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IMBA's seventh World Summit kicks off in Northwest Arkansas this week

Published November 10, 2016

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (BRAIN) — Hundreds of industry representatives, from local, regional and national trail advocates and ambassadors to media and CEOs, from all over the country are gathering in Bentonville, located in Arkansas' Ozark mountains, this week for three days to share stories and plan the future of mountain biking.

For the first time in the IMBA World Summit's history, the event is sold out and has a record number of sponsoring brands and organizations. The Summit also has a waiting list of more than 60 people.

The Summit started on Wednesday with access to the event expo and a preview ride on Bentonville's newest trail network. A handful of skills clinics, including a women's ride presented by event sponsor Liv, were also held. The region has five trails designated as IMBA Epic rides and a growing network of purpose-built mountain bike trails.

And, at a welcome reception held Wednesday, IMBA announced it has elected board member and former pro mountain bike racer Dave Wiens as chairman of its board of directors. Wiens addressed an audience of more than 500 Summit attendees for the first time as board chair, and introduced a number of speakers throughout the evening.

“I’ve been an IMBA member for a long time. I certainly have not known the organization intimately but I’ve gone to now four World Summits and have been immersed in advocacy on the local level certainly in Colorado, so I’ve gotten some pretty good background,” Wiens said. “I feel like IMBA’s done so much great work out there and one thing we want to do is make sure we are telling our story.”

Highlights from the Summit agenda include sessions held at various venues in downtown Bentonville that will address e-MTBs and the question of trail access, the impact on the environment and what the future holds for their use on natural trails, as well as a clarification of IMBA's current stance on e-bikes. The question of allowing bikes into wilderness areas will also be debated during a panel discussion on Friday.

Other sessions will cover an array of topics from bikepacking and mountain bike tourism to coaching and how to fund trail projects.

To see the full event schedule, visit Look for more coverage from the IMBA Summit in the December 1 issue of Bicycle Retailer.

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