Vancouver Outdoor Community Spotlight: Deanne Cote of North Shore Mountain Bike Association

Deanne Cote of the North Shore Mountain Bike Association rides in Duthie Hill, Washington

Deanne Cote, Executive Director of the North Shore Mountain Bike Association

Mountain biking wouldn’t be possible without trail builders. Since 1997, the North Shore Mountain Bike Association (NSMBA) has built and maintained trails on Vancouver’s North Shore. We chatted with Executive Director Deanne Cote about the ways that the NSMBA has created a volunteer-oriented mountain biking community.

 

Deanne explains that the NSMBA is a non-profit organization with a small staff and many volunteers. “Our main focus is on advocating for trail access on the North Shore and also maintaining the trails for everybody’s use to make sure that they are safe and are not getting eroded from mother nature and the abundance of use that they get.”

Deanne with NSMBA trail maintenance volunteers

Deanne with NSMBA trail maintenance volunteers

A group of concerned mountain bikers formed the NSMBA in 1997 to protect mountain bike trails in North Vancouver that were threatened with closure. Since then, the NSMBA has built relationships with land managers and has formal agreements in place to perform trail maintenance and build new trails.

Deanne has been involved with the mountain bike community since she was growing up in Manitoba. “I ended up having to have knee surgery at a fairly young age because of my dance training,” she says. “The doctor said you can’t dance anymore, but for rehab let’s get you on a bike. Then when I bought my bike there was a poster about a mountain bike race and I thought ‘That seems kind of cool.’ So I signed myself up for it not even knowing what it was about. And I just fell in love with the sport. I’ve been involved in so many different aspects of the sport through coaching, teaching youth to ride, trail building, event organization, and pretty much anything with this sport. I just got into it because I loved it so much. The community is just fantastic. I love giving back to the sport and it feeds my soul as well.”

Deanne Cote of NSMBA riding in Hinton Alberta

Like many people, Deanne saw the pandemic as a way to make a change. She left her job as an administrative assistant with a downtown engineering firm and jumped into work with the NSMBA. “Sitting in my office downtown I could see the mountains and I just wished I could be out there more,” she explains. “For me, the most rewarding part of being involved with the NSMBA is when I’m out on the trails and I see so many other people enjoying them too. To me that’s everything. That means if people are out there loving the trails, they have access.”

The NSMBA’s mission statement is “Trails for all, trails forever” and Deanne says that she’s passionate about ensuring the sport of mountain biking is welcoming to everyone. “If you have a bike and you ride on trails, you’re a mountain biker. No matter what your level is, no matter what your physicality is… We’re really trying to change the focus of mountain biking from the men on the bikes doing the big jumps. It’s so much more than that. Beginners and moms out with their kids are mountain bikers too.”

Deanne Cote of NSMA

 

How to Get Involved with the North Shore Mountain Bike Association

One of the main ways to get involved is to sign-up to volunteer for trail maintenance. NSMBA holds regular trail maintenance events. You don’t need to have trail maintenance experience. NSMBA volunteers will provide tools, gloves, and instruction. Everyone is welcome.

If you want to explore the trails that the NSMBA maintains, Deanne recommends the Trailforks website and app. She says: “They have the best maps. You can click on a trail to see what the conditions are and what the ratings are… Or you can stop by any of the local bike shops. They can make some suggestions of where you should go ride.”

If you ride the North Shore trails regularly, consider becoming a member of the NSMBA. If you’re just visiting, you can make a one-time $15 Trail Boost donation. 100% of the funds go towards trail crews and trail building. You can also donate to the NSMBA directly through Trail Forks’ Trail Karma program.

 

Deanne’s Vancouver Favourites

We also asked Deanne to give us her recommendations for outdoor adventures around Vancouver.

Deanne’s Favourite Vancouver Area Park: “Because I have a young daughter, we like Moodyville Park [in North Vancouver]. It has a great playground and a pump track, which is a good place for kids (and adults) to learn how to maneuver their bikes in a safe area. It’s so much fun and a lot harder work than you anticipate. It will improve your riding out on the trails tremendously.”

Deanne’s Favourite Spot for Apres: “I’m a big brunch fan, so my favourite place to go is BLVD Bistro.

Deanne’s Outdoor Advice for Beginners: “For beginner mountain bikers, having a good quality learn-to-ride lesson with a pro bike instructor before you go out and hit the trails can make a huge difference… A lot of people get into mountain biking with their significant other or friend who wants to take them… but they don’t have the teaching side of things so it isn’t the best way to get introduced to the sport.”

 

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