29 June 2021

Re-elections and a new advisory board member for IMBA Europe

Thomas Larsen Schmidt and Edoardo Melchiori are re-elected as part of the IMBA Europe board.

On June 17th during our General Assembly meeting with our members, both Thomas Larsen Schmidt (President) and Edoardo Melchiori (treasurer) and ) were re-elected to the board. We are very pleased to have their continued involvement with IMBA Europe and are excited about the revised strategy working towards 2025. Both Catherine Shearer and Kevin Mayne will also continue on as board members, with the redrawl of Raymond Cheminal. We wish Raymond the very best, and thank him for his contribution and hard work to IMBA Europe. 

With the departure of Raymond, we introduce our latest board member, working in an advisory capacity, Martin Wyttenbach. Martin is currently the head of the Environmental Planning Research Group at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences in Zurich Switzerland. He has been conducting research in the field of recreational use and environmental impacts for over 10 years. As an environmental engineer, he works closely with research experts in wildlife biology and vegetation ecology. As an environmental specialist, he was employed for several years at BikePlan AG (2016-2020), where he was involved in the founding process of IMBA Switzerland, in addition to mountain bike specific planning, and made its management at the beginning (2019-2020). Welcome to the IMBA Europe Board Martin!

If you would like to hear more from Martin and his thoughts on the preconditions of a sustainable future for mountain biking in Europe, you can re-watch his talk at this year’s IMBA Europe Summit via this link.

On the topic of the Summit, for those who did, or did not attend, our president Thomas Larsen Schmidt gave a keynote presentation on IMBA Europe's refreshed strategy to 2025, highlighting our high level objectives and how we plan to implement them. To learn more about our vision and mission as an organisation, you can read the summary of the strategy below. If you would like to hear more about it from Thomas, you can visit his keynote presentation here.

IMBA Europe’s High Level Objectives 

‘Improving people’s lives through mountain biking’ 

IMBA Europe aims to grow mountain biking and to promote our sport as an inexpensive, attainable, enduring antidote for many societal challenges. We want more people to discover the joy, physical and mental health benefits mountain biking and natural spaces can bring to their lives. Cycling friendly communities and the development of sustainable MTB infrastructure have proven to boost local & regional economies, reduce climate impact and encourage an environment conscious lifestyle. 

Providing easy access 

Everyone across Europe should have access to sustainable mountain bike and shared-use trails [as they are fundamental to get more people on bikes]. Close to home trails are key in inspiring more people to be outside and active on an everyday basis, unlocking the interest to look for iconic, backcountry experiences in their free time and on vacation. Sustainable trails are socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable. Great mountain bike trails respect and protect nature, respect other user groups, are economically viable while providing the desired experience. 

Making Europe a mountain bike friendly place 

Our aim is to make Europe a mountain bike friendly continent by enhancing the diversity of the sport, attracting more women, kids, and people of different ethnicities and to unlock (public) funding to foster this transition. Growing the quantity and quality of mountain bike communities will support the development of sustainable mountain bike trails and will help to create a more inclusive MTB culture. 

Our Goals - Improving people’s lives 

  • Develop / disseminate MTB specific evidence-based practices to tackle health and wellbeing issues. 
  • Sensitize mountain bikers to environmental concerns & sustainable riding behaviour 
  • Contribute to a greener economy and create more jobs through mountain biking Providing easy access 
  • Increased acceptance and social integration of mountain biking in the recreational & environmental landscape 
  • Trail access conditions for mountain bikers in EU member countries (where access is under threat) significantly improved by 2025 
  • Establish 25 cities / regions across Europe that have invested in a diverse mountain bike experience close to home and equity in access 
  • Increase the level of knowledge how to plan, design, build and manage mountain bike trails through innovative training programs Making Europe a MTB friendly place 
  • Increase the diversity in mountain biking in a way that MTB communities show a better reflection of our society in terms of age, gender and ethnicity 
  • Responsible growth of MTB participation and MTB communities across Europe 
  • Increase the number of adopted national and regional strategies that include mountain biking

IMBA Europe's refreshed strategy and action plan will soon be available on our new website, expected to be launched by the end of July