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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Check out the article at betterride.net! Gene starts a discussion about how IMBA has lost it's soul and no longer benefits mountain bikers. Lot's of great discussion and ideas.

Some questions asked are:
1) Is imba using not for profit status to under bid legit trail builders?
2) Do they kinda suck at building trails?
And many more interesting thoughts
Check it out and start a dialog.
 

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Cleavage Of The Tetons
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Link?
 

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Pretty weak if you ask me.

Come on...they are cutting back the cactus too far...really?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Pretty weak if you ask me.

Come on...they are cutting back the cactus too far...really?
Yeah, I thought that was weak also
Rideit, the website doesn't have good link, go to betterride.net and click articles. It is the second one
 

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IMBA definitely helped build the trails that Betterride will be using for their camp that utilizes our local trails! We wouldn't be where we are at today without IMBA, the local land manager requires affiliation with a national organization.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
IMBA definitely helped build the trails that Betterride will be using for their camp that utilizes our local trails! We wouldn't be where we are at today without IMBA, the local land manager requires affiliation with a national organization.
Could be why Gene was an imba supporter for so many years. The questions being raised concern what they are doing now. But if you have to affiliate with a national organization and there is no one better, then you really have no choice except to maybe help imba get back on track.
 

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Could be why Gene was an imba supporter for so many years. The questions being raised concern what they are doing now. But if you have to affiliate with a national organization and there is no one better, then you really have no choice except to maybe help imba get back on track.
What they are doing now? They are providing legitimacy to satisfy the land managers. Our new trail built this summer and other skills areas under construction now would not have been built without IMBA and Trail Solutions assistance. I'm sure Betterrides customers will enjoy them. Unfortunately commercial activities are prohibited on these trails. See what I'm getting at? IMBA has been on track for our situation, we are trying to manage growth of the activity, unsuccessfully until we solidified the relationship with IMBA. Not much to complain about...
 

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The trails we've had IMBA's help with.. are tame and boring and I believe we could have done better without them. All they really seem to be interested in doing is putting their logo on everything and taking credit for they mostly didn't do (when the local club brings a 5-6 hundred volunteer man-hours, and they bring a so/so "crew leader" (who was in no way essential), it's not "an IMBA project" no matter how much they want to claim it is.
And the details of IMBA's first proposal for us as a chapter make me so angry I can't even talk about them. The gist was IMBA gets 60% of our membership dues and all decision-making for our club (there was even a clause that we couldn't use our logo or name without an imba logo or "an imba chapter" attached), and in return we got... nothing at all.

Now some of Gene's complaints like IMBA web site offering info for free that one used to have to buy from a shop, are so weak that they detract from his valid point: that, at least from where I'm sitting, these days IMBA is more about egos and power than access or trails. I'm well aware they've done important work in the past, but I don't see them having done much lately.
And the IMBA-built trails I've seen do kind of suck, in the sense that they aren't innovative or challenging, but pure lowest common denominator stuff that a first timer could ride on a hybrid wearing flip flops.
 

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Our local chapters experience has been the complete opposite of what I am reading here. I would like to hear what some of these locations are with all these "problems" and hear what the land managers have to say about it.
 

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Great thought provoking article Gene. All mountain bike advocates should read this because for the most part, WE are IMBA, and IMBA is US. Most if not all IMBA employees are just local advocates who decided to take their skills(or lack there of!) to a national level. If we don’t like it ….we should change it.

They’ve done a lot of good in our state, though they’re not perfect. I hate saying “they!” (See above)
 

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I don't agree that IMBA is "us." They have taken dues from the SF Bay Area for 25 years and done precious little here. I'm a mountain biker of nearly 30 years, an advocate of 15, a leader of riding programs of all this time and and substantial advocacy leader for 5 and IMBA certainly is not me.

Maybe they used our dues in your neighborhood but not in ours. How nice for you.
 

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Calling my opinion "attitude", arrived at through years of working this equation, is pretty dismissive. As one of the 3 founding organizations of IMBA and the Northern California nexus of advocacy which IMBA took over, this opinion is shared by a very large group of advocates around here.

Where is your neighborhood?
 

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You said it Mike. Biggest mistake was letting NorCamba die on the vine. Regional organizations with paid staff are going to give the most bang for the buck. I moved from the Bay Area up to Seattle four years ago and we've been able to build an organization with paid staff that is able to get things done...meet with land managers, we have our own project manager and trail builder, and we've built an amazing Mtn bike park, Duthie Hill, and are adding miles of local trails in the hardest terrain to build in. IMBA wants in in a desperate way, but they would give us nothing! And the local land managers agree. Of course you won't read anything about what we are doing in the IMBA newsletters...
 

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Glad we have helped get this discussion started. In each of the past few years, Gene wrote blog articles about why he was donating so much money to IMBA (and other trail orgs). This year, he wrote and article about why he is donating to other groups instead of IMBA. Not meant to attack, but rather to question a group that has done lots of good, but may be straying from it's mission.
 

