IMBA World Summit in Santa Fe
What an incredible experience. Eleven of BMA's MVVs (Most Valuable Volunteers) made the trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico to attend the IMBA World Summit from October 8 - 13.
IMBA has posted notes from many of the sessions. Want to see a snapshot of what we saw? Check out the notes in the right-hand collumn here: http://www.imba.com/world-summit/resources
Here's some thoughts from the attendees:
It was late 2011 when the IMBA World Summit was announced at Santa Fe. I immediately began my plan to get as many of BMA's most awesome volunteers to this conference. Not only would they have a blast riding in a new place, but the sessions and conversations they would have with mountain bikers from around the world would energize and excite the passion already within these people.
I have to say, we came, we rode, we drank, we soaked up tons of ideas to make Boulder Mountainbike Alliance the most awesome organization it can be. Our trails will reap the rewards for years to come. I also had a very excellent time. IMBA is transforming, and BMA is already moving to the next level. More to come on this subject; but rest assured, it's going to be excellent!
Oh yeah, and we didn't sleep much.
The IMBA World Summit in Santa Fe was a compelling experience. We collaborated with other bike advocates from across the country and across the ocean about common challenges and common opportunities. The good news for BMA members is that here in Boulder I can honestly tell you that your fellow volunteers that showed up in Sante Fe (and quite a few who couldn't) are doing amazing things to turn your membership dollars into trails on the ground. Valmont Bike Park was a big topic of conversation - truly a game changer for the mountain biking community.
We also learned quite a bit about what IMBA is doing for the national and international mountain biking movement. That's right - you are part of a movement. It was crystal clear from this summit (compared to my first in 2006) that mountain bikers are pushing the limits of trail design, bike parks, good natural resource management, grass-roots community organization, social media engagement, and more. Some of this is a direct result of the long term vision that IMBA brings to the table, but a lot of it is due to each of you - the volunteers and contributors who make running BMA possible and a rewarding experience. Oh, and did I mention that your BMA standard bearers made you Boulder proud both in ripping sweet trail and beer consumption? We are mountain bikers after all!
I was fortunate enough to join the BMA board members in attending the IMBA World Summit from October 8-14th. We car pooled down to Sante Fe, NM and brought our bikes and some Dales Beer. The experience for me was both revealing and reassuring. As a business member of BMA, it was important to see the inner workings of the BMA board in action as well as the greater goals of IMBA. We rode, we worked, we partied (not necessarily in that order). If anyone reading this can ever get to the Taos, Sante Fe, Los Alamos region to ride their mountain bikes, you should go. Epic awesome terrain from desert singletrack, to Moab style slickrock, to high alpine forest grooving awaits you all within 1 hour of each other.
I came away knowing the Boulder community is served by a super passionate group who understands the challenges we face. We face the issue of limited hard to get access places to ride our bikes while most other groups are looking for ways to spend their time and money to build more trails. Boulder has the volunteers and the membership base to make other groups jealous, while they have the space and approval for more trails. IMBAs efforts are to create a single unified voice while working to understand the specific needs of each community. They are focused on the greater goal of more access and responsible use.
Thanks to BMA members and the board for all you do. Your efforts really do make a difference.
The 2012 IMBA Summit was a wild success for me. The learning sessions and Ted-style presentations were fantastic - I learned about inspiring volunteers, engaging local riders, and how to present trails as a positive resource for our community. I learned much to improve our already stellar club.
But more than that, I'm excited that I capitalized on multiple opportunities to strengthen relationships within the local cycling community, within BMA leadership, all while riding bikes and having a tremendously good time. Our current BMA crew is rad!
The IMBA World Summit was a unique and interesting experience. It was good for me to see the social side of BMA in a setting that wreaked of pride. We have managed to create a focused group of people with a fairly singular goal in mind, "continually trying to make a better mountain bike experience in Boulder County" (and beyond). I was happy to hear our board share their mindset on how that should happen going forward. All had somewhat varying opinions on how that should happen and where the emphasis should lie but the over-riding message was the same.
