POSTPONED: Saturday, June 6th: Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day

Update: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,  we will be postponing TKMBD until the second event in October.

Join us on June 6th for the first of two TKMBD events hosted this year. Events range from a few kids in a neighbourhood, to larger festival style events in a community park, open space or trailhead. As registrations from clubs arrive in across the country, we will add them here so stay tuned!

Sombrio Freeride Scholarship Returns for 2019

Spreading the Spirit of Freeride

Sombrio started as a cartel – a crew of freeride pioneers exploring the possibilities of what life on two wheels could bring. The spirit of freeride has been at our core since the beginning. It’s all about being creative, pushing the limits, and having fun along the way. It’s about sharing our passion with others and it’s what motivates us every day.

Sombrio, in partnership with IMBA Canada, is proud to introduce the 2nd annual Sombrio Freeride Scholarship – a free ride to an all-inclusive week-long session at mountain bike camp in Whistler, BC, awarded to a promising young rider who embodies the spirit of freeride.

Sombrio has released a special edition apparel collection with a portion of proceeds going towards funding the Freeride Scholarship. For 2019, the Special Edition collection highlights the tools of the trade.

Read more about the Sombrio Freeride Scholarship

**UPDATE** Applications for the scholarship are now closed.

The Trail Ahead: A letter from the Chair of the Board

Brian Stokes is the Chair of the Board of Directors for IMBA Canada. Living in Edmonton, Brian loves to get out riding with his family whenever he can, snaking along river trails right in the city. Brian took some time to reflect on the recent board retreat and what lies ahead for IMBA Canada.

When you hear “mountain biking” what comes to mind for you? For some folks, I’ve heard it is bombing steep trails. For others it is long days in the saddle with friends, or wrenching on bikes in a garage with the kids. I would bet that there are as many answers as there are mountain bikers.

IMBA Canada asked ourselves this very question to help us kick off our strategic planning retreat last month. What does mountain biking mean today? When you meet riders on Ebikes and fat bikes, when there are mountain bike clubs in Manitoba, and when fat tires are featured in network TV ads, you have to consider that our sport has changed a lot in the last few years.

Some of these changes are great for the mountain bike community and industry: more trails, more diversity in riders and more buy-in from local governments means plenty of opportunities no matter what type of riding you prefer.

But some changes mean challenge as well – even conflict. The debate is raging over Ebikes, for example. Reports of land-use conflicts grow with every new kilometer of trail. Digital trail mapping is putting more people on to trails that they might not have the skills to ride, and those trails might not be able to sustain the numbers of new riders.

All of this has pushed IMBA Canada to ask itself: who do we represent, and how do we fit in to the community? Figuring this out is sort of like a good ride – overcoming challenging parts, pushing yourself, and getting the most fun out of every feature along the way.

I am excited about the answers IMBA Canada is coming up with, and I think you will be too. Our Board of Directors wrapped up our planning retreat energized and with a clear direction, and new board members are bringing new ideas and enthusiasm.

IMBA Canada’s core mission remains to ensure that Canada is home to a strong and vibrant mountain biking community, riding a world-class network of trails. We are doing that by giving riders, clubs, and trail groups the tools and knowledge to succeed and grow. Our programs have been successful at bringing people together, at working with local governments and land owners, supporting clubs, building new trail, and promoting the sport across Canada. From Fundy National Park and gaining access to Canada’s park system for mountain bikers, to getting more kids on dirt in northern BC with Take A Kid Mountain Biking Day, our programs, staff, and members are doing great work from coast to coast to coast.

IMBA Canada has developed a plan that will focus our resources on growing the riding community, opening more opportunities for you to ride, and supporting trail maintenance and construction at trailheads near you. IMBA Canada is poised to grow over the next few years to reach new heights of activity. Together as a community, I know that we will be able to tackle the challenges that are facing us, cleaning those steep climbs, and to make the most of every opportunity, having a blast popping off every little rise on the trail along the way.

In the end, mountain biking is something different for every rider. IMBA Canada is supporting the people who make it possible for all of us to get out and mountain bike, in what ever way that means to you.

IMBA Canada depends on the support of mountain bikers across Canada. We'd love to have you join IMBA Canada, sign up for our newsletter, give us a follow on social media, or send us a message.

"Go where you're wanted"

That’s what a good friend of mine said to me when discussing the state of mountain bike advocacy organizations across Canada. The core idea is to focus on working where you can apply maximum value. For IMBA Canada, this means working with associations that are in position to benefit from the expertise that we can bring to the table, and to further develop our offering to be more effective to a wider audience.

Key to this are relationships. Understanding where to dedicate resources requires an idea of what is happening in each community currently. Where are the biggest successes, where are the biggest challenges? What kind of stories do advocates from all across Canada need to hear? The answers to these questions come from the conversations that we have from advocates across Canada.

Looking back on 2018, many of our best moments have roots in these relationships. Our presentation to the Union of BC Municipalities in the spring brought together two MTB club presidents and the founder of the Aboriginal Youth Mountain Bike Program to speak to the importance of municipal investment to trails. Together, we made a large impact. Alone, we may not have been as successful.

The Western Canada Mountain Bike Advocacy Symposium is another great example of relationships at play. IMBA Canada staff, alongside the North Shore Mountain Bike Association, hosted a conference that featured powerful dialogue from voices that are under-represented in the outdoors. We were successful because we were able to open space for others to share their stories.

Of course, there’s also the Trail Solutions, Trail Care Crew, and Trail Partner programming. 2018 saw us facilitate 3500 hours of trail work, resulting in 5.5km of trail constructed, in addition to almost 10km of assessed trail. The over 200 people trained in sustainable trail construction and almost 240 in design and layout were reached because of connections with local stakeholders. Those connections are built slowly over time, and manifest when both sides are genuine in their participation.

Thanks to the support of all our partners and sponsors, the momentum that IMBA Canada gained during 2018 was immense. IMBA Staff had positive engagements all across Canada reaching a diverse audience, leading to creative solutions to common advocacy problems. I couldn’t be happier with where we’ve been, and where we’re going in 2019.

Looking forward, we will continue to build on the relationships we’ve been carefully cultivating. This means building out the council program so that we have a direct line to club presidents across Canada, ensuring quicker access to necessary resources. It also means more direct engagement with our educational programs, the Trail Care Crew, Trail Solutions, and the Land Manager Training program. We’ve re-engaged with those applications that were not successful last year, and are now accepting public applications.

We look forward to another great year of mountain bike advocacy in Canada. If you’re wondering what we’re up to, or how we can help your community build a stronger network of mountain bike trails, sign up for our newsletter, give us a follow on social media, or send us a message.

Cheers, AJ