The Angry Singlespeeder: You Are Not a Real Mountain Biker

If you’re not an IMBA member or a member of your local trails advocacy club, you’re not a real mountain biker.

Editor’s Note: The Angry Singlespeeder is a collection of mercurial musings from contributing editor Kurt Gensheimer. In no way do his maniacal diatribes about all things bike oriented represent the opinions of Mtbr, RoadBikeReview, or any of their employees, contractors, janitorial staff, family members, household pets, or any other creature, living or dead. You can submit questions or comments to Kurt at [email protected]. And make sure to check out Kurt’s previous columns.

You got all the latest gear. You read all the industry magazines. You go to big events and races to soak in the fat tire culture. You ride all the choicest singletrack in the country. You like drinking beers after a ride in the parking lot with your buddies. You brag to your spouse and co-workers about the scars you got from last weekend’s “gnarly ride, dude.” You consider yourself a hardcore, bona fide mountain biker.

But I got news for you. If you’re not either an IMBA member, a member of a local IMBA chapter, you’re not a real mountain biker. You’re just a poser.

Ever since the dawn of mountain biking in the late 1970s when guys like Charlie Kelly, Russ Mahon, Gary Fisher and Joe Breeze bombed the hills above Marin and Cupertino on coaster brake klunkers, mountain biking has struggled to gain equal land access footing with hikers and equestrians. Granted, mountain biking is a very young sport, and the “old guard” of the Sierra Club – an organization that has existed since 1892 and now has 1.4 million members – has made gaining equal land access rights very difficult for mountain bikers.

Along with the NRA, the Sierra Club is one of the most powerful private interest groups in the country. Their membership numbers are massive, they’re organized and they get results. With nearly 20 lobbyists in Washington, D.C., the Sierra Club has remarkable power to not only influence wilderness protection and land conservation, but also which user groups get trail access in our country.

The Sierra Club is so powerful that their actions gave rise to the National Park Service in 1913 after the Forest Service dammed the Hetch Hetchy canyon near Yosemite to provide San Francisco with a reliable water source. So it should come as no surprise that mountain biking has been banned in NPS properties until about 10 years ago, when IMBA struck a landmark agreement with the NPS, opening some NPS properties to mountain biking.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of IMBA and local trail advocacy clubs, mountain bikers are gaining momentum in the quest for land access. Environmental studies show that mountain biking is no more destructive than hiking and less destructive than horses. Additionally, land managers note that many of the volunteers who come out and do trail work are usually mountain bikers.

Although volunteering is crucial, and every mountain biker should be doing a trail work day at least once every three months minimum, we must also have a voice with policy makers in Washington, D.C., because that’s where all the decisions get made. By the time most people find out about a trail access conflict, the resolution has already been decided; and it most often involves the closure of trails to mountain biking. Mountain bikers must have a voice in D.C.; otherwise we’re at the mercy of huge private interest groups like the Sierra Club.

I’m not going to try and act all high and mighty, as it took me nearly 20 years before I finally bought an IMBA membership. So for the better part of two decades, I wasn’t a real mountain biker. I was a poser.

Part of it was due to my ignorant youth, and the other part of it was due to my ignorant adulthood. But one day I got tired of my laziness, ignorance and cheapskate mentality. I realized that if all of us mountain bikers don’t come together as a unified voice, we will only continue to lose land access rights like the 4×4 off-road community is experiencing. An annual IMBA membership costs a measly $30. Don’t even tell me some bullshit story about how you can’t afford that. It’s less than the cost of a new chain for crying out loud.

And for all you industry peeps out there reading this diatribe, if your company or organization isn’t a corporate sponsor of IMBA, why not? Every single company that sells mountain bike products or services should be supporting IMBA, because without IMBA, there would be fewer trails to ride, fewer mountain bikers and lower profits for your company. So if you have the power to make decisions, write a check to IMBA. If you’re just a peon, start asking questions to find out why your company isn’t an IMBA supporter.

Regardless of whether you love IMBA or not, they are the people who are busting their humps to help ensure that mountain biking thrives in the 21st century. What IMBA has achieved since its inception in 1988 is remarkable. With more than 30,000 individual members around the world, IMBA is still very small. But in 1965 the Sierra Club was only at 30,000 members. By 1969 the Sierra Club had exploded to 75,000 members.

IMBA can grow just as explosively as the Sierra Club did, providing we all get our priorities straight and become IMBA members. The bigger we become, the more influence we have with policy makers and the more trail access we all gain.

And I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of Sierra Club blowhards constantly whining about how mountain biking is a destructive activity when they’ve got no research studies to back up their claims. But when you have nearly 20 lobbyists working the nation’s capital, you don’t seem to need very much evidence, especially when there’s little to no voice in defense of mountain biking.

