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NMBP Director Joins Local Bike Patrol

It has been eight months since I joined IMBA and took over the helm of the National Mountain Bike Patrol. In my attempts to steer it with a top-down approach, I realized that I can't wholly sympathize with individual issues or understand what successful patrol groups need if I never leave my office chair in the "People's Republic of Boulder." Everyone here at IMBA spends time in the dirt to gain the bottom-up perspective of their specific constituents, and I should be no different. I decided to experience first-hand what it's like to do what you do and joined my local bike patrol.

I am grateful to the Boulder Mountainbike Alliance (BMA) for accepting my application. My status as a new resident and beginner mountain biker likely meant I was the least (technically) qualified of the 26 new patrollers at last Saturday's training session, but a passion for riding, a willingness to learn and a friendly attitude were stressed as the most important capabilities.

I realized quickly what an asset the BMA Patrol is to IMBA's backyard. At times, the city of Boulder is not the most agreeable to mountain biking, but BMA and its patrol group's favorable relationships with city, county and federal land managers are helping to shine a more positive light on the mountain bikers who live and ride within city limits. The good example they set just by riding and educating our own have helped to show how viable multi-use trails can actually be.

BMA's patrol can be traced back to the 1990's, but it was in 2008 that it really began to take off after partnerships were established with three of the local land management agencies to provide services to all trail users: Boulder County Parks and Open Space, City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks, and the U.S. Forest Service Boulder Ranger District. From that point, the patrol grew to over 60 active members at its peak and will likely have 55 for the 2011 riding season.

The eight-hour training session I went through included talks from park rangers representing all three land management agencies and general guidance from the BMA Patrol leadership (a group of four). After lunch, we were joined by returning members, broke into small groups and rotated among different scenarios that might be encountered on the trail, from equestrians to bike repair to emergency situations. The day finished with a panel discussion and great interest in the upcoming patrol social at a local brewery.

The perspective I gained last Saturday and the lessons I will continue to learn as an active patroller will be applied as I try to steer the NMBP in a direction beneficial to all 50 of our current patrol groups, all 600 of our current members and anyone who wants to start a patrol. In future NMBP blog posts, expect to read my own patrol stories, conversations with BMA Patrol leadership, perspectives of the land managers we work with and the experiences of my cohorts.

But the biggest thing I took away from the day was the passion in the room and the sense of not only how much fun it can be to be a patroller, but how valuable it is, even if you never help fix a flat tire or offer up so much as a Band Aid to an injured trail user.

When asked how he would describe the patrol to an outsider, one veteran patroller and BMA's advocacy director summed it up very well: "To ensure everyone out on the trail has a smile on their face."

+ Comment On This Post



That is *so* cool. I used to lead that patrol, and it has amazing potential. Glad to hear it's still going strong and you're having fun!

Creating a Bike Patrol

Hello bike enthusiasts!

I am trying to pull together more information in how to start a local bike patrol. Any additional information that you could forward to me would be most appreciated. It is not clear to me by reviewing the links on the site what first-aid skills individuals must have to be on the bike patrol. As a certified outdoor emergency care instructor, ski patroller and in EMT I feel confident in being able to help lead or find instructors to help lead courses for interested bike patrollers.

I can be reached by e-mail at primmgirl [at] gmail [dot] com or 828-773-1630.


National Ski Patrol alliance with NMBP for Sea Otter Classic


I am a 29 year vet of the National Ski Patrol (Dodge Ridge, CA), the newsletter editor for the Far West Division (AZ, CA, NV, with 2,000 members) and, for past six years, the recruiter for NSP first-aid volunteers for the huge Sea Otter Bicycling Classic, mid-April, in Laguna Seca area near Monterey, CA. At this last event, we mustered 20+ first-aiders and another 15 family/friends as course marshals, having a great deal of fun, serving the cycling public and making some volunteer $ for our patrols.

I suggested to the Sea Otter folks that we forge a partnership with members of the NMBP, to extend and grow our numbers - so, I am asking you how we might do that (in the FWD, we share the idea all year-long through newsletter features, emailed flyers and reaching NSP members through their 40 patrol leaders).

Secondly, on the belief that about half of NSP members are pretty regular cyclist, I would love to profile the NMBP in our June newsletter, particularly groups within our three state Far West Division area (AZ, CA, NV). So, would love help in doing that, with a deadline in late May.

Please advise what more insight you might need on either of these ideas. Tim Viall, tviall [at] msn [dot] com; cell: 209.969.3875. Thanks!

First Aid Training for the NMBP members

I would like to echo Tim Viall's comments about the relevance of the National Ski Patrol to what we try to accomplish in the NMBP. As an NSP veteran and a past certified Outdoor Emergency Care instructor, I was always confident in the knowledge of the fellow patrollers on the ski hill. There was a standard of care that was very important when trying to deal with the sometimes life and death situations on the ski hill. I joined the NMBP a few years ago and then went through the Instructors training course and now volunteer actively at as many events as my schedule will permit. I must admit that, the same standard of care does not seem to exist for the NMBP that was readily apparent in the NSP. Superficially, there is a world of difference between the then 40-hour mandatory OEC course of the NSP and the few hours of lecture the NMBP requests of its candidates. We have some very fine NSP members in our local patrols, as well as EMT's of various levels that provide some great patient care, but we also have numerous members that don't have the same level of training, and don't feel confident in their knowledge base of a standard of care.

Until the NMBP establishes a higher base level of training and expectations, we are going to continue to be viewed as less than a professional care community. In my opinion, this first aid standard needs to be driven from the top and passed down to all 600 members and 50 patrols. As patrollers, we need to continue to develop our skills with the same enthusiasm that we approach the Educate and Inform objectives of the NMBP.

Just Some Thoughts
Jim Marx (james [dot] marx [at] earthlink [dot] net)