IMBA Trail Labs
Trail Labs are in-depth workshops designed to catalyze the next generation of great places to ride mountain bikes. Attendees will learn what it takes to create a model trail community and return home with the knowledge and guidance for how to make it happen. Bentonville, Arkansas, a silver-level IMBA Ride Center, is the current host community for Trail Labs.
Due to ongoing concerns over the Covid-19 pandemic, Fall 2020 Trail Labs is moving to an online learning environment. More information about the virtual conference and registration details will be available soon.
Want to create a great place to ride? We can help.
IMBA Trail Labs are two-day intensive workshops during which IMBA staff, trail industry experts and local stakeholders lead participants through the recipe for a model community trail system: planning, design, building, activation, promotion and measuring success. Attendees will also get a firsthand look at components of an intentional and diverse mountain bike trails community.
Individuals best-suited to attend the workshops are land managers, community officials, recreation professionals and tourism/economic development staff. In addition to helping you understand the benefits of trails and the experiences desired by mountain bikers, we will provide the knowledge you need to get started making great trails happen locally and help you identify the next steps needed to bring more trails to your own backyards.
Why NW Arkansas?
Arkansas is home to three IMBA Ride Centers (including Bentonville) and five IMBA EPICS. Not only do the Ozarks provide a beautiful landscape for creating trails, multiple cities and towns have embraced integrating mountain bike trail systems into their communities in ways that serve as models for locations nationwide.
Why Trail Labs?
“We attended IMBA Trail Labs to learn about mountain biking. We sort-of know about trails, but they’re a relatively new thing to us. We’re excited about economic development and a healthier lifestyle and, really importantly, the quality of life that trails close to home will provide."
— Steve Arrison, Visit Hot Springs Arkansas CEO
What to expect: a sample schedule
Day one theme: The model trail recipe
- Why mountain bike trails?
- What are sustainable trails?
- Visioning and community planning
- Building a dream team of experts
- Understanding the planning process
- Gaining project support and funding
- Developing the desired mountain biking experience
- What level of design detail is needed
- Impact of operations and maintenance in design
- Signage and risk management
- Phasing your plan
- Finalizing the design and balancing desires with reality
- Working with volunteers and professionals
- Construction contracting
- Crafting procedural documentation
- Trail network public opening checklist
Afternoon tour of various mountain biking facilities, followed by an optional group ride and dinner on your own. (There will be no trail building.)
Day two theme: If you build it, will they come?
- Creating a plan for sustainability
- Developing a programming strategy to take full advantage of the trails
- Celebrating the grand opening
- Adding natural-surface trail elements for spice
- Activating and engaging partners
- Developing new riders
- Getting community support for the project
- Developing maps and websites
- Hosting events, festivals and races
- Evaluating the impact of the trail facility
- Trail counters and on-site surveys
- Tracking volunteer hours
- Data collection and management
- Using data to improve the trail system
Afternoon tour of various mountain biking facilities, followed by an afternoon interactive session where attendees will begin to draft a plan for their community’s trail project while considering the six core ingredients (plan, design, build, activate, promote, measure).
Trail Labs Sponsors
Generous local sponsors bring Trail Labs to their communities, to showcase the success they have experienced by investing in trails.
Mountain biking is my sanity. Since that first day on a bike that I still remember, being on two wheels has always brought me deep joy. There is a certain peace that comes over me while I am on my bike. I think it is not only the riding, but also just being outdoors. For me this is everything. The best part of it is that I get to work toward helping more people get on bikes. I think everyone should have a chance to feel this way!Meet our team
Executive Vice President