So go to right now, find your local chapter and become a member. If there isn’t a local chapter near you, become an IMBA member and go volunteer with your local trails advocacy club. Only then can you start calling your self a real mountain biker.

About the author: Kurt Gensheimer

Kurt Gensheimer thinks the bicycle is man’s most perfect invention. He firmly believes ‘singlespeed’ is a compound word. He sometimes wears a disco ball helmet. He is also known as Genshammer. He is a Gemini and sleeps outside in a hammock.

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  • Angrier Thirty Speeder says:

    I’m not a member of the IMBA or any local trails advocacy club. I don’t read the magazines. I’m really not into riding with groups. I don’t race.

    What I am is someone who rides a lot with close friends. Someone who picks up a lot of other peoples garbage on the trails I ride ….cyclists and hikers alike. And someone who does a lot of trail work off the radar. But, I guess that’s what being a poser is all about.


  • Angry Singlespeeder says:


    You’re missing the point. IMBA exists to protect our rights as mountain bikers in D.C. Without that voice, you wouldn’t even be able to go for a leisurely mountain bike ride and pick up other peoples’ trash…the trail would be closed to mountain biking. Advocacy is two parts – supporting IMBA for our voice in D.C. and supporting your local club/organization for building/maintaining trails in your backyard.

    It’s great that you’re volunteering locally, but we all need to come together and put our support behind IMBA as a national organization so we can have a voice like the Sierra Club and the NRA.

    – ASS

  • Theewip! says:

    For the most part I agree with this but the problem I have with IMBA is their trail construction attitude that trails need to be nearly paved now. I am sick of these beginner trails that are nothing but ” Flowy”. “Smooth”. They have no challenge and I am seeing a lot more new trail being built with heavy equipment to plow a path so even grandma can easily ride it. I’m still a member but thinking of letting my renewal pass by, overall they are helping with access.

  • MTB_Poser says:

    While the intent of this article is good the idea of being snotty to get people to join the IMBA is not.

    A person who rides the trails and invests time, money and energy is a mountain biker plain and simple. Not you nor your “angry” article will ever persuade someone “intelligent” to think otherwise. They don’t need to join any club or donating any money either.

    It’s great when people do help out but come on…telling people they are a poser if they haven’t joined? pshh So you like pressuring people into doing things you want right?

    • criscobike says:

      His name is “ANGRY”…not “Meek”

      • Billy says:

        Omg Thank you. Apparently a lot of mountain bikers are sensitive… I like the way he writes to his readers…if you get all butt hurt because he calls you a “poser” then don’t read his articles… Derp derp

  • Kat says:

    Hey, Theewip, IMBA just opened a double-black-diamond trail near Portland over the 4th of July holiday. IMBA Trail Solutions built it on BLM land, and I could only ride 10% of it! (Basically, the transition sections where you pick up speed for the next, not-optional rock drop.) Scared the crap out of me at speed.

    The Sandy Ridge system, as it’s called, also has a lot of hand-built, old-school sections of trail and is completely MTB-specific (downhill bike traffic has the right-of-way). IMBA’s style is not all flowy, but my guess is that stuff gets the most attention because it helps get more people involved and might make the general public less fearful of MTB clubs building trails on public land.

  • Pieboy says:

    phooey! I am a member of a local IMBA club but I was no more a poser before or after paying my $40… I will take a good mtb ambassador in the forest over a card carrying windbag any day.

  • noway says:

    haaa. Sugar, not vinegar, amigo.

  • GonzoVixen says:

    Angry Singlespeeder…I got your back on this. It is so easy to cover your ears and pretend like trails aren’t closing and that our access is in danger every day because, hey, the trails near YOU aren’t closing…YET. I’ve had the chance to live in three of the most wonderful parts of the country for trails (Asheville, NC; Durango, CO; Tahoe, CA). I can’t say enough good things about IMBA and the impact they have had on all three areas. I agree it’s lame not to support the organization that has had the single greatest impact on new trail access. I’m also into freeriding and while there is still enough of rogue element to “hidden trails” to make me happy, IMBA has been important in many areas in keeping “forbidden” trails open…areas where, if IMBA hadn’t been involved, would have been closed completely and permanently. When I was a little girl, my grandmother always said when you throw a rock in a pack of dogs, the one that yelps is the one that got hit. Maybe some of these yippers got nipped a little. It’s okay, y’all. Calm down and go ride. There’s too much drama in mountain biking to keep dividing…better to come together and have a voice, and I don’t mean a little bitchy one.

