking, getting their own bikes and riding out in the woods. It's great to see new faces."
"There are two ways we see growth," said Kevin Preston, president of the Western New York Mountain Bicycling Association. "We're primarily a trail advocacy group and we work on adding and maintaining trails, not just for mountain biking, but for others to enjoy.
"Membership is the other way to measure growth, and right now we have about 160 members. That number has doubled in the last three or four years and it's still growing. More people want access to public outdoor places."
Indeed, mountain biking conversation has two components -- the sport and the environment. The two work together, as mountain bikers carry a strong sense of respect for nature and the trails, in part because of their collective ethic and in part because they need access to trails which often are on county or state lands.