The Ends Meet
The combination of riders and chapters is special. So special, in fact, that VMBA is the only statewide mountain bike organization of its kind in the country (as we do in VT). As we continue to set the pace for riding advocacy, we have two big initiatives in '17 that may interest you.
We all understand that Vermont is a popular destination for riders across the region and beyond. For many commercial entities this is a great opportunity. Ideally, these augmented opportunities translate into more support for the trails (more on that in a minute). We know that out of state riders travel here to ride six or more times a year - that's a lot given we are located within a 10 hour drive of 80 million people. VMBA chapters share a common interest focused on encouraging support from all of the riders enjoying the trails. In response to this feedback, VMBA has created the Northeast Mountain Bike Alliance. The purpose of the group is to share ideas, promotional opportunities/discounts and offer reciprocal membership. More riders discovering Vermont is inevitable. The Northeast is filled with riders that travel regularly to ride - why not collaborate and get everyone a good deal while obtaining more support for the trails? This new platform will, ideally, encourage more support for our trails in a way that VMBA chapters can use once nonresidents have traveled back home. As of December we have the following organizations in the network:
- JORBA - Jersey Off Road Bike Association
- MH&T - Maine Huts & Trails
- NYCMTB - New York City Mountain Bike Association
- CLIMB - Concerned Long Island Mountain Bikers
- Barkeaters - Lake Placid
- SMBA - Saratoga Mountain Bike Association
Do you travel to any of these areas to ride? If so, consider sharing some support for the trails. The alliance will launch this spring. Keep an eye out for links on the VMBA home page and in the auto-response from VMBA when you renew/join. There will be links to add any of the organizations and contact info if you have any questions.
Those same out of state riders purchase gas, meals, lodging and, of course, a beer or three. This commercial success is a great thing for Vermont's economy, However; in many cases this growth isn't realized by the groups that build and maintain the trails that brought people here in the first place. VMBA has developed a small group of successful Vermont based businesses that are eager to establish a new business culture in Vermont that recognizes the impact our amazing outdoor recreation infrastructure has on their success; and in turn, generate more support for the individuals and nonprofits that are making it happen. VMBA has been working to get the Vermont Outdoor Innovation Coalition (VOICe) together and to establish an agenda as the new administration moves into the golden dome. Thus far the following have committed:
- Outdoor Gear Exchange
- Cabot Creamery
- Hergenrother Construction
- FUSE Marketing
- Lintilhac Foundation
A handful of other businesses have been contacted. The idea is to facilitate meetings once each quarter with state leadership to discuss plans for outdoor recreation and to and also explore specific challenges facing businesses in Vermont. VMBA is proud and excited to lead the charge in blending commercial ambition with trail-based nonprofit effort and purpose. Making these ends meet will ensure the entire spectrum of Vermont's outdoor recreation opportunities are well represented and carefully stewarded.