27 April 2014

IMBA Europe Summit Cercedilla: gathering of MTB advocates from 18 countries

IMBA Europe welcomed 11 new member organizations at its general assembly in Spain last month. The formula of the summit was slightly changed this year to a more public event. Not only member or prospective member organizations were welcome, trail builders, representatives from the tourism and bicycle industry, mountain bike guides, journalists and colleague advocacy organizations like ECF joined IMBA Europe’s Summit in Cercedilla. The 52 participants from 18 different countries brought their perspective to bear on the future of mountain biking in Europe.

IMBA Espana hosted the 2014 Summit in Cercedilla and made sure each participant got a warm and hospitable welcome. The 2014 Summit took off with the most formal part of the event, IMBA EU’s general assembly, where 11 prospective member organizations where appointed as full members and directly approved IMBA ‘s working program. The increased use of e-mountain bikes and it’s possible impact from a land managers perspective led to an interesting discussion. Opinions about e-bikes on mountain bike trails collided, not in the least because legislation and policies differ  per country.  

Following the general assembly, the doors were opened to the public to join the conversation and participate in presentations and breakout sessions on diverse topics including how to solicit European Union grants for cycling; plans for long-distance European mountain bike routes; best practices on lobbying and campaigning for trail access; how to engage women and local retailers; and the need for certified mountain bike guides. 

Off course, one of the characteristics of each IMBA Summit could obviously not be missing on the program. Guided rides. Attendees got the chance to explore the National Park Sierra de Guadarrama by bike. The afternoon riding session was followed by a huge Bask style BBQ provide by Orbea which completed the first day of the summit.  

Day two took off with a presentation by Victor Tarodo, vice president of IMBA Espana, about the rapid rise of mountain biking tourism in Spain. Primal Europe’s marketing manager James Smith explained how the Primal Gives Back program could support advocacy work and  trail developed projects of IMBA Europe members. Presentations and break-out sessions addressing topics like trail building and nature conservation and risk management for mountain bike facilities completed the 2014 Summit. 

A big thank you went out to all participants, IMBA Espana and their numerous volunteers, and longtime supporters and sponsors SRAM, Specialized, Yakima, Primal Europe, the communidad of Madrid and Cercedilla, NP Sierra de la Guadarrama, Orbea Bicycles and IMBA’s Destination partners.

All presentations and break-out sessions given at the 2014 summit can be found on IMBA Europe’s website. Take a look at our online resources section. IMBA Europe’s 11 appointed members are: Mountain Bikers Foundation (France), IMBA Espana, Upmove (Austria), Happy Trail MTB (Italy), Slovenian Cyclist Network, Pedal (Slovakia), HMBA (Greece), CeMBA (Czech Republic), DIMB (Germany), IMBA UK, Danish Cycling Union / Spor og Natur.