IMBA Ride Center

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IMBA Ride Center in Wausau

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The International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) created the Ride Center program in 2007 to designate premier large-scale mountain bike facilities that offer something for every kind of mountain biker. From backcountry adventures, to urban mountain bike parks, to shuttle-served gravity trails, and from expert only to family friendly the best riding experiences the sport has to offer can be found at an IMBA Ride Center.
Currently there are two IMBA Ride Centers in the Midwest. Cuyuna Lakes near Crosby, Minnesota and Copper Harbor, Michigan (Upper Peninsula). Both of these Ride Centers have become true destination centers attracting visitors from all over the country as well as Europe and are thriving on the tourism generated by their mountain bike trail systems. Last year both ride centers have seen over 25,000 bike visitors and projections are indicating that could rise over 30,000 in the future.

IMBA Ride Center Evaluation

The evaluation and application process begins with an invitation to apply from a member of IMBA’s senior staff (Hansi Johnson – IMBA Midwest Regional Director) who will work closely with local representatives to perform the evaluation. The designation and rating of a Ride Center is based on clear criteria. The criteria are not always objective, some will be necessarily subjective, but in all cases they will relate to providing great mountain biking opportunities.
Rating System) If a proposed ride center is approved it will be assigned a rating based on the Evaluation Criteria score and subjective input from the evaluative committee. The ratings given are Bronze, Silver, and Gold. The ratings will allow for graduation, encourage improvement, and provide feedback to applicants.
The status implied by a given rating will be an effective method for attracting riders to a Ride Center. When an existing Ride Center is being reviewed the evaluation committee can confirm, advance, or demote the current rating. This will encourage applicants to continually maintain or improve their Ride Center.
Ride Center Geographic Area) A Ride Center’s geographic area shall be all facilities within a 30-minute travel time radius (as determined by Google Maps) from a determined center point. The legal trail and bicycling opportunities that start within this area are considered the trail system that is being evaluated in the application.
Benefits of Ride Centers) Communities who are designated as a Ride Center are clearly indentified as being the best place to go mountain bicycling, and will see and increase in both visitors and the quality of life for residents through improved opportunities for outdoor recreation. IMBA will promote the Ride Centers through our website and other communications (e.g. press releases, IMBA Trail News, eNews, IMBA Destinations, etc.). Communities will also receive a plaque denoting their status.

Proposed Trails • Objectives

The objectives of the proposed IMBA Ride Center are to:
1) Create destination-quality mountain bicycle trails and bike parks that appeal to beginners/families as well as experienced enthusiasts.
2) Develop trails that are sustainable and exceed user expectations.
3) Utilize Wausau as the “hub” of the trail system. Trail systems must lie within 30-minute travel radius (as determined by Google Maps) from determined center point.
4) Maximize use of existing facilities and create connectivity to new trails/bike parks where possible.
5) Create a Ride Center that can be implemented based on a reasonable timeline and budget (including phased approach).