The episodes of Trail Tales, Orbea’s trail project, focus on the most diverse regions of the world – of course it’s always about our favorite sport, biking. In the latest episode, it’s Freiburg’s turn – with an ode, the makers show the MTB community in Breisgau, which once started as a discussion between a few bikers* and has grown into a movement with more than 2,700 members. With a new generation ready to take the baton in the future.
Beautiful Freiburg is located on the edge of the Black Forest. The city in Breisgau is famous and popular for its proximity to the mountains. The forests here have brought many people together over time and formed diverse communities, including mountain bike fans. It has to be said that bikers don’t always have it easy in Germany. Again and again they are confronted with special challenges and limitations. The more important is the cohesion, the united appearance with one voice. Because then things can be moved. This is also proven by the MTB community in Freiburg.
More episodes are available here: Trail Tales
It is thanks to this community that a network of legal trails now stretches from the mountains down into the city. And without restrictions in the width of the paths. But this is just the beginning. Freiburg is considered a pioneer for the whole country. Or to put it in English: as a Trailblazer.
Of course it wasn’t all that easy. So not exactly like it happened overnight. Originally, five bikers founded the MTB club with the aim of legalizing the Borderline Trail. This trail forms the origin of the legal trail network in Freiburg.
Like the famous 2-meter rule, which forbids cyclists in large parts of Baden-Württemberg to use paths that are narrower than two meters. There are still many trails that bikes are not allowed to ride on. But the released trails are progressive, well maintained and a step in the right direction for Germany.
“Here in Freiburg we are a model region, everywhere else in Germany it is developing very, very slowly,” explains Max Lürkin during a short break at the edge of the trail. Here he brings children closer to the fun of biking.
And he knows that Freiburg is unique. A city that proves mountain biking isn’t a fringe sport.
“I think mountain biking is developing really positively because it has now become a mass sport. That it’s not just young, crazy savages who ride across the forest, but that from three to four year olds with balance bikes up to 80 year olds with e-bikes,” says the former youth coach Jakob Breitwieser. The club now has more than 200 children among its members. Volunteer trainers take care of the youngsters.
It’s not just about choosing the right line and driving technique. The trail etiquette, the good behavior in the togetherness of all forest visitors also plays a major role. And of course the fun on the bike. The sight of the kids riding with their trainers in the afternoon would probably inspire people in all parts of the world. The sport is attractive and fun. And by the way, he also keeps the children fit and healthy. The many happy faces are the ultimate proof of that.
The club has grown extremely rapidly in recent years. It now has over 2,700 members.
For a cycling club that mainly focuses on disciplines like trail, enduro and downhill, these are pretty extraordinary numbers. Of course, more members means more bikes on the trails. But they also mean more discussions about better access and the opening of more trails. This gives the bike the status it deserves. Because it not only brings people together, but also out into the open air. “People have to move. You need to get out into the fresh air. In this respect, I hope that there is now an understanding and that maybe the legislation will finally come into play and the unspeakable 2-meter rule will be abolished,” says Jakob.
The community in Freiburg proves that discussions followed by days can make a difference. The Freiburg MTB network now includes eight legal trails. Thanks are due to the association and a progressive city administration.
“It helps that the forest is owned by the city. There are no private forest owners. That makes discussions about access much easier,” says Max. The bike destination Freiburg is truly impressive with its green forests, mountains and trails that lead right into the heart of the city. Freiburg is a pioneer of bike change. Hopefully many other cities will follow suit.
Did you like Ode to Freiburg? You can find more trail tales here.
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