Accessibility. One of our biggest concerns here at VMBA is how to make this sport accessible to more Vermonters. Mountain biking is fun, and doesn’t everyone deserve to have the kind of fun mountain biking offers? With this ethic in mind, VMBA launched their Community Builder Program last year to partner with organizations whose expressed mission is to create better access for populations who might otherwise have difficulty finding inroads to our great sport. The program started with Vermont Adaptive and Pride Rides VT, and Vermont Youth Cycling joined in early 2023. VMBA members can support these organizations and the communities they serve by adding one or more of our Community Builder partners to your primary VMBA membership, just as you would an additional VMBA Chapter. So who are these Community Builder partners, and why is their connection to VMBA and the support of our members so important?
Pride Rides VT is a non-profit working to create an inclusive, “social club” atmosphere and safe space for “our allies to come together and ride bicycles!” Started by Kris Hunt of VMBA Chapter Millstone Trails Association, Pride Rides organizes rides, events, and other opportunities for Vermont’s LGBTQIA+ bike riders, aligning perfectly with VMBA’s mission to make riding welcoming to all. While Vermont works hard to create safe and welcoming spaces for our LGBTQIA+ community, there is always more work to do, and Pride Rides VT is putting in that work to make mountain biking and our many trails safe and inclusive spaces for this community to thrive in.
“It is important to Pride Rides VT to partner with VMBA because our missions align. The values of VMBA and Pride Rides coalesce around inviting more people into the sport of mountain biking and building an inclusive and welcoming community within mountain biking.”
Hunt sees part of Pride Rides VT’s mission as one of education and outreach, reminding:
“the VMBA membership… that there are still barriers to participation in cycling for LGBTQIA folks and that we need the continued allyship and support of the people within the sport. We are all responsible for creating a mountain bike community that is welcoming, inclusive, and accessible to all.”
VMBA believes in this mission and is working hard to educate our chapters, riders, and leadership on the importance of outreach, inclusion, and support for our fellow riders in the LGBTQIA+ community. Hunt points out that –
“VMBA provides visibility to Pride Rides through increased outreach on the VMBA platform. Through that platform, we are able to raise additional funding with add-on Community Builder memberships as well as the additional LGBTQIA+ related fundraising that VMBA has done through sales of stickers and gloves! The visibility also brings increased awareness and positive conversation with the broader mountain bike community about the experiences of LGBTQIA+ folks in cycling as well as highlights VMBA and Pride Rides shared value of LGBTQIA inclusivity and support within that community.”
So consider Pride Rides VT as a Community Builder add-on to your VMBA membership. Your support will go directly to efforts to create safe and inclusive spaces for Vermont’s LGBTQIA+ riding community. We want to ensure that the VMBA community is open and welcoming to all, and our Community Builder partners are working to help accomplish that mission. Please support them and help make Vermont mountain biking more accessible and inclusive for all!