A leader in mountain bicycling advocacy

Older logo of IMBA

While working for Mountain Bike magazine in the late 1980s, I wrote an article about the need for a national mountain bicycling advocacy organization. Our environmentalist opponents were (still are) much bigger and better funded and have more than a century of of political experience. Two groups stood out as candidates. The League of American Bicyclists was about as old as the Sierra Club and had national headquarters in Washington, D.C. But they were mostly oriented toward advocacy for road riding and bicycling for transportation. But there was this new, tiny group formed in 1988 in California, the International Mountain Bicycling Association. Five local mountain bike clubs had seen the same need and got together to create it. They took the name “International” because “National” had been taken by a BMX racing company. That sounds right, I wrote.

Some people volunteered to staff the group, raised some money, published a newsletter, and held a conference. The group eventually did achieve its goal of growing into a national organization and it made quite a difference for bicycling on public lands.

In 1991 IMBA decided it needed a professional newsletter editor and called me. My work on the Land Access Alert began with Volume 4, Number 5, in August, 1991. I worked for IMBA for 15 years, longer than any other staff person. Also, I have advocated for mountain biking since my first reporting on the subject in July 1983 for Western Colorado Report (a short-lived predecessor to High Country News), which probably makes me the longest-active mountain bike advocate on the planet. Because I knew a lot about land management and politics from my work as an environmentalist in Crested Butte, I was able to substantially contribute to IMBA’s evolution and I earned the title Senior National Policy Advisor.

It was a great gig. What I most appreciate are the great people I worked with. They are or were good-hearted, talented people who cared much about Planet Earth and their fellow humans. We engaged with the world thoughtfully and respectfully and got stuff done. I also got to know some excellent land managers.

U.S. Senator Mark Udall meets with IMBA leaders. From left, Udall, IMBA Chairman Leslie Bohm, __?, IMBA E.D. Tim Blumenthal, Bicycle Colorado E.D. Dan Grunig, and Cateye America director Thomas Prehn.