Getting Serious About VMBA

Ryan Bent

The Vermont Mountain Bike Association, (VMBA) is the voice of Mountain biking advocacy in Vermont. Despite advocacy success on rider’s behalf, many riders still don’t take the easiest step towards supporting the trails by joining a local chapter. VMBA is hoping to change that with a few new initiatives.

Always looking to boost rider participation, the organization has been working with area shops to expand membership and member benefits. Those benefits include lift tickets to many of Vermont’s lift-service resorts, deals at area shops, restaurants and more. Using just a couple benefits will more than cover the costs of membership.

Some shops are even taking it a step further and riders should take note. In Waterbury Vermont a new, upstart shop has thrown down bigger benefits for their VMBA members. Waterbury Sports opened in August 2015 and is already making a big splash. This year they’re offering an unheard-of 15% off a new bike to all members. This means members getting a new bike will receive discounts many times the price of membership.

But the guys at Waterbury Sports aren’t stopping there. They’ve set up a system where riders can sign up and redeem 15% off a new bike right in the shop! Simply step up the counter and badda…bing – 15% off a new bike. The savings on a $500 bike purchase will more than cover the cost of an individual membership. The idea is to get you on the trails and making connections with other riders enjoying the best recreation community in Vermont.

The three owners of Waterbury Sports are all active in their local VMBA chapters. Ryan McGuire and Chuck Hughson have both taken an active role in WATA, (Waterbury) and Caleb Magoon works with Mellow Velo in the Lamoille Valley area. “We believe in what VMBA and our local chapters are doing” says Hughson. “Strong chapters with more members means more trails, better maintained trails and a strong bike culture. It’s a win/win for our shop. We really want to do our part to grow mountain biking in Vermont”.

The store is working closely with VMBA to pilot a program where memberships for the organization are promoted in store. “We think it will be a great program” says VMBA Executive Director Tom Stuessy. “We’re always looking for opportunities to collaborate with area shops and this program has the possibility to bring more riders together, which is the ultimate goal.”

All parties agree that a strong VMBA means stronger area chapters, which translates into a riding culture with a consistent, strong representation. Why is this so important? Vermont has become the “go to” for the best riding in the east. “As a riding community we can ignore this reality or enjoy the benefits of being proactive. VMBA’s goal is to preserve our own riding culture while thoughtfully embracing Vermont’s popularity” says Stuessy. Connecting visiting riders with our local business community helps to close the gap between everyone loving our trails and the resources it takes to adequately support the remarkable work of the VMBA chapters.

The partnership between VMBA, area chapters and local businesses is a key component to ensuring that mountain biking continues to play a strong role in keeping Vermont so special.  Be sure to swing by Waterbury Sports – Main St. Waterbury.  For membership to their local VMBA chapter please go to: