From sandbox to career these Rosslanders play in the dirt professionally
I’m often struck by how much parents read into the activities of their children, specifically what their kids’ toddler or adolescent interests and aptitudes might suggest they will eventually gravitate to professionally.
“Yep, he just sits there in the sandbox with his Tonka trucks for hours, moving dirt from one side to the other. Probably going to be a (insert heavy equipment related occupation here) when he grows up.”
And perhaps Mark Daugherty and Paddy Kaye, childhood friends and now business partners in Joyride Bike Parks Incorporated, exhibited nascent talents at a young age, Mark swinging a hammer, building forts and working with Lego, Paddy building jumps and choreographing scale model earthworks for action figure stuntmen.
Maybe that’s how it went down…
More probable, though, is that the hard work each has been engaged in through their adult lives and a continued love of mountain biking and the outdoors has made their most recent collaborative venture a reality. While their aim is to build and augment others’ mountain bike trail and terrain park experiences, discipline, integrity and commitment distinguish Paddy and Mark’s efforts from much of the field.
Instead of just talking about building a better trail, the Joyride guys have jumped right into the thick of it. Their recent work, made possible in large part by land access to Red Mountain Resort property, has been wholly self-financed to date, the original impetus coming from a desire to simply create a trail-type that could cater to a variety of skill levels.
Speaking of the machine-built ‘blue’ trail that has begun to take shape at the hill, Daugherty states, “I really just wanted to build a trail. We did a lot of walking around, took our time planning out potential routes. Land access is probably the biggest issue in mountain biking, in building trails, maintaining trails, so having Red allow us to start digging has been a really good thing.”
It’s unlikely that you or I could convince a landowner to put a swath of land on the line for a trail of our own devising, certainly not without some credentials; it’s doubtful that I could walk into a resort’s head office or city hall and not get kicked to the curb, dismissed as another crackpot with a “great idea you just gotta hear.”
But again, that’s the difference with Joyride, and where Mark’s foothold as a respected local builder (Taurus Construction), and Paddy Kaye’s industry reputation, history and work really come into play. Think instant legitimacy.
A bike park and trail builder for over a decade now, PK was largely responsible for the creation of the Joyride trail in Whistler, a trail that would eventually morph into what is now the Whistler bike park, and an attraction that would eventually spawn Crankworx, Canada’s biggest mountain-bike event. Mention Paddy Kaye in industry circles, and it is apparent the man and machine are indivisible from the work he has executed the past ten years. His own reputation is exceeded only by that of high profile trails and stunts themselves, and resulting footage captured by a variety of MTB filmmakers. Take, for example, the Red Bull Rampage, NWD/Freeride Entertainment, or a barrel full of other groups with which PK has worked.
In the recently-incorporated Joyride partnership, PK’s familiarity with terrain park and trail design and marked proficiency with mechanized equipment combines with Daugherty’s construction background and building experience to create the brand. It doesn’t hurt that both know their sport inside and out, too. The pair are both avid mountain bikers, something that can’t be faked when it comes to creating a quality trail.
“There are a lot of skilled trail-builders in town, and even more skilled riders,” Daugherty notes, cognisant of the fact that Joyride’s earliest activities around the area have already aroused a great deal of curiosity. “I’m confident we could build and run a crew out of here, and work well with all the local stakeholders. The plan is to headquarter Joyride’s shop and tools here in Rossland, but to keep our operations mobile.”
“We have contracts from Calgary to the coast,” Squamish resident Kaye nods in agreement, “But building something world-class in Rossland is definitely a focus.”
Riffing back and forth in the sort of banter only old friends can enjoy, the pair are thoughtful about what an ever-expanding trail system might mean for the area.
“I’ve heard that in Whistler the overnight stays made by mountain bikers has surpassed golfers now,” Daugherty notes. “Think about how many people came out for the Rubberhead. Being able to bring more events in…”
“Yeah, the benefit to the community is huge,” adds PK. “The number of riders keeps growing, the sport is progressing, and how we design and build our trails needs to evolve along with that. That includes designing for adaptation and variety, but also incorporating in proper drainage, erosion control, that kind of thing.”
With tell-tale bike-tracks already sprouting up in the work conducted on Granite (the trail is only a third to halfway done, depending on who you ask), the interest and desire for a concrete completion date is obviously cemented. Where various sections can be ridden at present, portages are still the norm.
“On the business side, we’ve figured out a sustainable, realistic five year plan,” claims Kaye. “In terms of completing that particular trail, it’s a huge project.”
“Probably two to three years until it’s done,” adds Daugherty. “It’s going to be approximately 10 kilometres long and will link to the Seven Summits.”
Smiling, he adds, “The original vision was to have a trail running all the way down to the Columbia River. Since Oasis was shut down, we’ve been missing a descent like that. The hope for this one, the current project, is to have a good section ready to go for next August.”
Having just this past week secured some local investors for the business, Joyride looks set to deliver on these expectations and more. Hibernating won’t be an option this winter: hatching plans and planning their next move is rapidly becoming the norm.
Fortunately, the creative process is something both partners enjoy, the end game/goal being reflected in their company’s name. One is left with the indelible impression that if the “joy” part ever dropped out of frame, the ride might be over.
Fortunately, both Mark and Paddy have ample spirit and enthusiasm to spare. They wouldn’t be pursuing the work if they didn’t love it, and with the practicalities taken care of, the mountain, wherever it may be, is their blank slate.
“Once land access is dealt with, there’s a lot of freedom. We get to shape our own trails; we get to establish the flow of a trail. It’s a great feeling, being able to share that with people.”
Equal parts hard labour and artisan-like sculpture, the aesthetics and end result drive both Daugherty and Kaye to push themselves further. Even without a shovel in hand or being behind the controls of the mini excavator, you just know that amongst the turning gears and cogs, there’s digging and building going on upstairs, an eye to the future. And that’s a good thing.
Find out more at Joyrides website.