Call for abstracts – IMBA Europe Summit

4 February 2022

Call for abstracts – IMBA Europe Summit

Reframing Mountain Biking 

Val di Sole

JUNE 1st- 4th


We invite you to submit an abstract(s) for this year’s IMBA Europe 10th anniversary summit in Val di Sole. The submission deadline is February 28th,  allowing for just enough time to brainstorm and come up with an abstract that covers one of the following topics. 

Mountain biking has gone through a huge development in the past decade. Whether it is about increased participation, maturing as a tourism model or as a tool to contribute to broader societal goals, mountain biking is no longer the niche it used to be. Besides the many positive developments, we have also witnessed some recurring and new challenges that need to be solved. The main theme of the summit ‘‘Reframing mountain biking’ includes new perspectives on what is sustainable, and it challenges all speakers and participants to be open to new perspectives and solutions to secure a bright future for mountain biking in all its aspects. 

The four sub themes of the summit are as follows:

  • Sustainable trail design, construction & management
  • Community cohesion and inclusion
  • The building blocks of mountain bike friendly places
  • Sustainable mountain biking tourism

The IMBA European Mountain Bike Summits have been held annually since 2014. Initially, to bring IMBA Europe’s widespread collective of member organisations together to share good practices, start new projects and discuss trends and challenges in mountain biking. Over the course of years, the IMBA Summits have attracted an increasingly diverse range of participants and organisations. From mountain bike advocacy groups, trail builders and professionals in the bicycle and tourism industry, to land managers, academics, public authorities, and health care practitioners.  More and more professionals are working in the emerging domain of mountain biking and the need to learn from each other, exchange knowledge, to get inspired and build partnerships has only increased.

The European Mountain Bike Summit is a two-to-three-day event, combining keynote speeches from opinion leaders with workshops, site visits, project meetings, panel debates and social activities, including daily (group) rides.


The goal of the summit is to inform and inspire the participants working in the mountain bike sector or other related fields. More specific, to:

  • spread high quality knowledge and expertise about community building, visitor management, MTB tourism, mountain biking’s social & health benefits, planning, design & construction of MTB or shared use trails; 
  • highlight the importance of making mountain biking affordable and accessible to all members of society, through keynote presentations, and examples of current best practices and trends; 
  • address the importance of ample trail access opportunities for mountain biking and co-existence strategies between different trail users; 
  • identify strategies & good practices to work towards a more inclusive and diverse mountain bike community; 
  • offer a platform where cities, regions or destinations can showcase the benefits their MTB projects provide to citizens, businesses, and society;
  • encourage a sustainable development of the mountain bike tourism and trail building industry;
  • integrate grassroots mountain biking into all relevant policy sectors (health, outdoor sports / leisure, tourism, nature conservation);
  • seek involvement from all relevant stakeholders (SME’s, universities, forestry departments, policy makers, tourism boards, MTB guides, bike media, public administration, and civil society organizations); 
  • show examples of quality trail infrastructure and trail building projects by means of practical site visits.

In order to be able to show as many relevant, interactive and engaging presentations as possible during the IMBA Europe Summit, we invite you to submit your presentation, story, (research) project, intervention, poster presentation or practical session to reflect upon our main Summit theme and subthemes. 

During the full month of February you have the opportunity to submit your abstract to complete our final Summit program. Please read the following guidelines carefully before submitting. 

Summit subthemes


Sustainable trail design, construction & management

Shifting gears Looking to the past, evaluating the present and planning for the future. Minimising the processes of trail building through environmental consciousness and better education.

Example of a topic that fits into this category:

DIRTT Project- The DIRTT project (Developing Inter European Resources for Trail building Training) springs from the core of Europe’s mountain bike enthusiasts, volunteers, and professionals centered around the European branch of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA Europe). The aim is to develop an educational framework and professional training program for people active in the trail building sector, addressing the needs of professionals and volunteers in the field of planning, design, construction, maintenance and management of mountain bike trails.

