Frequently Asked Questions
Not a bit. We have a saying around here: "It ain't the bike, it's the rider." We say that a lot. Honest. That said, your bike should be in good working condition and designed and equipped for off-road use.
This page describes how to prepare for Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance social group rides, etiquette on rides, and helping ensure you and your fellow riders all have a good experience.
Ride leaders are volunteers
First off, ride leaders are just fellow riders like you who enjoy social rides and have volunteered to organize a ride. They're not employees of the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance and are not trained in any way--but most of them are experienced riders and know the trails they ride well.
Rides and ride leaders vary a lot
Many aspects of a EMBA ride, from the scenery, to the speed, to the weather, to the attitudes of fellow riders, can vary a lot. The EMBA has very few rules/guidelines for what a ride leader is supposed to do or not do. See the Ride Leader Guidelines page for more information on what you can expect from your ride leader. And when in doubt, don't hesitate to contact the ride leader before the ride, if you have any questions about location, length, difficulty of the ride, logistics, etc. The ride leader's name above each ride on the calendar is a link to their email address.
Be on time! Unless otherwise stated in the ride post, assume that the ride will in fact be leaving from the trail head parking lot at the stated time. Some leaders/riders will wait up for people who show up late, but don't count on it. Don't forget that you'll need time to change, get the bike ready, etc.
Signing up for rides
Don't sign up for a ride unless you're fairly confident you will in fact make it. Ride leaders have expressed frustration with people who remove themselves from a ride at the last moment. This is especially true if the ride has a size limit on it, and is full or close to being full. It's only fair to others who might want to take your spot. A couple days before the ride, please consider whether you think you'll really be able to make it and take your name off if you think you might not. If you cancel within a few days of the ride and the ride was full, you get brownie points for posting a message and letting people know your slot opened up.
What to bring on the ride
First of all, bring a helmet. All riders must wear a helmet on a Evergreen ride.
We strongly recommend protective eye wear; on overcast days or in low light conditions many riders will wear plain un-tinted lenses.
Bring enough food and water--in fact, bring a little more than you think you'll need. Stick an extra candy bar, energy bar, and/or energy gel in your pack. Some people bring a sandwich, others trail mix or nuts. For water, some people can get by with a water bottle or two, but most use a hydration backpack for longer rides. On longer rides and hot days, it's good to make sure you replenish electrolytes (essential salts) with a sports drink or an energ products that contains them. (Some gels do.)
Plan your clothes for variable weather conditions, at all times of year. Even in summer, high elevation rides can potentially turn wet and cold quickly even if the forecast looks good. For anything above 5000 feet, bring a long-sleeve top of some sort, any time of year.
A common set of items in a rider pack might include:
- A wind breaker, rain jacket, backup long sleeve jersey, or vest;
- Spare tube, tire levers, and pump
- Food and water
- Backup snacks
- Multi-tool; for some also chain tool, spoke wrench, backup disc brake pads
- Zip ties or duct tape for MacGyver repairs
- Very basic first-aid, e.g. an ace bandage, some ibuprofen, antihistamines.
- Map of the trails if available; might be in the Evergreen Trail Guide; for back country rides a Green Trails map
- A whistle to signal distress
In general, be more conservative and plan for more unexpected conditions if the ride is more remote. (Tiger Mountain counts as somewhat remote--it can be a long walk back to the car!)
Make sure your bike is in good working order, and bring basic bring tools and supplies for your bike, e.g. a multi-tool for minor adjustments, tire levers, a spare tube, and a pump or air cartridge. Ride leaders are not expected to be prepared or willing to make repairs on riders' bikes. Experienced riders will often carry some additional bits like spare disc brake pads, a few zip ties, and some duct tape (carried wrapper around a pump).
The pace of the ride
The pace rating for EMBA rides (Social, Moderate, etc.) can be very subjective at times. "Social" for one rider or ride-leader can be "Fast" for another. So, if you're new to the club, remember that you may find yourself on a ride that's much faster, or much slower, than you'd hoped. That's usually OK--don't worry too much about being the slowest rider on a ride. Everyone gets a turn at that role. However, if you feel you cannot complete the ride and want to leave, it's very important that you let the ride leader know. Don't just split up from the group--when people notice you are missing, they may spend considerable effort looking for you to make sure you're OK. You may want to pick your first few rides at trail systems that are less isolated and have easy bail out options, like St Edwards State Park, Soaring Eagle, Tapeworm, South SeaTac, or Tolt MacDonald.
