We are excited to announce that our integration with the International Mountain Bike Association (“IMBA”) is complete. Southern Oregon Freeride Association (“SOFA”) is now Rogue Valley Mountain Bike Association, an IMBA chapter (“RVMBA”). It has been a journey filled with setbacks and accomplishments. Along this journey we have learned lessons that have helped shape this organization to where we find ourselves today. Many of you have supported us over the years in our attempt to create mountain bike trail opportunities in Southern Oregon. We appreciate your support and look forward to your continued support of RVMBA into the future.
Many of you may not know that SOFA was created with the intent of giving the downhill and freeride community a voice. Many among us felt that freeriders and downhillers were not being represented and that this segment of mountain biking was being shunned. A handful of early “freeriders” decided that there was a need for representation and therefore created SOFA. As the years have passed mountain biking in general has expanded in popularity and has now become mainstream. With increased popularity the demand for trails that are suitable for this type of recreation has increased as well.
We made strides in advocating and promoting downhill and freeride in our area. During this time we established relationships and worked with agencies and land managers in our mission to create more trails. Much has been learned about running a legitimate organization, including what it takes to operate, maintain, and grow a non-profit mountain bike advocacy group. If we are to be taken seriously among the governing agencies and the public we need a broad base of support.
Along the way we have seen our base expand beyond the freeride and downhill constituency. We have garnered a solid base of support from across the spectrum. With a wider base of support we have found ourselves with a need and desire to expand the vision of this organization. From cross-country to downhill we all enjoy this sport in our own way and many of us enjoy it in every way. Whether its an all day cross-country excursion, climbing Mount Ashland to rip single track down or shuttling to get our adrenaline fix, we all have a passion for this sport. Our mission moving forward will be “to support and advance the interests of all Southern Oregon mountain bikers”.
Currently RVMBA has proposals with the USFS, BLM, City of Ashland and the City of Jacksonville. We are also working with the (AWTA) Ashland Woodlands and Trails Association on our joint effort to expand the trail opportunities in the Ashland watershed. In Jacksonville we are working with the BLM and the City of Jacksonville to create an MTB bike park in and above Jacksonville’s Forest Park. These trail plans include trails for all types of MTB users.
Along with creating new trails we also need to be stewards of the existing trails we use every day. Without continued maintenance these trails fall into disrepair. It is our duty and obligation to give back to these trails. Routine trail repair and improvement not only makes the trails better to ride but also makes them more sustainable and promotes goodwill amongst other trail users.
The RVMBA board of directors is completely volunteer and will be comprised of individuals from across the mountain bike and professional spectrum. We will work hard to advocate and promote our beloved sport for all of you. We look forward to your continued support and are excited about the future of Mountain Biking in Southern Oregon.