Europe’s population of active mountain bikers is in rapid growth, and the need for purpose-built trails is increasing at the same rate.
The DIRTT project springs from the core of Europe’s mountain bike enthusiasts, volunteers and professionals centered around the European branch of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA Europe).
The aim is to develop trail building guidelines with an educational framework addressing the needs of professionals and volunteers in the sectors of trail planning, design, construction, maintenance and management.
The partners in the project are from a number of backgrounds including; advocacy organisations, sports associations, governmental, educational institutions, tourism, as well as private enterprises in the sector. The countries involved are Switzerland, Portugal, Scotland, Netherlands, Denmark and Norway.
The three year project has been granted €387,731 through the European Union’s ERASMUS+ programme and is coordinated by Fagskolen Tinius Olsen, a college of higher vocational education in Norway.
“The DIRTT project is an important undertaking for the mountain biking community, and we are very happy that we received the funding and can go on with it. We have identified the need for a certification regime for the trail building profession, the DIRTT project will allow us to create a solid base for future development in this sector.” says Thomas Larsen Schmidt, President of the board IMBA Europe.
Scotland is well represented having two partners in the project – Edinburgh Napier University and Scottish Cycling – through a partnership initiative it hosts Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland (DMBinS).
DMBinS’s role is to oversee the national strategy for mountain biking in Scotland. Graeme McLean, Head of DMBinS, explains how this project fits in with the overall strategy for growing the sport.
“We know that amazing trails at all levels are the fundamental factor in getting more people enjoying the sport, helping our riders become champions, testing new products and growing tourism.
The new MTB strategy for Scotland identifies ‘World Class Trails’ as a key theme. By developing guidelines, and improving education, from trail designers to volunteers, will help us develop better and more sustainable trails into the future. We believe that by working together with partners across Europe we can share resources, knowledge and ideas and help mountain biking continue to grow both in Scotland, and across Europe.”