Good group riding habits
This all may seem a bit obsessive at first, but after a few group rides you'll probably appreciate most of these.
- When you come to an intersection, yell out "left" or "right" to the person behind you, and make sure they hear you and know which way to go. If there's any uncertainty as to whether they heard you, WAIT.
- When the person in front of you yells out "left" or "right", repeat it so they know you heard, unless you're close enough to them that it's obvious which way to go.
- If you're the second-to-last person in the group, make sure to wait up now and then for the last person. If they have to stop, due to an injury or mechanical problem... then the closer you are to them, the less time, hassle, and logistics will be involved in going back to find them.
- Don't follow too closely behind another rider. Leave some space between you and them. This is in your own interest: if they flub a move and stop or dismount, it'll give them time to get out of your way so you don't hit them and don't have to stop as well.
- Conversely, if you stall yourself, please get out of the way of any rider coming behind you so they can continue on without stopping. Nothing breaks up a group ride like little "pile ups" of people stopping because the first person goofed on their bike handling.
- Ride On Open Trails Only.
- Leave No Trace.
- Control Your Bicycle!
- Always Yield Trail.
- Never Scare Animals.
- Plan Ahead.
Carpooling to rides
Basic rule: If you are in somebody else's car, always offer gas money. If you are the driver, always accept it. Be respectful of the vehicle you are traveling in. Treat it better than your own.
We really appreciate your taking the time to lead a group through your favorite area. You will find that it is a lot of fun and just a little work! We want everyone who goes on the ride to have a great experience. Aside from these guidelines, be sure to observe the Evergreen MTB Alliance Website Code of Conduct.
Ride on open and legal trails only!
Before the ride
Consider whether the trails are in ridable condition. Taking a group on wet, soggy, muddy trails can do real damage. In rainy weeks, please pick appropriate places to ride.
Print a copy of the sign up sheet from the web calendar
- The ride leader should arrive at least 10 minutes prior to the stated meeting time.
- Encourage riders to come prepared and be ready to leave by the posted ride time.
Ride leader preparation
- Carry a small first aid kit containing bandages, aspirin, gauze and Neosporin.
- Ride leader should wear appropriate clothes for conditions and ALWAYS a helmet.
- Ride leader should know the route unless the ride is advertised as exploratory.
At the trailhead
- Introduce yourself as the ride leader
- Bring a copy of the ride sheet and have riders sign in.
- Keep the ride sheet on you where someone else will be able to find it if necessary.
- Allow a 5 to 10 minute grace period, then assemble the riders and outline the expectations:
- If someone exits from the ride, they MUST tell someone (preferably ride leader).
- Give an estimate of the length of the ride.
- All riders MUST wear helmets. NO exceptions.
- Announce regrouping points and bailout points if applicable.
- State proper trail etiquette, including brief recap of IMBA rules of the trail.
- Make sure riders have proper supplies. Use your discretion – if a rider is very unprepared (e.g.: very little food and water, inadequate clothing) for an epic backcountry ride, you may have to turn the rider away.
- Hand out maps if appropriate.
- Count number of riders.
- If it’s a large group request a volunteer “sweep”.
On the ride
- Before you start each section, establish the next regrouping point.
- Be aware of how many are ahead of you and how many are behind.
- At breaks consult maps with the group, if appropriate or available.
- Watch for stragglers and make sure to keep them with the group.
- Manage the group pace to finish the ride within your expected time frames.
- After breaks make sure everyone is ready to go before getting back in the saddle.
Back at the trailhead
- At the end of the ride, wait for everyone to finish before you leave.
- Remember to thank them for coming.
Post ride wrap up
- Please complete the ride sheet and send it to the rides coordinator.
- If you have time and creative energy, please post a ride report!
- Beginners belong on beginner rides. If someone cannot keep up, be ready to send that person back or have them use a safe bail out point, if there is one. It's better to send them back early in the ride than to find out 20 miles out that they cannot finish.
- At the start of a long ride the ride leader(or the assistant) should evaluate the group and turn back anyone who is not up to the distance or technical difficulty of the ride. This might be difficult, but much safer for the ride and the rest of the group.
Unconventional or exploratory rides
It is OK to lead an exploratory ride or a “you’re on your own ride” as long as it is clearly advertised as such.