I was also glad to have gained more knowledge on how we can put more trails on the ground. The breakout sessions offered good knowledge from presenters that have walked the walk. I was able to gain valuable info about how to leverage grant monies, new trail building techniques and learning how to engage a younger subset of riders. I'm sure this info will prove to be invaluable in the future. Thanks to BMA and its members for providing these opportunities. I'm hopeful we'll be putting this new knowledge on the ground soon in Boulder County.
Having never been to a conference focused entirely on bicycle advocacy, I came into this year's IMBA Summit with an open mind, looking to absorb as much information as possible. After a solid week of being surrounded by the most passionate group of people I have ever had the privilege of riding with, I left with a newfound outlook and respect for the trail. I am looking forward to helping BMA carry out our vision to Build, Ride and Preserve trail access here in Boulder County by applying what I learned at this year's summit. Here's to looking forward to the miles ahead!
Thank you BMA for supporting a trip to Santa Fe for the IMBA World Summit! It was an fantastic time all around. The trails were amazing, the knowledge gained was and is inspiring, and the networking was a ton of fun. It seems that mountain bikers around the world are just as lively, beer appreciating, and motivated as the ones here in Boulder. Who knew?! :) As we move forward as an organization, I would love for BMA to look beyond mountain bike trails as the end goal. The trails should be the conduit used to preserve our open spaces, to get people off their couches into nature, and to build healthier communities. Let's place emphasis on the "Preserve" in our tagline, and I feel we'll have more success getting the trails that we love.
There were many recurrent themes during the breakout sessions and speeches I attended. Those that presented, from both urban and rural environments, all found success with partnerships and collaboration. I was amazed at how many communities were getting awesome mountainbike specific trails built by committees largely comprised of non-mountain biking enthusiasts. The mountain bike organizations were able to gain the support of community members and other groups by focusing on incentives for the collaborator, as well as their own. I think it's imperative that we wear our happy faces, play nice with everyone, work hard, collaborate with typically anti-bike groups, drink lots of beer, and know that a positive outcome may not come quickly, but it will if we act with integrity and positive attitudes along the way.
The other thing I learned? Staying up drinking tequila until 6am to get an early morning ride in, is not a good idea. Happy Trails!
Post IMBA World Summit and I love bikes even more! The Summit sessions and informal chats with other bike clubs and IMBA staffconfirmed our hunch that mountain biking is on the rise. Kids are riding, high schoolers are racing mountain bikes, and parents are dusting off their bikes and trying to keep up. Conservationists, wellness advocates, industry leaders, beer companies and tourism professionals are all partnering with mountain bike groups. With the mainstreaming of outdoor recreation, the mountain bike is growing in popularity and trails are being recognized as a mark of a healthy, vibrant community.
Over trailside beers and margs at the hacienda, we debated how BMA should ride this rising tide and become a stronger, more influential organization. Some things are clear: fun must remain a priority, more partnerships are in order, our volunteers are golden, and its time to strategize about fundraising. We floated ideas we'd heard for new revenue sources, events/programs, and volunteer recruitment/retention and strategized about "professionalization" - about hiring staff to ramp up BMA's efforts to improve the Boulder riding experience and stoke our local mtb tribe. It may take a few more beers and rides together, but I'm confident BMA's board will get us there and we'll have our Santa Fe jaunt to thank for the inspiration.
I was blown away by the energy level of the board, how intelligent, passionate and fired up they were whether it was on the bike (we got to ride some amazing rides - some of them 3x) discussing seminars, and going out on the town. We had the time and space to bond as a board and talk about what it will take to get BMA to the next level. It was also very exciting to meet other trail advocates from around the country and world who are fighting the good fight and share ideas.
Great time, great fun, great board…now I need some sleep…
What a large tent we have! From heritage trails in Alaska, peace making events in Isreal, hardcore RedBull riders, and this 66 year old out trailing the younger set on the trail, we're out there enjoying our time on our bikes and in the environment--natural and man-made. We are a positive force for connecting folks with nature and appreciating the great outdoors.
Thanks BMA for making it possible for many of the board members to attend the IMBA World Summit. I'm certain that we will give back in equal measure making BMA an even stronger advocate for cycling here at home in Boulder.