Santa Cruz Bicycles - PayDirt Hero - $1 Million to Trails


PayDirt is our commitment to increasing access to trails by supporting the work of people who make it happen. We’re pledging to donate $1 million over the next three years towards trail projects, local organizations, events and programs that are geared towards creating and strengthening opportunities for people to get out on the trails.

Apply for a Grant

Grant Applications Temporarily Suspended

Due to the slowdown associated with COVID-19 we have temporarily suspended Paydirt award determinations and distributions, and channeled our seed funding into producing personal protective equipment for healthcare workers. We are fully committed to the original Paydirt ideal and we'll get back to saving the trails when we can, but at the moment, we all have a larger mission.

If you have already submitted a Paydirt application, we will keep it on file for consideration when we reopen the program. While it's difficult to say when that will be, we're hoping for a late 2020 re-boot.


We like to do things that benefit riders and inspire others with our actions. This isn’t new, we’ve been doing it for years. Here are some of the ways we’ve supported greater trail access, maintenance and new trail construction:

Santa Cruz Bicycles

Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship

Downieville, California is the temple to which staff and riders retreat in order to get in touch with, as Greg Williams puts it, “big empty spaces full of empty trails.” The trails and the experience of being in that area are golden but it’s only possible because of the hard work of SBTS. 

From the SBTS website: “For 25 years, Santa Cruz Bicycles has been rallying down the Downieville Downhill right alongside us. Our partnership with Santa Cruz started back when the first Tazmon arrived. They are the Downieville Classic Mountain Bike Race and Festival title sponsor and helped us kick start SBTS back in 2003.”

Santa Cruz Bicycles

Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz

Trail access in Santa Cruz does not come easy. Despite being the home to a lot of mountain bike companies and a lot of mountain bikers, the number of legal and non-threatened trails isn’t that great. Of the 220 miles of official trail in the county, less than 40 are open to mountain bikes.

Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz (MBoSC) works to support, preserve, and expand trail access and responsible mountain biking in Santa Cruz County. They promote legal and sustainable mountain bike access through trail building, races, events, and strategic partnerships with land managers, other trail users, the local bike industry, and enthusiastic volunteers.

Santa Cruz Bicycles

San Vincente Redwoods Trails

In 2014, Santa Cruz caught wind of an exciting opportunity for a new trail system near the town of Davenport, California, just 10 miles up the Pacific coast from the company’s headquarters.

Over the prior 10 years, a local conservation group called the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County (LTSCC) led an effort to protect and purchase several parcels of land to create an 8,500 acre open space that extends from the Pacific Ocean to the top of the coastal Santa Cruz Mountain Range. Dubbed the San Vicente Redwoods (SVR), the park is slated to open to the public in 2020 and eventually feature 38 miles of trail.

Santa Cruz Bicycles

Factory Racing Dig Days

Santa Cruz Factory Racing is our in-house team, made up of people who work at the Santa Cruz factory, sponsors, friends, and family. We race everything from downhill to cyclocross in categories from Beginner to Pro. It’s not just about racing however.

These riders go out and help with dig days across the western United States; they host our events; they volunteer with setup and clean up at regional enduro races; and we’ll match any race winnings they donate to charity.



Other Fun Ways to Help

It’s not all about writing checks. Sometimes there’s more ingenious ways to give back. For example, 2017 was one of the worst wildfire seasons on record for California. Homes were lost, lives changed and singletrack went up in flames. “We talked to our shops, reps and customers in the areas affected by the fires and above all they expressed a real desire for a return to normalcy,” said Santa Cruz CEO Joe Graney. “We all know how a good bike ride makes you feel, and we want to help people get back to that.”

In order to help with trail reconstruction efforts in Santa Rosa and Santa Barbara, we partnered with other California-based bike brands to make two custom bikes for raffling off. The total raised was $128,249. 

Or there’s the time when Oregon introduced a new tax on high-end bicycles, which we thought was kinda bullshit. “The whole thing seemed like a bad deal for Oregon cyclists in general and mountain bikers in particular,” said Santa Cruz Bicycles CEO Joe Graney. “It doesn’t look like any of the money collected from the sale of mountain bikes will actually benefit mountain bikers."

Which is why we launched the “The Oregon Trail Tax” where we matched the $15 per bike excise tax customers pay on every new Santa Cruz or Juliana bike sold in Oregon with an equal donation to three Oregonian trail building organizations – the Northwest Trail Alliance (NWTA), the Central Oregon Trail Alliance (COTA), and Team Dirt. Advocacy in Oregon is nothing new for Santa Cruz; as part of the company’s sponsorship of the Trans-Cascadia enduro race, our employee-based Factory Racing Team has logged more than 500 hours of trail work in the state over the last two years on trails near the towns of Oakridge and Ashland.

Or what about this super cool Stihl MS201 chainsaw which we purchased (and made more radder-er) for Martin Newman, a trail builder from North Vancouver, British Columbia (BC). Martin has spent an enormous amount of his free time building really good trails for NSMBA through the Trail Adoption Program (which we’re a partner in) and other legitimate programs.

When we saw a facebook post from him asking for small donations from friends so he could buy a nicer, newer, fully-functioning chainsaw we figured that we’d just commit to purchasing it for him and his friends could save their money for other good deeds. Now, if you’re lucky enough to ride any of the trails on Seymour mountain on the North Shore, like Good Sir Martin or Deer John, there’s a chance that this chainsaw (which we dubbed The Unicorn Slayer) had a part in your experience.