LAS VEGAS, NV (BRAIN)—IMBA yesterday unveiled a major initiative to build a network of state-of-the-art mountain bike facilities. The organization introduced its Ride Centers program at an industry breakfast during Interbike.
“It’s community, it’s partnerships, it’s taking what IMBA has learned and building the best trails and riding experience you can imagine,” said Mike Van Abel, IMBA’s executive director, adding that IMBA will focus its expertise like a laser on these models.
More than 120 industry leaders, members of IMBA’s board and staff and key partners in the planning and development of the facilities attended the breakfast. Bob Holmes, of Winter Park resort, and Cimarron Chacon, a trail-planning expert, spoke about the benefits IMBA Ride Centers offer to communities, and the roles that public and private partners will play in developing the centers.
Steve Flagg, owner of Quality Bicycle Products, and Rebecca Anderson, advocacy director for Trek Bicycle, also shared their perspective on how companies can support IMBA as industry partners.
Board president Hill Abell said the IMBA board developed the concept during a strategic planning session held at Crankbrothers last year.
“IMBA is uniquely positioned to build these centers,” Abell said. “As a non-profit, we can facilitate partnerships between private industry and public land agencies, allowing us to build model trail networks on an unprecedented scale, and of unprecedented quality.”
IMBA Ride Centers will be extensive trail networks, masterfully designed for mountain bikers of every skill level and built by professional trailbuilders. They will serve as social and educational hubs, where visitors can connect and learn new riding techniques.
Scott Linnenburger, field programs director, said the ride centers will bridge the gap between new cyclists and longtime riders by offering a range of mountain biking experiences.
Locations will be contingent on partners at the federal, state and private level. IMBA’s network of 750 affiliated clubs and patrols units will play a vital role in the program. IMBA Ride Center locations will integrate the volunteer stewardship of these groups, resulting in self-sustaining trail systems that are maintained and nurtured by their constituents.
Five IMBA Ride Center projects are already in development in Cuyuna Lakes, Minnesota; Fraser Valley, Colorado; Long Valley, Idaho; Santos Trails, Florida; and Uwharrie Mountains, North Carolina.