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Meet the A-TEAM in 2024

Words and Photos by Leigh Rose

To mark the expansion of our ecosystem I sat down with A-TEAM legends, original dons, Ross & Marv to talk about Trash Free Trails, wild places and the year ahead. A Sunday morning spent riding, collecting Single-Use Pollution (SUP) and spinning yarns. 

For me it was super important to understand a little more about the A-TEAM and learn how TFT has evolved over the years. 2024 in particular is a big year for us; it’s a coming of age year, we’re growing up in big ways, and this spring also marks the 5th anniversary of our Spring Clean with Trek, the first ever Trash Free Trails activation. 

Both Ross and Marv are keen to point out that there is a ‘Wild Spectrum’ and what wild is to one person can be completely different to another. As long as we’re all taking on a shared responsibility to look after ‘our’ wild place then we’re all winners. It's pretty clear their own relationships to their favourite wild places are pretty remarkable.

Ross Lambie: For some people that’s here and for other people it’s the trails they’ve dug in their local woods no one knows about… 

Marv Davies: I wouldn’t define any of this ride as a wild place. Really, that’s the beautiful thing, a trail or wild place means something different to everyone. For me a trail is a path or route for runners, riders and roamers to enjoy being outdoors. A wild place is away from civilization, man-made objects and a place to feel wilderness. Somewhere away from the hustle and bustle, and people! 

Leigh Rose: What inspires you to be part of the A-TEAM? 

MD: To protect the places that I love and inspire others to do the same for the places they love. It’s about educating people to do their bit and alter their approach. We met two guys today who were pretty angry about trash. I think he said ‘I'd beat them to a pulp’ if he saw his kids drop anything. We’re not the ‘SUP police’, we’re here to help people understand that these places won't be beautiful if people carry on. 

RL: Our job is to be the messenger, to educate and help people understand that it isn’t acceptable to drop SUP and the blame game isn't the way to solve it either. We want to inspire that connection and bring these wild places to the front of their mind without aggression. 

We all chuckle as we remark on our own use of the term ‘litter’ instead of Single-Use Pollution. Just like the blame game, it’ll take time for this narrative to change and people to move to the new way of seeing thing. We’ll get there. 

As with wild places, we recognise that nature connectedness and what people do to feel connected sits on a spectrum. Some people might go for a ride, sit in the woods and that’s their connection. Some people run or swim. Ross and Marv are mad keen to see how fast they can get down a hill without hitting trees!

LR: How does riding make you feel connected to nature? 

RL: It depends on how many trees you hit! I don’t use headphones when I ride, nature is my music. Listening to the wind, water running through streams, the birds. Noticing the smallest of detail without even thinking about it, that’s connecting with nature for me. 

MD: Visiting new places, wilder places, places you couldn’t get to unless you had two wheels. They’re the special places for bikers, it gives you that peace, the time to relax.

It’s clear Ross and Marv are incredibly passionate riders who love being out on the trails and they want others to get amongst it too. When asked about what their year ahead was looking like, their enthusiasm for TFT shines through. 

RL: I filled in my Route Map wall planner the other day! I’ve got all my trail cleans on there, my races on there. It’s filling up! Really looking forward to Ard Rock and Red Bull Hard Line. We’re racing in Ard Rock so that is super exciting. Hard Line is always a fun event and we get a lot of good coverage and great conversation with people we wouldn’t normally reach. As a TFT Approved event, they always ask for feedback too which is fantastic, it’s really good to see they’re taking a little responsibility and working with us on the issue. 

MD: I’ve got a trail clean down at Wrekin in a couple of weeks. It’s one of those moments that gets bigger every year, it’s great. Ruth has done a fantastic job of organising it and asked us to come down and get involved. The A-TEAM Christmas party, I don’t know anything about that yet but I’m excited for it! 

A huge shout to our Programme Partners Endura, Forestry England & WTB, Fenwicks, Squire & Pedal MTB in supporting the A-TEAM and keeping the heart of TFT beating. Without the support conversations like this wouldn’t happen and our trails wouldn’t be what they are without it. 


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