Money, Moola, Wonga, Wedge

With the recent opening of the Cooking on Gas trail at Lady Canning’s Plantation and fundraising for the new Radmires trail nearing completion it’d be easy to think that the need to dig deep in to your pockets and down the back of the sofa to help Ride Sheffield create trails was coming to an end, but that is not the case.

The work we have done across Lady Cannings and Radmires will cost a total of around £125k to build. We’ve crowdfunded around £30k of this with the rest coming from various sponsors. At this point massive thanks again go to Go Outdoors, Vulcan Engineering, Cotic Bikes, Norton Mayfield Architects and Avanti Conveyors for all their support. What we have managed to achieve is truly amazing, now the hard work begins.

Now we have to look after all the amazing trails we have built, to keep them running well and to show that we can support them. There are already another couple of potential spots identified for further trail building (we’ll keep schtum about where for now) but the council, as responsible landowners, in these times of austerity have to be sure that not only can we build trails in partnership with them but also that we can maintain them and keep them safe. Unfortunately, the cash-strapped council can’t do a huge amount to help so it will fall to us to do that work.

We will run dig days and volunteer sessions across the trails we build and manage (Lady C, Radmires and Greno) which will help to lessen the burden but with the huge use all of our trails get (to give you an idea an estimated 3,000 runs on Cooking on Gas in the first month alone) some of the work requires plant, manpower and expertise that we cannot provide with bodies alone. We will need to get contractors and plant in to do some of the works and this will cost money, lots of money.

So to the crux of this post, money, the continued, reliable stream of funding we will need to look after the trails. We’d estimate that we need to raise 15% of the cost of the build every year to give us enough to maintain the trails day today and build up a buffer to cover large-scale works down the line for rebuilds, post felling repair etc. This would come to around £20k per year. As I said before demonstrating we can do this is critical to getting permission to build further trails in other locations.

We started the RADtax idea the same time we launched the Radmires funding campaign and quickly they became one and the same. Maybe now is the time to bring it back to its original purpose. The idea was that it would be used to generate the consistent funding we need. All of our trails are free to ride at point of use, no parking charges or whatever apply so each time you ride it costs you nothing. However each lap, each ride causes a little bit of wear or damage that in time needs to be repaired.

If each of our Facebook members gave £10 per year we’d smash the £20k we need. That’s the equivalent of paying to park twice at Llandegla as an example and for that, you’d get the feeling of knowing you’d done your bit plus helping to keep Sheffield great. Unfortunately, right now not everyone donates, we don’t reach everyone with the information that we need money, not everyone even understands what Ride Sheffield is or that we are responsible for the trails they ride and this is where we need help and ideas from all of you about what we can do.

If we got £20, £30 or £50 per year per person think what we could do, that kind of money would employ someone (or more) full-time to maintain trails and rights of way popular with riders and keep them running sweet all year round. Think what that would mean to the city’s riding? Brambles -gone, tree blown over by the wind – cleared quickly and back to carving turns, damp bits – drained and filled, the list goes on. That kind of funding would really make a difference, forget the Outdoor Capital we’d be the Rad riding capital!

So who’s with me? What can we do? How can we keep the money flowing in? Your ideas are welcome! Let’s help make the unsustainably high stoke sustainable, £1 a week seems like a bargain to me!

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