SUM MER 2011
Cuyuna Lakes earns Ride Center status Special Feature: August playbook for advocacy
Hans Rey checks out Cuyunaâ€™s flow trails.
Love at First Flight When Kids and Bikes Collide
f the riders gathered during the opening day of Valmont Bike Park — the $3.2 million bike-wonderland in Boulder, Colorado — one group stood out from the rest, probably because most of the them were recently in diapers. Hordes of people watched professional riders taunt gravity on the slopestyle and jump lines, while more than a few silver-haired cyclists explored the cross-country trails. But it was the pint-sized peloton circling the “tot lot” that drew the biggest crowd. Everyone was delighted to watch knee-high tykes pedal and kick their way around the paved figure-8, with its tiny rollers and even tinier berms. Parents lined the edges of the track, filling the air with cheers like, “Great job,” “Allez” and occasionally, “Stop picking your nose!” The crowd quickly grew beyond just parents as the Lilliputian riders drew in every person who passed their bike escapades. Every inch surrounding the tot track was quickly filled with people sharing a single characteristic — each wore the kind of comforting smile you get when you catch a whiff of your grandmother’s pecan pie or realize it’s a three-day weekend. Even a cocky teenager in too-tight jeans paused to opine, “Wow. That’s awesome.” That morning, I watched my two-year-old son go from distrusting his new bike with only two wheels to spending hours doing increasingly confident laps of the tot track. As we rolled around the rest of the park, his attention was quickly drawn to the dirt jumps. I soon found myself scared senseless as I watched my son straddle his kick-bike and hang his front wheel over the edge of a rugged mountain. Except the mountain was actually a dirt hill. Okay, fine. It was a mound of dirt — a very tall and treacherous three-foot mound of dirt. I was worried, but it wasn’t out of fear that he’d hurt himself; after all, experience has proven that he’s 63 percent rubber and 37 percent dumb luck. Instead, thoughts of injury were superseded by a much bigger fear: What if he wrecked and decided he hated riding his bike? With his red firefighter helmet protecting his wispy-haired noggin, he raised his feet and began rolling. I fought the urge to hold onto him and clenched my teeth as he expertly coasted down the hill before coming to a complete stop – in the bushes. There he transformed from a diminutive cyclist into a tiny pile of bike, brush and bewilderment. He quickly found me with his big eyes — the kind of big eyes that precede the ear-piercing wailing at which toddlers are so adept. His mouth opened, but what came out was the broken language of toddler pride. “Mommy! I go downhill! Downhill!” he announced repeatedly, just in case I’d somehow missed his wheeled exploit. My fear now abated by his excitement, I stood in a dirt-sea of serenity. Try as we might, it’s hard to stop kids from enjoying their bikes. With IMBA’s annual Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day on the horizon, many of us are already planning events we hope will make kids fall in love with mountain biking. Watching the kids at Valmont Bike Park, from the ones in diapers to the ones with day jobs and children (or grandchildren) of their own, a simple truth emerged: Kids naturally fall in love with bikes. Our job is simply to make the introduction. – Kristin Butcher
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kristin Butcher (AKA “The Butcher”) contributes regularly to IMBA Trail News and to a host of other publications. She is an alumnae of the Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew program.
IMBA Trail News
Summer 2011, Volume 24, Number 2
IMBA creates, enhances and preserves great trail experiences for mountain bikers worldwide. Board of Directors Hill Abell, Austin, TX Elayna Caldwell, Santa Cruz, CA Blair Clark, Ketchum, ID Chris Conroy, Golden, CO Jay Franklin, Powder Springs, GA James Grover, Matthews, NC Chris Kegel, Hales Corner, WI David Treinis, Alta, WY Robert Winston, Carlsbad, CA David Zimberoff, Chicago, IL STaff Tiffanie Beal, Membership Services Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org Jason Bertolacci, Marketing/Database Manager, email@example.com Chris Bernhardt, Director of Consulting Services, firstname.lastname@example.org Tony Boone, Trail Specialist, email@example.com Terry Breheny, Events Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org Richard Cook, Development Director, email@example.com Jenn Dice, Government Affairs Director, firstname.lastname@example.org Tammy Donahugh, Trail Specialist, email@example.com Rich Edwards, Trail Solutions Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org Mark Eller, Communications Director, email@example.com Jeremy Fancher, PLI Legal Advisor, firstname.lastname@example.org Katherine Fuller, Field Programs Coordinator, email@example.com Dan Hudson, Trail Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org David Janowiec, Team IMBA Manager, email@example.com Hansi Johnson, Midwest Regional Director, firstname.lastname@example.org Rod Judd, Membership Manager, email@example.com Wendy Kerr, Development Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org Kristy Kibler, Government Affairs Coordinator, email@example.com Joey Klein, Trail Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org Ashley Korenblat, PLI Director, email@example.com Anna Laxague, Pacific Regional Director, firstname.lastname@example.org Chris Leman, Trail Specialist, email@example.com Frank Maguire, Mid-Atlantic Regional Director, firstname.lastname@example.org Stephen Mullins, Trail Specialist, email@example.com Tim Peck, Finance Director, firstname.lastname@example.org Rachael Raven, Canada Communications/Trail Care Crew, email@example.com Kerri Salazar, Operations Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org Tom Sauret, Southeast/SORBARegional Director, email@example.com Ryan Schutz, Affiliate Programs/Rocky Mountain Region, firstname.lastname@example.org Randy Spangler, Trail Specialist, email@example.com Mike Van Abel, Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org Tom Ward, IMBA CA Policy Advisor, email@example.com Jason Wells, Trail Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org Shane Wilson, Trail Specialist, email@example.com Lora Woolner, Canada Director, firstname.lastname@example.org Jill Van Winkle, Trail Specialist, email@example.com Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crews Jake Carsten and Jenny Abraham, firstname.lastname@example.org Morgan and Steve Lommele, email@example.com Designed by Sugar Design, Inc. Images and stories available for re-use by permission only.
