Welcome to the sport! We are glad you've found GORC's online headquarters. We encourage you to explore our entire site and hopefully join our organization.
Every mountain biker took their first ride. Even the most experienced trail rider that flows down the hill smooth as butter had to start somewhere. We offer several group ride options throughout the year, but stick around for a moment to let us bring you up to speed on trail etiquette and become a better mountain biker.
What is Trail Etiquette?
Trail etiquette is a term used by mountain bike organizations to frame a set of unspoken rules.
The "Rules of the Trail" is a simple guide developed by IMBA to enhance and preserve the sport of mountain biking for you and your fellow riders, now and for the future. Riding responsibly is an easy way to do your part in fostering good relations with land managers and other trail users, preventing trail damage, and keeping yourself yourself out of harm's way to ride again another day.
Following the guidelines on our Rules of the Trail page you can avoid making most newbie social errors. The first and foremost etiquette rule is to not ride the trails when they are muddy or wet. If you are leaving a rut then the trail is simply too wet and is being damaged. As an organization, this is our number one reason for having to repair existing trail. It slows the growth of the trail network because we must focus on repairs instead of building new trail!
Mountain Biking Social Circles
After a couple solo rides the mountain biker tends to seek out other like-minded outdoor enthusiasts. If you do a quick online search you will see that the United States is chock full of mountain bike clubs. The Gateway Off-Road Cyclists is the volunteer-based trail building and advocacy club around St. Louis including central western Illinois. There are numerous organizations each with a specific focus that often overlaps the core of GORC's mission.
The Ozark Trail Association and Meramec Greenway are two examples. The OTA builds and maintains multi-use* singletrack that mountain bikers can use in many areas. The Meramec Greenway is partnered with the Great Rivers Greenways and is responsible for several gravel-based trails such as Al Foster. This organization is in the mountain biker's sphere of influence because their gravel and paved network connects several parks allowing for epic mountain biking adventures.
As you can see on the right side of this website, GORC is on many popular social media sites and is a great resource for trail conditions, social event announcements and general news. We also have several organizations listed in our Resources section.
Riding with a group is a great way to build skills and socialize about the sport. We have some long-established group rides that new riders or members are invited to attend. Once a month we have a First Sunday Ride at Greensfelder. Weather permitting, on Tuesdays there is one at Lost Valley, and on Thursdays there is a loose-knit group that heads out to SIUE's beginner-friendly trail network. You can find out more information about these rides on the GORC forum. After our trail building events we grab a (free) lunch and if the weather is permitting, many of us will go on a group ride to check out the new treadwork and ride the park's trail network.
Group rides are by no means limited to the existing ones. Other rides pop up throughout the year with different themes, destinations, and skill levels. They share a common goal though; to get together with other riders and enjoy the sweet singletrack in the Gateway region. If you're looking to explore a new trail and would like some company, or perhaps you'd like to see if riding with a group might add a new dimension to your usual solo ride- use the message board to put out an invitation.
St. Charles County Parks features monthly Moonlight Rides hosted by GORC and SLAMB on or around the night with full moons. Please note, light and helmets (of course!) are required. GORC hosts a First Sunday ride at Greensfelder ... on the first Sunday of the month.
The mountain biking community benefits from your love of the sport. GORC is always on the look out for people who are as passionate about riding on the dirt as its membership. Passionate and visionary riders have the ability to change the region's status-quo and for every new rider that joins the mountain biking collective there is the potential for continued great achievements. Attending a few trail building events each year ensures that mountain bikers will continue to have places to explore and fun trails to ride.
GORC is volunteer-based and member-driven. Flowing new trail with interesting features and challenges will never build itself; it takes the imagination and effort of riders like you to make it happen. If every time you see a wooded hillside, you can't help but imagine a sweet, narrow ribbon of dirt threading its way across, you belong in GORC.
Improved existing trails and new miles of singletrack in new destinations happen because of the vision and work of riders like you.
We encourage you to explore your new biking interest by checking out our Resources section as well as our forum. The forum is a great place to gain local knowledge and ask questions. GORC is aligned with several local bike shops that can help you out, too.
Welcome to the Collective!