It started with separate organizations. Share MTB was one of the longer standing IMBA partners, faithfully serving the mountain biking community interest in Orange County, California since 1988. OCMTBA was one of the newer umbrella coalitions under the IMBA Local Program, designed to bring together various social riding clubs as a unified voice for mountain bikers.
Both entities were focused on the “contribution” side of being a trail organization and IMBA Chapter. They focused on giving back to the community by stewarding trails and providing great trail experiences for everyone.
Share MTB was the backbone of trail work in our outdoor spaces and had supplied nearly fifteen thousand bells for trail safety. OCMTBA supported trail etiquette programs like rider surveys and new bike owner introductions–all designed to demonstrate that mountain bikers are good trail stewards looking for positive coexistence with other user groups.
Our merge came after we realized both groups had supporters working on contributing to existing trails through positive coexistence programs, yet those programs in and of themselves did not get us more trail mileage. Simply put, we had too many people passing out bells and repairing trails, and not enough folks asking for more trails. Eliminating the redundancy at this level provided us the bandwidth for advocacy.
This is where Orange County Mountain Bike Association was born.
We are beyond stoked to combine the two chapters with a strong foundation and history of contribution, but we want to do so much more. Now we can direct our larger strength not just to support mountain biking but also to advocate for MTB. Our focus is now to protect and expand trail access in Southern California.
We’ve got lots going on and Orange County mountain bikers have a big part to play in what we do.
We continue with our trail work and etiquette contributions.
We are improving our reach and communications by building a single database of the entire Orange County ridership.
We are building a knowledgebase of the various trail systems and the prevailing land management agreements that define them.
Strength will come from combining within Orange County, but also being strongly tied at the state level via CAMTB, and nationally with our friends at IMBA. We’re aiming to make better political connections reaching out to the Orange County Supervisor run-off candidates for their support on expansion to support outdoor activities.
If you are reading this blog, you know rolling on two wheels in the great outdoors is one of the best experiences anyone can have. It gets better when you do it with friends and the confidence that you all came together to protect access to the trail systems we enjoy.
OCMTBA is honored to have a little to do with this, to keep and grow mountain bike access and to connect the amazing people we call our MTB friends. We can’t wait to share with you what comes next. We’re thrilled to know we’ll be greeting you on our amazing trails as co-conspirators in making MTB the amazing thing it has become for Orange County, California!