PO Box 711 Boulder, CO 80306 USA ph 303-545-9011 fax 303-545-9026 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sun Valley Board Meeting IMBA’s board members gather in Idaho
MBA’s board of directors held the second of its three annual business meetings on June 24 in Sun Valley, Idaho. “It was a very productive meeting with a meaty agenda,” wrote IMBA Executive Director Mike Van Abel in a post-meeting blog entry. “That work included a review of IMBA’s current strategic plan — a topic we will revisit in another retreat this fall,” Van Abel continued. The meeting benefited from support from IMBA sponsors Smith Optics. The Sun Valley-based company hosted the board’s business meeting. Scott Bicycles lent their support to the board’s ride on Saturday. Another valued attendee was Steve McBee, the principal of McBee Strategic, a firm that represents IMBA in Washington, DC. Steve and his wife Jennifer Noland hosted the board for a wonderful dinner at their Sun Valley home. Van Abel’s blog post raised several important points about IMBA’s board of directors: • They serve as volunteers, traveling to meetings on their own time and their own dime. They also devote many additional hours to attend events like the National Bike Summit and other meetings. • The IMBA board includes a healthy mix of bike industry executives, professional bike advocates and enthusiasts who work outside of the bike industry. • They are mountain bikers! • They have a clear vision for growing and sustaining mountain biking, and their deliberations are done with the interests of IMBA members and supporters paramount in their minds. • Their optimism for the future is high. • IMBA board members are credible and trustworthy. • They are committed to leadership succession and being certain that as some directors complete their terms of service, there are new board members recruited and added to the board. “I am grateful to each of IMBA’s board members and have rarely, in more than 30 years of working with non-profit boards, been associated with such a committed, intelligent and strategically thoughtful group,” wrote Van Abel. The board also took time to confirm the addition of a new member: James Grover, from Matthews, N.C., increases the number of board members to 10. Read Van Abel’s entire blog post by visiting imba. com/blog.
Minnesota’s Cuyuna Lakes Trail System Awarded Ride Center Status
Working in close partnership with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists (MORC), IMBA recently helped open a major new cycling facility, the Cuyuna Lakes Ride Center. Located near the town of Crosby, the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area now offers more than 20 miles of purpose-built mountain bike trails. During the opening ceremonies on June 12, IMBA’s Executive Director announced that Cuyuna is the first cycling facility in the nation to be recognized under IMBA’s revised ride center recognition program. “We use the term ‘ride
center’ to celebrate largescale projects that offer outstanding trail design,” said Van Abel. “You’ll hear more about the ride center program in upcoming months, but for now Cuyuna stands as the first location to be recognized under IMBA’s new evaluation process.” Mountain bike legend Hans Rey attended the opening ceremonies, and later had a chance to sample the trails. “The Cuyuna Lakes trails are among the best XC trail network I have ridden — super flow-y and fun,” said Rey. “It’s good to see the Cuyuna trails spearheading this evolution of the sport. I loved the trails and riding and I’m sure it will do wonders for the local community and beyond. Everybody who helped this project can be proud of themselves,” said Rey. IMBA’s Van Abel offered
a recap of the partnerships and key players that helped make Cuyuna a reality in a recent blog post. IMBA Midest Regional Director Hansi Johnson contibuted another blog entry with praise for MORC, Minnesota DNR and other important players. Find both blog entries by visiting imba.com/ blog. Michele Barke, a Linn Area Mountain Bike Association (LAMBA) board member, sampled the trails and commented, “Our family had a blast — the boys could ride, my parents found trails they enjoyed, and Ken and I loved Bobsled. What a great system and a great experience.” The Cuyuna trails are professionally designed and constructed for consistent surface texture and width, inspiring confidence in entrylevel to intermediate riders. On the more challenging trails, advanced riders will enjoy higher speeds, jumps and bermed turns. Frequent optional lines allow skilled riders to tackle even bigger technical challenges. “There are very few spots on Midwest trails where you can ride with this kind of glide, flow with this kind of speed and carve your bike with this kind of confidence,” says Johnson. “Think of all the small sweet spots on your favorite trail system and then put that end-to-end for 25 miles.”
The trail system threads its way through numerous spring-fed lakes, so swimming, fishing, paddling and diving make for great post-ride activites. A paved trail that intersects the system provides an option for family members who may not want an off-road experience. The entire system is integrated into the small communities of Crosby and Ironton, with eateries and places to grab a post-ride beverage. Cuyuna’s Ride Center designation has inspired the Minnesota DNR to explore the potential for expanding the facility. The current trail system occupies only a small segment of the Cuyuna Lakes State Recreational Area. Officials are already discussing strategies for gaining goldlevel status in IMBA’s Ride Center recognition program. Additional gravity-based trails, similar to the recently built Sandhog and Bobsled lines, would be one of the steps that could push Cuyuna to an even higher level.
beautiful craftsmanship and giving a lot of character to the trails.”