    • Jerry Hazard says:

      Just what effect has IMBA had on Durango, recently? Most or all of the trailwork/advocacy has been has been handled by Trails 2000, not IMBA…

  • Don says:

    I’m not posing, I’m track standing! I agree with Reno Toffoli. Local clubs working with local governments can get a lot more done in a lot less time than national clubs working with the Federal government. Time to go pose it up on my posey9er!

  • OakTown Poser says:

    I find it funny that so many folks get theirs in a wad when called a poser. “Them’s fightin’ words!” Sack up and enjoy the laugh with the rest of us.

  • Scotch says:

    Kat, I agree with you. (Sandy Ridge is fantastic BTW…where is the DD?)
    I purposely seek out IMBA EPIC and IMBA built trails when I’m not in my home State of WI. Why? I know they will be quality trails with good signage and sound trial logic and the most sustainable trials in the area. One way to ensure we have trials years to come is to improve all trails to IMBA standards to ensure we don’t get shut-down due to erosion issues. Theewip, have you ridden Curt Gowdy in WY yet?
    Yes, I also ride non-IMBA trails and most are great….but IMBA is not the Devil…they are on side. Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face…

  • Angry Singlespeeder says:

    Would people be less offended if I called them “poseurs” instead of “posers”? Adding the U brings a little more sophistication to the insult, which might be less offensive to some.

    For those who get offended by my comments, HTFU. I called myself a 20-year-long poser for crying out loud!

    While I agree so much more can get done at a grassroots level, as dysfunctional as it is, D.C. will always be there. It ain’t going away folks, no matter how much local advocacy you do. If you don’t have a voice in D.C. in on discussions, many times your precious little local project will suddenly come to screeching halt and you’ll wonder why. We must be in the conversations that happen in D.C., as dysfunctional as they might be. Without IMBA fighting this unenviable battle for us, we have no voice.

    If you care about the future of mountain biking, pull out your wallet pay $30 and become a member. Or maybe you’re not a poser, you’re just too cheap?

    – ASS

    • Farmer Ted says:

      I can’t remember once in 25 years of mountain biking when one of my ‘precious little local projects suddenly came to a screeching halt’ because I apparently didn’t have a voice in DC. I don’t think you’ve ever been to or ridden in Fort Collins, Colorado where I live and all of the local trail systems are owned, maintained, and supported by the city., county, and state governments and paid for by access fees and taxes. How’s that for local involvement. Oh yeah, we are also a top tier ‘bicycle friendly’ city and are constantly voted in the top 10 places to live in the country. There’s a grassroots racing program here, as well as local clubs and volunteers who maintain the local trails on trail days.

      If we had been waiting for IMBA or the federal government to do this kind of work, it would take decades, cost millions, and never be completed. Don’t shoot your mouth off about things you know nothing about and places you’ve either never been to or lived in. Quit trying to scare people into joining your club…it’s not going to work.

      • Farmer Ted says:

        One more thing…the biggest threat to mountain biking and mountain biking trail access isn’t some big scary political lobbying group. It is d-bag ‘mountain bikers’ who don’t have any trail etiquette or respect the rights of other trail users, and do things like ride closed or illegal trails or ride wet and muddy trails. Until you educate these idiots or remove them from the trail system, there’s always going to be problems and the threat of losing trail access.

        • Andyman says:


        • Dopepedaler says:

          Now we are getting somewhere. Let’s put the “common” back in common courtesy.

        • Homeless Junkie says:

          Get out of Fort Collins once and a while and then comment.
          And ya.. I’ve been there.. Start walking.. Sign my petition, walk two steps, save the whales, walk two steps, legalize pot.. Only place worse is Boulder!

  • Tdot says:

    The bigger message missed here is volunteering to work on trails. We constantly here “posers” complain about “IMBA style” trails but never see those people lifting a hand to do something about it. Moving a few rocks, trees or picking up garbage on your ride is nothing. Everyone should do that anyway. It’s the people who show up to meet with the local land agencies and carve out an effective relationship that are needed. If you want to build advanced trails somewhere you first have to prove you can build and maintain that trail grandma can ride. BTW, my wife (grandma Kitty) can kick ass on most trails. Join IMBA, your local advocacy group and volunteer then “maybe” we stand a chance of continuing to advance trail design as well as opportunities to build new trails. Shut up and show up is what I say.

  • Jeff Snavely says:

    Once again, being a judgmental ass doesn’t make you likeable in an ironic sort of way. It just makes you an ass and reflects quite negatively on the company, and IMBA for that matter. Typical though, for the person who’s come late to the table to think they’re capable of dictating to the rest.


    You’re right! We need more gov’t to give us “our rights”… and… lobbyists are good. Thanks for the insight, and the pep-talk. We need more involvement locally, then a check to put into a lobbyists pocket, who in turn puts into someone else pocket… IMBA is a good organization, don’t get me wrong… just stop being “the poser” and fear mongering to get your point across.

  • Ron Burgundy says:

    Your not a journalist and your articles lack imagination. Writing about such obvious causes so you have something to write about at all is a waste of our time. I think Francis is making a mistake letting you post this drivel on the front page of his website. I will never read another one of your posts. Most people I ride with feel this way.

  • Ric says:

    I can’t join IMBA, they kind of screwed us here in Park City. Without due diligence, they named PC a gold level mountain bike destination. We’ve been fighting here for years to up the level of trail building, but for some reason, we keep building more mediocre trails. Then IMBA came and basically said your crappy trail building is awesome! Top Notch! Best in the Country! Major setback for our progress.
    I should to give credit to some standout efforts that are breaking the norm of very average trail building. Basin Rec, WAFTA, and Canyons (and the pirates) are fighting the good fight to bring our trails into the current century. Anyway, I have to go on being happy to pose as a mountain biker, trail builder, and coach because around here IMBA sucks!!!!

  • Chris U. says:

    Watch the movie Wild Hogs and tell me later about posers….

  • Angry Singlespeeder says:

    Farmer Ted, you’re fortunate to live in such a pro-mountain bike part of the country. Not every place is like Fort Collins. Good thing you don’t live in Marin County.

    I despise lobbyists and Washington just as much as the next anti-big government citizen, but the reality is they exist and it won’t change. We have to. Obviously some people take my musings waaaaay to seriously, which is fine. And if you don’t want to read my posts anymore, then that’s your prerogative.

    But the fact is, if we want to be taken seriously on a national level, we need to come together and support one national organization to represent us – IMBA is our best shot. Unless those of you out there have a better idea…

    Ron Burgundy – I agree with you. I don’t know why Francis lets me post my diatribes, but I guess he has pity on my lack of imagination.

    – ASS

  • Dara Broach says:

    And just like the NRA, IMBA as an organization, while I will admit that have done some good things, they are a completely spendthrift outfit. If I don’t rejoin, don’t spend more than my membership dues in repeat mailings and stupid trinkets to get me back. You have my email. Send me one email and If I don’t respond, then leave me the hell alone. There is a reason I am not rejoining your little club and badgering me by multiple costly solicitations is not going to make me come back. Stop wasting members money on BS and maybe I will consider coming back. Until you learn that, forget it, I think IMBA is nothing more than another lobby group who likes to waste member’s money.

  • Angry Singlespeeder says:

    IMBA isn’t perfect by a long shot. I’m sure there are a lot of Sierra Club members and former members who aren’t happy with how their organization is run. But they have an enormous voice and the Sierra Club gets what they want. I’m not saying IMBA is the panacea, but they’re our biggest voice and we all need to get behind them for the good of mountain biking on a national and global level.

    – ASS

  • Tyler says:

    My club is very large, we get lots of grants, we have a few thousand members and have paid stuff to see things thru. If we joined IMBA we would have to lay off our whole stuff, get less trails build by people who don’t even live in this fine state and our backcounty trail maintenance program would go to crap, cuz IMBA wants more then a 1/3rd of the project cost to oversee the project from have way across the country. If we joined IMBA our state would have half as much MTBing. I join them personal to fight the big fights ( I want to ride the PCT) but they have no business with our club until them have reasonable terms.

  • Fully says:

    IMBA’s regional and local support deserves mention here. Supporting IMBA is not a choice between local or national. Supporting IMBA helps keep things dirty locally, regionally AND nationally. One love!

  • jaxprat says:

    The ASS was trying to get just what he got. Dialogue. Our trails, whether the seemingly endless ones in Colo, Ut, Mont, etc, are all exhaustible resources. They will disappear one by one without our efforts. This was a call to arms for us to appreciate and work our trails not matter where. Where I live most of the good trails are bootlegged or just crumbs handed out by developers or equestrians. The best thing we can hope for where I am is the “proscriptive easement” right. So, just take the ASS’s message and do something for the life style you love. Rubber side down.

  • Fattest poser says:

    Dear Angry Singlespeeder .
    Can you pay for my membership to IMBA or a local IMBA chapter? Not all of us can afford not to be posers. If I remember IMBA stands for creating a better society of Riders and Trails. To call every party that is not a member a poser sure seems like a really good reason to never support a group like Nemba or IMBA . I think before IMBA represents us to the government they need to worry about creating a welcoming society of riders. ( Non Cheap Ass Posers).

    The Happy Singlespeeder

  • Ruined trails says:

    Every time someone works on a triail the line is ruined and the fun goes away. It takes work to perfect a line especially on a ss, yet jerks grout and think they are being special yet they are just f in up. Murphy lives on

  • Angry Singlespeeder says:

    Happy Singlespeeder,

    Seriously? $30 a year. That comes out to about $2.50/month. I’m sorry, but if you can’t afford $2.50/month to help support mountain biking then perhaps you should consider a less expensive sport. I’m not trying to belittle anyone, but we need to get our priorities straight. When there’s a will, there’s a way. If this is important enough to, you’ll find a way to come up with $2.50/month to support a sport that you hopefully love and draw as much enjoyment from as I do.

    And further, I am not on the board of IMBA. I don’t work for them. IMBA isn’t calling people posers. I am.

    – ASS

  • Jason S says:

    Fine! i’ll join gottdammit!!

  • dude says:

    worst columns on mtbr consistently go to ASS

  • Bigfoot jr says:

    Neither IMBA or local advocacy groups are perfect, but the truth is there are individuals and groups out there who don’t want you riding your bike on any public lands.

  • skanking biker says:

    @ Ruined trails: Umm, did you ever bother to stop and think that trails are rerouted to prevent erosion and to ensure the whole system remains rideable long-term? “Jerks”? really? Who is the jerk: the guy who spends 3.5 hours of his Saturday when he could be out riding or with his family and instead does trail maintenance with his local club, or the guy who goes out with his buddies and decides that riding after a rainstorm is “gnarly”?

    Also, are people here not aware of IMBA’s local chapter program? The national/local fight isn’t really relevant now.

  • Howl says:

    In essence, A.S.S. has posted a screed against the takers — yes, that’s you who ride trails but can’t be bothered to do trail maintenance, build new trail, create strong, ongoing relationships with land managers or support advocacy at the local and national level. If you don’t want to get your hands dirty doing the hard work of keeping trails open and operational, at least be a giver and join IMBA AND your local advocacy group. Not much middle ground here — are you a giver or a taker?

  • techsingletrack says:

    IMBA has no legal teeth . . When a moto group or the NRA incurs restrictions/exclusions you often seem them mobilize large scale, legal efforts.

    All I ever see with IMBA is a “let’s play nice” role. The Sierra Club pays IMBA lip service and then goes and attempts to ban mountain bikes wherever it can.

    I’d really like IMBA to fight with some muscle. Why has there never been a legal effort to challenge the ongoing Wilderness BS?

    And I’m really not a fan of the flow trail (sanitizing) trend IMBA seems to endorse

  • papatini says:

    This struck a nerve for me. I ride as a grateful trail taker, but my guilt never seems to override my obsession. Thanks for the reality check, sir. My gratitude now has an outlet.

  • Randy Collette says:

    Some of the total ass hats in the trail clubs here in Pisgah NC only dumb down the trails. They can’t ride technical trails, only machine built groomed double track. They make little side trails to avoid any log or rock they cannot get permission to move, rather than elevating their skill level. So pardon me for not joining PASSORBA / IMBA in my area. Poser? I will beat the shit out of you.

  • Angry Singlespeeder says:

    I love the anger and threats of physical violence. Classy.


  • whatevs says:

    I think Bob Malinowski’s comments (in the Facebook section above) deserve a direct reply from you. If its already in the thread, I couldn’t find it.
    His comments are a legitimate question about your likely hypocrisy: show us that MTBR is a corporate sponsor of IMBA. Is it? Or is it not?

  • Fattest poser says:

    Well said ASS if there’s a will , there a way. I’m going to remember your recommendation to find a new sport. Your really handling this well I’m sure that IMBA is happy to hear that not only are you calling fellow riders posers , but now you are encouraging people to stop riding. I think it’s time to swollow deep and admit that you crossed a line. I’m sure any legitimate orginazation would be embarrassed to have you bring such negative attention to them.

  • whatevs says:

    Where’d you go ASS? After your diatribe don’t we deserve a direct response about MTBR being a corporate member of IMBA, or NOT?
    MTBR is not shown as a corporate member on IMBA’s online list. Neither are their parent companies. So the evidence seems to indicate that your employer is not a corporate member. Smells like hypocrisy to me. And poor preparation before going off on a rant. Maybe you should take an accurate inventory of your own situation before judging the rest of us. An appropriate response would be an admission of this oversight and immediate payment of dues by MTBR to IMBA.

  • 100%Hillbilly says:

    Oh man.. Why’d you have to go and do… THAT? Your articles are generally full of insight and information. I personally respect your writings, and truly appreciate your style both literary and as a person, Kurt. However, after this post, I am questioning the support I have given you, and am truly disappointed you would generalize the mountain bike crowd with your verbiage using MTBR as your vehicle. You calling us posers because we don’t join IMBA is about the same to me, as a street preacher telling me I’m going to hell after I left the bar on a Friday night celebrating with friends. People don’t like to be told what to do, Kurt, we especially don’t enjoy being labeled. Fact is, with or without IMBA, trails will be built, and many will be epic.

    That being said, I, myself have invested 65+ hours of trail work in the wet season (Nov-Feb) and another 20 thereafter (before race and travel season) this year, and I feel I am more than qualified to comment on this article from the perspective of someone that can do without IMBA. Truthfully, I wish IMBA would stop sending me junk mail, because I don’t need socks, a bandana, a tee shirt or a newsletter boasting all about how much baby kissing, hand shaking anyone does on behalf of, well, me.. That does not mean I don’t support IMBA in an indirect way, because some people need that. And really, I do donate my time, money and even bicycles in a charitable way that benefits the local advocacy group, I just don’t write the check to “IMBA” anymore, and here’s why..
    I didn’t feel that after a lifetime in the bicycle business I had to join IMBA so nobody called me a poser. I joined because IMBA seemed to be for the good or cycling, admitting, I was blind to many facts. What made me decide to pass on renewing my IMBA membership last year was due to many different factors. I joined IMBA and was all about my involvement over 5 years ago, and yeah, I wrote that check thinking I was doing something good. I went to the trail building classes, I learned the techniques, I even joined the mountain bike patrol, and was proud to pass my test with a 90%. IMBA was awesome, really, until I needed them. See, Kurt, I live in central California, and Portland was a long ways away for me to feel like I had support from my Pacific Region representative, that’s one. When IMBA finally did come to my town, my group asked if the IMBA reps would come ride our trail and they declined to ride stating “that trail is not IMBA approved and was built using unsustainable techniques, we will not support it, call us when you want to follow IMBA standards” there’s two.. When the trail project we had approved by the local county park was first completed, we were dissed by the local IMBA chapter to boot, there’s three. Obviously, every person in our group that worked on that trail was destroyed and felt a bit angered by IMBA’s standpoint. When I went to ask for support from IMBA on general questions myself, I was practically read the answer from a script.
    Today, 5 years after the opening of this trail, we have it signed, directional, and labeled “mountain bikes only” (until someone stole the sign that is) all without IMBA helping. IMBA just talked down on us, and fought our efforts in any way possible. And, it’s a bummer that the IMBA group, and our group, was divided over “right and wrong” all because of a trail, (and the people that know me, know what I’m talking about). Extra bummer, our trail is a major attraction during the largest mountain bike festival in the US, Sea Otter, (maybe you’ve heard of it) and is definitely, in every sense of the word “sustainable”. Yeah, it’s a technical, but it’s not rutted, broken or diminishing whatsoever, it actually rips-
    The support we got from IMBA was insufficient on a macro level, it’s just that simple. It’s quite obvious that unless IMBA has a major project that will bring them credibility, they want nothing to do with it. Yeah, IMBA wanted to “help” but, really, no, thanks.
    From my experience, Kurt I am not a poser, poseur, poexer, anyway you spell it simply due to the fact that I don’t need to wear a disco ball on my head, “sleep in a hammock” to be as cool as you. Speaking of Sea Otter, I saw you there. I even tried to just say what’s up, and you wanted nothing to do with me. I’m just a person, with nothing to offer, so I get why you don’t care to know me, I’m faceless and I don’t even pedal that hard. I think I speak for a lot of people when I blast you on “full” that all we have to do to prove we’re not a posers is advocate for my local scene by helping however we can, in other ways than feeding into the political fiasco known as IMBA. I especially don’t have to wear a disco ball on my head to elude from the fact I put my pants on “one leg at a time” just-like-you.

    Hope you understand, I’m just one guy, but I ask you to please not call us/we posers and belittling us with you privilege of writing articles. That was a straight-up dis, and where I come from, that was bad manners.

    • SpecialH says:


      I think YOU should be writing articles or ‘rants’ on mtbr! That was highly informative and explains my thoughts/concerns where government ACTUALLY comes into play on local levels in our sport. Imo it’s very specialized, truly governed by local terrain, local clubs and willingness of local riders to do the right thing.
      Beating people over the head to believe govt. assistance will solve the problems locally, your reply speaks VOLUMES to that.
      I thank you for one of the few intelligent points raised here.

  • Josh says:

    ASS- is nothing more than a big goverment loving liberal that thinks everyone needs to join another part of the globalist elite regiem to allow the government to put another agency in every part of our lives.