Example of exploratory ride: You want to check out a new area, you would like some company. You post a ride on the calendar and clearly state “I have not ridden here before, expect possible hike a bike, route finding and post-dark return to the car.”
Example of “You’re on your own” ride: You plan to go do a hard fast ride and think others might enjoy it. You post a ride on the calendar and clearly state “I will be there, but will not have maps and will not be regrouping. This is for independent riders who want to share a great trail. Possible post ride beers and food, campout, etc.”
- Leisurely: Allows for maintaining a conversation among all riders pretty much at all times. Riders stay in one group. (The ride must be on a wide and easy double track).
- Social: Adjacent riders should be able to talk to each other. Riders stay in one group.
- Moderate: Frequent re-groups (at least, at every major trail junction).
- Fast: Occasional re-groups (Each rider still waits for the one behind at most trail junctions).
- Race: No re-groups. (Any race or RATT rides).
These symbols generally correspond to the national convention for ski resorts and mountain bike trails (local examples including Whistler Bike Park, Stevens Pass Bike Park, Duthie Hill Bike Park, etc), which you can find some information on here. Bear in mind this is a subjective scale; one man’s green circle might be another man’s black diamond! Locations that use this convention typically also use signage with these symbols at the beginning of the trails to indicate the difficulty level of the trail.
Questions? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
What to bring:
- Mountain bike (if you are in need of a bike, please email ASAP)
- Helmet- Must be CPSC or Snell certified. (See label inside of helmet). We discourage full face helmets as this class will be primarily cross country riding on trails
- Sturdy shoes-for walking and biking (no open-toed shoes or sandals)
- Water bottle or hydration pack
- Bike gloves
- Sunscreen- Apply before each class and dress appropriately for the weather. (Shorts and t-shirt on hot days, rain jacket on rainy days)
- Platform/flat pedals are highly encouraged
- Face mask (See Covid guidelines below)
Things to check on your bike before class:
- Please remove kickstand prior to class
- Air pressure/Tires: Tire pressure should be between 25 to 35 lbs
- Chain and Drive Train: Look for rust or gummed up areas that may need to be cleaned and lubed
- Brakes: Roll your bike, apply each brake separately checking for stopping ability. Make sure brake pads are not worn out.
Requirements of each student in our effort to mitigate COVID-19 risk.
Before coming to each class:
- Please perform a daily symptoms self-assessment
- Take your temperature. Do you have a temperature above 100.4?
- Do you have any COVID-related symptoms?
- Have you been in contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 10 days?
- If you answer yes to any of these questions, PLEASE DO NOT COME TO CLASS. We would be happy to refund or reschedule to a camp later in the season.
You are expected to bring a mask that can cover mouth and nose, any material is acceptable (state guidelines), to wear in case close, prolonged contact is required (such as in the case of provoding first aid).
You should have a mountain bike for all classes. A 'cross' bike or ‘hybrid’ bike can work in a pinch, but does not offer the stability of a mountain bike. Also, your bike should have knobby tires. No slicks! Your brakes must stop and your gears must shift.
- Bike - please REMOVE KICKSTAND if it has one
- Pedals- FLAT PEDALS ONLY (no clip-in pedals)
- Knee/Elbow pads – if your child has them, otherwise they will borrow ours
- Gloves, optional
- Helmet – full face helmets are not recommended
- No expensive electronics, such as Go Pros
- Water bottle or hydration pack (we have two 5-gallon coolers for refills)
- Healthy Snacks, please do not pack gum or candy
- Healthy Lunch, please do not pack soda or energy drinks; sports drink such as Gatorade are okay
- Clothing appropriate for the weather
- One appropriately sized inner tube for their bike
- Needed medications such as an INHALER or EPI Pen – child must self-carry
We will apply a credit to your account and work with you to reschedule you into another class. If that is not possible, and you do not want a credit for future classes, we refund your class fee.
Most times that’s not a problem. Except for a few instances and some of our backcountry Trail Work Parties you’re welcome to come when you can and leave when you need to.
We ride! Mountain biking is a rain or shine sport and coaches will take the opportunity to explain how rain can change the dynamics of a trail. Campers should be prepared for the weather by bringing a rain jacket.