Community cohesion and inclusion

Shifting minds. Everyone should have an open invitation to enjoy the outdoors; but unfortunately for many there are hard barriers in place that don’t allow for ‘easy’ access. Better access to green spaces close to home, can create more opportunities to bring people from different walks of life together, and enjoy the outdoors as one community. What systems are currently in place to encourage better inclusivity in mountain biking? What areas are we lacking in? How can we as a collective (industry, tourism, media, associations/clubs) do better?

Example of a topic that fits into this category:

Trail therapy -The project’s aim was to share the joys and obtainable challenges of mountain biking with folks who have an existing mental health diagnosis and to assess its effect on people’s overall mental health, both on the trail and in their everyday lives after the ride. The goal was also to help the individuals involved grow in confidence, improve social interactions, establish skills of self-regulation and accelerate their road to well-being.

The building blocks of mountain bike friendly places

The building blocks of mountain bike friendly places start with a strong, active mountain bike community who share a love and understanding of the sport, and actively work together to build, manage and maintain their trail networks. Building blocks are: Forming better relationships with key stakeholders; increasing community outreach and engagement to participate in trail maintenance and conservation; providing better education to users about trail etiquette and sustainable practices .

Example of a topic that fits into this category:

Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland- Bringing the mountain bike community together with the Scottish Government, national agencies and landowners driving forward the Scottish Mountain Bike Strategy (the MTB strategy) with the ambition and vision that Scotland will be recognised as the leader of European mountain biking.

Sustainable mountain biking tourism

Washing the green out of the term ‘sustainable mountain biking tourism’. It’s easy nowadays to slap a label on something and call it sustainable. Because you swap from single use plastics to paper goods, does that mean you’re now operating in a sustainable manner?  How can mountain bike tourism become genuinely more sustainable in its practices, when the common mode of transport to destinations is by plane and car? What does an effective sustainability policy look like? How do we avoid ‘greenwashing’?

Example of a topic that fits into this category:

Dolomite Paganella- In the Future Lab we have decided to talk about tourism in balance so as not to limit the discussion to environmental sustainability alone, which nevertheless remains one of the fundamental issues for reflection. Protecting our environmental heritage is an essential concern for the local area, not only for attracting tourists but above all for safeguarding our lifestyle and cultural identity.

Session formats:

  • Lectures 
  • Poster presentations
  • Master classes
  • Storytelling 
  • Practical demonstrations

LECTURES feature three to four presentations (12-15 minutes each). The presentations will cover a wide range of topics and are combined with questions and answer sessions. 

POSTER PRESENTATIONS are a creative way of displaying information in a clear and concise way that generates engagement and discussion from the audience about said topic. The poster is a means to communicate the key points from the topic of interest in the format of a catchy title, short intro, summary of results and conclusion. 

MASTER CLASSES are given by an expert on a particular discipline or subject. The presenter and the audience can go deeper into the subject of their interest on a more personal level. 

STORYTELLING sessions invite maximum 3 speakers to tell stories that help illustrate or enhance themes in the conference tracks. They should reflect the authentic experience of an individual, a team, or a community, but be told like a traditional story. The narrative should contain a beginning, middle, and end, characters and themes that hold interest, like adversity and triumph. Stories should be about 15 minutes long, with time for Q&A afterwards.

PRACTICAL DEMONSTRATIONS are sessions that usually take place outside. This could be a short demonstration of a new intervention, methodology or technique in the field of trail development, guiding, instruction or specific target groups (adapted sports, ADHD, kids etc.)  

How to submit your abstract:

In order to submit your abstract, you will need to complete the following;

  • Choose a subtheme
  • Decide on a format
    • Lectures 
    • Poster presentations
    • Master classes
    • Storytelling 
    • Practical demonstrations
  • Prepare a 200 word summary of your presentation, class, demonstration etc
  • Attach any necessary links to your work.

You can find the form to submit your abstract here.