IMBA, NPS and Boy Scouts Converge in West Virginia
There’s no better way to discover interesting landscapes than to get out on a trail. As the leaders in sustainable trail design, IMBA has worked closely with National Parks Service (NPS) staff at West Virginia’s New River Gorge National River to preserve critical habitats and design shared-use trails with minimal impact. Together, their collective vision is certain to result in a unique and diverse mountain bike trail system. Prior to laying out trails, IMBA met with NPS and identified rare plant communities, preferred wood rat habitat and desirable tree species for bats. The outcome of this careful planning will be trails that can provide healthy outdoor experiences for future generations while still protecting valuable natural resources. An exciting development this summer was the involvement of the Order of the Arrow Boy Scouts. Hundreds of Scouts will create up to a mile a day of high-quality, backcountry singletrack in this dense, lush Eastern landscape. The NPS hired IMBA’s Trail Solutions to “train the trainers,” preparing the crews to produce fun-toride trails built in accordance with IMBA’s guidelines. “The sheer manpower that the Boy Scouts are bringing to the project is amazing,” said Leslie Kehmeier, an IMBA Trail Solutions Specialist. “Beyond that, they are providing some
Pro-Bike Comments Submitted for Mammoth Cave Plans
IMBA recently used an Action Alert campaign to solicit public comments in support of a special regulation to designate four bicycle routes at Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave National Park. Staff from IMBA’s Public Lands Initiative team also submitted official comments on the same topic. Most people visit Mammoth Cave to see the incredible network of limestone caves. The additional trails will provide visitors the opportunity to experience the beauty of the surface landscape as well. The trail system has been designed to offer a range of opportunities that cater to riders of all skill levels and and engage them in a meaningful National Park experience. Trail plans at Mammoth Cave were developed through a collaborative public input process that considered the desires of different user groups and the needs of the park. The success of this project demonstrates the ability of trail users to work together and develop winwin solutions. Under the new regulation, two new trails — the Connector and Big Hollow — will be constructed for bicycle use, and the existing Mammoth Cave Railroad Bike and Hike and White Oak trails will be opened to bicycles.
Valmont Bike Park Opens in Colorado
A model facility for professionally designed and constructed cycling facilities, Valmont Bike Park recently opened in Boulder, Colo. Overseen and operated by the City of Boulder Parks and Recreation Department, the effort involved a variety of top-notch design, engineering and trailbuilding professionals. IMBA contributed key elements during the multi-year process of creating the 40-acre facility. Now open to the public, Valmont offers riding options that range from entry-level to experts-only features. Supporting amenities include comprehensive irrigation and drainage systems, public artwork (including an events plaza and a podium by Christian Muller), a restored 19th century farmhouse and parking for over 200 vehicles. Alpine Bike Parks conceived and designed the terrain parks, dual-slalom, pump tracks and dirt jumps. IMBA Trail Specialist Pete Webber designed the cross-country trails and cyclocross routes, and collaborated with Alpine Bike Parks on other elements of the park. Judd de Vall, the founder and principal owner of Alpine Bike Parks, describes the effort as a thoroughly collaborative process. “We were so fortunate to have the guidance of IMBA, BHA Design and J-2 Contracting on this project, and we were equally well-supported by the City of Boulder,” said de Vall. For a more detailed account of Valmont’s features and construction, visit imba.com/ news/valmont-opens-with5 video.
AD BICYCLYIN -RO G FF
IMBA-SORBA Welcomes SEGA-SORBA New Chapter Forming in Southeast Georgia By Paula Johns
Nestled in just off the Eastern seaboard of Georgia is the historic city of Savannah. In recent years, popular books and films have rendered Savannah as a popular vacation and tourist spot for both national and international travelers. Visitors are enraptured with its antique beauty, fascinating—and often provocative—history and Spanish Moss-draped architecture. Founded in 1733 and the oldest city in Georgia, Savannah is rightly lauded for its endearing ties to a different era. In 2011, however, Savannah is earning a spot on the map for something new: It is the anchor city for the recently formed IMBA-SORBA chapter, Southeast Georgia SORBA (SEGA-SORBA). SEGA-SORBA covers a sizeable portion of southeastern Georgia and the Low Country, including such counties as Chatham, Effingham, Evans, Bulloch and Bryan. The home trail system in Tom Triplett Park offers nine miles of tight and twisty singletrack through palmetto bushes, hanging vines and other coastal scenery. SEGA-SORBA trails reflect the features found on and near the beaches along which they’re located—white sand, gnarled roots, marshland views and lush foliage. On the other side of Chatham County sits Skidaway Island, home to over 10 miles of nearly tropical singletrack. And there’s more to come. A project is underway at Whitemarsh Island where SEGA-SORBA has gained permission to create a new trail system. Two sites in Evans and Effingham counties have also been reviewed for potential “dirt.” In the near future, local cyclists and Low Country visitors may have their choice of five different trail systems when they’re itching to pedal in the woods. With a growing list of contacts already exceeding 100 members, the backing of three local and very active bike shops, support from the forward-thinking Savannah Bicycle Campaign, and both established and prospective mileage on the map, SEGA-SORBA is well on its way to staking a claim for off-road cyclists in its area. If you’re planning a trip to the Savannah area, don’t forget to put your mountain bike on the rack. SEGA-SORBA has a unique coastal riding experience just waiting for you.
BUMP Adds New Singletrack to IMBA Epic Trail in Alabama By Kim Cross
On the heels of a trail expansion that earned Oak Mountain State Park’s trails in Pelham, Ala., a coveted IMBA Epic distinction in November 2010, the Birmingham Urban Mountain Pedalers (BUMP) announced plans to add 16 new miles of singletrack that will further evolve the park’s trail system. The original 17-mile Red Trail, home of the BUMP n’ Grind XC race, will transform from a single loop to a stacked-loop system, with seven loops of varying difficulty and multiple entry/exit points, which will create a multitude of options for riders of all levels. Individual sections of the trail will be developed with distinct personalities and textures, from an intermediate back-country trail with stunning views to a high-speed flow trail punctuated with jumps, drops and deliberate features. A handicap-accessible overlook trail will provide a wheelchair-friendly low-grade gravel path connecting the parking lot to a scenic overlook. The goal is to reduce congestion at parking areas and make the trail more accessible to beginner riders and other users. Just off the Red Trail loop, a pump track and skills park will be developed to complement the existing BMX track. Carefully constructed features – dirt jumps, log rides, skinnies, and other obstacles – will be built with mandatory fall zones, providing a controlled environment for learning and practicing new skills off-trail. The master plan will expand Oak Mountain’s trail system from its current 22 miles of trail (12 of which are singletrack) to 25 miles of true singletrack, further elevating the park to a mountain-biking destination worthy of regional and national note. Photos by Samuel Guss http://www.samuelgussphotography.com 6
In Their Own Words Kids comment on what mountain biking means to them
ith the seventh edition of IMBA’s Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day on the horizon (Oct. 1), we interviewed a smattering of kids and got their unique impressions of the sport. How fast can you ride?