While we try very hard to appropriately place campers in ability groups based on the information provided on the registration form, there are times where campers need to switch groups. Based on information and observations provided by head coaches, the lead will decide if a switch needs to occur. If so, the lead will put the camper in the appropriate group.
Geospatial PDF is a map in a PDF format, which has some additional helpful info built into it, including:
- georeference - meaning the map knows which chunk of Earth it has printed on it
- route tracks (e.g. a trail)
- points of interest
- labels, highlighting the above or other important info
For the geeks out there: geospatial PDF is a generic term whereas GeoPDF is a trademark of one of the pioneers in this space (no pun intended), TerraGo.
Why do I care?
You can download a Geospatial PDF file to your mobile device and use one of the apps to interact with the map to view your location, record GPS tracks, add placemarks, and find places.
You don't have to have any other mapping software on your device.
Why wouldn't I just use a GPS file?
You certainly can but the benefit of GeoPDF is you don't have to worry about caching any map data for off-the-grid use - just download the geospatial PDF and go.
What apps can I use with GeoPDF files?
Please use this form to let us know if you know of any other app that supports geospatial PDF's.
Inspired by endless single-track, steeped in ambition, Team Epic is paramount in helping Evergreen achieve our common goals. Our Team Epic supporters donate $500 or greater each year to help Evergreen develop and maintain trails throughout Washington state. Join Team Epic today to be a part of securing a future for trails in Washington and you will receive an exclusive gift as well as access to limited trail preview events throughout the year.
Most of our adult classes are geared for a certain maturity level so the minimum age requirement is 18 years. We offer "family" classes once a month where teenagers 14 and older can join the Adult classes. No one is too old to learn to mountain bike as long as they are comfortable riding a bike on uneven terrain.
Cancellation refunds are based on the number of days notice given prior to the event:
- 14+ days prior to event: Full refund, less a $35 processing fee.
- 7-13 days prior to event: Credit toward alternate Evergreen camp or education event (pending availability) in the same calendar year.
- Fewer than 7 Days prior to event: No credit or refund.
- 7+ days prior to clinic: Full refund, less a $35 processing fee.
- Fewer than 7 days prior to clinic: No credit or refund (since most special clinics only happen annually, it is not possible to offer credit).
- 72+ hours prior to start of class: Credit toward alternate Evergreen class or education event in the same calendar year.
- Fewer than 72 hours prior to start of class: No credit or refund.
Other Events (Bike Fest, Winterstoke, etc.)
- 7+ days prior to event: Full refund.
- Fewer than 7 days prior to event: No credit or refund.
The work we do varies a lot from event to event. Sometimes we'll be working on the tread, digging, scraping, shoveling, re-shaping, and compacting. Other times we'll move a lot of rock with wheelbarrows or power toters. We'll also look for places where we can reshape the tread to shed water off the trail by building dips and rises. On larger work parties, many of these things will go on at the same time and volunteers will have a chance to choose what they prefer to do, or to try different tasks and tools. But there’s always something for everyone to do regardless of fitness level as even kids as young as four or five have a blast helping out! Head on over to our Volunteer page for more information and upcoming work parties.
While most of the information was provided upon registration, we do need the online youth event waivers completed when your camper is dropped off Monday morning. Your child CANNOT participate without it.
If you haven't done so yet, please make sure a parent or guardian signs the REQUIRED Youth Event Waiver.
At a minimum you should wear or bring: Long pants, long sleeves, sturdy boots and work gloves or gardening gloves with a good grip, and a rain jacket. At some work parties we may provide snacks or a bbq at the trailhead, but you should always have some water and food with you. Tools will be provided.
Each day focuses on a different skill. Here is the week’s schedule:
- Monday It’s Basics, Yo’: Braking & Shifting, Balance & Stance, Uphill & Downhill techniques
- Tuesday: Switch It Up: Obstacles, Wheel lifts and cornering
- Wednesday: Skinny Drop: Roll downs, Skinnies & Bridges, Drops
- Thursday: Jump Jam: Jumps and Pump Track
- Friday: Dig-N-Ride: Trail maintenance, Fix-A-Flat
E-bikes and eMTBs continue to grow in popularity and many prospective or new owners of electric pedal-assist bikes frequently ask, "Where can I ride?"
To find out more about where you can ride, learn about Washington's laws in regards to electric bicycles, and read about Evergreen's next steps to help ensure a sustainable introduction to eMTBs on trails, check out our E-Bike Access page.