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I don't agree that IMBA is "us." They have taken dues from the SF Bay Area for 25 years and done precious little here. I'm a mountain biker of nearly 30 years, an advocate of 15, a leader of riding programs of all this time and and substantial advocacy leader for 5 and IMBA certainly is not me.

Maybe they used our dues in your neighborhood but not in ours. How nice for you.
Why haven't you used IMBA for your local initiatives? Has IMBA been an enemy to your local advocacy efforts?

They've been helpful to us in educating our membership with regards to trailbuilding, advocacy, growing our group, etc. We partner with them when we can and it makes sense, but we've done a lot on our own too. We have strengths, they have strengths. And we've built ALL kinds of trails, all of them to the specs WE CHOSE and all of them contour and obeying the rules of good trailbuilding, sustainability whatever you wanna call it. Anybody who says you can't build a techy trail to "IMBA" standards is just plain wrong and isnt looking hard enough. There's plenty of sustainable trails that are bulletproof. ie. Squirrel Gap, Laurel in Pisgah, Schooner at Brown Co, Jekyll and Hyde at Oak Mtn, Sinkhole at Santos.

Don't get me wrong, we've had a few disagreements with IMBA thru the years too, but the overall picture has been good. Heck, we have disagreements within our own local group(roughly 400 paid members)too, but what dynamic group of individuals don't have a few rough patches that an epic ride and few beers can't solve!?!
 

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Maybe our club (Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew) has been gifted a smooth ride by the mountain biking gods, but we have not had any of the issues mentioned above.

Also, in Minnesota at least, Trail Solutions has never undercut a bid, so I can't speak to that.

Look, IMBA is an organization made up of people like you and me. Because of that, they are imperfect and make mistakes. On top of that, you can never please all the people all of the time. So no matter what they do, someone is going to complain.

A few things to keep in mind though:

1. The IMBA Chapter program has been a raging success here in the upper Midwest. Maybe its because we don't have a lot older clubs that are set in thier ways, but everyone seems happy with the process and program so far.You don't get "nothing" for the 60% of dues your members pay. You get IMBA taking care of all the membership paperwork and a LOT of the back end stuff. That costs money. Either money your club would have to pay or tons of volunteer hours from your club members. Also, its nice if you have questions and need help on some matter to have a direct personal contact with IMBA be a phone call away.

2. I've heard the complaint about "sanitized" trails and I'm not sure how much IMBA itself has to do with that. The Trail Solutions guidebook and standards allow for lots of diversity. But what gets flagged and built often is more about time and budgets than diversity. Then you get "I don't want to be sued" land managers. Work with your land manager and use club build days to personalize the trail some.

3. One more thing about "sanitized" trails: it seems the people that complain about this most are bike jocks with some serious skills. But not everyone is that. Having trails that only appeal to that segment loses people that aren't that or will never be that. I've seen that when I visit Indiana. The trail builders down there do love their log crossings (even in supposed "everybody" trails) and aren't too forgiving about doing run-arounds or helper ramps off to the side. The result? Every trail I've been to down there seems to used by mostly bike jocks, and mostly male ones at that. (Or at least that is who is on the trails and in parking lots when I'm there.) Contrast that with trails in MN. We do our technical stuff mostly as b-lines or dedicated XX trails with the main trail fairly rollable. The result is that all riders can feel comfortable and progress skill wise. I think it shows in who uses our trails: on the weekends it is nearly 50/50 male/female and lots of families. In the long run, which rider group will foster good growth for our sport?

4. If you want IMBA to change its direction, more will get accomplished from inside the system then outside. We here in the Midwest have some frustration will IMBA's focus on the West for trails. It would nice to see more of our dues go to a new trail system in MN,WI, or MI than yet another trail expansion in Park City, UT. But taking our ball and going home isn't going to help that happen. Working with your IMBA Regional Director will, however. (Shout our to our Regional Director, Hansi Johnson, who has been amazing.)

5. Help yourself if you expect IMBA to help you. There is no nice way to put this: sometimes mountain bikers hurt IMBA's cause and then expect lots of help from IMBA. A lot of illegal riding happens in certain localities and it has soured many a city, county, or state park and lands department on mountain biking. Then many of the same jackwagons that ride trails illegally complain about a lack of mountain bike trails in an area. Take responsibility for your area, stop hurting the cause, and work with local authorities and land managers. IMBA will take notice then, trust me.

Rideon makes a good point: people disagree. There is nothing wrong with that. What's wrong is when people won't try to work on fixing it.
 

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I love it when people feel it's better to neg rep than actual contribute to a discussion...

Got this one from "sambs827", berkely mike's "attitude" can be chalked up to the absurd amount of heart and soul he's poured into SFBA biking. dig around a bit and you'll see what i mean.

Well sambs827, Mike's attitude I'm referring to is in regards to his forgetting that IMBA isn't here only for the bay area or Sedona.
 
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