There’s a hum in the air no one can deny when you stand at the start gate of the Red Bull Hardline track, and look out across the expanse of the Dyfi Valley. Its rugged hills collapse in and out of one another in various shades of blue and green. Speckles of amber appear as the sun catches itself on the grassy fields between swathes of deep forest.
It’s the kind of electric hum being faced with a view of this kind always produces in us. The hum of so much life contained in a single view, and the hum of the track, of all the potential that lies downhill - the place to, amongst other things, see the land up close.
The Red Bull Hardline is, in other words, the world’s toughest downhill mountain bike race. It takes the bare rock and steep sides of the valley and turns it into the playground for some of the world’s bravest riders. It’s by no means for the faint-hearted, and now, thanks to the tireless work of the team behind it, it’s no longer a place for single-use pollution (litter) either.
But what does all this, including that great view, have to do with us?
Trash Free Trails Approved
Organising events is hard work. It takes skill, dedication and a unique kind of resilience to design, produce and provide enjoyable containers for experience. Making those events sustainable is undeniably harder, and for many feels like an inaccessible choice*. We at Trash Free Trails know this firsthand. We also know the immense potential of events to invite and inspire change for all involved.
We wanted to create something that sees events in our outdoor spaces become more sustainable, but that didn’t feel like a telling off. Something that is just as empowering for those creating events as those events can be for those who attend them.
Which is why we created Trash Free Trails Approved - a free-to-use self-accreditation scheme that encourages event organisers to think differently about sustainability in a supported framework. And we start in the same way we did - by offering guidance on how to reduce single-use pollution (aka litter) and leave a positive trace on the land and community that hosts the event.
The scheme provides tangible, actionable steps to mitigate the environmental impact events can have. It encourages investment and engagement from everyone involved - from staff to spectators, racers to volunteers, everyone has a part to play in making events considerate and caring spaces.
What’s more, event organisers can build on their TFT Approved standard over time. We’ve designed it with the long game in mind; the criteria are also a guideline for how an event can grow and develop conscientiously into the future. Rather than pulling people up on what’s wrong, we celebrate what event organisers achieve at every step on their journey.
With TFT Approved the toolkit is here, readily available here on our website. It’s what you - whether you’re an event organiser, attendee, volunteer or competitor - do with it now that encourages new opportunities to leave positive traces.
TFT Approved x Red Bull Hardline
We’re so proud to share that Red Bull Hardline 2022 is Gold Standard Trash Free Trails Approved. After their successful self-certification last year using the TFT Approved toolkit, we’re delighted that Red Bull are continuing their commitment to delivering the Hardline to the highest standards of sustainability possible.
From encouraging attendees to bring their own water bottles, to training Race Marshalls to collect litter left along the sides of the course, to collecting old kit to donate to a local youth cycling project, Red Bull have pushed themselves to be as conscientious as possible, encouraging collaboration from all sides in a bid to leave the Dyfi Valley with even more than was here when they arrived.
This is a huge moment of pride for us at TFT. It’s one thing to see the incredible event team go above and beyond to implement TFT Approved. It’s another thing entirely to have it be at one of the biggest bike events in the Red Bull calendar. This isn’t just a moment of achievement for the team on the ground; it’s the proof, so to speak, that change can be encouraged by anyone, for anyone, no matter the scale.
There’s something different about that hum now, as we stand at the top of the Dyfi Valley. It carries something else, like an adjoining melody to an already great song. It’s the hum of life, and potential, but also the future too - the hum of a landscape that will long outlast us, in part thanks to the care we took of it. It’s the hum of all the future people who’ll stand at the top of the mountain in absolute awe, before making the brave choice to descend from the summit.
*It is a common misconception that sustainable events cost more (Insight, 2018). What is found that the increase costs of delivery are offset by the increase in efficiency. There remains barriers to accessing sustainable events however: firstly, an increase financial upfront cost is not viable for many event organisers, especially those curating small-scale events; and secondly, a different cost lies in the process of producing a sustainable event - time. The time given to researching sustainable and/or ecological alternatives is often not available to many, causing them to choose the most popular or straightforward option.