The Protect and Preserve Award
Encouraging environmental consciousness and action in the Mountain Biking Community
Sustainability is one of the three pillars at the centre of our advocacy work, it is a word that has become synonymous with the IMBA brand. As an organisation it became clear that we needed to be more impactful in our environmental actions, steering our focus towards broader environmental issues which will not only impact the sport of mountain biking, but also our communities around the world. Our annual Take Care of Your Trails campaign presented itself as the perfect opportunity to encourage and promote conservation and restoration practices in trail maintenance and building activities.
During the 2022 TCoYT campaign, IMBA Europe encouraged crews to look beyond their local trails; to act and inform themselves better of these natural environments. To inspire crews and individuals to take action, we created a new award category, the Protect and Preserve award. The aim of the award is to support and promote community led conservation and restoration projects in the mountain bike community. Thanks to the support of Patagonia and the Specialized Soil Searching Program, we had the opportunity to fund a project proposal that focused on either a conservation or restoration effort in the winning applicant’s local area.
We’re stoked to announce Rupert Barry, a communications specialist at Forestry England and a keen rider, is the first recipient of the Protect & Preserve award. Rupert’s research project is titled “Singletrack mind – exploring motivations to evolve riding culture beyond the trail ahead”. It will explore the ways mountain bikers interact with nature and the motivations and opportunities to support the nature and climate pressures facing trail locations.
Rupert’s research will focus on the riders from his local trail networks in Wales and associated land managers. Findings will form a basis of a feasibility study and provide lessons about connecting with mountain bike communities on these issues.
“Enjoying and noticing the natural world is part of the beauty of riding. I’m hoping this research will help show the role of nature interactions in the mountain biking experience and the opportunities for deepening connection with the places trails exist. Whether it’s reducing impacts in trail locations or restoring and advocating for the environment, mountain bike communities can get behind a diverse range of action, as stewards of the land for future generations”. – Rupert Barry
More information on the project will be available over the coming months, as we follow Rupert’s journey closer!