IMBA Finds its Feet

There has been a bit of discussion about IMBA UK recently. A lot of people have been mumbling that it hasn’t been taking a high enough profile within the mountain biking community. The response from the volunteers that are running IMBA is that a lot of the work is going on behind the scenes and goes largely unseen.

I think the guys are doing an excellent job under circumstances that are less than ideal and they seem to be struggling with some rather unreasonable and arguably disenchanted individuals and money holders. I think is great that there is an IMBA column in What Mountain Bike, but maybe other magazines should also be taking note. MBUK are you listening? We need the youth of the sport involved if IMBA is to survive for future generations. Any way enough of my ranting, this is Kieran’s latest update from this thread on Singletrackworld:

Righto chaps, Have got to this late, sorry, but I’ll try and deal with everything…

Yes, there’s no arguing that communication is the key, and that we have failed in that and some other things, I‘m not going to lay blame or make apologies on behalf of anyone else in the circle – However I take full responsibility for the delays in processing membership, caused largely by the fact that I have had other things to attend to which most of you know the history behind, which is not an excuse, but I hope you will understand a somewhat extenuating circumstance.

As for the other issues like website updates, club memberships, and Email newsletters, and other things; these are unfortunately out of *my* hands – although the point has been made across the board that we need to sort this out now, otherwise we are going to sink before we are even in a position to hold our heads above water

Without a shadow of a doubt, the whole thing is behind where we wanted it to be, we are now nearly a year post launch. Part of the reason behind this is that we were trying for funding to employ someone, at least part time, as a central co-ordinator, and some more money to run at least two “all in” trail schools for our reps to attend for training on the relevant issues. – however we haven’t been able to secure money for this, which puts us at a big disadvantage… We are once again going to push forward for this funding, which IMHO I firmly believe should come from the industry itself in some form, and we are making an effort to proceed with this, however I will not put any illusions out there, its not easy getting money, even when the industry has formed a national levy fund for the development of the sport – which the distributing body appears unwilling to spend or invest in grassroots cycling!

Equally, things are progressing, we have been getting a steady stream of interest, and we have been dealing with lots of landowner and similar enquiries, there are a dedicated group up here in the North working as part of the network on PROW and trailbuilding issues, people like Dave, NBT, Mark Ellison and Mark Graylish have been dealing with public bodies and PROW issues with good development, certainly “oop north” things are heading in the right direction, however we do need to get this news out to all of you out there…

I have had discussions tonight about possible ways forward from here, and we have made the decision follow the suggestion of one member and dust off the Topica List – it is far more responsive to input and fast answers than the website, and covers far more people quicker and easier. Send an Email to: and it should put you straight on the list – we intend that this should be used for any IMBA questions and general trail and PROW advice.

The whole IMBA ethos was always to work is as a pretty loose umbrella for any trail efforts, be they from clubs or individuals to work under, and to refer to for advice and support, in effect in an Al-Queida manner, multiple loosely controlled efforts towards the same goal under a unified umbrella organisation. – there’s no doubt that the sport needs a cohesive standpoint to work together from, and we want to develop that over time, Political lobbying and similar national committees are certainly on our agenda, however these take time, and these longer term plans mustn’t detract from the grassroots work that needs to be done by every rider on behalf of themselves and the rest of the community.

I strongly believe that he way forward for people to push this effort is by adopting the colours of an organisation to develop the community effect, (if you see what I mean)

We knew there would be problems, however we haven’t disappeared – hopefully by using the Topica list again we can communicate better with each other and keep everyone informed of whats going on in each area and lessons learned from our individual and combined efforts.

Dan, and anyone else interested, we are going to get a meeting together to try and take this forwards, there will be an open invite to anyone to come along and take part, details will be put out on the Topica list.

IMBA-UK membership secretary and Northern England Co-ordinator

There’s an interview with Josh Bender the big drop merchant in the Salt Lake Tribune. He’s still obsessed with going big, but refuses to acknowledge the competition. “There’s people (like Tyler Klassen) coming up doing pretty big cliffs, but the super-big cliffs, there’s nobody else doing it.” Read the full article here.

North Staffordshire is just a bit further south than Macclesfield, which makes riding in the county a realistic option. This rather nice new website from Martin and Chris, Staffs Singletrack, has details of trails to ride, places to stay and other useful stuff.

Author: Cris Bloomfield

Usually mountain biking in the North.

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