This past week was an opportunity to celebrate and recognize the many dedicated volunteers in Weyburn and the surrounding communities, as well as across the country. 

National Volunteer Week took place from April 16th to 22nd, 2023, and this year's theme was "volunteering weaves us together." The Volunteer Canada website explained that individual and collective actions help create strong, interconnected, and vibrant communities.

Mike Manko-Bauche, Director of the Weyburn Mountain Bikers, is one such dedicated volunteer that puts in many hours building trails for the club, and he isn't pumping the brakes any time soon.

"There's a couple of us ... so you kind of pick a nice line down the hill by the old art centre there. You kind of rough it out, maybe with the weed whipper or mower, and you go in and ride it a couple of times and then you kind of add berms [corner on a biking trail] or jumps or whatever you need until you have a nice trail."

Manko-Bauche said that they have also made some more walking path-style trails for people to ride their bikes on, which the city of Weyburn has helped with. He explained more about how the Weyburn Mountain Bikers make their club accessible to as many people as possible. 

Weyburn Mountain BikerPhoto courtesy of Mike Manko-Bauche, Director of the Weyburn Mountain Bikers/Facebook.

"We are thinking about getting a club bike, that way if anybody wants to try out mountain biking, they can try out a real mountain bike, like a decent quality one and see how they feel about it. Then if they want to buy one, they can kind of have a better idea instead of having to truck all the way to Regina and ride somewhere in the city."

Manko-Bauche said that whenever he has 15 minutes at a time or even half an hour, he'll go out and pick at the trails as he likes being out there, by trimming back bushes or digging a berm.

"Let's say we have a new trail, right? We'll put out a date for a work bee. So come out sometime on a Saturday and we'll set the date and it'll be open probably all morning and there'll be either myself or Dave Hodgkin there generally. And we'll have a few tools and people show up and help and that’s great."

"We've had at least two or three work bees," Manko-Bauche said. "That really helps get the trail kind of established in a day and then it's ready to ride pretty much after that."

The Weyburn Mountain Biker volunteers put in a combined total of 150 hours last year just building trails, he said.

"But you know, if you got 15 minutes before work, you can go out and do something, and that actually counts. You get a little fresh air and you don't have to work up too much of a sweat before work. And you do that again after work and that stuff really adds up."

Manko-Bauche said he loves to volunteer because he's helping to build a community. 

"I like being outside, I like manual labour and the muscle fatigue after that. You see people, even if they're not aware of the club, using the trails to walk their dogs and there's always somebody out there, which is nice to see. For example, there's a pretty established running group in Weyburn, and sometimes they use the trails as well. It's also exciting to be near the river." 

"It's just nice to see the community and people getting out there for different reasons."

Manko-Bauche added that they've upgraded their insurance level, which will allow them to put in features and make the trails accessible for everyone.

"You might see us building features out there that look maybe a little intimidating, but we're always going to have a go around. So if you want to skip the jump or you want to skip large berms or skip the gap, then you can go around. It's always going to be accessible to anybody that rides a bike."

Anyone interested in volunteering or learning more about the Weyburn Mountain Bikers club, can find it HERE.

Weyburn Mountain BikersPhoto courtesy of Mike Manko-Bauche, Director of the Weyburn Mountain Bikers/Facebook.