Accessibility. One of our biggest concerns here at VMBA is how to make this sport accessible to more Vermonters. At its core, 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 our Community Builder Program last year to promote organizations whose expressed mission is to create better access for populations who might otherwise have difficulty finding inroads to mountain biking. 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 from our members so important?
The future of Vermont mountain biking is, of course, our youths. Yet for many young Vermonters, getting on a mountain bike, and getting that bike to the trailhead is a challenge. Vermont Youth Cycling wants to help change that. A growing organization that began with mountain bike racing, VYC has expanded to offer more opportunity to more kids to get on bikes. Rachel Cohen, VYC’s Executive Director explains how “through interscholastic group rides and races, and—new in 2023—instructional clinics, we are educating and empowering young riders to make mountain biking a significant part of their lives. Not only do we want to create a place for youth to improve their cycling skills, we want young Vermonters to develop a healthy lifestyle and a stewardship ethic for the trails.”
This is where VMBA comes in, with our ability to help promote this opportunity throughout our 29 chapters and beyond. In describing how the two organizations’ missions align, Cohen points out that “it is essential that VYC partners with VMBA because we are helping to grow the next generation of Vermont cyclists. Access to mountain biking can be life-changing for a kid! The transferable skills acquired on the trails are limitless. To name a few things our riders walk away with: camaraderie, grit, goal setting practice, independence, persistence, teamwork…and FUN. We are grateful for the support of the VMBA community to help us reach more kids and families from across the state.”
So consider Vermont Youth Cycling as a Community Builder add-on to your VMBA membership. Your support will go directly to create more opportunities for young riders and their families. We want to ensure that the VMBA community is one that young people want to join and support for a lifetime, and our Community Builder partners are instrumental in helping us accomplish that mission. VYC gets more and more kids on bikes every year, adding to our sport and out community. Please support them and help make Vermont mountain biking more accessible and inviting for our young riders!