Working on local trails to improve the ride experience for all riders is an important part of the Shimano ethos here in Southern California. Many of us use the trails around Santiago Oaks Regional Park, and we’ve established a strong network of trail building and maintenance days to enhance this area. Local rider and avid trail builder Jon Kearley has been a huge help in directing our crew and teaching us about proper trail work. We sat down with Kearley to learn more about trail building and his Non Dot Adventures program.
Tell us a little about yourself:
My name is Jon Kearley and I’m addicted to mountain biking. I love the challenge of the climb and the reward of the downhill. I run Non Dot Adventures – a mountain bike clinic, coaching, and community engagement program – with my wife Missy and another couple. Missy and I enjoy traveling with our bikes and we race our tandem mountain bike at Sea Otter every year. I enjoy problem solving and working with numbers and I’m currently the Trail Boss for Santiago Oaks, Orange, CA.
What got you into Trail building?
I have always enjoyed playing in the dirt, so when the rain came and started rutting the trails out, I saw an opportunity to make things better. Unfortunately, all the work I did was just destroyed by other riders and more rain. It wasn’t until I learned proper trail work techniques that my work started lasting.
What inspires you with trail building?
Being able to work on the trails that I get to ride daily inspires me. Not only can we add fun factors to the trails, we can add safety. Seeing the high school mountain bike teams out training on theses trails twice a week is a big encouragement as well.
How often are you working on trails?
I would do trail work every day if I could, but it’s more like once a week for me. When I see a new line forming that is only going to make the current trail wider, I make it a priority to fix it. Or, when there is a storm on the forecast, I zero in on a few trouble spots and I try to work on those before the rain hits.
What are your favorite types of trails to build?
I love building flow trails. They work best for drainage and for heavy trail usage. Plus, they are my favorite to ride in a group!
What are some obstacles you face as a trail builder?
1. Making changes to a line that a rider has taken for the past 10 years. People do not like change.
2. Having friends that believe trails should be natural and not touched.
3. Building for multiple trail users and different riding styles.