March’s Member Meetup

Our March meeting at Velo Cult brought a lighter (daylight savings time) start to the affair but also a lighter crowd (it’s also Spring break week). To simulate the experience at home, grab your favorite snack and drink, and we’re on to the announcements!

Emcee Andy Crump began by noting that Washougal Bike Park will be expanding this Summer with a full-scale jump line and pump track. That is, funding permitting. I like to see it as “buy a t-shirt, get a free bike park.” Here’s the full story of the plans and how to help make it happen.

Ted Dodd then briefed us on the progress and coming events at Stub Stewart State Park: completion of the bridges; the coming PDW-sponsored, May 20th work party; the inaugural LapQuest group ride (think of it as a Gran Fondo on dirt); and our annual Stub Fest, with a trail building class, work parties, group rides, and social events all operating out of the Cabin Village this year. Follow the web links above for details.

Next up, Portland’s Off-Road Cycling Master Plan (ORCMP). What was intended to be a brief reminder and quick demo of the ORCMP Interactive Map turned into a lively back and forth about benefits and politics. All good … a lot of folks came away fired up to do their part— letting the city know what riding features they’d like to see in their neighborhoods. And you? Check out the link above.

The final announcement, an update on the Dirt Lab at Gateway Green. Portland throws the gates open on June 24, bringing to the public more than three miles of dedicated, IMBA-built single-track, a dirt jump line, a skills development area, and a pump track. I imagine the opening event as Sea Otter Classic at a city park scale, with exhibitions, possibly races, demo bikes, and plenty to eat and drink. Come, ride, and socialize!

OK then, on to the main topic— an update on IMBA.

You may have felt that IMBA was set for transformation with the loss of Subaru’s funding, in May 2016, and the resignation of Executive Director Mike Van Abel last August. You may have heard that the cost of membership was going way up (it’s not) or that chapters were fleeing IMBA (a few have).

In February of this year, IMBA Board Chair, mountain bike legend, and trails advocate Dave Wiens became Executive Director. He’s since refashioned the chapter program. That program, which goes into effect June 1st, will increase our current 40 percent share of membership revenue to 50 percent, provide us with a more responsive and capable membership system, and hold chapter support staff at their current levels. I anticipate many more positive changes to come under Dave’s leadership.

The base annual membership moves from $35 to $39. The net of the 50/50 revenue split and the 10 percent annual membership increase is a 32% uptick in NWTA membership income. Balancing that are the staff reductions that occurred subsequent to Subaru’s departure (but before the current chapter program definition), which dictate that regional advocacy is ours to own, alongside all of our neighboring trail associations. It’s easy to imagine a statewide trail association being in place five years from now. What might our role be in that evolution?

As always, more to come. Metro takes center stage at our next meeting, April 25th at Velo Cult.