AUGUSTA, GA (BRAIN)—A big topic of conversation at this year’s International Mountain Bicycling Association World Summit were bike clubs, and how they can work more closely with retailers and IMBA itself.
The Summit took place in Augusta, Georgia from May 5 – 8. There were 250 delegates in attendance, down 100 from two years ago in Park City, Utah, according to IMBA communications manager Mark Eller. Two years prior to Park City, the Summit was held in Whistler, British Columbia. “Those places are resorts,” he said on why he thought attendance was down a bit.
Topics of conversation at this year’s Summit included trailbuilding, advocacy, youth and new programs designed to grow local capacity for IMBA’s global network.
Two featured speakers at this year’s Summit were SRAM vice president of product and marketing Mike Mercuri and cycling legend Hans Rey. “They both did a great job,” Eller said.
Mercuri also serves as board treasurer for Bikes Belong and guides SRAM's programs to advance bicycling opportunities for people around the world.
"IMBA is perceived as a reliable partner and a leading organization in places like Washington, D.C.," Mercuri told the delegates. "IMBA does what it promises to do, and you back everything up with sweat equity." SRAM is an Above and Beyond-level corporate sponsor of IMBA; several other bicycle advocacy groups receive generous funding through the SRAM Cycling Fund. "We have committed $10 million to cycling advocacy in a five-year period," said Mercuri. SRAM also funds efforts to introduce bicycles to impoverished nations through the World Bicycle Relief program.
After Mercuri's keynote address, delegates attended a variety of breakout sessions throughout the morning, with topics ranging from how clubs can apply for federal funding, to recreation ecology and youth cycling programs. The day concluded with guided group rides on local trails, including a tour of the Forks Area Trail System—better known as FATS. Named an IMBA Epic in 2008, FATS offers 25 miles of swooping turns and rolling hills in South Carolina's Sumter National Forest.