When Ben and Dom invited me down the to TFT’s Cornish HQ, it presented the first opportunity to spend time together outside of events. The Spring Trail Clean Tour, Kendal Mountain Festival and shooting with Vodafone had been our total in person interaction to date, with the vast majority of communication via emails, whatsapp, zoom calls - all manner of 21st century tech, but as I presume you will agree to some extent as you read this, the past few months have shown the true value of being in someone else's presence.
The first major trip since lockdown entered its strictest phase, the 5 hours in the car gave me an opportunity to listen to the Downtime Podcast episode featuring Dom aired the day before, to coincide with launch of the ‘State of Our Trails’ Baseline Study.
The role of an ambassador in society has become broad and varied, with vastly different interpretations between brand, organisation and consumer. Let's face it, we’re all consumers in some sense, however, it is how we chose to use the knowledge and information provided by the aforementioned three which sets apart personal growth and opportunities for eductation, from a simple transaction.
For me, the Trash Free Trails Ambassador or A-Team member is someone who wants to take ownership of their local trail networks, wanting to encourage user groups to positively play their part in contributing to the ecosystem. Their backgrounds are varied, transferable skills broad, but connected with their love for the trails and the physical and mental benefits they provide. Some quiet, some outspoken, drawing on the groups knowledge and resourcefulness to overcome hurdles and progress forward.
But enough about the A-Team…. For now.
Lured down with trails to shred and an ocean to surf (i’ve never held a board, let alone tried to take one into water), the good life, the image that many may conjure up when riders talk about having business meetings and how I’m sure many may think an average day in the cycle industry may consist of - I’m sorry to burst any illusion, but after 9 years in cycle industry, I can confirm bikes are for your personal time, seldom in working hours.
Truth be told, we parked the bikes and outside of a shoot on the cliffs, spent many an hour sipping a selection of teas and coffee, looking at the next 5 years of Trash Free Trails, milestones, our ecosystem, what we want to see and of course, trails we’d like to target.
I’m normally one for getting outside and not sitting in where possible, however, this time the relaxed atmosphere, where conversations on the Wednesday could be picked up on Friday, prevented rushed decisions or forced agendas. As much as we were able to bounce ideas off one another, it provided the opportunity to better understand one another both professional and personally.
Moreover, it provided me with a renewed sense of purpose.
The Spring Trail Clean Tour was due to kick off the same week that lockdown was announced and despite the challenges presented, Dom, Ben and fellow members of the A-Team were able to discuss, plan and execute the Selfless Isolation Project, all via zoom. Modern technology is a marvel. With access to delve deeper and see where we are headed has kicked a brain that in many ways has been on some form of tick over for 4 months into gear. I want to do more for my local trails, contribute more to Ben and Dom, but most importantly do more for the A-Team and those of you who support us.
For me the trails aren’t just a bit of fun or a right, but somewhere special that words fail me to describe. They are connected to all parts of my life and it is for that reason that I feel strongly to give back in the same way they give to me.
Keep an eye out in the coming months, despite the uncertainty in the wider world, our ability to contribute to our trails remains as strong as ever, the mission of Trash Free Trails never clearer.
James - A-Team & short short aficionado