7. Where do you hope to see BCLL be in the next year? 5 years?
Our goal was to introduce BCLL to the mountain bike scene this year; to partner with BME and EWS, and gain visibility; and to train 75-100 riders during 2016 season. We are definitely on track to meet (and even exceed) these goals. Next year, we hope to broaden our scope in several areas:
1. BCLL exclusive curriculum
2. More trainings: We look forward to partnering with more race series and bike events in order to expand our reach. The goal for next year is to train 300-500 riders.
3. More camps: We plan to host 4-6 Wilderness First Aid for MTB’ers camps.
4. BCLL products: We are currently working on creating our own First Aid kits and other BCLL gear.
5. Technology: We look forward to expanding the technology solutions we are able to offer our partnering organizations. We have a technology department diligently working on this as we speak.
In the next 5 years, we’d like to see BCLL be a household name in the world of mountain biking, and other “backcountry” sports. We’d like to see BCLL patches on hydration packs (which can only be attained by completing a BCLL training) across the globe. We also hope to be able to offer mountain bikers solutions in the area of communication and tracking technology. And that’s just a start…
8. Why do you think this organization is so important and valuable in the cycling industry?
There hasn’t been much (if any) focus on safety and preparedness in mountain biking to date. There should be!
For one, it’s no secret that mountain biking poses some risk; it is an inherently dangerous sport, just by the nature of what it is. We are going fast, jumping, dropping rocks, all in the woods… Accidents are bound to happen. Anyone who rides long enough will eventually encounter some sort of situation in which First Aid or backcountry safety knowledge will be needed.
As the sport evolves, the stakes are only getting higher too. Bikes are getting lighter and more efficient, which means that riders can go faster and further out than ever before. Simultaneously, the sport’s top athletes continue to push the boundaries with faster times and bigger risks, and other riders striving to follow. As the stoke grows, so too does some measure of potentially serious consequences.
In terms of safety and preparedness, it seems that cycling is behind other “extreme” sports. For example, rarely would (or should) a person go rock climbing with a new partner, without assessing their ability to belay competently, or asking what protective gear they have with them for the climb. In backcountry skiing, skiers and riders carry beacons, shovels, and probes, and typically have some sense of basic snow knowledge (gained through avalanche safety classes). If they don’t have these things, they don’t get to go. Period.
We believe these same conversations, knowledge, and safety measures need to be had/taken around mountain biking too, especially in the backcountry. Riders should know each other’s level of ability on the bike, as well as their level of preparedness and training to respond to the situations they are likely to encounter.
We don’t have the luxury of having professional medical providers nearby in the backcountry. The first person on the scene of an accident is usually going to be another rider. As a community, we should know what to do to help each other until professional help can arrive. Everyone wants each other to be able to ride again tomorrow.