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IMBA Announces New 'Dig In' Fundraising Platform, With Shimano Matching Dollars Raised

Apr 3, 2020
by Sarah Moore  
Matt Hunter rides with Hylton Turvey and Fanie Kok in Karkloof South Africa
Photos by Sterling Lorence

IMBA is launching a new program called Dig In today to help raise money for trails across the United States via crowd-sourced fundraising online. The money that is raised through the online platform will be matched by the program's founding partner, Shimano.

Grassroots mountain bike advocacy and stewardship organizations that are a part of IMBA Local will be able to fill out an application and submit it to the review team within IMBA. From those applications, the team at IMBA will choose up to 15 projects each quarter that they help market on their site. Once those projects reach their initial $1000 of crowd-sourced fundraising online, IMBA and Shimano will match the amount raised.

Brad Hager and Greg Randolph rides the Kuilau Trail in Kauai USA
rides the Kuilau Trail in Kauai USA

bigquotesWe did a pilot campaign for Dig In back in 2017 where we did one quarter of fundraising. We raised somewhere around $150,000 for almost 70 projects around the country. What we want to do is have that run year-round. Every quarter there will be a new set of projects and we'll keep projects going until we run out of funds. We'll probably do anywhere between 10 and 15 projects per quarter but it depends on the funding that we have and if any other partners come on board. For Quarter 3, we're going to do 10 projects.

Shimano stepped up and really gave us a good start to the program. They've helped us build out the remaining portions of the program and provided us with the remaining resources that we needed to get it launched. It gave us the opportunity to expand a bit on what Dig In used to be and what we'd actually we'd envisioned it to be, not only in terms of monetary support for projects but the support that we could provide to those local partners during and after the fundraising period. Hopefully, we can have other funders come on board but Shimano has been a huge partner in this and has done a ton for us to make sure that the program is launched and successful.
Anthony Duncan, IMBA Director of Local Programs

bigquotesWe wanted to support a program that could bring more trails to more places and this seemed like a really good way to do that. This program seemed to be the one that could reach out to the community at large and be a means to help make more trails connect across the country.Dustin Brady, Bike Marketing Manager at Shimano

Shimano didn't want to talk dollar amounts like Santa Cruz did in their Pay Dirt announcement earlier this year, however there are some parallels between the two programs. "We don't want it to be about what we donated. We just want it to be about the program and what it does," said Brady.

bigquotesWe're excited to see the industry be proactive in the work that local organizations are doing and Shimano, much like Santa Cruz Bikes, wants to see more trails close to home and are making efforts to see that happen.Anthony Duncan, IMBA Director of Local

Matt Hunter rides with Hylton Turvey and Fanie Kok in Karkloof South Africa
Shimano Deore XT Launch in Lake Tahoe Cailfornia USA - June 2011

For now, the Dig In program is only available in the United States, but Duncan said they are working on solutions to see how they can make some of the things they're doing in the States work internationally.

While Shimano realizes there are many people who can't ride on their local trails right now, they hope that the announcement helps spread stoke during this difficult time and that flowing trails and high fives await people when we make it through.

bigquotesThere's no mountain biking without trails. I'm not saying anything revolutionary, but it's true. We have our part to do. While some people don't see a lot of what we do, this is one thing we're excited to put out there. We really wanted to go to more places. Some people can make a lot out of a little and this allows those people to be supported as well.Dustin Brady, Bike Marketing Manager at Shimano

MEC road trip to Kamloops BC Oct 2013.


IRVINE, Calif. (April 3, 2020) – Shimano today announced the expansion of its longstanding commitment to global mountain bike advocacy by growing its support for the International Mountain Bike Association’s (IMBA) efforts. In addition to its ongoing partnership and working relationship with IMBA, Shimano will become the Founding Sponsor of IMBA’s Dig In program through a multi-year donation to fund the creation of new mountain bike trail projects.

Also today, Shimano released its Shimano Originals video feature, “Shape Your World,” that celebrates mountain bike trail builders. The video showcases their efforts to create and sustain places to ride and make their mark on the sport.

“Shimano understands that we all must play a part in contributing to the future of the sport of mountain biking and for decades we’ve created partnerships and efforts to make a difference globally,” said Nolan Moser, Vice President, Bicycle Division from Shimano North American Bicycle, Inc. “We’re excited to grow our support for IMBA at the ground level with the Dig In program as it will support local trail projects being planned or currently underway in a variety of locations serving a diverse group of riders.”

IMBA recognizes that all trails are local, and many great places to ride mountain bikes owe their existence to the tireless efforts of IMBA Local Partner organizations. IMBA wants to strengthen its collaboration with local partners to put as much money toward local projects as possible. Dig In will provide a new avenue to raise funds for mountain bike projects through crowd-sourced contributions and matching industry donations.

