25 Things IMBA Did for You in 2012
Press Release 1-7-2013
Contact mark [dot] eller [at] imba [dot] com (Mark Eller)
IMBA Communications Director
Twenty five — it's a number you'll be seeing a lot of from IMBA this year as we celebrate our founding in 1988. To get the silver anniversary year underway we'll start with a look at some of last year's successes:
IMBA's grassroots network of chapters and clubs is the association's greatest strength. In 2012, we spent more than $1 million on services and programs that directly support the advocacy, membership and other needs of local affiliates. Eight region directors enhanced mountain biking in distinct U.S. territories, and an impressive $165K in cash went directly to IMBA's chapters in shared membership revenue. IMBA's regional program received support from the SRAM Cycling Fund in 2012.
IMBA’s Trail Building Fund, with major investment from Trek and member donations, provides grants, directed by IMBA Regional Directors, to chapters and clubs needing the services of IMBA Trail Solutions. TBF grants allow groups to hire IMBA Trail Specialists to kick start projects by assessing proposed trail corridors, drafting detailed site plans for bike parks or machine-building trails and bike parks.
IMBA Trail Solutions is the international leader in developing singletrack trails, with staff based in four countries and nine U.S. states. In 2012, the professional trailbuilders had their best year yet, working with IMBA clubs and chapters and land managers around the world to build, design and consult.
A survey conducted in 2012 of IMBA’s chapters and clubs, in conjunction with REI and Leisure Trends Group, documented a powerful devotion to pubic service. We estimate that the total population of 750 chapters/clubs was responsible for 707,102 hours of volunteer work in 2011, representing a contribution worth more than $15 million to public lands.
IMBA's Public Lands Initiative, with 46 campaigns in 14 states and several national initiatives, offers new resources to promote a bicycle-friendly approach toward our nation’s legacy of public lands protection. Actions include tracking land management plans, promoting pro-bicycling policies and identifying high-priority trails across the nation and working to keep them open to mountain bikes. The Public Lands Initiative has received lead investment from Specialized to continue this important work in 2012-2013.
In May 2012, IMBA Europe was officially established as a non-governmental organization with the European Union. Representatives from 12 countries joined to sign the "Constitutional Deed," making IMBA Europe the third funded and staffed offshoot of IMBA U.S., alongside IMBA Canada and IMBA Australia. IMBA's 2012 developmental work in Europe has been supported by the SRAM Cycling Fund. Recent projects include a trail building school in Athens, Greece with the Hellenic Mountain Bike Association.
Patrick Kell, in the Southwest, and Andy Williamson, in the Great Lakes region. joined peers in the Mid-Atlantic, Pacific Northwest, Rocky Mountain, Southeast and the Upper Midwest regions. Each region director is dedicated to serving the needs of grassroots mountain biking organizations and working with land managers, city planners and government officials in their area.
By the end of 2012, the ranks of IMBA’s chapters had swelled to more than 100, strengthening both local and national mountain bike advocacy efforts. Chapter leaders gathered at IMBA' Santa Fe World Summit to plan for continued growth during the second chapter congress meeting.
Thanks to the combined efforts of IMBA and its grassroots network of outspoken mountain bikers, the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) was reauthorized for two years. An $85 million program, RTP strongly benefits mountain bikers and funds the development and maintenance of thousands of trail miles.
In July, the National Park Service announced changes designed to expand opportunities for mountain biking in parks nationwide. IMBA and the NPS have held a formal partnership agreement since 2005, and since then IMBA had lobbied for this change. The new rule provides park staff with a more streamlined administrative process and localized decision-making about where the best opportunities for mountain biking exist.
Over the next several years, thanks to a grant from Shimano and with participation from IMBA clubs, chapters and advocates, IMBA aims to document both the great singletrack and the human stories of the nation’s best trails. In 2012, IMBA hired a mapping specialist and began an effort to both document IMBA Epics and train clubs and chapters to participate in the mapping project at a grassroots level.
IMIC is the industry-leading mountain bike certification provider, founded by former professional mountain bike racer Shaums March. At the IMBA World Summit in October, IMBA announced a merger with IMIC and plans to being providing training and certification for mountain bike skills instructors in 2013.
IMBA’s Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day is a worldwide initiative to get kids on bikes and in the dirt. In 2012, IMBA clubs and chapters took an estimated 10,000 kids riding the first weekend of October 2012.
IMBA’s sixth biennial World Summit ran from Oct. 9-13, 2012, in Santa Fe, NM with major support from the Federal Highway Administration and Bikes Belong Coalition. The international mountain bike advocacy, educational and networking gathering opened at full capacity, with 350 delegates registered for the three-day program, 100 additional attendees signed up for pre-conference sessions and at least 10 countries represented.
Sixteen IMBA staff and 62 IMBA members from 22 states represented the mountain bike movement in Washington, D.C., at the National Bike Summit in March, attended by more than 800 cycling advocates.
In June, IMBA launched its first-ever publication dedicated to young mountain bikers, IMBA Trail News Youth Edition, thanks to a generous grant from Shimano.
The Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew, sponsored by The North Face, Trek and Yakima, travelled about 15,000 miles in 2012, covering 22 states and working in 51 unique locations. The crew left behind best practices for sustainable trailbuilding and group organization for clubs, how to manage mountain bikers for land managers, and the economic and wellness benefits of natural surface trails for city officials.
IMBA issued 17 action alerts in 2012, ranging from alerting mountain bikers in Michigan and Pennsylvania to potential changes in each state’s trails funding, to calling for comments to protect or allow mountain biking in southern California’s national forests, in Saguaro National Park (AZ) and on a Colorado portion of the Continental Divide Trail, among others.
IMBA and its partners Clif Bar, HuckNRoll (now CompetetiveCyclist.com) and USA Cycling together provided 15 grant opportunities to IMBA chapters and clubs, totaling $9,800. The grant money will directly benefit trails on the ground.
The IMBA honorary board of directors is comprised of high-profile public figures and athletes who endorse and publicly support IMBA's mission to create, enhance and preserve great trail experiences.
Team IMBA riders in the southeast region have raised more than $5000 for local trail projects. One member of the Triangle Off-Road Cyclists, a SORBA chapter, has used his personal campaign page to raise more than $3,000 in donations for TORC and the IMBA Trail Building Fund. More than a dozen SORBA riders have joined together under the Team IMBA banner at races, events and parties to benefit their local trails and support IMBA in the southeast.
Each year, IMBA recognizes outstanding mountain bike trails and locations with Model Trails awards. The goal of the Model Trails program is to inspire and inform, so we all have more great places to ride. In 2012, IMBA designated four new Ride Centers, eight additional Epic rides and four new Flow Country trails.
IMBA Trail Solutions, COGGS (IMBA Chapter in Duluth, MN) and Spirit Mountain put on the first Flow Trail Building School, a high-level, three-day master class in Duluth that focused on gravity-fed trails. Thirty-one people from six states attended the event, which was conceived and requested by Upper Midwest IMBA Chapters.
The MOU states that the USFS is “interested in providing a variety of mountain bicycling opportunities that are environmentally sensitive, financially sustainable, educational, supportive of local and regional economies and aligned with goals of enhancing quality of life in the communities and public at large.” The document acknowledges that IMBA-SORBA and its affiliates are the best partners with which to accomplish those goals.
The Monterrey Off Road Cycling Association (MORCA), an IMBA chapter in California, successfully petitioned President Obama to designate 15,000 acres of federal lands as the Fort Ord National Monument, both permanently protecting the land and preserving mountain bike access to 86 miles of trail. IMBA's advocacy work in California receives major support from Specialized and FOX Racing Shox.