Just One Penny

In case you missed it, there has been an article created at VMBA.ORG that summarizes the last newsletter, which focused on VMBA’s approach to trail diversity and out of state riders. The other primary topics revealed in the rider survey included defining our value to state leadership and educating new riders about trail/riding etiquette. In this newsletter we’re going to focus on our relationship with state leadership.

Research has shown that if someone offers you free Hershey’s Kisses – you would take one, maybe two. If that same person offered to sell you as many Hershey’s kisses as you wanted for 1 cent – you’re likely to increase your intake by six or seven times. Why does a penny make such a difference? 

On average, we’re wired to take care of each other socially. A free offer puts us in a social care frame of mind and some attention gets paid to making sure that “there is enough for the others.”  One cent is all it takes to shift our brains to “the market mentality.” Once there, it turns into every person for themselves grabbing handfuls of chocolate.  

Hershey’s Kisses will never be as sweet as Vermont singletrack – we all know that. However, there is knowledge in the research that we can use to improve how state leadership understands the collective value of Vermont mountain bikers in two important ways; starting with riders’ willingness to understand the value of each other.

First, we all ride. We all don’t build or maintain trails. People are busy and squeeze in rides when they can. Most everyone understands this reality (this isn’t an excuse to never make a trail day). The “social care” box is a bit easier for us to check both emotionally and in a way that reflects our busy lives. Membership is the mechanism through which we acknowledge our social responsibility to each other. In doing so, you make sure those building/maintaining the trails you ride are well supported. In turn, you ensure there is enough for the others, too. Improving our capacity to promote and encourage our own social value to each other amplifies our voice and inspires state leadership to shift away from antiquated methods while responding to the desires of the public. 

Secondly, to strengthen our connection to state leadership, VMBA has developed two new programs. In the last newsletter we shared information about a new regional nonprofit alliance. In tandem, a new commercial group is being formed. The goal is to create a modern business culture that meaningfully bridges commercial enterprises in Vermont to the incredible outdoor recreation infrastructure on which many rely for success. Vermont’s outdoor opportunities are largely designed, built and maintained by volunteers. When we rally around thoughtfully blending commercial ambition with nonprofit purpose we will have, as a riding community, redefined how the state partners with the organizations and individuals that are making this all possible. 

The association has no doubts about the riders’ capacity and willingness to rally for each other. The Vermont business community is responding well to this new program. Your VMBA looks forward to sharing more in the near future.