Leo, age 3: I can ride faster than you, Dad. Sam, age 3: I can stand on my pedals and go very, very fast.
Rhys, age 6: Probably faster than I can run. What do you love most about riding
What do you enjoy about riding with your family?
Jess: The bikes put us all in such a good mood; we’re relaxed and happy!
Conlen, age 7: That you can talk to them. Rhys: Just being together with them. Why do we wear helmets?
Eoinn: If we crash, so we don’t get brain damage. Rhys: Because it keeps you safe. Sam: I don’t know.
Maysa, age 4: Riding down the hills. And going to pick flowers.
Jess, age 10: It makes me feel free, like I’m flying. It helps calm me down and gives me a good attitude.
Anneka, age 10: It feels good to be out in nature. What’s the best part about your bike?
Maysa, age 4: The pedals, because they pedal. Tatum, age 5: I like my basket because I can put my soccer ball in it.
Kaiden, age 6: My princess bell. I like ringing it when I pass other bikes and walkers on the trail. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve seen on a trail ride?
Jess: Creeks. I think they are interesting because water is a beautiful source of nature.
Rhys: I saw the splash of a big fish. Sam: I like to watch the jumping guys at the bike park. Eoinn, age 7: I got really close to a deer at the park. What would you say to kids who are just learning to bike?
Jess: I know it is hard at first but trust me, it’s totally worth it. Anneka: Try it! Even if you crash, still get up and keep going because it’s fun. Rhys: If you look straight ahead, it will keep you more balanced.
REGISTER YOUR TAKE A KID MOUNTAIN BIKING DAY EVENT IMBA will celebrate its seventh annual International Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011. This is a great opportunity for you to pass your passion for pedaling on to kids! There are many ways to participate. Events range from a few kids riding a neighborhood trail to larger festival-style events. IMBA offers web-based resources to help you lead a grassroots event, join an existing ride or help us promote the national movement. Visit imba.com/kids.
FIND THE AUGUST PLAYBOOK ONLINE In addition to this special feature story in IMBA Trail News, you can find interactive webinars and expanded versions of these resources online. Webinars will offer an opportunity to have your questions addressed by IMBA staff and will be held August 3 and 11. • How to request a meeting with a Member of Congress (or his/her staff); • Tips and guidelines on meeting structure and execution; • General talking points on our priority issues; and • Appropriate follow-up protocol to build the relationship with their local office. Visit imba.com/august-playbook tor the expanded resources. 3 WAYS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE Here are three steps you can take, based on the time you may have: • 1 Minute: Visit facebook.com/IMBAonFB and look for August Playbook updates. • 3 Minutes: Check out the web resources and “take action” links at imba.com/augustplaybook. • 1 Hour: Attend an already-scheduled public meeting with your congressional representative — try to bring up dedicated federal funding for bicycling if an appropriate opportunity arises. • 3 Hours: Schedule and attend a meeting at your congressional leader’s district office.
uring the month of August, members of Congress return home from Washington, DC, for a “district work period” to meet with their constituents and attend local events. This presents a great opportunity to reach them and their staffs to open (or strengthen) a discussion about what mountain bikers want. This special guide offers advice on how to schedule a meeting, which issues matter most to mountain bikers and how to follow up to maximize your results. You’ll find additional resources and advice online at imba. com/august-playbook. Don’t be dismayed if your request for a meeting doesn’t yield a sit-down with the Congresswoman or Congressman. Meeting with congressional staff can be just as effective because they are directly responsible for implementing the office’s legislative agenda and have expertise about the district and various priorities of the members. IMBA has had great success over the years building relationships with elected officials through DC-based outreach and events such as the National Bike Summit (NBS). But reaching members of Congress at home in their districts can be simpler and even more effective than arranging a meeting when they are in the nation’s capital. Preserving Federal Funding for Trails Without a doubt, the overarching national issue for mountain bikers this summer is preserving federal funding for trails. Both the House and the Senate have key initiatives that will eliminate dedicated funding for the Recreation Trails Program, Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to Schools. Now, more than ever, we need you to schedule a meeting this August. That’s not to say that state-specific projects and proposals shouldn’t also be a focus of your meetings, but because mountain bikers in all 50 states benefit from federal funding for bike trails and paths, it’s important to spend some time exploring this topic in your session. As this issue of IMBA Trail News goes to press, the situation looks desperate. Congressman John Mica of Florida, Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has outlined his plans for the new transportation bill and called for the elimination of dedicated funding for biking and walking programs, which he suggested, “do not serve a federal purpose.” In the Senate, James Inhofe of Oklahoma is leading a similar attack. A senior member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, Inhofe said that one of his top-three priorities for the next multi-year federal transportation bill is to eliminate “frivolous spending for bike trails.” If Representative Mica and Senator Inhofe — and the members of Congress who are inclined to follow their leads — prevail, dedicated funding for three crucial programs — Safe Routes to
August Playbook for Advocacy Influencing congressional leaders during their summer home stays
School, Transportation Enhancements and Recreational Trails — will be eliminated. The cost-effective federal investment in bicycling that is making our nation better will disappear. In addition to exploring state-specific issues, we urge all mountain bike advocates to ask for dedicated funding for bicycling programs in the federal transportation bill. Scheduling a Meeting with a Congressional Office Scheduling a meeting with a member of Congress or his/her staff in the District Office during recess (“district work period”) takes diligence and flexibility given the number of activities scheduled for a member during August. Make the request early, establish a point-of-contact in the office and provide the necessary follow-up to ensure that your request is received. Be ready to meet at an already scheduled event, in the district office, or consider inviting the member to hike a local trail, or invite them to a start off a race or festival. The following are suggested tips and recommendations to maximize chances of securing an effective meeting: • Fax and mail your request letter to the District Office – NOT the Washington, DC, office. All fax numbers and addresses can be found by accessing your Member of Congress’ website at: o house.gov/representatives o senate.gov/general/contact_information • Call the office to confirm they have received your meeting request. • State that the request is for a meeting with the member of Congress and his staff (so you can at least meet with staff if the member is unavailable). • You may be asked to email the request to a scheduler or fill out a scheduling form. • Establish a point of contact (the scheduler or other staff member) with whom you can check in during the scheduling process. Generally, meetings are scheduled in 30-minute time slots. Given the diverse range of issues handled in a congressional office, time slots may be limited.
