IMBA Executive Director Mike Van Abel opens the joint CTC IMBA-UK conference
The recent Cycle show at Earl’s Court wasn’t just a shiny kitfest. During Thursday’s trade day, speakers from across the world gathered in an upstairs conference suite to share their thoughts on the current state of mountain biking in the UK and beyond. This was the joint CTC/IMBA National Mountain Bike Conference, aiming to “help everyone involved in mountain biking to learn from successful trails and to get ready for the challenges ahead.”
Speakers included Mike Van Abel, Executive Director of IMBA; Kevin Mayne, Director of CTC; Mike Nelson of Cascade Environmental, who’s worked on trails in Whistler and Squamish; Duncan Mackay from Natural England; Chris Ford of CycleActive; John Ireland from the Forestry Commission; MTB development specialist Julie Cartner; legendary trail builder Dafydd Davis; and Vince Bartlett (London Development Agency) and Ian Warby (CTC) talking about the off-road trail at the new Redbridge Cycling Centre.
Given that we were trying to visit the actual show at the same time, we had to dip in and out of the conference. There was some interesting stuff and some less interesting stuff – we’d have liked to have heard more about working with existing trails, expanding the bridleway network and generally improving our lot outside purpose-built centres, but we weren’t all that surprised with the general “building new trails” skew to the proceedings. It was certainly a great opportunity to hear a load of different perspectives, though.
Thanks to the power of the inertwebs, you can hear all of the speakers by downloading MP3s from the CTC web site.