San Diego Mountain Biking Association (SDMBA) ends chapter affiliation with IMBA- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    San Diego Mountain Biking Association (SDMBA) ends chapter affiliation with IMBA

    SDMBA Ends Chapter Affiliation with IMBA

    The San Diego Mountain Biking Association ends chapter affiliation and joint membership program with International Mountain Bicycling Association

    Independence from IMBA allows SDMBA to focus on opportunities and challenges in San Diego County.

    After lengthy and careful consideration, the Board of Directors of the San Diego Mountain Biking Association has voted unanimously to discontinue its chapter status with the International Mountain Biking Association, effective April 29, 2018.


    “SDMBA has evolved to be one of the strongest mountain biking associations and advocacy organizations in the country, and ending our chapter status agreement with IMBA means more dollars and resources we develop will stay local,” said Kevin Loomis, president of SDMBA. “After several failed attempts to reconcile our differences, we feel a complete separation from IMBA is aligned with the wishes of a majority of our members and needed to help SDMBA flourish. We wish them success in their future endeavors.”


    SDMBA has worked closely with IMBA to make many improvements to the national organization over the past few years, including:


    - Unified California into one region with a state representative

    - Provided input to overhaul the chapter program to benefit chapters of all sizes

    - Created a national voice and helped establish extraordinary contacts that continue to be leveraged to this day


    However, with the evolution of both organizations in similar but different directions, these financial, philosophical and diminished member services have made the relationship unsustainable for SDMBA’s board and its membership. For more than a year, the SDMBA Board of Directors has struggled with the question of whether to remain a chapter of IMBA after assuming that status in 2013 and made multiple efforts to reconcile the situation. Polls of membership also showed a majority supported SDMBA’s independence from IMBA.


    Key issues include:


    - Financially, SDMBA is not experiencing sufficient return on investment given the amount of revenue staying with IMBA via dual membership programs, where a substantial portion of revenue SDMBA raises goes to IMBA


    - Philosophical differences over bikes in Wilderness as evidenced by IMBA’s formal non-support of HR1349 and concerning support of motorized e-bicycles on non-motorized trails


    - Diminished member services, including an inability to maintain adequate and affordable insurance and dissolution of IMBA regional directors including our statewide California representative


    SDMBA has invested considerable time and energy over the past year strengthening its organization and ability to serve its membership. It has become one of the largest IMBA chapters in recent years and today serves more than 1,000 members. SDMBA is here to speak for all mountain bikers in San Diego and will continue to work everyday to be at the tables where trail decisions are made.
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    Pretty soon they'll be the Arkansas Mountain Biking Association. Good riddance.
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    Up here in Washington, the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance (EMBA) chose not to partner with IMBA a long time ago. It's worked out quite well for us since we can devote greater resources to our local trails.

    It's also allowed EMBA to posit a more realistic approach to Wilderness access than IMBA.

    I used to support IMBA, but now it seems to be an organization that circling the drain due to a lack of focus and inability to actually listen to its members.
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

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    Seems IMBA is beholden to the bike companies rather than the bicyclists. IMHO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Seems IMBA is beholden to the bike companies rather than the bicyclists. IMHO.




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    San Diego Mountain Biking Association (SDMBA) ends chapter affiliation with IMBA

    Quote Originally Posted by Curveball View Post
    It's also allowed EMBA to posit a more realistic approach to Wilderness access than IMBA.
    If I'm not mistaken, I thought EMBA and IMBA have essentially the same approach to proposed Wilderness: Push for alternative designations, move boundaries to keep trails out of Wilderness, etc. And accept that existing Wilderness is off the table for discussion. Yes?

    Ps- I'm definitely a fan of Evergreen in general

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_Beer View Post
    If I'm not mistaken, I thought EMBA and IMBA have essentially the same approach to proposed Wilderness: Push for alternative designations, move boundaries to keep trails out of Wilderness, etc. And accept that existing Wilderness is off the table for discussion. Yes?

    Ps- I'm definitely a fan of Evergreen in general
    No, unlike IMBA, EMBA has come out with a measured and cautious approach in support of limited Wilderness access.

    https://www.evergreenmtb.org/blog/bi...washington-mtb

    EMBA is quite awesome.
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

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    I hope this does what they say it will. I don't have too much involvement with SDMBA, but I never saw us being part of IMBA have any impact whatsoever.

    I like the idea of a national voice for mountain bikes, but I think most of the money for our fees went to imba. If anything I'd like to see most money stay local on the trails I ride 330 days per year, and some money go elsewhere.



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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curveball View Post
    No, unlike IMBA, EMBA has come out with a measured and cautious approach in support of limited Wilderness access.

    https://www.evergreenmtb.org/blog/bi...washington-mtb

    EMBA is quite awesome.
    Honestly, that blog is essentially the same as IMBA's messaging on the subject. The primary difference is EMBA hasn't purposely opposed HR 1349 (or S3205 back in 2016). EMBA is much better at PR than IMBA ;-)

    I understand the politics of not outright supporting the bill, but EMBA's reasoning for not supporting the bill are essentially the same as IMBA's:

    - Both organizations agree that bicycling in Wilderness areas is desirable and is not detrimental to Wilderness character.

    - They both are worried about a "slippery slope".

    - They both are concerned about the bill's sponsors. (Yet neither org has done anything to get members of congress they trust to co-sponsor it AFAIK).

    - They both work on modifying proposed Wilderness boundaries and alternative land designations to protect mt. biking access (and accept the losses that have happened and will happen in the future). All mtb advocacy groups have to do this due to the 1984 amendment to the Wilderness Act that prohibited bicycles.

    - They both tout all the trails they are building outside of Wilderness.

    - They are both worried about damaging relationships they've forged with federal land managers and conservation groups by outright supporting the bill.

    SDMBA, FATRAC, TAMBA, SWIMBA, MMBA, etc. all had to weigh those issues as well, but they've all vocally supported the bill... with no consequences I've heard of.

    EMBA absolutely is a premier MTB org in the US, but I can't pat 'em on the back for their non-support of HR 1349 during what might be the only time in my lifetime we have a chance at passing this bill. But they are definitely better at wording it than IMBA

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Seems IMBA is beholden to the bike companies rather than the bicyclists. IMHO.
    Yes, and that's probably the key distinction. Empy_Beer nailed it above in noting how similar Evergreen and EMBA's positions are on HR 1349. Biggest difference there, in my mind, is Evergreen is that Evergreen was kind of 'hey, politically, we can't do this right now', while IMBA was 'we are against you!' and actively worked against STC. You see a lot more difference on ebikes, where Evergreen (NOT funded by ebike makers) worked on a bill that made ebikes default to not allowed on unpaved nonmotorized trails, while giving land managers the ability to allow them on case by case basis (kind of like HR 1349 would allow).
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