Coordinate Your Meetings With IMBA
Please register your meeting at imba.com/august-playbook. IMBA will help you connect with others in your district who are interested in requesting a meeting.
THE RECREATIONAL TRAILS PROGRAM Active outdoor recreation contributes $730 billion annually to the U.S. economy (Outdoor Industry Foundation, 2006). You can tell congressional representatives with confidence that trails tourism is an important economic contributor for many cities and easy access to natural-surface trails improves quality of life for all Americans. The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is the key federal program that supports this growth because: • No federal funding program has done more for natural surface trails than the Recreational Trails Program (RTP). Since 1993, RTP has funded almost 15,000 individual projects and helped communities in all 50 states build and repair thousands of miles of trail. Nearly $780 million has been made available to states for recreational trails over the last 19 years ($85 million in 2009). • RTP funds are utilized by state transportation departments and natural resource agencies — working in cooperation with citizen advisory committees and a network of organizations and communities. These partners leverage available funding with cash and in-kind support – often doubling available federal funds. • The RTP program operates on a user-pay/ user-benefit system, and a very small portion of the gas collected on non-highway recreational use funds this system. To take away this funding for our program is taxing our industry and removing this critical program important to our public land access. • Local retailers + local volunteer groups + local governments + federal funding = the definition of an efficient public-privatepartnership (PPP). Federal agencies offer a variety of funding mechanisms for trail building and trail management that we need to ensure are preserved during the upcoming budget debates.
MOUNTAIN BIKERS AND PUBLIC LANDS IMBA’s Public Lands Initiative (PLI) offers new resources to promote a bicyclefriendly approach toward our nation’s legacy of public lands protection. The Public Lands Initiative targets critical campaigns where public lands policies or management practices could close important trails to bicycles. Visit imba.com/ pli for more info. • Mountain bikers strongly believe in protecting our natural resources and keeping the land around our trails free from poorly planned resource extraction or development. • IMBA supports some Wilderness as one tool of land protection. But since bicycling is not allowed in Wilderness areas, we ask that areas with significant bicycling trails be protected with “Companion Designations.” • Congress has used many “Companion Designations” to Wilderness such as: National Scenic Areas, National Protection Areas and National Conservation Areas. • Recreation scientists say that mountain biking’s impacts are roughly equivalent to hiking and less than equestrian use — a conclusion that has been confirmed by the National Park Service. • Bicycling gets youth involved in outdoor activities at a young age and improves their stewardship of public lands as adults. • Bicycling is a sustainable, quiet, lowimpact activity and a viable economic development option for many communities.
August Playbook for Advocacy continued
Meeting Guidelines and Best Practices The following guidelines are designed to provide a structured framework through which to approach the meeting with the member of Congress or his/ her staff. These are not rules to live by but rather suggested practices that can help folks unfamiliar with congressional meetings show appropriate respect for an elected official, maximize efficiency during a time-limited session and ultimately establish a lasting relationship with the office. Most meetings will last about 30 minutes. In such a short window, it is important to keep messages simple and concise, but also provide enough background and context for the clubs in the community and local economy so that the messages resonate. Here are some key steps: • Introduce yourself and provide a brief background on IMBA, your local or regional club, and any other notable local activities or employment that show ties to the community and congressional district. • Describe recent club and local events, emphasizing community involvement and local benefits — especially for small businesses and the local economy. • Make the Ask! o Continued federal funding levels to support the Recreational Trails Program (RTP); and o A specific project or public lands initiative issue in the district. • Make other regional, statewide and local asks. • Offer to broaden stakeholder support by emphasizing that your club will reach out to others in the district to enlist their support for the proposal. • Offer to follow up with more information, and pledge to work with staff in both Washington and the district in the future.
