International Mountain Bike Association European Summit 2021

Written by : Ben Walker; in :
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International Mountain Bike Association European Summit 2021

Last month the IMBA hosted an online summit to explore how the sport could improve people’s lives through the sport. The summit brought together some of the sport’s policymakers and others involved in the industry at a high level.

Amongst the keynote speakers at the conference were: -

Peter Fischer – Policy Officer Green Sport, International Sport Cooperation, European Commission

Thomas Larsen Schmidt – President of IMBA Europe

A full list of the speakers and panelists attending the event can be found on the IMBA Website.

The format of the summit

The summit was split into three panels, each of which examined a separate facet of the sport. The panels and the subjects covered are listed below: -

  • Panel One – Discussed how to implement a more diverse and inclusive European Mountain Bike Community
  • Panel Two – Looking at the necessary preconditions to enable sustainable growth in Moutain Biking
  • Panel Three – Investment in MTB Friendly areas

The entirety of the discussions are available to watch on YouTube, links are included below along with a brief summary of the points covered by each panel.

Panel One

This panel was tasked to discuss diversity, or rather the lack of diversity, within the sport. Amongst the questions covered were: -

  • Why has mountain biking not got the same level of diversity as other sports?
  • Is the culture within the sport creating obstacles for marginalized groups to participate?

Amongst the panel was Angela McKenna who founded an Inclusion, Diversity, and Wellbeing Consultancy. She said of the problem: -

“Within our culture, there is a perception that it is a hard sport, through its representation in the media. We need to tackle this perception and open it up to all communities and think about aspects like affordability, we don’t all have to have the best of the best. Access is key.”

The full discussion can be watched on this link.

Panel Two

This panel discussed the preconditions for sustainable growth within the sport. It discussed such topics as: -

  • The growth in Mountain Bike Sales, in particular, Electric MTBs and the strain this puts on existing infrastructure
  • Investment in said infrastructure and the development of new trails

Speaking during the conference, Morton Kamp Schubert, CEO of Mountain Bike Limited said of the sport’s growth: -

“What we saw in the data from March 2020, the start of the lockdowns across Europe was an explosion in participation.”

The full panel discussion can be found here.

Panel Three

Panel three was briefed with discussing the foundations of a tourist industry based on “people-friendly MTB destinations.” Amongst the points covered were: -

  • Building strong MTB communities in these areas
  • Working together to manage and maintain trails

The panel was moderated by IMBA member Catherine Shearer, amongst the panelists was Mathilde Skoy Kristensen, Research Assistant at the University of Southern Denmark, speaking during the conference she said: -

“Since the pandemic started, we have seen the people have begun to understand more the importance of connecting with local culture and the heritage of the place they are visiting.”

The full discussion can be found on this YouTube link.

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