“Our Dig In Campaign will be a fresh take on IMBA’s traditional ways of providing funds. Bridging the gap between national and local fundraising efforts will put more trails in more places, more quickly, to grow the number of mountain bike trail communities. When everyone has access to great trails, people, communities and economies benefit,” said Dave Wiens, IMBA Executive Director.

The inaugural round of Dig In projects will launch on July 1st, 2020 and run year-round. Projects will be refreshed quarterly. IMBA Local Partner organizations will be able to submit project applications beginning May 1st. Funds may be used to support trail construction, trail access efforts, trail assessment, trail plan creation or trail maintenance. To stay in touch on Dig In and support projects near you, visit https://www.imba.com/digin.

Shimano Deore XT Launch in Lake Tahoe Cailfornia USA - June 2011

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  • 52 5
 Trails for your new gravel bike.
  • 5 2
 Perfect summation of IMBA trails!

The last organization I’d funnel my money through for trail building would be IMBA, especially after riding IMBA built trails across the western US, but mostly because of their stance on bikes in the wilderness and siding with the Sierra Club. Also because their main office is in Boulder CO which has an insanely high cost of living (highest in Colorado).

While I’m glad IMBA has existed, I believe a real MOUNTAIN BIKE advocacy group needs to be formed, one that supports mountain bikers, and actually advocates for what the majority of mountain bikers want, like technical trails in the wilderness.
  • 34 2
 Given my last dollars to IMBA. Where I live we have a lot of trails, 99% dirt sidewalks. Because of that, its getting dangerous, the only way for people to have fun is to go way too fast for the conditions. So the low intermediates who are ripping along are hitting people regularly. Ironically, I rode with someone from Whistler who was freaking out at the speeds we were going and not because he couldn't ride, he was a beast, but because they don't have silly fast trails there, they have obstacles and features. Which makes them fun.
Dirt sidewalks are dangerous. Obstacles and features slow trails down as well as making them more fun. Berms may be fun for a few minutes on a flow trail, but have no place on multi use non directional trails as it speeds them up.
IMBA needs to recognize this and update their trail building guides into this century. No place should be a Gold Center unless they have a reasonable number of advanced trails to keep people where they belong. Would you go to a ski area that only has beginner runs and call it a Gold Ski Area?
"Sustainable" needs to take riders into account and when there is no balance between beginners and advanced riders, you have a sustainability problem.
  • 5 0
 I think easy flow trails appeal to a lot of people for at least some of the time. I would hate for that to be the only option, but when there are options of trails, the big berm/tabletop flow trails are the ones I always see the bulk of riders/party trains going down. But I agree that they really need to be one direction.

Where I live currently doesn't have any true high speed trails. It's all technical and slow. But where I came from had a good mix, and they did a decent job of designating trails one way. Including a one way climbing only trail to reduce issues with the large amount of bikers. It definitely annoyed people that enjoyed going down that trail, but it was awfully nice knowing there was one trail you could use to get higher up without having to worry about someone bombing down at any moment.
  • 23 4
 @jaredmh: #blacktrailsmatter
  • 14 1
 IMBA guidelines focus way too heavily on sustainable bench cut with little mention on building equally sustainable armored tech trails. What IMBA has done is create many miles of identical single-track that completely lacks character or anything that may challenge even a novice mountain biker. If the goal of the IMBA style is to allow for multi use access, wouldn't lower speed tech trails be more prudent for a trail ecosystem of shared use? Too many trail organizations with fledgling mountain bike communities have essentially been forced into solely building IMBA style trails solely because land managers want trails that meet the best recognized standards of IMBA style building techniques. Its time to make roots and rock cool again for all trail centers.
  • 2 0
 @yukonman: maybe call it something that denotes the diamond in black diamond trails, like #blackD’smatter ????
  • 36 3
 It's just too bad they don't like mountain biking
  • 21 2
 The pics they use are a perfect representation of IMBA. Smooth, buffed out trail meant for kids and gravel bikes because it "allows access for everyone". Their trails are mostly boring, green flow trails because they refuse to actually fight land managers for technical trails or trails with features. They just go for the easy win of a green trail and then scream their own praise...they are more focused on their image with govt than they are with the actual desires of riders.
  • 10 1
 As someone that does trail designs and works with land mangers, you have it horribly wrong. Its land managers, not IMBA that is pushing for boring trails. No where in any published IMBA material will find directions to "dumb down" trails. Its 100% land managers who are worried about liability. You will be in a design meeting with land manager and someone will say something like, "Oh, can someone fall off that? Like onto their face?" You can almost feel the wussification happening.

