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A non-profit organization dedicated to protecting trail users and natural resources through service and  backcountry safety education.



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Volunteer Mountain Bike Medical Team

A cooperative effort of the Backcountry Trail Patrol, Barmy Dogs Mountain Bike Patrol, the MORC Mountain Bike Patrol and the WORBA-National Mountain Bike Patrol of Wisconsin.

From the very beginning, one of the reasons the North-Central Mountain Bike Patrol was created was to provide assistance at the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival mountain bike race and similar events. Starting with just three patrollers riding sweep on the short race, there have been volunteer patrollers at every Fat Tire Festival since 1996. In 1998 the patrol started working the Twin Cities Marathon, and when the City of Lakes Loppet Urban Ski Marathon started in 2003, we traded our bikes for cross-country skis and started working in the winter, too.

Twin Cities Marathon-2006

From the first event that NCMBP worked, a bike demo and expo where a rider suffered a severe asthma attack and had to be transported by EMS, it was shown that the presence of medically trained bike patrollers could make events safer and more enjoyable for racers and even spectators.

Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival-2006

In 1998 the Wisconsin members of NCMBP became an independent patrol. Then in 2004, the North-Central patrol evolved into the Backcountry, Barmy Dogs and MORC mountain bike patrols, but we all continue to work together at major events.

Twin Cities Marathon Team-2006

In addition to the Chequamegon, Marathon and Loppet events, you will find patrol members at the Minnesota Ironman Ride, 24 Hours of Afton, Cable Off-Road Classic, Buck Hill MTB Races, City of Lakes Tri-Loppet, North End Classic Ski Race and many other activities. All patrollers are fully trained in first aid, CPR and many hold advanced certifications, including EMT, Wilderness EMT and Wilderness First Responder. At many events the patrol carries Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) as well as full emergency care equipment. At ski events, additional supplies are carried for intervention on frostbite and hypothermia cases.

City of Lakes Loppet-2005

Volunteer bike and ski patrollers available to assist at events and activities across the Minnesota/Wisconsin region. For further information or availability. contact the patrol unit directly, or E-mail (Remove the "nospam" for emailing us.) for more information.

Primary tasks in SAR operations

  • hasty searches

  • continuous and multi-directional trail sweeps

  • monitor and patrol of confinement and attraction areas

  • rapid deployment to distant areas of high probability

  • reconnaissance

  • quick response to assist in medical situations in the field

  • other tasks requested by the Search Manager


    from the CALSARA guidelines





Backcountry Trail Patrol Search and Rescue Program

Training Manual information at bottom of page.

Across the country a growing number of volunteer search and rescue teams have experimented with of mountain bikes to enhance search efforts when looking for lost or missing persons. Groups in California, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and other states have used mountain bikes successfully in SAR. The National Mountain Bike Patrol (NMBP) program was founded in 1995, and with one of it's stated purposes is to assist in backcountry search and rescue operations.

MTB handlebars set up for SAR-Dual lights, Computer and GPS

 As in all disciplines of search and rescue, cyclists should be fully trained in wilderness first aid, CPR, map and compass, communications, backcountry survival and search procedures, both general and mountain bike specific. Comprehensive knowledge of visual tracking, and emergency bicycle repair are also necessary for optimal utilization of bike mounted searchers. Training sessions can be as simple as familiarization with the trails in potential search problem areas, such as parks and woodlands. Informal recreational riding along such trails, gives team members the opportunity to be aware of the tracks, litter and other signs they see, in order to enhance their clue awareness skills. More involved training should consist of having someone "get lost" in a given area and then breaking into teams and searching for both clues and the subject using SAR biking skills and knowledge. Team members can further be challenged with medical or rescue scenarios once the victim is located.

Ventura County (CA) Sheriff MTB SAR Team

One of the primary reasons to add mountain bikes to a rescue unit is the bike's ability the cover more ground, faster. A searcher mounted on a bike can travel as much as twenty-six feet with each pedal stroke (in highest gear) as opposed to two or three feet per stride, walking. Therefore, the most effective function of a mountain bike team in SAR operations is to rapidly cover roads, trails and pathways in the search area, checking for evidence of a person's passing. Deployment of a bike team into an area that is barely passable on foot would defeat the advantages of using a mountain bike as a search tool. Working in teams of two, bike crews can be assigned to check trails during hasty search, effect containment using trails and roadways, and use their bikes as a platform for visual tracking. Bike teams will check for signs of a person's passage, (foot or bike tire prints, gum wrappers, cigarettes, etc.) and can rapidly follow footprints that may belong to the missing party. They can set up "track traps" in areas the person might pass through, to catch footprints, and then check those track traps, and follow any leads gained from them. Bikes can also be used to jump ahead on a person's track, or sent ahead to attempt interception once a probable direction of travel is determined. When the victim is located, cyclists with medical and rescue training and equipment can reach them more rapidly than a team on foot, and begin rescue and/or medical stabilization efforts. The mountain bike team leader working with the search mission coordinator during the course of the search operation can determine other SAR functions where the bikes may be useful.

The Mountain Bike Search and Rescue Training Manual is now available as a free Adobe PDF file from the National Mountain Bike Patrol.

  Wilderness SAR of New York State  

Calgary Search and Rescue Bike Team (Canada)