Yes, CAMBr is registered and approved with the IRS as a 501(c)3. (EIN: 81-0961676)
Yes, please make checks out to CAMBr, and mail to
Your generous contribution is used for a number of things. We then explain what the contribution is used for in a few short sentences right here. This section should be pretty short and could link to the join page where we have more information.
You bet! You don’t need any special skills or experience to help at a workday. Workdays typically have people of all experience levels and support a learn-by-doing approach. Just make sure you’ve got the right clothing, shoes, and water and you’ll be good to go.
This is a big one that requires cooperation from all trail users. The biggest issue in trail building and maintenance is how the trail handles water. When people ride or use the trail when it’s wet, ruts and pockets form that catch water forming mudholes and puddles. Once formed, the water can’t drain away, and the holes tend to get larger and need warm weather to dry out. Draining and repairing these holes take a lot of time and manpower that could be directed to building new trail, so please don’t ride when it’s wet.
All the CAMBr supported trail systems are great to ride and they all have their own character. It also depend on where you live and how much time you have. Palos is the oldest system and the most developed. It has the most single track, and the trails tend to be flowy and not very technical. However the soils are somewhat loamy, and they don’t typically dry very quickly after rain. Saw Wee Kee is built on waves of old mining tailings, so it offer small elevation changes, but lots of up and down. It tends to dry out quickly…..[Andres, etc?}
All the trails at Palos are multi-use, so we as cyclists need to cautious and courteous. The key things to do when encountering any other trail user, either from behind or head-on, is to slow down, make verbal contact with the other user, and agree on how you’ll pass. Bikes can be quite a bit faster than other users and can easily be a surprise. That’s especially true with horses; you don’t want cause a horse to become surprised and throw its rider. Talk to the other user, tell them what you plan to do, and make sure they agree before you do it. There’s room and time for everyone, as we’re all just having fun in the woods in our own way.
Chicago is a big city with a lot of demand on our woods and preserves from a range of user groups. The result is all the land managers in the Chicago area require trails to be mulit-use. While there is some potential for user conflict, with some common sense and courtesy, different users types can easily co-exist.
The first thing you’ll need is a mountain bike. We won’t go into the details of what bike to get here, but there are lots of reasonable options out there. Next, signing up for CAMBr’s MTB classes is a good way to go. You’ll learn the basics of stopping, cornering, climbing, descending and riding over obstacles, all basic MTB skills. Then just get out and ride, either by yourself or with others on CAMBr group rides.
Well, that’s actually a long and complicated process. Since we don’t own the land, we must have the land manager’s permission before we can construct any new single track. This is the area where CAMBr leadership spends a lot of time; determining where we’d like to have trail, presenting plans to land managers, understanding their land-use issues and constraints, developing alternatives, and convincing them we’ll be good long-term maintainers of the trail systems. This all takes time (sometime years) before the first shovel hits the dirt. It’s also why supporting CAMBr is so important if you like to have new and expanding places to ride in the Chicago area. There is strength in numbers when it comes to dealing with land managers and public entities.
There's a season in the Chicago area, typically between mid-November and the end of March, when temperatures will drop below freezing at night and then warm up above freezing during the day. What this means for the trails is when actually frozen they are hard and good to ride. But when the temps go up and the moisture in the ground thaws, the dirt becomes very soft and muddy. This is because the water in the soil expands when frozen and it looses the tightly packed soil. The result is the trails can become very soft and muddy even if there hasn't been much rain or snowfall. So, to protect the trails from damage, only ride when the ground is frozen hard, and get off once the ground begins to warm up. South facing trails will usually soften up first, and if the sun it out and the temps get into the 30's, you'll probably need to be done by 10AM. Remember, if you're tires are leaving an imprint, it's too soft to ride.