I barely remembered that there was some sort of anniversary approaching but it’s good to stop (but not for too long) and reflect on the last 12 months. MTB Project, IMBA’s online trail resource and ride guide, just celebrated its first birthday. And for a newborn, it’s already big and robust.
One year ago, there was much anticipation for something I (we) knew was a good option for online trails mapping. I’m sure that IMBA and the Adventure Projects team had the same jitters that every other group has when taking something to market, especially in a very competitive space. But we stayed rooted in our vision and the mission to build a curated and credible, crowd-sourced catalog of routes for mountain bikers covering the U.S. and beyond. We wanted something that would serve as a national trails database of sorts, providing a free resource to riders, bike groups, bike shops, land managers and trail planners alike.
To kick off the project, I jumped back into a role that was very familiar from my days with the Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew. Hitting the road with a backpack full of gear, I traveled coast to coast and border to border to ride, map, explain and teach. Setting the stage with the “what, how and why” was a key element in an initiative that will span multiple years.
But it’s impossible to do all of this work myself. Teaching and motivating others is far more powerful. It’s individual riders, bike shop owners, IMBA chapters and everyone in between who like to ride and help out that are making MTB Project valuable and awesome.
Randy Conner from SORBA’s Appalachian Mountain Bike Club was one of the first people to volunteer as a local expert and make vital contributions to the site, celebrating the great riding in northwestern Tennessee. Now people across the country can get a feel for the Urban Wilderness Loop, one of many great trail experiences in Knoxville, TN, and definitely one of the coolest places you could ever ride a bike.
Knoxville was only one of many places where I was welcomed by familiar faces and new acquaintances. Together, I joined local riders and advocates to pour over maps, pedal preferred routes and add new content to MTB Project. While I was working in one part of the country, other willing advocates were adding trails for their own locales. While Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association was leading the charge in the Colorado Rockies, HMBA, WYNMBA and WAMBA were quickly mapping their areas, as well. Needless to say, the site exploded with great content.
And somewhere along the way, those nerves from the initial launch twelve months ago have been replaced with a huge amount of gratitude. The vision has momentum, largely due to an army of dedicated and enthusiastic contributors who got on their bikes and got involved in MTB Project. You have helped us build a site that features more than 23,000 miles of trails and rides and counting.
THANK YOU for being a part of MTB Project! We appreciate your contributions look forward to an even bigger year in 2014.
WIth more than 23,000 miles of mountain bike trails mapped in 12 months, you have helped make www.MTBProject.com the best, FREE source for great trails and rides. A project of IMBA and Adventure Projects, LLC with support from Shimano.