Without trails, a mountain bike is just a bike. Some of us live in places rife with dirt ribbons, and we get spoiled. We don’t realize that many places lack any riding at all, let alone epic bike-specific playgrounds that extend to the horizon. Perhaps worse, other towns are losing trail access due to a variety of threats.
That’s where the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) comes in. Its mission is to create, enhance, and protect great places to ride mountain bikes. For more than 30 years, this not-for-profit organization has been working on behalf of mountain bikers like us.
To support IMBA’s mission, we’re auctioning off four special bikes this month: Three Rip 9 RDO bikes from Niner (sizes S, M, and L) and a team-edition Kona Operator DH bike. Niner and Kona generously donated these bikes to IMBA for this special auction. These bikes are built to go big — very fitting since IMBA has big ambitions to improve trail access for everyone.
“We love to see mountain bike trails be as common as ballfields. That’s a very tall goal but it’d be great if most communities had trails right in their backyards,” says IMBA’s executive director, Dave Wiens.
“Not every community can have backcountry trails, but some can have a bike park the same way you’d have a skate park, something for people to get out on.”
The money we raise through this auction will help IMBA in three key areas: Trail Accelerator Grants, IMBA Local, and Government Affairs.
Its Trail Accelerator Grants are the first step toward creating riding in places that need it. As the name suggests, these grants help speed up the planning process for new trails, which is often one of the biggest hangups for local mountain bike advocates.
“A plan often brings the project to life,” says Wiens. “As soon as you have a plan that you can shop around to people and use to bring the stakeholders in, that’s when it really starts to get legs.”
In the first two rounds, IMBA has distributed seven Trail Accelerator Grants. It plans to distribute another five to eight grants for round three in the coming months.
As you’d imagine, even when IMBA contributes directly to trailbuilding efforts with programs like Trail Accelerator Grants, local volunteers are key to creating and maintaining the trails people love to ride. That’s why IMBA’s second key priority is IMBA Local.
This program primarily helps ease the administrative burden on local advocates. Most of these volunteers got involved out of love for riding, trailbuilding, and their local open spaces. Unfortunately, they sometimes end up bogged down with paperwork. So IMBA Local helps them manage their club’s membership, non-profit status, and fundraising, among other things.
Finally, this special auction is raising funds to help support IMBA’s ongoing work to maintain our access to great mountain biking trails. The organization is taking proactive steps to keep trails open to riding, lobbying on our behalf in Washington, D.C.
“Government affairs is such a critical part of an advocacy operation, and with a strong voice in Washington, D.C., IMBA is able to influence important policy decisions that are crucial to the mountain bike community,” adds Todd Keller, Director of Government Affairs in Washington, D.C. “The collaborative process is more important than ever as outdoor recreation continues to expand and more people are using our public lands.”
So are you ready to chip in to support IMBA? We’re pleased to offer a special auction of four bikes to raise money for IMBA’s three priorities.
First up, Niner donated three custom-painted RIP 9 RDO 29” bikes in sizes small, medium, and large. We dare you to find a trail that the RIP 9 can’t handle. It’s got 140mm of rear travel on Niner’s CVA Suspension platform and 150mm up front, slacked-out on a 66-degree head tube or a 65-degree angle if you switch the geometry chip. These carbon bikes are all built up with SRAM, FSA, and Ergon parts.
For the lift-served set, Kona has donated a team-issue downhill bike, the Operator. This size-Large, long-travel speed machine is outfitted with a color-matched SRAM XO group and RockShox Boxxer fork. You won’t find this spec in the shops. It’s the same kit that Connor Fearon and former world champion Miranda Miller ride at the World Cup level.
The auctions for the three Niner RIP 9s run November 10 through 17.
The auction for the Kona Operator runs November 17 through 24.
Thanks again to Niner and Kona for donating these bikes. If they aren't quite right for you, please consider donating directly to IMBA!