CORBA Membership Update – We Need Your Support

CORBA is only as strong as its members. Join us!

CORBA has recently changed our relationship with IMBA. As an IMBA Chapter, all memberships were joint CORBA/IMBA memberships with the membership dues being split equally between CORBA and IMBA.

Entering 2019, CORBA is no longer a Chapter of IMBA. We are now a co-branded Affiliate under the new IMBA Local program. IMBA, in the wake of their financial troubles, has restructured and are no longer a “membership-based” organization. Your membership is now with CORBA, not IMBA, unlike the previous arrangement under which you were joining both organizations.  IMBA now provides membership management and other services to organizations like CORBA for a much lower fixed cost per member. This greatly benefits CORBA, as the vast majority of your membership dollars now stay local, instead of just 50%.

If your membership has lapsed or expired, or if you’ve never been a member, we urge you to join or renew. For less than the cost of a good tire, you can keep us going and growing, representing and supporting mountain biking in and around Greater Los Angeles. If you prefer not to join, your tax-deductible donations are just as much appreciated and all of your donations support local trails.

Most of the trails in the Santa Monica Mountains that are open to bikes might still be closed to bikes if not for CORBA’s past efforts. We’re continuing to advocate for access to trails closed to us in the ’80s and ’90s by California State Parks and other agencies. We’ve prevented loss of access to several trails in Wilderness proposals.

We’ve seen a huge surge of new riders in the last ten years. Most have never faced mass closures of trails to bikes, and don’t remember those early years when CORBA had to fight for access to trails. Perhaps many of these newer riders don’t understand the importance of CORBA’s work to the vitality of our sport, and have therefore chosen not to support us.

In the aftermath of IMBA’s opposition to the Sustainable Trails Coalition’s efforts, CORBA’s membership has been heavily impacted. Despite our many successes and neverending quest to improve mountain biking around Los Angeles, our membership numbers are down about 40% since December 2017, even as we see more and more bikes on trails.

CORBA and most California mountain bikers (as surveyed by other MTB organizations) support some limited bicycle access to trails in designated Wilderness. CORBA was founded in response to trails were being closed to bicycles locally and nationally. IMBA has de-emphasized opening of closed trails in their mission, and are instead focused on “creating great mountain biking experiences close to home.”  In order to achieve this in California, we need to open more closed trails, which no longer seems to be a mainstay of IMBA’s focus.

After IMBA’s letter to Congress opposing the STC, and our board and members’ disagreement with their position, we received a number of membership cancellation requests. Many of you no longer wanted to support IMBA, even though it hinders our local efforts. Several members subsequently chose to donate directly to CORBA instead of sending money to IMBA to join CORBA. Many–more than 150 of you–have let your membership lapse or expire, despite all the important work we continue to do.

Another reason I believe our membership has declined is that we have not sponsored or hosted a membership-drive event like our past Fat Tire Fests, Birthday Bashes, or GGR Rocktober events. Over the past eighteen months, our small, dedicated board of five have been at capacity and couldn’t take on the additional tasks of organizing such an event.  We would welcome anyone interested in organizing an event or have an existing event for which CORBA could be a beneficiary. Please contact us, or consider joining our Board of Directors.

We have some exciting opportunities in 2019, including Phase Two of Sapwi Bike Park, restoration work of trails closed from the Sand Fire, Lake Fire and Woolsey Fire, and new bike park opportunities with Los Angeles County and the City of Los Angeles. We hope to do so with your continued support as a member, donor, or volunteer.

We are putting together a survey to help us learn more about your needs, what you think our priorities should be, what we could do better, and better guide us into the future. Look for it in the coming weeks.

Ride on!

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