New River Bicycle Union (NRBU) recently joined forces with the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA). The local body is a non-profit that was organized by area cyclists in 2010 as a social and volunteer organization designed to encourage bicyclists of all abilities and interests, including mountain, rails-to-trails and road cycling in the New River Gorge region, to get out and ride.
Since its inception, NRBU has hosted summertime weekly road and trail rides and begun work with the National Park Service to develop a public/private partnership. Because the board of directors consists entirely volunteers, NRBU made the decision to link up with the IMBA.
IMBA is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit educational association whose mission is to create, enhance and preserve great mountain biking experiences.
“Our board of directors felt that joining IMBA was a perfect fit,” said Casey Gioeli, NRBU president. “IMBA was instrumental in the design of the NPS Arrowhead stack loop trail system and we thought that their knowledge would only serve to create a stronger organization and relationship with the National Park Service.”
While it is true that NRBU’s relationship with IMBA stresses the mountain biking aspect, NRBU has a broad range of objectives for the local organization. During the coming year NRBU plans to offer several classes in order to develop mountain and road riding skills, resume the weekly summertime mountain and road club rides, work with the town of Fayetteville to develop the skills park in Fayetteville, and develop off-road races. According to board member Luke Hrabosky, NRBU is most excited about a six-hour relay race that will be held on the Arrowhead trail system on May 12.
“This is the perfect opportunity for local riders, including families, to form teams and enjoy the beauty that our area has to offer,” says Hrabosky.
New River Bicycle Union is currently recruiting new members. Members of NRBU automatically become IMBA members and local IMBA members have the opportunity to become NRBU members at no additional cost. While a “Return of the Sun” celebration late last month at Fayetteville’s Secret Sandwich Society was both a social and membership drive success, Gioeli emphasizes that there is strength in numbers.
“The larger our organization is, the more we can do to reach out to the community at large to encourage increased physical activity through bicycling,” she said.
Anyone interested in becoming a member can do so through www.imba.com, Marathon Bikes or New River Bicycles, both in Fayetteville, or by contacting NRBU through its Facebook page.