LAS VEGAS, NV (BRAIN)--The International Mountain Biking Association drew its usual standing-room-only crowd for its yearly update on dirt projects, advocacy work and future initiatives.
IMBA executive director Mike Van Abel, board of directors president Bob Winston and League of American Bicyclists president Andy Clarke spoke about the past year’s progress as retailers and industry folks sipped coffee from IMBA reusable mugs and gobbled down fruit and egg sandwiches.
With industry financial support totaling about half of IMBA’s $6 million annual budget, the nonprofit pushed the ball forward on key projects like protecting Colorado’s roadless lands—wild places that still allow mountain biking—and the construction of trails in West Virginia’s New River Gorge National Park, one result of more than a decade’s work between IMBA and the National Park Service to allow trails in the nation’s public parks.
“This is a really big deal,” he said. “It’s a big deal for access. It’s a big deal for sustainability and the future of the sport.”
Also this year, the IMBA-supported Valmont Bike Park opened in Boulder, Colorado, creating a model for other communities looking to integrate purpose-built trails and skills learning centers as an amenity to local residents and visitors.
“I suspect within two to three years, we’ll no longer be able to say this is the only place like this in the world,” van Abel said after showing video highlights from the park, which opened June 11.
Van Abel introduced two of three new IMBA board members inducted this year—SRAM’s David Zimberoff and Yeti’s Chris Conroy. A third, non-industry member, Jim Grover, also joined the board this year. IMBA has also created a new honorary board of directors designed to recognize well-known members of the industry whose association with IMBA will pull in new members, sponsors and donations. Incepting members of the honorary board include Trek president John Burke, SRAM founder and president Stan Day, Specialized founder and president Mike Sinyard and high-profile racers Rebecca Rusch, Dave Wiens, Hans Rey, Levi Leipheimer, Lance Armstrong and Juliana Furtado.
Van Abel capped the fifth annual breakfast by announcing that the 2012 IMBA World Summit will be held Oct. 10 to 13 in Sante Fe, New Mexico. LAB’s Clarke recognized new bicycle-friendly businesses and bicycle-friendly cities honored by the league this year, and promoted the National Bike Summit scheduled for March 20-22 next year in Washington, D.C.