Desert Patrol Meet Martin Glinksy and the Red Rocks NMBP unit
When the weather is nice, there are a few places where you might find Martin Glinksy on a Saturday morning. Most likely, he will have staked out an area where some of Sedona’s most popular biking, hiking and Jeep tour trails intersect. For an hour or two, he might do nothing more than smile at people or help them decipher local trail maps. “Mountain bikers need to let people see us and know we are around. We can do that just by being present, smiling and answering questions,” says Martin. “We have to show people that we’re good stewards of the land.” Martin is the president of one of IMBA’s newest National Mountain Bike Patrol (NMBP) groups, the Red Rock Mountain Bike Patrol in Sedona, Ariz. Red Rock Patrol is less than one year old with a small roster, but their volunteer service on more than 200 miles of local mountain bike trails has quickly elevated the group’s profile. Red Rock Patrol is Glinksy’s creation, but it took some time to develop the right relationships. He started out in 2007 with the Friends of the Forest, doing volunteer trail maintenance and patrolling on foot in Coconino National Forest. Eventually, he requested permission to continue his patrol work by bike. “There was some concern among the friends group members that mountain biking was not a good way to display allegiance to the Forest Service,” he said with a chuckle. But Martin’s hiking background and positive relationship with the Red Rock Ranger District made him a valuable liaison between hikers and mountain bikers. Soon he saw a need for a greater presence and looked to IMBA and the NMBP for guidance on creating a separate group. Martin put a story in the local newspaper advertising the new mountain bike patrol and drew about 20 riders to the initial meeting. Eventually, eight hung on for the trainings — which they undertook as a group — and they committed to holding monthly meetings with rangers from the Cococino National Forest. Red Rock Patrol now boasts 12 active volunteers. Despite their modest numbers, they exert a big presence. Martin said Sedona’s mountain biking is divided into roughly three regions, and the group’s membership is evenly divided among the three, so people patrol near where they live. He hopes to
double the roster within the next six months. “We take our non-enforcement role very seriously,” said Glinksy. “It is so positive for the mountain biking community to have emissaries.” Hikers far outnumber mountain bikers on the trails. On a single beautiful spring or fall day, Glinksy and other patrollers will often encounter twice as many foot travelers as cyclists, yet interactions are overwhelmingly positive. “Having an organized bike patrol on our trails provides a level of safety that we could not otherwise achieve,” says Angela Abel, the volunteer coordinator at the Red Rocks Ranger District. “These patrollers become our eyes and ears on the trail system and provide a point of contact for area information, whether it is education about the wilderness areas or helping visitors identify open trails.” In addition to patrolling, Glinksy continues to volunteer for trail building. His presence and willingness to follow the lead of the Coconino National Forest has changed the conversation for him and the whole mountain biking community. “I used to hear the phrase ‘those damn mountain bikers,’” said Glinksy. “Now, the conversation is more like, ‘Do you see what we’re trying to do here, Marty?’ I can then say yes and we can discuss compromises. There is no longer any talk about taking trails away from mountain bikers.” “For me, it’s a labor of love,” said Glinksy. “But from a selfish standpoint, if we want mountain biking to move in the direction we want to go, we have to work very closely with the people in charge of managing our trails. Here, the Forest Service is in control. If we don’t work with them, we don’t get anywhere.”
Going Big Clubs shouldn’t settle for leSs than the best
SUBARU REWARDS IMBA MEMBERS WITH HASSLEFREE VIP PURCHASES Subaru’s VIP Program allows IMBA individual/family members and IMBA member clubs to purchase or lease any new Subaru saving $1,300-$3,000 off the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, without haggling. Visit imba.com/ tcc for details.
SUBARU/IMBA TRAIL CARE CREW SPONSORS
n the beginning, any dirt we got was good dirt. We evolved, and our dirt had to be sustainable. Now we’re all grown up and we’re picky! The good news is that in many places, getting access for trails is no longer the battle it used to be. Land managers are agreeing to trail proposals, even being proactive about involving user groups in designing and building them. Unfortunately, many mountain bikers are so busy saying yes, they’re spreading themselves too thin and missing the chance to build truly epic trails. And, by epic, we not only mean trails that people from outside your club will talk about, but also trails that add value to your community — trails that will have your land manager begging for more. Your work on the trails is the best advertisement for your club. Bad trails don’t speak well for your abilities., so be sure to measure your opportunities wisely. If you’re faced with too many opportunities, pause for a bit. The last thing you want is to jump at every opportunity and end up with mediocre or unsustainable trail. First, take stock of all your shortterm and long-term opportunities and prioritize them based on the goals of your community. Would you rather develop a 30-mile IMBA Epic or a handful of 5- to 8-mile neighborhood trails? There’s no wrong answer — as long as you’ve considered all the possibilities. The next step is to determine what resources you have to support each individual trail effort and
what kind of commitment your club can make (including longterm maintenance). Be honest and realistic about what your club can accomplish now and later. Perhaps it would be to pick a “low-hanging fruit” project to energize your community and set the table for a bigger and better project. Once you’re moving forward, these are some things you should think about: 1. If you’re dealing with a property that already has a lot of trails, assess your current trail inventory. Are there trails that could be better? How will you incorporate what you already have into what you want? 2. Don’t be afraid to close unsustainable trails. 3. If you’re going for “Epic,” superb flow is the goal. 4. Quality is better than quantity. 5. Train your volunteers in sustainable trail building and find good crew leaders. 6. Focus on design, and even if you can’t afford to have a professional build your trails, at least consider hiring a professional to help you design them. 7. Use an inclinometer, and don’t forget pin flags. 8. Find money to rent equipment. Money is out there, we promise. 9. By saying no more often, you create value around what you offer. Even a modest trail project can be demanding. Why not go big and build the trail you’ve always wanted to ride, right in your own backyard?
Trail Building Fund Aims High Kick-off challenges IMBA network to counter funding cuts
ach summer IMBA asks our supporters to rally around the daunting list of trail projects funded by our Trail Building Fund. This year, building new trails in the U.S. will be particularly challenging due to cuts in federal budgets. We stand to lose funding for 1,500 annual trail programs. So IMBA is aiming high to pick up the slack. Our fundraising goal for 2011 is $100,000 to build more trails and bike parks for mountain bikers to enjoy. Research presented at this year’s Bicycle Leadership Conference shows that high-quality, convenient infrastructure is the most important first step to encouraging more cycling. Creating new trails — from beginner-friendly “gateway” parks to epic cross-country and downhill trails — is the primary purpose of our Trail Building Fund.