    -Freedom Lover-

  • Angry Singlespeeder says:

    Hi whatevs,

    Calm down and be careful of your accusations. I don’t live on my computer and check comments every hour. I do actually have a life. Consumer Review is corporate sponsor of IMBA. Why it’s not listed I have no idea. That’s not my domain.

    Fattest Poser – What negative attention am I bringing to IMBA? You’re gonna hate IMBA and quit riding because I write a tongue-in-cheek article? I’m blown away at the sensitivity of some people.

    I think Howl said it best. This article comes down to one question – are you a giver or are you a taker?

    – ASS

  • Gregg Kato says:


    Mtbr has been a long time partner with IMBA for many years. Our current partnership with IMBA was renewed in February of this year. Thanks for pointing out the fact that you couldn’t find us on IMBA’s website as a partner, we just got off the phone with them and that will be taken care of ASAP.

    Besides payment as a partner, Mtbr supports IMBA in many ways including our Sea Otter Niner raffle where we got over 20 pages of sign-ups on site for IMBA plus an additional 450 sign-up via the online contest

    Also, we covered the IMBA board meeting at Bell HQ as well:

    So, absolutely supports IMBA and we hope you choose to do so too.


  • Angry Singlespeeder says:

    100% Hillbilly,

    Thank you so much for your insight. You clearly are not a poser. You are a giver, not a taker. And if you saw me at Sea Otter and you think I blew you off, then I’m sorry. That is not in my nature. I don’t just blow people off. If there was a reason I was short with you, it was probably because I was there working, not because I didn’t want to have anything to do with you.

    I think people are missing the fact that I said in my article ‘local trails advocacy club’, which means it doesn’t necessarily have to be a local IMBA chapter. I know IMBA isn’t perfect, and you have a completely valid reason as to why you no longer want to support them. If I were in your shoes, I might do the same thing.

    But there are many people out there who are not givers like you. They are takers. So please don’t take this article as a slam against all the work you’ve done. Hopefully you can realize that this was not directed towards you and the people who donate their time and efforts to giving back.

    – ASS

  • whatevs says:

    Glad to see that you put your money where you mouth is, membership-wise. Its a shame that IMBA can overlook such a strong partner in their online lists. I noticed they revised it today to include MTBR.
    I think much of the backlash you’re seeing to your column is due to the deeply IMBA-centric tone. As you can see from responses, there is a wide spectrum of ways for cyclists to give back to their community. Pinning such positive behavior so strongly to IMBA is understandably irritating to those that choose other means of contributing. That probably includes Ibis, who make the Tranny you’re so fond of, and who do a LOT of things for trail building and access . . . and yet they’ve made a conscious decision not to join IMBA. Does that mean they don’t make “real” mountain bikes, or that those who ride Ibis are posers?
    Yes, you included a brief reference to local advocacy clubs, but that was heavily overshadowed by the IMBA, IMBA, IMBA rant that filled almost all of the column. So while some may have been enlightened to the good that IMBA sometimes does, hopefully you have been enlightened to the many other valid ways to give back, and be a “real” mountain biker.

  • 100%Hillbilly says:

    No need to be sorry, I definitely appreciate the reply. I should have shown in my writing that I understand IMBA is a standardized description of an advocacy group as Coke is to Pepsi. Your reply makes clear that being involved in any group is acceptable even if it’s just a small bunch of people. An oversight on my part was expressing my thanks to you for having balls enough to (try) getting people to realize that (most) trails just don’t appear. Getting out there and riding is one thing, but a real part of the bike culture is being an advocate on a local level. If people want to be called mountain bikers in the purest sense, investing time into the sport means fueling the culture for the better. It really should not be about what bike you own, how much your frame was, or IMBA for that fact. Good call writing this piece, I retract my previous standpoint and support your cause 100%.
    We mountain bikers are a wee little blip on the action sports radar, some seriousness and sense of urgency towards our sport can never hurt. ASS, Sea Otter 2014, the after work beer is on me- And a taco. I’ll stop writing now, because that’s YOUR JOB- Peace.

  • roger says:

    Maybe IMBA should asking the manufacturers if they want in on this?

  • Angry Singlespeeder says:

    Whatevs – yes, every person who rides an Ibis Tranny, especially a singlespeed is a total and complete poser, including yours truly. I am fully comfortable with someone calling me a poser. I pose my ass off and got no shame in it.

    My column is IMBA centric because if you read it carefully, you will realize my main message is we as a mountain bike community need to come together so we have as big a voice with DC policy makers like the Sierra Club and the NRA. Although local advocacy is essential, only focusing on your little part of the world isn’t enough.

    We all must speak with one voice in Washington, and being a national IMBA member is that voice. That’s why my rant is so IMBA centric. It was not my intention for it to come off any other way. If it did, then I guess it can be blamed on my anger…I mean…passion for the topic.

