IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING SDMB’S IMBA CHAPTER STATUS
Dear SDMB Members and Supporters:
This is an exciting time for Sonoran Desert Mountain Bicyclists, thanks to your ongoing support, donations, volunteer hours, and community involvement. Now in our 20th year (more on that later this summer!), SDMB has grown from a small group of passionate riders with big advocacy ambitions to a full-fledged trail building and mountain bike advocacy nonprofit with more than 350 dues-paying members and thousands of supporters throughout Southern Arizona. In recent years, SDMB and our volunteers have helped build more than 20 miles of new singletrack and maintained more than 50 miles of existing singletrack. We have shown land managers, elected officials, and the larger community that mountain bikers are an influential and motivated user group who make huge contributions to our trails, our economy, and our region. In addition, we now have a paid Executive Director; we’re bringing machine trail building skills and Americorps crews to the table to support local trail projects, and we are working on ever-bigger projects like the upcoming 100-Acre Wood Bike Park near Davis Monthan Air Force Base. As always, we can’t THANK YOU enough for being a part of these accomplishments!
Earlier in 2018, the SDMB board unanimously voted to leave the Chapter Program of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). We have notified IMBA that we will terminate our Chapter status effective September 1, 2018. SDMB joined IMBA as a chapter in 2012 and, over the past six years, IMBA has been an invaluable ally as we have grown and developed as an advocacy organization. Two of the primary benefits of SDMB’s status as an IMBA Chapter have been assistance with membership processing, and the support and guidance of IMBA’s Southwest Regional Director, Patrick Kell. Additionally, IMBA has been helpful with fundraising support and laying the groundwork for 100-Acre Wood Bike Park. SDMB and our members perceived real value in sharing our membership dollars with IMBA, knowing that we were supporting mountain bike advocacy on a national scale.
However, we have decided to separate from IMBA for several reasons:
- Economics: We want to keep more of your membership dollars where they count—here in Southern Arizona! When SDMB was a small club with 100 members (back in 2012), it made economic sense to share revenue with IMBA in exchange for the services and guidance they provided through the Chapter Program. Now, in 2018, we have grown to the point where we have the local capacity and knowledge to manage membership and other administrative tasks in-house. Separating from IMBA will allow us to dedicate ever-greater financial resources to local MTB projects without raising membership fees.
- IMBA Local: The original Chapter Program presented numerous benefits to chapters and members, and SDMB’s Chapter status has helped us grow over the years. However, multiple and frequent re-inventions of the Chapter Program combined with reductions in Chapter/member benefits and the elimination of IMBA’s Regional Directors have led the SDMB board to decide that the latest “IMBA Local” program does not provide enough value for SDMB (based on the cost of participation).
- Ideological Differences: IMBA has recently taken politically charged positions on important issues for the mountain bike community (specifically bikes in Wilderness and inclusion/exclusion of e-bikes) without adequately consulting Chapters, despite IMBA’s positions having very real implications for SDMB and our members. We understand that our members have a wide range of opinions on such issues, and we feel we have an obligation to poll our constituents before SDMB (or any representative body) takes an official stance, to ensure that we accurately represent our constituents’ collective opinion. This is why SDMB has not taken specific positions on bikes in Wilderness or e-bikes—because we don’t feel that we comprehensively understand the diverse opinions of our members well enough to adequately represent you on these issues. For now, our priority is to continue educating land managers and the public about the issues, to make sure everyone is operating with the correct information.
Over the coming weeks and months, SDMB will be making numerous changes to our membership processing, communications, and website. We thank you for your patience in advance during the transition period! All current SDMB memberships will remain active until their existing expiration date, and we expect minimal changes in membership levels as we move forward. We hope to transition over to our new systems with as little disruption as possible, and we’re excited that our new platform will offer enhanced member benefits. We will also be rolling out a new and improved website with better integration of membership, events, advocacy updates, and maps and trail information. Stay tuned!
Questions? Concerns? Please don’t hesitate to email SDMB Executive Director Evan Pilling at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, we’re going to keep building and maintaining awesome trails, working with land managers and elected officials to protect and enhance access, and making Tucson and Southern Arizona a great place to live and ride—see you out on the trails and THANKS AGAIN for your support!
Evan Pilling, Executive Director, and the SDMB Board of Directors