When you support a project, your contribution is matched dollar for dollar by bicycle and outdoor industry partners. That means a $100 gift quickly becomes $200 worth of great riding. We will also leverage whatever public funds are available to build world-class trails like these recent accomplishments:
• Cuyuna Lakes State Recreation Area, Minn.: Last month, the Minnesota Off Road Cyclists and IMBA turned an abandoned pit mine into a new Ride Center featuring 22 miles of trail designed just for mountain bikes. • Boulder, Colo.: IMBA facilitated approval and design for the $3.2 million Valmont Bike Park. The 40-acre park features cross-country singletrack, slopestyle trails, dirt jumps, two pump tracks and riding skills areas. • New River Gorge, W.Va.: IMBA trained National Park Service staff and designed 30 miles of new purpose-built bike trails. Thanks to help from 2,000 Boy Scouts, 20 miles of mountain bike trails will soon be on the ground. • Lost Coast, Calif.: IMBA and the BLM developed a trail system in the ruggedly beautiful King Range National Conservation Area, providing world-class mountain biking adjacent to an area recently closed to bikes due to Wilderness designation. The same funding has also helped bring bike family-friendly trails to the Marine Corps Air Station in Havelock, N.C., and a handcycle trail for paraplegic veterans in Tulsa, Okla. IMBA literally wrote the book on sustainable trail design, and our crews build trails
in every corner of the country, including destination trail systems like Oakridge, Ore. By giving to IMBA, you bolster local economies and sponsor a great new place to ride on your next vacation. Best of all, your gift will help riders of all ages connect with America’s awesome outdoors and enjoy the simple joy of riding in nature. Please give today. As our way of saying thank you, donors of $35 or more receive a free IMBA Bike Seat Bag to enjoy on their next ride. Hurry, supplies are limited. IMBA will publish a “Thank You” list in a future issue of Trail News recognizing contributors that support this important fund. Thanks for your support!
Corporate AND FOUNDATION Members THESE ORGANIZATIONS PROVIDE ESSENTIAL FUNDING TO FUEL IMBA’S WORK Our corporate supporters provide essential funding to fuel IMBA’s work. Please help us say thanks! Above and Beyond Supporters contribute a significant amount in addition to their annual dues. For information about how you or your organization can join in support of IMBA’s work, please contact Rich Cook, IMBA Development Director, by calling 303.545.9011 x104, or by sending a message to email@example.com. Above and Beyond Supporters
Backcountry.com Bicycle Sport Shop Bikes Belong Coalition Camelbak Clif Bar CST FOX Racing Shox Interbike Moots Cycles Niner Bikes Quality Bicycle Products Recreational Equipment Inc. Shimano American Corporation Specialized Bicycles SRAM Corporation Subaru of America The North Face Trek Bicycle Corporation Western Spirit Cycling Yakima Corporate Members A-Z
3Point5 - Promotive Adventure Advocates Adventure Travel Trade Association Airborne Bicycles Alchemist Threadworks Alchemy Goods Alpine Bike Parks, LLC A’me Grips Anadarko Petroleum Corporation Anthem Branding Arbutus Images
Arrowhead Trails Avid4 Adventure, Inc. Bellfree Contractors Inc. Bentonville Convention & Visitors Bureau Bicycle Colorado Bicycle Technologies International Bicycling / Mountain Bike Magazine Big Agnes Big Bear Cabins for Rent Big Bear Lake Camplands Bike Magazine Bikeflights.com Black Diamond Equipment, Ltd. BikeTees.com BOB Trailers Boulder Bike Tours Boulder Business Products Campagnolo Cane Creek Cycling Components Cascade Huts Catalyst Communication, Inc. Cateye Center For Outdoor Experience Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival Citizen Pictures City of Leavenworth Cog Wild Mountain Bike Tours Colorado Backcountry Biker Competitive Cyclist Crank Brothers Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce Crested Butte Mountain Resort Cycle Therapy Cycling Sports Group Cygolite Defeet International Desert Sports Deuter USA Diamondback Bicycles/Raleigh USA Dirt Rag Magazine Downeast Bicycle Specialists DT Swiss, Inc Eastern Mountain Sports Easton Bell Sports, Inc. (Easton, Bell, Giro, Blackburn) Ecological Designs, Inc Ekko Bikes Epic Rides, Inc. Ergon USA Excel Sports Boulder Fat Tire Guides, LLC Finish Line Technologies Fuji America/Advanced Sports International Fulcrum N.A. LLC Gates Carbon Drive Giant Bicycles Gilmer County Chamber of Commerce Gone Riding, Inc. Gore Bike Wear Green Guru Gear GU Energy Gel Hans Johnsen Company Haro Bikes Hawley Company Hayes Bicycle Group Hidden Hollow Cabins Hilride Honey Stinger Howell At The Moon Productions iBert, Inc. Hutchinson Industries
Hydrapak, LLC iBert, Inc. Idaho Resort Rentals Llc IT-Clips, LLC Jamis Bicycles / G. Joannou Cycle Jenson USA Kenda USA Keystone Resort Kinetic Koffee Company Kirkwood Mountain Resort Lifeboat Solutions Long Cane Trails, LLC Marin Mountain Bikes, Inc. Maverick Maxxis International MechaWear.com Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop Michelin North America Midwest Cycling Mountain Khakis MountainBikeSkills.com Mt. Borah Designs Mulberry Gap Mountain Bike Get-A-Way MyPOV360.com National Bicycle Dealers Assn National Parks Service RTCA National Ski Areas Association Native Eyewear Nema International New Belgium Brewery New Stevens, LLC Oregon Adventures Osprey Packs, Inc Outdoor Industry Association Paradigm Cycles Park Tool Pedal America Pedal Nation Events Pedros Performance, Inc. Planet Bike Primal Wear Pro Gold Lubricants Professional Trailbuilders Association Red Agave Resort Red Cloud Productions, LLC Reineke Construction Resource Revival Ritchey Design Inc Rocky Mounts S & S Trails Services Santa Cruz Bicycles SBS - Seattle Bike Supply Scott USA Second Ascent Shenandoah Mountain Touring SIDI America Single Track LLC Singletrack.com Singletracks.com Smith Optics Sock Guy Spadout.com Strider Sports International, Inc. Sutter Equipment Company Swobo Teton Mountain Bike Tours Teva Deckers Outdoor Corporation Texas Mountain Bike Racing Association The Canyons Resort The Clymb
