Canadian Cyclist


March 2/09 23:12 pm - Seven Keys To An Effective Bicycle Advocacy Club

Posted by Editor on 03/2/09

by Mark Flint

This list was developed by participants in IMBA's mountain bike advocacy listserve. Thanks to all who contributed.

These items are not in order of importance. And just because an item is brief (like "Fun") does not mean it is any less crucial.

In making up a list such as this, the temptation is to expand and comment on each item. However, each club and each area is different, and my purpose in putting this out is to give everybody a basic outline to work from. For example, if in your area the user groups don't get together for work parties, you might want to make that a major priority.

1. Formal Organization
• Statement of Purpose and Bylaws
• Accountability from officers and board (e.g., duties, election and terms defined in bylaws)
• Fiscal responsibility (e.g., well kept books, corporate or 501c3 status) and financial soundness (good fundraising)
• Open decision-making process
• Shared power and encouragement/development of members to become leaders

2. Active Advocacy Program
• Frequent and regular trail work parties, with other user groups invited/encouraged
• Representatives to serve as liaison for each park/jurisdiction
• Involvement in open space preservation issues
• Strong encouragement for all members to be involved
• Seek opportunities to be involved in partnerships and other programs, such as patrols
• Sponsor (or co-sponsor) one joint event annually with other user group(s)
• Rewards program to encourage member involvement
• Support of IMBA, with dues structured to encourage IMBA membership

3. All Bike Shops Welcome
• All bike shops actively encouraged to be involved in and support the club

4. Involve a Broad Spectrum of Mountain Bikers
• Represent the entire mountain bicycling community, from beginners to racers, as long as they support the purpose of the club and abide by the code of ethics
• Reach out to groups that traditionally do not participate in large numbers (minorities, women, economically disadvantaged)

5. Emphasize Responsible Riding
• Consistent communication with members and non-members on the importance of responsible riding

6. A Commitment to Ethics
• Members agree to represent mountain bicycling in a professional manner; to share skills and knowledge; and to treat one another with dignity and respect

7. Fun
• Balance advocacy with rides and social events

Good luck, and if you have any questions, concerns or comments contact IMBA's Canadian office at: IMBA PO Box 23034, Kitchener, Ontario, N2B 3V1,


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