IMBA UK is delighted to be holding the 2009 AGM & Seminar in the Lake District. Based in Keswick we will be holding our AGM & Seminar are the Victory Memorial Hall at Braithwaite, before heading on to Whinlatter.
The focus of the seminar is to look at how mountain bikers can be more actively involved at a local level, from building trails, to advocacy on local access forums. Importantly we will want to hear about what inspires mountain bikers to get involved, but also what are the obstacles that prevent you from doing more.
We look forward to finding out what IMBA can do to help, and together better understanding the role that we all have to play in the future of mountain biking in the UK.
The seminar will provide a great opportunity to hear from one of our affiliated groups. SingletrAction are a Yorkshire based volunteer MTB group who have undertaken trail design, construction and advocacy work for over 8 years. We have been fundamental in the development of dedicated trails at Dalby, Stainburn and Silton, as well as trying to progress official developments in Guisborough and Wharncliffe.
We work with various public and official bodies including Forestry Commission, Yorkshire Water / United Utilities, Bradford and Leeds Metropolitan Borough Councils plus Yorkshire Dales National Park. We try to help local riders engage with others to either permit new development, protect existing or represent their interests in the local environment.
We have been responsible for development of some of the biggest (nearly 50 km in Dalby) and technically hardest (Stainburn "double" black) trails in England. We've also helped schools to plan on site trails for their pupils and Councils to develop skills spots on land they manage.
Paul Brown from the Forestry Commission will be giving us a presentation about Whinlatter, and also he will be our host for the afternoon.
Whinlatter Forest was first bought by the Forestry Commission in 1919 and it is known as England’s only mountain forest. Today the forest attracts over 300,000 people largely due to major investment in a number recreation facilities. Such facilities include a high wire adventure course called Go-Ape, 19km of singletrack red grade mountain bike route called the Altura Trail and 9km of singletrack blue graded trail called the Quercus Trail. These facilities fit in well with its location and proximity to Keswick as the adventure capital of the Lake District. In addition to recreation, one project that has a major impact at Whinlatter is the Lake District Osprey Project which manages the protection and viewing of a pair of breeding Ospreys since 1998 at Bassenthwaite Lake. This has attracted over 100,000 visitors over the summer who have come to see live footage of the Ospreys nest at the Visitor centre and from a viewpoint at neighbouring Dodd Wood, which is also managed by Forestry Commission.
We have held our first mountain bike competition - the Altura Challenge which attracted over 470 competitors who undertook a 36-mile endurance event around the entire Whinlatter Forest complex and we hope to make it an annual event in the mountain biking calendar.
To complement the mountain bike trails that were built here, we also have a bike shop, bike hire facility and workshop, which are run by Cyclewise, who offer coaching and bike skills course at all levels. Bike wash facilities and a coaching course has also been added which further enhances Whinlatter’s reputation as the premier mountain biking venue in England.
Arrive – Keswick YHA - (Optional) - Accommodation
Victory Memorial Hall Braithwaite
10.00 – AGM – Members Only
10.30 – Seminar – Riding, Speaking, Doing
Looking at growing participation in mountain biking; growing participation in the decision making process; and growing participation in trail building and trail care.
Evidence of increase in mountain biking. Numbers participating. Is this being matched with investment? Too little? Too much?
11.00 – Making A Difference
Tim Sellors will give a presentation about the activities of SingletrAction, from trail design to advocacy, and working with schools and councils.
11.45 – Taking Action Locally
Feedback & discussion and any action points
12.30 – Presentation from Paul Brown – The Whinlatter Story
1.00 – Lunch at Siskin’s Café - Whinlatter
2.00 – 5.00 – Site visit – Whinlatter
Ride options – for those staying over in Keswick on Saturday night, there will be a chance to ride with other members of IMBA UK, and to catch up on all the news.