Thudbuster Seatposts Thule Trail Dynamics TrailArts TrailFu.com (Totalsquare, LLC) Transrockies, Inc. Travel Oregon Trek Dirt Series Trek Travel Two Knobby Tires USA Cycling, Inc. Velonews VF Outdoor, Inc. Voler Team Apparel Wheel & Sprocket Wilderness Trail Bikes (WTB) Winter Park Resort World Bicycle Relief Yeti Cycles Zeal Optics Zoic Clothing
Corporate Members CANADA
Axis Gear Company Ltd BC Bike Race Bike Rossland Bruce County Bugaboos Eyewear Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park Capilano University - Mountain Bike Operations Program Chico Racing Chicopee Ski and Summer Resort Chromag Bikes Cobequid Trail Consultants Community Futures Crowsnest Pass Conservation Halton - Kelso / Hilton Falls / M ountsberg Creative Wheel / La Rocca XC MTB School Cycle Component Network Inc. Decarto Consulting Ltd. Devinci Cycles Dirt Series Mountain Bike Camps Ltd. Geomatics Data Management Inc. Hardwood Ski and Bike Inter-Mtn Enterprises Inc, Joyride 150 Northern Mountain Bike Adventures Panorama Mountain Village Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Adventures Sentiers Boreal Inc. Shimano Canada Sir Sam’s Resort Specialized Canada Sustainable Trails Thule Canada Township Of King Twenty4 Sports Whistler Mountain Bike Park
Clif Bar Family Foundation Mark Reynolds Memorial Bike Fund Ron and Stacey Gutfleish Foundation Michael And Eleanor Pinkert Foundation Richard E. And Nancy P. Marriott Foundation Cynthia and George P. Mitchell Foundation Ruth H. Brown Foundation Walton Family Foundation
IMBA Destinations Has Arrived Get the skinny on where to ride
ou asked for it and now you got it. Look to imba.com/ destinations for the skinny on where to ride, where to rent and service your gear, where to find a kick-ass guide or tour, and even where to sleep when you get the itch to pedal beyond your backyard. Start by browsing our list of epic rides to determine your compass bearing. Next, check our “Book a Tour” page to view incredible bike tours offered by IMBA’s Destination Partners. If you prefer to travel freestyle, check out our online map to get hooked up with great bikes, beds and brews. Before you hit the road, scan IMBA’s community calendar for opportunities to ride, volunteer and party with folks from the local IMBA clubs. Finally, get your boss (or your family) to give you the time off and start discovering the wonderful world of singletrack enabled, built or protected by the IMBA nation.
KNOW YOUR MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS IMBA Member Health Plans and Free Rx Discount Card IMBA members get comprehensive health insurance coverage with up to $8 million in benefits and multiple-year rate guarantees. Plans provide a healthy member discount and include health savings accounts, PPO network, copay plans, short-term health and student health insurance. Members are eligible for a free Rx discount card, which provides savings of up to 75% on all FDA-approved drugs at 57,000 pharmacies nationwide. Average savings are 42% on all prescriptions with unlimited use. Visit nicholashillgroup.com/ imba for details.
SUMMER SWEAT SALE ON IMBA GEAR Go green with IMBA gear for your hydration needs this summer. Our stainless steel water bottle and hydration pack are great thirst quenchers for all of your trail adventuring, both on and off the bike. And the best part is that both are 20% off during our Summer Sweat Sales Event, August 1–31.
IMBA-Osprey Raptor 10 Hydration Pack: This premium pack is designed specifically for mountain biking and trail running. It features bike-specific pockets, a magnet to keep your bite valve from biting you, a Biostretch harness and a hip belt to allow free body motion with minimal pack bounce. Comes with a 3-liter reservoir. $83.20/$74.88 for members.
IMBA Water Bottle: Stainless steel inside and out, this fits in a bike bottle cage and can be slurped from on the fly. Whether you use it on your bike, in your car or in the side pocket of your backpack, you will love it and the earth will love you for helping us put a stop to the huge waste of water and resources that go into producing plastic bottles. $14.40/$12.96 for members.
IMBA CLUBS CAN OFFER PRO DEALS TO VOLUNTEERS Thanks to IMBA’s partner REI, the Teaming for Trails program helps IMBA chapters and clubs encourage individuals, families and entire communities to support local mountain bike trails. By accumulating 20 hours of work, volunteers gain access to deep discounts on dozens of outdoor and bicycle brands at promotive.com.
RETAILERS REACH OUT TO THOUSANDS OF IMBA MOUNTAIN BIKERS Retailer members receive discounts on IMBA gear and free merchandising materials, including supporter window decals, an IMBA shop apron, IMBA banners and Rules of the Trail cards for your store or sales event. Retailer members are also promoted on IMBA’s website. Retailers that contribute annual membership dues of $150 or more receive all the benefits of three individual memberships for store staff, including discounts on a new Subaru, insurance and free IMBA gear. Visit imba.com/membership for more information.
NON PROFIT ORGANIZATION U.S. POSTAGE PAID DENVER, CO PERMIT NO. 631
PO Box 711 Boulder, Colorado 80306 USA
How’s the riding where you live?
Imagine ribbons of flowing singletrack within easy riding distance of your home, or a downhill trail so close that you can spend your lunch break riding dirt. Every town needs a bike park where riders of all ages and abilities can enjoy the healthy outdoors and develop into better riders than we are. Give $35 or more and receive a limited-edition IMBA Bike Seat Bag free, while supplies last.” Give now at www.imba.com/tbf.
Make your mountain biking dreams a reality. Support IMBA’s Trail Building Fund. Look for a letter in your mail box or donate online at www.imba.com/tbf.
Check out our interactive trail map at imba.com Dear Subaru-IMBA Trail Care Crew, “I’m writing to let you know that we have been approved to build our first trails in a public park in Athens, Georgia! I credit the two of you for greatly adding to the approval process. I imagine your job can get pretty grueling; I just wanted you to know that you are making a difference in your sport of passion. I suspect this is only the beginning of much to come in Athens. Thanks for helping us get there.” Sincerely, Pam Reidy Director of Leisure Services, Athens-Clarke County