Mountain bicycling has evolved as a sport and recreational activity over the last 20 years, and it is not fad: It is here to stay. During this time, thousands of miles of dirt trails have been closed to bicycle use. Most trail closures are due to the irresponsible riding habits of a few riders. The way cyclists ride can positively or negatively influence trail management decisions.
The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) is the only professional non-profit organization with a mission to maintain and increase trail access for mountain bike use. During IMBA’s 11 year history, the organization has seemingly turned the tide on trail closures throughout the world. During 1999, 1000 miles of new trail were opened to mountain bikes with IMBA’s help; and during the year 2000, an additional 1200 miles of new trail were opened. As a cyclist, and particularly a mountain biker, I feel other mountain bikers and I have a responsibility to provide service to the community in order to ensure people have places to ride bicycles.
My project outlines IMBA’s philosophies of trail management, including how to ride responsibly, sharing the trail with other users (equestrians and hikers), and how bicycle racing and the industry can improve trail access. Example of trail closures, and the campaigns that saved trails from closure are provided.
My work cites a vast array of IMBA’s documents pertaining to trail management. My expertise from years of competitive racing, and service on the board of directors of the Iowa Coalition of Off-Road Riders (a non-profit organization keeping trails open for bicycles in the state of Iowa) is also used to reinforce the information presented.
Matthew Holter, ’01 Minneapolis, MN
Major: Physical Education
Sponsor: Dr. Steve DeVries