Another issue of "dirt sidewalks" is land managers (and trail groups) choosing quantity over quality. You have $X and can build Y miles of "dirt sidewalk" trail or (much fewer) Z miles of awesome-sauce trails. Guess which one 9 out of 10 land managers (and, again, trail groups) will choose? Think I'm kidding. Image your local trail group found $200,000 under the couch and you put it up to vote. You get 7 miles of trail or you get 4 miles of trail. Which one would the majority vote for?

Lastly, trail maintenance shouldn't be preservation program. If your land manager (or whoever) is giving you dirt sidewalks, work to balls them up. You might have to show that you can add chunk, bend or break rules.
  • 7 1
 @CycleKrieg: Fair point, I guess my argument was more that IMBA never seems to fight for that 4 miles of awesome sauce. The land managers suggest the dirt side walk and SURPRISE....its always the dirt sidewalk. Not saying that is categorically IMBA's fault but when they get literal millions of dollars, what seems to come out of their "advocacy" is always the same and more often than not, disappointing. There are more disappointing and confusing decisions that have come out of IMBA (*cough* wilderness access *cough*) recently that only compound the feeling that they are horrendously disconnected from what the mountain bike community wants. Around here, non-IMBA member local groups seem to get more done with better results than IMBA, so why pay IMBA or support them?
  • 1 1
 IMBA makes the perfect trails for skidding your tires tho...
  • 3 1
 @ianswilson815: COMBA has done a great job considering all the different land managers to deal with on the federal, state, and local levels and all the various user groups vying for position. "The Sluice" on Floyd Hill is excellent, "Middle Longhorn" at White Ranch is awesome, "Dakota Ridge" is great, and the new trail network slated for Idaho Springs in Virginia Canyon is gonna be sick, especially if the Argo Gondola goes forward. I got involved with COMBA trails team because I didn't want to just be an armchair quarterback complaining about the lack of technical or bike specific trails. It's been very eye opening, and there's some really good things in the works.
  • 2 2
 @CycleKrieg: Then why are places given Gold or Silver status by IMBA when there is no variety? Sorry, but IMBA supports boring trails by giving their stamp of approval to places with them. They basically tell land managers that more is better no matter what.
They don't step up and show that difficult sections are actually safer because they slow the pace down.The biggest potential liability I've seen is super fast sections that have high probability of head on crashes. Head on's are getting more common around here as the trails become more smooth. Even Formula One tracks have chicanes in places to slow them down.
  • 3 1
 @chacou: Yup, those are all good. But was IMBA involved directly in any of those - not just using COMBA as proxy because COMBA does their own advocacy. They just like to put their stamp on stuff that they were barely involved with. I have done my fair share of digging in the past but to be honest I got sick of every dig day being a drainage on chimney gulch or rebuilding a washout on falcon but then not allowing any alternate lines or features to be built while we were at it. Its gotten a lot better recently. I'd just rather donate directly to COMBA than have IMBA steal a significant portion of it for its "administration" costs.
  • 5 0
 @nonk: As someone that has filled out the Ride Center forms, its more than just trails. Its amenities, too, like hotels, etc. Not the biggest fan of that, but I honestly can't think of better way to do it. Park City and Duluth are both Gold and yet because of where they are at, I'm not sure a true head-to-head competition is fair. Duluth will never have the vertical Park City does.

Just being on the "inside baseball" part of this, I see commentors on the interwebs blame IMBA for stuff that is not IMBA. Not saying there isn't things we don't disagree on, but having IMBA ride in a few times in the last ten years of our local trails, they earned the benefit of the doubt from me.

As to too much speed and trail roughness relationship, oh hell yes. But again, land managers can get weird about chunk. "Will this cause someone to lose control and crash?" There are several famous before-after photos of trails where land managers removed chunk for liability reasons.

