How the International Mountain Biking Association Works

Image Gallery: Extreme Sports The IMBA has helped to create thousands of miles of new trails for bikers. See pictures of extreme sports.

People who like similar activities often form associations and clubs in order to create more opportunities to enjoy their common interests. Mountain bikers are no exception to this, and enthusiasts of this outdoor sport have recreational clubs all over the world. In 1988, several mountain biking groups in California decided to band together, not just to form a larger social network, but to establish an association large enough to have a voice in the realm of land-use issues. They named this organization the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) [sources:, IMBA].

The IMBA formed to solve some of the problems facing mountain bikers at the time -- primarily the closure of several California trails that mountain bikers routinely used. Additionally, the rise in popularity of mountain cycling around the world was causing trail crowding in many areas and conflicts between groups of cyclists using the same trails. By educating its members on advocacy strategies and by promoting responsible trail use among mountain bicyclists with their "Rules of the Trail," the IMBA has worked to help trails stay open and create an ethical standard for trail use. The idea is that if trail users become more committed to responsible use, then land managers may be more willing to maintain their trails [sources: IMBA, U.S. Bureau of Land Management].

So far, the IMBA has members in all 50 United States and 40 other countries, and it has had a hand in creating thousands of miles of new trails [source: IMBA]. If you want to learn more about joining the IMBA, read on.