At the Spring 2011 Toronto International Bike Show IMBA Canada held our first face-to-face meeting of the Ontario Regional Leadership Advisory Council (RLAC). In attendance were nine club delegates, all of the IMBA Canada staff, and a special guest: a visiting club president from Tennesee.

Rather than structure this in as a typical meeting we decided to follow an "unconference" approach. There was no set agenda and particpants were asked to come with a few topics they would like to discuss with the group.

Because the internal workings of the RLAC are much like Las Vegas (i.e. what happens at, stays at) full minutes won’t be released to the public. But I did want to share some of what was discussed so you can get a feel for what mountain bike advocates feel are the pressing matters at the momenyt If you don’t agree, or think we are missing someting, why don’t you get involved? Approach your club delegate and share your concerns. If your club doesn’t have a delegate perhaps you’d like to volunteer to be your club’s delegate?

So what did we talk about? Here are some examples:

  • The need for a mountain bike trail access "atlas", we don’t have the big picture
  • Developing a network of contacts within land owners and land managers (particularly those who are friendly)
  • Educating decision influencers and policy makers about what are sport is really about (we’re not all in the Redbull Rampage)
  • Motivating those same people to actually get things happening: permission granted, money released, and trails built
  • Coordinating trail building and maintenance efforts beyond the hosing club (others will help if they know about it)
  • Dealing with renegade trail building, especially by the youth, both from a club point of view and a land owner point of view
  • Youth programs, Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day, Sprockids, etc.

Out of this did come a list of actions that IMBA Canada, the RLAC as a group, and the affiliate clubs represented would like to make some progress on. As things proceed I’ll share updates with you here. I hope to be able to report on some progress and achievements before our next face-to-face meeting on July 16th at the Ontario Mountain Bike Festival.