Beginning Friday, March 28, the International Mountain Bicycling Association Europe will kick off a weekend summit loaded with trip-wire topics sensitive to the nation members of the European Union. Border-crossing, long-distance European mountain bike routes, MTB guide programs (do we need them?), sustainable trail building, advocacy and mountain bike tourism will headline the weekend program intended to advance mountain biking even deeper into the consciousness of government, its citizens, and consumers at large.
"We are working on a program that covers several areas of expertise," said Mark Torsius, director of IMBA Europe. "For instance, trail building in sensitive ecological environments, how to build critical mass when campaigning for trail access, how to obtain European Union grants for cycling, and crafting strategies for engaging women and local retailers."
The event, set against the backdrop of the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park northwest of Madrid, will convene government officials, private entrepreneurs, industry influencers, and IMBA representatives from all over Europe to effect change in the future of mountain biking in Europe. Patrick Jansen, Director of Probos, the Netherlands' Institute for Forestry, Forest Products and Services; Claude Balsiger, founder of the Swiss Bike Guide program, and editor of Ride Magazine; Adam Bodor, director EuroVelo, a European cycle route networkmanaged by the European Cyclists' Federation; and Jonathan Halstead, planning visionary for long distance mountain bike routes will lead the weekend's presentations, which will draw upon the successes and challenges on the trail to greater access, responsible resource management, and increasing participation in mountain biking.
Guided rides on the local trails surrounding the venue will open the weekend's events on Friday followed by an opening reception from 8-10 p.m. Saturday starts off with a general assembly of IMBA's European members and then opens the doors to the public for Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning sessions. On Saturday night, participants are invited to a BBQ with beers and music, sponsored by Orbea. The weekend concludes with more riding around the Sierra Guadarrama park on Sunday afternoon.
IMBA Europe's third summit will be a dual session combining the general assembly, which is exclusive to nation members and corporate supporters of IMBA, with presentations and parallel workshop sessions, which are open to the public. The event will provides premium opportunities for networking, learning and knowledge-sharing. Media members, mountain bike advocates, local club leaders, trail experts, grassroots organizers, land managers, mountain bike guides, and industry leaders are encouraged to attend.