    Now can we all get over being called a poser and join together so we can have a fighting chance against huge special interest groups like the Sierra Club? That’s all the ASS wants.

    – ASS

  • Eric says:

    OK! By show of hands… how many of you ride full carbon, $5K + bikes, lycra and totally suck?! An IMBA membership ain’t gonna help that? hahahahaha. I ride a ti single speed and have a bitchen soul patch, do trail work, and ride in flannel. I would blow myself if I could.

  • Angrier Thirty Speeder says:

    “I think Howl said it best. This article comes down to one question – are you a giver or are you a taker?

    – ASS”

    That was an ASS-9 thing to say.

  • monkey wrench says:

    Hey holier-than-thous’ : Maybe not everyone has time/inclination/interest in trail building/maintenance.

    Maybe that’s why some people join a club, pay dues, vote, spout off on the internet. They may not be out there, but maybe they’d pay a fee to those who are,can be, are interested. Kind of like what IMBA does (without the flat, boring, “flow” trails) -how bout a steep (fun) grade?

    Some people it seems even like building trail more than riding, that’s fine. Just try to gain support from all whether it be sweat equity, knowledge, inside connections, cash or whatever helps fun & challenging mountain biking trails to be built & maintained.

    So although not everyone can get out there some people can

  • Homeless Junkie says:

    Kurt.. I read your article twice. Once before the comment section and then reread it to be sure I didn’t miss something. Nope just a good way to get people to read this and think a little. Too bad no one has a sense of humor! Too angry paying off those bicycles to be called a poser! Haha.

  • Shawn says:

    IMBA is a joke. They are a bunch of claim jumpers that show up at places where builders have already put time and effort in, rebuild one berm, and call the trail “IMBA approved”. IMBA does nothing other than claim shit they didn’t build, pay their board of directors an obscene amount of money, run as a non-profit and funnel money to their for profit trail building company.

  • Tom says:

    Go IMBA! Perfect? Hell no. Still great? Hell yes.

    ASS: I love your tongue-in-cheek angry approach to columns. Fun stuff!

    MTBR: Thanks for supporting IMBA!

  • Catmando says:

    How does an article like this even get close to being put published on MTBR? ( Gee, I guess things must be slow lately ) So, I can’t be a mountain biker if I don’t join some club or advocacy group? Well, whippy do da ding! The concept is so idiotic that it is truly hard to believe someone would waste their time writing such garbage let alone expect that someone might actually take it seriously. How odd it is to see something as benign as mountain biking become associated with fascism. Telling the people who ride mountain bikes that they’re not “true mountain bikers” unless they join a mountain bike association is like telling black folk that they aren’t truly black unless they support the NAACP. If you truly believe that any of these concepts are in fact “viable”, than I have nothing but contempt for you or anyone else who could hold such an elitist mind set. This is one of the reasons why I don’t like clubs. There are always going to be people there just like you. That is why I choose not to join. I really hate being around fascist snobs. FWIW, I did belong to IMBA at one time. Then they started supporting some ideas that I didn’t believe in. This included screwing some things up at one of the places I used to ride in my local area. When you alienate your core supporters in favor of “new special interests”, ( or to make political brownie points ) you lose the support of many who just want to keep things simple..

  • Joe Dirt Shins Edition says:

    I pose for shots with my rad roller next to fresh single track always. I stoke hard.

  • Mitch9900 says:

    I am embarrassed by the small minded nature of most of my fellow MTB posts. Look at the big picture!! IMBA is good for biking! If you can afford to donate do! Local club are great for local trails, if you donate time or money it would help the cause. If you are not in a position to donate now then don’t. It will not be held against you by most biker. I’m happy to see anyone on the trail that loves the sport. I could care less if they donate…one day if they continue with the sport they will most likely give back in some way or get someone involved that does. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

  • G-Man says:

    Funny, I thought the only requirement to be a MTBer was to ride a MTB. Guess there’s a self-appointed higher authority now. All bow to the anointed!

  • Mike says:

    Federal employees!!! You can donate to IMBA in the CFC!!!! Charity #11199.

  • Brian Crowley says:

    Interesting article but the thing that caught my attention was the photo in front of the IMBA car. I took that photo…how the heck did it end up here? Feel free to use it 🙂

  • S says:

    with Angrysinglespeed, always calling people an Ass, it goes to show where the real Aholes really are and is enough to put anyone off. Just as someone doesn’t join IMBA but does help does not make them an Ass, it’s you that looks like an Ass.

  • S says:

    Angrysinglespeed abbreviated to ASS not so good

  • Will says:

    Reading this makes me sick. IMBA literally advocates against mountain biking.

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