photo credit: Wienerwald Tourismus / Christoph Kerschbaum www.ishootpeople.at

“Mountain biking in peri-urban areas”

22-24 May 2024
Mödling – Vienna Woods – Austria

In 2024 the IMBA Europe annual Summit took place at the Stadtgalerie in Mödling, a small town located south of Vienna, bordering the south-western part of the Wienerwald. After two consecutive IMBA Europe Summits in Alpine destinations, Val di Sole (2022) and Valposchiavo (2023), we will shift the focus of our 2024 edition to mountain biking in peri-urban areas with its own unique challenges and opportunities.

The IMBA Europe Summit is a two-to-three-day educational conference and a unique opportunity for a cross-sectoral knowledge exchange in the field of mountain biking. The Summit combines keynote speeches from opinion leaders with workshops, site visits, panel discussions and social activities, including daily (group) rides. Anybody working or active in the MTB sector are encouraged to register for the first two days of the event.Day three is dedicated to IMBA Europe members, networks and partners. As part of our goal of encouraging more women to be involved in mountain biking, we have the ambition to kickstart a new European Women in MTB network at this year’s conference. More women than ever will be included in the program as speakers or presenters, and during the event we will facilitate networking & riding opportunities for women.

Is this conference for me?

Who can you expect to meet at this conference? Everyone from mountain bike advocacy groups, trail builders and professionals in the bicycle and tourism industry, to land managers, environmental agencies, academics, public authorities (cities & regions), and guides and instructors. 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.

What is the IMBA Europe Summit?

The IMBA Europe 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 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.

Previous Summits

“Off the beaten track” – 2023 Summit – Valposchiavo

The main theme of the IMBA Europe Summit “Off the beaten track” was about rethinking our relationships with nature and how we use the word ‘sustainability’ in everything we do. From the trails to tourist destinations and rural development, guest speakers and attendees reflected upon the level of use that an area can receive without suffering negative impacts to its environmental resources or the visitor experience. Valposchiavo, the hosting town of the Summit was an example of a small destination working towards a sustainable solution and taking locally produced / sourced to the next level with the 100% Valposchiavo project. From menu’s in town that feature local specialities with dishes that are entirely made from ingredients the valley produces to ‘trail recycling’ where heritage trails are being optimized for mountain biking and taking your bike on the train or bus instead of using cars.

Key takeaways from the 2023 IMBA Europe Summit 

“Reframing Mountain Biking – 2022 Summit – Val di Sole

The 10th edition of the IMBA Europe Summit attracted a wide range of attendees and guest speakers from around World, all with one common goal and vision- to secure a bright future for mountain biking.  Through keynote presentations, panel discussions and breakout sessions, we reflected on the past, the present and the future of mountain biking.

IMBA Summits are a place where all key stakeholders in the mountain biking sector can gather to learn from one another, have open and honest conversations, form new relationships, and build networks. Our mission was to provide a platform to exchange new ideas, create conversation and lead thought-provoking discussions.

The central theme of the Summit, ‘Reframing Mountain Biking”, highlighted the trends and challenges of a sport that has expanded from something niche, into a sport that can be, and should be accessible for a wider audience. The topics of the Summit challenged attendees to rethink sustainability not only in terms of how we are building trails, but rather the broader sustainability issues associated with outdoor sports. Within reframing mountain biking, we need to reframe our identity as mountain bikers, and find solutions to make the sport more accessible and inclusive to a wider audience.