BikeLife caught up with Morgan Lommele, vice president of the BMA board, to learn more about the organization and what cool things have been happening with this local mountain bike group.
When did BMA come to be?
BMA was founded in 1991 as the Boulder Offroad Alliance in response to the complete lack of access to trails for mountain bikers. The City of Boulder was the first city in the U.S. to ban mountain bikes on any trails and fire roads in 1983, which made mountain biking a non-option in Boulder. There were zero trails to ride your mountain bike on. We realized that if you gather a group of people behind a common cause and speak with one voice rather than 100 individual voices, you can advocate more effectively to accomplish your goal, which in our case is more trails.
What challenges have you met as an organization?
One of our main challenges has been the perception that people have of mountain bikers. Our members are young, old, singles, working professionals, everyone. Mountain bikers aren’t just a group of criminals in full-face helmets that drink Mountain Dew all the time. This was the stereotype of mountain bikers until about 10 years ago. This made our work more difficult. Getting more people to form part of our community gives off a positive impression of mountain bikers.
Do you partner with other local groups?
We work with a number of other organizations, among them Singletrack Mountain Bike Adventures, which puts on youth programming; Wildlands Restoration Volunteers, which is an environmental nonprofit; the Boulder Nordic Club, which uses winter trails that we use in the summer; the Nederland Area Trails Organization; the International Mountain Bicycling Association, the Colorado Mountain Bike Association; Community Cycles, with whom we work with on advocacy issues; the City of Boulder; Boulder County and the Forest Service.
Any cool projects lately for BMA?
We’re working on a project to connect Eldorado Canyon State Park with Walker Ranch, which will be a fun trail connection from Boulder to Walker Ranch. A long-term project we have going is developing the West Magnolia property into something similar to Buffalo Creek. We want to create a 50-mile system in the next 5 years.
What is one of the accomplishments that you’re most proud of?
Something concrete would be the Picture Rock Trail at Heil Ranch, which goes from downtown Lyons to top of Heil. Mostly, we’re proud of building this community of mountain bikers that didn’t exist 20 years ago. It used to be just a loose-knit group of people who liked to ride bikes. We’ve grown into a major player in dealing with the City of Boulder, Boulder County, and the Forest Service. We have 600 members, 5,000 supporters and a big budget.
What are the benefits of becoming a member?
Besides supporting our cause and helping us to speak with a louder voice, there are some awesome perks including discounted skills clinics for adults and kids, 5% off Sacred Rides mountain biking adventures, knobby weekend, access to great training resources and, of course, free socks!
Any other cool things you’d like to share?
We love to publicize this in the winter—our Smart Trail app. We ask that people update it when they ride a trail and it’s awesome or muddy, etc. It’s extremely helpful for riders to know the condition of a trail before they head out, especially in winter and spring. As the fall season is winding down, we’re happy to say we had a successful social ride season with 4 to 5 rides every week. We’d like to ramp up next year and have more programming for kids.
Learn more about BMA on their website.