Another thing, here in the Upper Midwest, we have moved to directional trails almost exclusively. I know it people in the west have an almost allergic reaction to the idea, but man, does it solve problems. Not just potential for collisions. But also because you can tune the trail to great for climbing or descending without having to worry about how that affects the opposite way users.
  • 1 0
 @ianswilson815: Fair enough and I believe you're correct that IMBA was not directly involved with those. The Virginia Canyon Mountain Park should be super fun, if digging can ever start, www.colorado.gov/pacific/idahosprings/virginia-canyon-mountain-park && map => www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/Area%2028%20map_1.pdf
  • 12 1
 Instead of giving your money to IMBA to create more green trails and horseshoe switchbacks, buy yourself a set of handtools for 60$ and go build what you want to ride yourself. It will benefit your own riding, as well as the entire sport much much more. It's time to take MTB back from the "sustainability" clowns who have no idea of the sport outside their tourism brochures and marketing campaigns.
  • 12 0
 Nice initiative but A) I'm holding onto every $ I can right now. B) I invest in my local trail systems, where I can see/get the rewards.
  • 10 1
 Thanks God they don't do it for Canada!
I've travelled all over Canada/USA/Mexico to ride my mountain bike and I can say that IMBA is the McDonald of MTB: they make it tasteless and homogeneous. Why would I travel with my bike if the trails are all the same?
  • 5 1
 Thankfully they're slowly being evicted from influence by all the areas they f*cked over. So now if you want the IMBA experience you can just go to Colorado. #f*ckimba
  • 14 4
 IMBA still exists? Get it over with already so we can get some good trails built again!
  • 10 2
 Between their trailbuilding designs and Wilderness sabotage they become one of mtb's biggest enemies
  • 7 3
 Didn't they merge with their masters the Sierra Club?
  • 12 1
 Delete polls button
  • 3 0
 I started filling in polls randomly to make the button go away, but fuck me, 82 polls! ...so I blocked the element with my browser
  • 2 0
 @kittenjuice: How nerdy do you need to be to engage in this "element blocking"?
  • 2 0
 @iammarkstewart: Not very nerdy. Go get the 'ublock origin' browser extension, right-click on the element you want blocked, select 'block element' (it will turn pink) and a box at the bottom right of the screen will appear. Press the 'create' button.

I occasionally use the internet without origin... it's horrible!
  • 1 0
 @kittenjuice: I will play with this, and my wife will likely read this and then school me on it. Thank you!
  • 1 0
 I just click “other” on all the polls I see on the main page, down to 47 now, should be gone by end of week and Pinkbike will realize their data is not good when they try to force something like this on their users.
  • 2 0
 @kittenjuice: Slightly related, without any intervention, polls button is now gone. I think PB staffers got the message.
  • 12 2
 ImbA fundraising for clubs so they can charge $1000 a day consulting fees.
  • 8 1
 Agreed. I live in Costa Rica and have the chance to travel and talk with MTB collegues from Centroamerica.
NONE of this "International" Foundations really care about globally local initiatives, they are pursuing money. That's why they focus on BIG MARKETS and mecca only, as of the US, Canada, and some European countries.
America entirely (not "merica" only) has enormous opportunities for trail development, but many of these International efforts simply don't deal with us. They avoid put investment because they have their winning formula, and centroamerica does not fit their $$$ expectations.
I did a couple of tries with knolly and zink private global trail initiatives, with the same never reply back experience or any real perceived interest on development in these areas.
So, in the end, the global real formula is the passion of the local efforts, focus on our ways of living and adapted to our laws, mountains, and affordance topics.
Most of these "Big Associations" do not really care about really push forward on MTB as a discipline and expansion of new remoted and alternative trail destinations, only if their number$ have any kind of ROI.
  • 1 1
 @razacr: Really interesting to hear from your perspective. Thank you!
  • 3 2
 @razacr: IMBA is just a place for retired racers to get six figure jobs so they can live in Boulder with all their ex racer friends (who were smart enough to get useful educations).
  • 10 6
 Once more...FUCK OFF IMBA! Your trails are shit, your motto is alright but still shit and lets not forget your board members probably can't ride for shit and don't know what an actual MTB trail should look like.
  • 8 6
 This really shows how disconnected some companies and organizations are right now. People are out of work, losing health care benefits and fighting over toilet paper. Shimano had sales of 348,000,000,000 yen last year. IMBA sucks too. Donate money from trail funds to help make some masks for medical workers or food banks.
  • 3 1
 San Diego need not worry about IMBA doing anything in this location. We have enough inept non moving fast shovel ready trail programs going nowhere thanks to SDMBA, with exception of a couple green multiuse dumbed down bring your ebike to climb xc lines. Good luck, rest of U.S.
  • 4 2
 The head of IMBA Canada lives in Squamish where only 1% of the trails would meet their lame criteria. The other 99% are awesome! My question to him is does he just ride the IMBA lame trails? Unlikely. What a hypocrite.
  • 2 0
 Seems like there’s a lot of builders here that have it all figured. I knew there would be some quality input here. Just build trails I want to ride. Seems like a fair request. Problem solved.
  • 3 1
 This could be done globally on a covert level. just a thought, but then by the time we are all allowed out again, nature would have reclaimed them, doh.
  • 2 1
 For all the shade 'core' mtbers like to throw at IMBA I think they are a force for good.
  • 1 0
 Beauty pic from Kamloops!!

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