Guest Author - Sharry Miller
Fall leaves crunch under your tires. Dew sparkles on new spring grass. Multicolored flowers brighten a summer day. You fly down hills and swoop along sinuous single-track. Desert mesas, high mountain passes, and valley meadows can all catch your attention. No matter where you like to mountain bike, there’s something wonderful in nature to capture your attention. The International Mountain Bicycling Association is working to ensure that these opportunities continue for all of us.
The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) is a non-profit organization that has been promoting mountain biking since 1988 by focusing on low-impact riding, volunteer trail-work participation, cooperation among different trail user groups, grassroots advocacy, and innovative trail management solutions. With chapters and clubs across America and around the world, IMBA excels at getting people to work together to ensure that we can all access nature’s wonders far into the future.
IMBA is a member-supported organization and boasts as supporters 35,000 individuals, 750 bike clubs, 160 corporate partners and 600 retail shops in all 50 states, most Canadian provinces and in over 30 countries. IMBA’s main U.S. website (www.imba.com) has links to IMBA websites in Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Norway, Republic of Ireland, South Africa, Spain, The Czech Republic and The Netherlands.
IMBA does its work through a variety of programs:
- The Destinations program provides great ideas and resources for bike-related travel.
- Through the Government Affairs program, IMBA helps to craft well-reasoned, bike-friendly public policy.
- The Model Trails program classifies existing trails as Epics, Flow Country Trails, Gateway Trails and Ride Centers, making it easy to find quality trails perfect for the type of riding you want to do.
- The National Mountain Bike Patrol program helps to establish, certify and operate patrols and trail ambassador programs.
- Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crews teach volunteers sustainable trail design while building and maintaining trails.
- Team IMBA volunteer riders set fundraising goals to support IMBA and have raised over $100,000 in four seasons, as well as bringing in over $150,000 in matching grants.
To bring people together to work on issues of interest to mountain bikers around the world, IMBA hosts a biennial International World Summit. Last held in Georgia in 2010, this summit brought mountain biking advocates, land managers, trail builders, park planners, tourism officials and the bike industry together for collaboration, planning, and celebration. Topics included trail building, advocacy, youth, and new programs designed to grow local capacity for IMBA’s global network.
IMBA also is a partner in sponsoring the League of American Bicyclists’ annual National Bike Summit. This summit is the premier bicycle advocacy event in Washington, D.C. It brings cyclists from all over the country together to influence lawmakers and share strategies. IMBA's involvement helps ensure that mountain and road cyclists are working together to lobby as a unified front.
To encourage our young people to live healthier through cycling, IMBA sponsors a Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day each fall. In 2011, IMBA pledged to get 30,000 kids riding on October 1 as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative. Although the number of kids who did participate wasn’t reported on IMBA’s website, it did say that there were over 230 events around the globe.
If you’d like to learn more about IMBA, become a member or donate to their Trail Access and Trail Building Funds, check out their website at www.imba.com.
Ride safe and have fun!